After enduring a turbulent season in the Buffalo Sabres system, Michael Funk couldn't be happier to land with the Vancouver Canucks.
The 22-year-old from Abbotsford inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Canucks this week, and he'll challenge for a job at the NHL club's training camp this fall.
"I couldn't ask for anything better," Funk told The News in an interview on Tuesday. "It took a couple of days to sink in, and even now, it's kind of weird. It's definitely an opportunity that I didn't think would be coming my way."
Funk, a six-foot-four, 210-pound defenceman, is coming off an injury-plagued 2008-09 campaign. A second-round pick of the Sabres back in 2004, Funk sustained a concussion on the first day of main camp in Buffalo last September. After two months on the shelf, he returned to action with the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates, but suffered a second concussion in his 13th game back. That injury set him back another two-plus months, and when he tried to return to the lineup, he experienced a relapse of the concussion symptoms and was advised to shut it down for the rest of the season.
Funk was set to be a restricted free agent this summer, but when the Sabres elected not to tender a qualifying offer, he gained unrestricted status.
The Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators also expressed interest in signing Funk, but the Canucks were his most ardent suitors.