Ducks sign Silfverberg to $26.25 million, 5-year extension

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              Anaheim Ducks' Jakob Silfverberg (33) is chased by Edmonton Oilers' Colby Cave (12) as the net gets knocked over goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jakob Silfverberg didn’t want to test free agency, even as the Anaheim Ducks struggle through one of their worst seasons.

The 28-year old signed a $26.5 million, five-year extension with the Ducks, forgoing the chance to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

“I like it here a lot and wanted to stay,” Silfverberg said after practice Saturday. “I feel like I am a hard-working guy and to get rewarded with a five-year deal means a lot. I had a feeling once talks started going that it was going to be pretty fast.”

Silfverberg leads the Ducks with 16 goals and has 24 points in 56 games. The Swedish forward has 99 goals and 115 assists over six seasons with Anaheim.

The Ducks are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Anaheim is next-to-last in the Western Conference with 57 points and has lost four straight going into Sunday’s game against Colorado.

Silfverberg said he weighed the Ducks’ rebuilding process before making a final decision.

“Over the next five years I think it is going to be a contending team again. They know what it takes,” he said.

General manager and interim coach Bob Murray made a lot of moves near the trade deadline to get younger, but he also said it is important to have a veteran like Silfverberg as a building block.

“You can’t just go with a bunch of 21- and 22-year-olds,” Murray said. “It’s just like building your minor league team. You can have a bunch of kids, but you need quality veterans. It’s not any different here. He can play the game, but he’s also a role model. He does all the right things.”