Right wing Jakob Silfverberg agreed to a four-year, $15 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
Silfverberg was a restricted free agent after he set career highs with 13 goals and 26 assists last season, playing frequently on the second line for the Pacific Division champions. The 24-year-old Swedish Olympian broke out in the postseason with four goals and 14 assists in 16 games as Anaheim fell one victory short of the Stanley Cup final.
Although his new contract took several weeks to complete, Silfverberg said he was confident about his future in Orange County.
"I'm super excited," Silfverberg told reporters in a phone interview from Sweden. "It might have taken a little longer than I expected, but that's how it is. ... We had good talks throughout the summer. I knew the talks were going in the right direction, so I wasn't nervous about not getting anything done. We were on the same page throughout the whole negotiation."
Silfverberg is among the Ducks' best defensive forwards, with a career plus-26 rating, but has been increasingly effective on offense in his two seasons in Anaheim. He also led the NHL with nine shootout goals and a 62.6 shootout percentage last season, showcasing his dangerous shot.
Silfverberg has 81 points in 181 career games with Anaheim and the Ottawa Senators, who traded him to the Ducks in a package for Bobby Ryan in July 2013. He was eager to cement a lengthier deal to stay in Southern California, where he lives with his fiance.
"We both agreed on that pretty early, that we wanted (the contract) to be a little bit longer," said Silfverberg, who made just over $850,000 last season. "I signed a one-year deal last year, and I thought coming into this situation I wanted it a little bit longer. Anaheim was on the same page. There wasn't much talk about signing a shorter contract, so that was pretty clear from the start."
Silfverberg played for Sweden at the Sochi Olympics, winning a silver medal while largely filling the same defense-first role of his early NHL career. His offensive performance in the postseason suggests Silfverberg can do more.
"The way I played in the playoffs is the way I want to play," he said. "I wanted the puck every shift. I tried to create scoring chances. That's how I want to play, and hopefully I'll keep playing that way, with that confidence."
The Ducks are still more than $10 million below the NHL salary cap with nearly their entire roster signed for next season. Their only major unrestricted free agent still unsigned is Swedish forward Carl Hagelin, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade on draft weekend in June.