Naslund now a Ranger

Markus Naslund will be moving across the continent to play for the Rangers in New York. SUN...

Markus Naslund will be moving across the continent to play for the Rangers in New York. SUN MEDIA/Ror Kruyt

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

The Vancouver Canucks will have a new captain this fall after unrestricted free agent Markus Naslund signed a two-year deal yesterday with the New York Rangers.

Naslund played 929 regular season and playoff games for Vancouver, scoring 359 goals and assisting 430. He turns 35 on July 20 and will make $8 million over two seasons under ex-Canucks' head coach Tom Renney.

"For anyone who dreams of playing in the NHL, playing for one of the Original Six teams with the history and tradition, it's special," Naslund said in a teleconference.

The 16th overall pick in 1991's draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins joined the Canucks in a March 20, 1996 trade by then-general manager Pat Quinn with Pittsburgh for Alex Stojanov.

It may have been the most profitable trade in club history. Naslund eventually played in five NHL All-Star Games, while Stojanov, the seventh overall pick in 1991, quietly retired as a minor league goon in 2002.

Naslund spent eight seasons as the 11th captain in club history, tying Stan Smyl for longevity. He peaked in 2002-2003 with 48 goals and 56 assists, but declined every year since. His predecessor in the captaincy was Mark Messier, who returned to the Rangers in 2000. Like Messier, Naslund left Vancouver after being criticized by fans and media alike for being a dispassionate underperformer.

Canucks' general manager Mike Gillis, Naslund's former agent, gave No. 19 a ringing endorsement in a prepared statement.

"Markus is one of the greatest athletes to ever represent the Canucks, both on and off of the ice," Gillis said. "His on-ice success sees him leave the organization among the club leaders in almost every offensive category."


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