Bernier re-signs with Canucks

Updated: May 14, 2009, 11:45 PM ET
Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Steve Bernier to a two-year, $4 million contract extension on Thursday, keeping him away from free agency.

The 24-year-old right winger gave up his chance to become a restricted free agent on July 1. Bernier scored 15 goals and posted a career high with 32 points in 81 games in his first season in Vancouver.

He added two goals and two assists in 10 playoff games before the Canucks were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

"He gets there, he hits hard, and he's a really good young guy who wants to improve," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said. "So we're really pleased that we got him signed."

Bernier was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres last summer for a third-round draft pick this year and a second-round pick in 2010. He signed a one-year, $2.5-million offer sheet from the St. Louis Blues that was quickly matched by the Canucks.

Bernier started on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin but struggled to convert numerous scoring chances from close range and finished as a third-unit winger.

"We all would have liked to have seen him score more with the opportunities he had, but he got those opportunities and generated those opportunities," Gillis said. "We are designing a program with him where we are hoping he ll be able to relax and capitalize on those chances."

Bernier, a first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2003, has 60 goals and 62 assists in 258 NHL games.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault also said Thursday that top-six forward Pavol Demitra, who was injured in Game 2 against Chicago, will have shoulder surgery and be out four months. Demitra had 20 goals and 53 points in 69 regular-season games.

Vigneault also said forward Taylor Pyatt will need to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, and Alex Burrows will have an operation to remove bone chips from his left wrist. Burrows failed to score in the second round after recording 28 goals in the regular season and three more in a first-round sweep of St. Louis.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press