Vancouver Canucks sign forward Tanner Pearson to three-year extension

Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks left wing Tanner Pearson (70) during third-period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, February 15, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks have locked up Tanner Pearson, signing the left-winger to a three-year extension. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks have locked up Tanner Pearson, signing the left-winger to a three-year extension.

The team announced the deal, worth an average of US$3.25 million per year, Thursday.

Pearson, 28, has six goals and five assists in 33 games with Vancouver this season, and was set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement that Pearson is a veteran who leads by example and "provides invaluable leadership experience to our core young players."

Vancouver acquired the native of Kitchener, Ont., in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman Erik Gudbranson in February 2019.

Originally selected 30th by the L.A. Kings at the 2012 NHL Draft, Pearson has a career 226 points (114 goals, 112 assists) in 490 games with the Kings, Penguins and Canucks. He won a Stanley Cup with L.A. in 2014.

The Canucks also confirmed Thursday that goalie Thatcher Demko has signed a five-year extension worth an average of US$5 million per year.

The news had previously been released by Canucks owner Francesco Aquillni on Twitter.

Demko, 25, stunned many with a stellar performance in the Edmonton playoff bubble last year and emerged as Vancouver's starting netminder after the team lost Jacob Markstrom to the Calgary Flames in free agency in October.

Demko has a 12-12-1 record with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average this season.

The Canucks picked the goalie from San Diego, Cal., 36th overall at the 2014 draft.

Benning said in a statement that Demko is an important part of Vancouver's team.

"He's taken a big step in his development this year, displaying a strong work ethic and composure in his game," the GM said. "At every level of play Thatcher has excelled, from college to the (American Hockey League) and now as a starter in the NHL."

Pearson is currently on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, while Demko is one of 19 Canucks players currently on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2021.

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