The Vancouver Canucks signed forward Rick Rypien, a cousin of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Rypien, to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Rick Rypien has five goals, two assists and 69 penalty minutes in 41 games over four NHL seasons. Hard hitting and willing to fight much larger opponents, the 5-foot-11 Rypien's biggest struggle has been staying healthy.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the new deal prevents the 25-year-old from becoming a free agent on July 1.

"Rick plays with intensity and energy every time he steps on the ice, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. "He is an important part of our team and a valued teammate.

Rypien had sports hernia surgery early last season _ his sixth major injury since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2005 _ and took a personal leave of absence after recovering. He missed 70 games and six months before returning in late March, getting two assists in 10 playoff games.