Hamhuis heads to Canucks

Sought-after defenceman Dan Hamhuis is now a member of the Vancouver Canucks after striking a six-year deal worth $27 million US.

B.C. native turned down bigger offers to sign with Vancouver

Dan Hamhuis is now a member of the Vancouver Canucks, who signed the sought-after defenceman on Thursday for a six-year deal worth $27 million.

The 27-year-old Smithers, B.C., native turned down bigger offers so he could sign in Vancouver, closer to home.

"We did get some different offers from other teams," said Hamhuis, who had five goals and 19 assists in 78 games for the Nashville Predators last season. "Some of them were higher in contract value. 

"We liked the fit in Vancouver. We liked the opportunity it presented from a hockey perspective and the lifestyle perspective for my family."

Hamhuis twice had his rights traded prior to free agency, but he turned down offers from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He has spent his entire six-year career in Nashville, scoring 32 goals and 161 points in 483 games. 

Never has Hamhuis advanced beyond the first round of the NHL playoffs. 

"I hope to get past that with Vancouver and further," he said on a conference call.

"It's a team that is committed to winning. You can see the way they spend their money. They sign close to the [salary] cap or right to the cap every year to give themselves the best chance to win. It's exciting to be part of something like that."

A solid two-way defender, Hamhuis has played at least 78 games each season with the Predators, making him a welcome addition to the Canucks, whose defence was depleted by injuries the last two seasons.

"We're trying to compete for a Stanley Cup and ultimately players have to do that if they want be in that environment," Canucks GM Mike Gillis said. "We were thrilled he was prepared to come here for less money."

The signing adds blue-line strength for the Canucks, who acquired Keith Ballard in a trade with Florida during the NHL draft last weekend. Vancouver now has eight NHL-calibre defencemen under contract, plus restricted free agent Shane O'Brien.

Ballard, Hamhuis, Sami Salo, Alexander Edler, Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa will all make more than $3 million next season.

Earlier Thursday, the Canucks signed centres Manny Malhotra and Joel Perreault, plus left-winger Jeff Tambellini. Malhotra agreed to a $7.5-million, three-year contract that includes a no-trade clause.   

With files from The Canadian Press