For the Canucks, this is what really matters: When Kevin Bieksa is with Dan Hamhuis and they're crackling along the boards, rigid around the net and sailing the puck out of trouble, they are the best all-purpose pairing the Canucks have had in a long time.

As much as possible, the Canucks need these two together. They're going to get it.

Bieksa agreed to a five-year, $23-million extension that pays him $4.6 million a year, and has a no-trade clause which will finally take him off the trade block he was so often rumoured to be on.

His salary is slightly north of Hamhuis' s hit of $4.5 million. Not bad, if you consider the Canucks will be lopping off a reasonable cut of $9.1 million off their cap room for two players who did not look out of place when compared to the league's foremost defensive pairings during the post-season.

Are they Shea Weber and Ryan Suter? No. Are they in the conversation?

"I think they could be," GM Mike Gillis said. "They played in every situation. They move the puck extremely well. These are two very good defencemen.

"I'm very happy with this."

Still, it may be a hard sell initially to crow about a hometown discount for Bieksa. The length of the deal takes the Canucks out of their comfort zone. When it ends, Bieksa will be 35 years old. By then, generally, age has crept solidly into a player's performance equation.

Then, there's the money. After what many considered a career year, Bieksa did not get a huge raise over the $3.75 million he made. But he is now the Canucks' highest-paid defenceman, and that's significant.

He is getting more to stay than what Hamhuis got last year to come. Hamhuis was an unrestricted free agent who arrived in Vancouver only after spurning much bigger offers elsewhere.