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Ducks sign forward Silfverberg to four-year contract

by Curtis Zupke

Jakob Silfverberg sounded like he knew he had to exercise patience when it came to getting a contract from the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks' top priority of the offseason was extending center Ryan Kesler, and they also have other moving parts.

But the wait paid off when Anaheim on Friday announced a four-year contract for Silfverberg, 24, who was a restricted free agent.

"My agent and I had a pretty good talk, and we said we were in no hurry," Silfverberg said from Sweden. "We just wanted to get the right kind of contract. … I think both parties are really happy about the contract. I'm super-excited. It might have taken a little longer than I expected, but that's how it is."

Silfverberg's annual salary-cap charge is $3.75 million, a healthy raise from the $850,000 he earned with his one-year contract for the 2014-15 season. It's also a reasonable number given Silfverberg reached NHL career highs in goals (13) and assists (26) last season with a strong second half.

His strong play carried over to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had 18 points (14 assists) in 16 games. Silfverberg also led the League with nine shootout goals.

Acquired by Anaheim in July 2013 as part of the Bobby Ryan trade with the Ottawa Senators, Silfverberg said he's in a good place in his young career. The Ducks were one win away from the Cup Final last season.

"These two years have probably been the best two years of my hockey career," Silfverberg said. "It's easy living. I like it here and so does my fiance. That's a good thing. We both have to feel like this is home."

Silfverberg was a hard-luck story for the first third of last season, when he had one goal in his first 27 games. The chances were there for him, but the puck just didn't go in. Silfverberg kept at it and scored 11 goals in his next 43 games, often playing beside Kesler.

"I felt like I got the trust from [coach] Bruce [Boudreau] in different situations that I haven't seen before," he said. "The way I played in the playoffs is the way I want to play. I want the puck every shift I'm out there. I tried to create scoring chances. That's how I want to play, and with trust from Bruce, hopefully it will stay that way."

Silfverberg was one of two remaining restricted free agents for Anaheim. Fellow Swede and 2014 Sochi Olympics teammate Carl Hagelin, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade at the 2015 NHL Draft, remains unsigned.

Silfverberg welcomes the idea of a fourth Swede (Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm) on Anaheim's roster.

"You can never go wrong," he said.

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