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Canucks sign Lapierre, Alberts to 2-year contracts

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks re-signed center Maxim Lapierre and defenseman Andrew Alberts to two-year contracts Wednesday.

Alberts could have tested the open market as an unrestricted free agent Friday, but instead signed a two-year deal worth $2.45 million to stay in Vancouver. Lapierre, who would have had less freedom as a restricted free agent, signed for two years and $2 million.

The announcements came a day after the Canucks traded the negotiating rights to soon-to-be unrestricted free-agent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to the New York Islanders for a 2012 fourth-round pick. On Wednesday, the Islanders traded those rights to Buffalo for a 2012 fourth-round pick.

The 29-year-old Alberts played 42 games last season after being acquired at the trade deadline from Carolina the year before. The 6-foot-5 Minnesota native only had one goal and six assists, but led the defense with 113 hits despite the limited action before only dressing for nine of 25 playoff games. He has six goals, 45 assists and 420 penalty minutes in 381 career games with Boston, Philadelphia, Carolina and Vancouver.

The 26-year-old Lapierre was acquired from Anaheim at the February trade deadline to play on the fourth line, but the agitating checking center spent most of the playoffs anchoring Vancouver's third line. He only had one point in 19 regular-season games with the Canucks, but had three goals, including the winner in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, and five points in 25 playoff games.

Lapierre had six goals, six assists and 80 penalty minutes in 78 regular-season games last season for Montreal, Anaheim and Vancouver. He has 41 goals, 43 assists and 301 penalty minutes in 333 career NHL games.