VANCOUVER - When Swedish forward Loui Eriksson wanted to know what it might be like to live in Vancouver and play for the Canucks he called countrymen Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, but he didn't need anyone to tell him what it would be like to play with them.
Eriksson's experience on a line with the Sedins at past Olympics and World Championships for Sweden, and the chance to rekindle that chemistry on the top line in Vancouver, was a big part of the reason he signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Canucks on Friday. The contract has an average annual value of $6 million.
"They are such smart players," Eriksson said. "It was easy for me when I first played with them to get chemistry because we kind of play the same way. We like to give the puck and get it back from each other. Maybe the first couple games was a learning process to see how they played and how they were thinking, and we seemed to match really well when we played together in those games, especially in the 2013 World Championships when we won it. … Hopefully we can keep playing like we did during that time and we should have some good success."
Video: Analyzing the Canucks' signing of Loui Eriksson
Eriksson, who also expects to play with the Sedins at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in September, scored 30 goals and had 63 points in 82 games with the Boston Bruins last season. He has scored at least 20 goals six times in 10 seasons in the NHL, and has two 30-goal seasons, making him a welcome addition to a Canucks team that scored 182 non-shootout goals last season, second-fewest in the League.
Vancouver had two 20-goal scorers, Daniel Sedin with 28 and Jannik Hansen with 22, and Daniel Sedin (61) and Henrik Sedin (55) were the only Canucks with more than 50 points. The power play finished 27th in the NHL with a 15.8 percent success rate.
"When we went through the process this summer thinking about how we can get our team better, we wanted to up the skill level of our team," general manager Jim Benning said.
Benning said the Canucks succeeded with Eriksson, 31, and 26-year-old defenseman Philip Larsen, who signed a one-year, $1.025 million contract on Friday after scoring 11 goals and 38 points in 52 games last season with Jokerit Helsinki in the Kontinental Hockey League.
"To add to our skill level, to get our power-play better, we had a good day," Benning said.
The Canucks also signed forward Jayson Megna to a one-year, $600,000 contract, and signed forwards Michael Chaput and Borna Rendulic and defenseman Chad Billins each to a one-year contract with two-way clauses to play for Utica in the American Hockey League. The biggest addition was Eriksson, who said he had real interest from a few other teams and confirmed that he turned down a four-year offer to remain in Boston.
"[Term] was important for me, I wanted to get five or six years," said Eriksson, who has 212 goals and 504 points in 725 regular-season games with the Bruins and Dallas Stars. "I have a big family and I worked really hard through all the years playing in the NHL and Boston, they were interested in having me too, but I've never been in that situation like this and it felt, especially when I talked to Vancouver, both me and my family got a good feeling."
Video: DET@BOS: Eriksson tips in pass for 30th his goal
Familiarity with the Sedins clearly helped, but Eriksson isn't the first player to sign in Vancouver for a chance to play with the skilled top-line twins. Radim Vrbata cited that chance in signing a two-year, $10 million contract as a free agent in 2014 and scored 31 goals his first season before falling off to 13 last season when he was removed from the line.
Daniel and Henrik, who turn 36 in September, have two seasons left on their contracts, but Eriksson didn't seem worried about what might happen then, and the Canucks sounded confident he can help them beyond being a good fit with them on the top line.
"We feel he's going to be a good player through the term of the contract," said Benning, who was an assistant general manager in Boston when the Bruins acquired Eriksson from Dallas as part of a trade for Tyler Seguin. "Sometimes with players, if their skating falls off a bit and they are not smart, they can't figure it out. We feel like he's a real smart player, his hockey sense is excellent, he's versatile. He can play left wing, he can play right wing, he kills penalties. There were so many things to like about Loui. I think it's a good fit for our group."