Shane O'Brien thought he might be moved last season at the NHL trade deadline. Now he'll hope to move up to a better level of consistency after the restricted free agent signed a one-year, $1.6 million US deal with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
O'Brien, 25, was second in the league last season with 196 penalty minutes, but the Canucks saw enough potential in the 6-foot-2, 225 pound blueliner to up his salary from $1.025 million. After being acquired from Tampa Bay on Oct. 6 along with Michel Ouellet, in a deal that sent Lukas Krajicek and Juraj Simek to the Lightning, the Port Hope, Ont., native struggled at times with his conditioning and a penchant to take bad penalties.
However, O'Brien improved as the season progressed and he finished with 10 assists in 77 regular-season games. The signing, coupled with the acquisition of free-agent goaltender Andrew Raycroft on Monday, gives the Canucks 20 players under contract for next season at $51.7 million. That leaves them with $5.1 million under the salary cap ceiling to sign a top-six forward and another defenceman.