Canucks extend Naslund's contract

Markus Naslund, who was enjoying the best season of his career before suffering a broken leg in March, signed a three-year extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Naslund posted career highs with 41 goals and 75 points in 72 games, but broke the tibia and fibia bones in his right leg when he got tangled up with Buffalo defenceman Rhett Warrener and fell back awkwardly along the boards during a 4-2 loss on Mar. 16.

At the time of the injury, Naslund was tied for the third in the NHL in goals. The 27-year-old Naslund was named captain on Sept.15, 2000 at the conclusion of Vancouver's training camp in Sweden.

He has led the Canucks in scoring in each of the past three seasons and was named the team's MVP for 2000-01.

Naslund was signed through the 2001-02 campaign. "We're very pleased to reach this this long term agreement with Markus," Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke said.

"He has demonstrated the class, integrity and leadership required to be a great captain in this league, and we couldn't ask for a better person to lead the Canucks into the future." The Canucks went 2-5-3-0 without Naslund in the lineup and were swept in four games by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference quarter-finals.

Naslund was acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for Alek Stojanov on March 20, 1996 and had never recorded more than 36 goals and 66 points until this past season which was Vancouver's first in the playoffs since 1996.