VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Defenseman Alex Edler signed a two-year extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at an average salary of $6 million. The 33-year-old Swede could have become a free agent July 1.

“I’ve said from the beginning that if a deal was there with Vancouver, that was my number one priority,” he said during a conference call. “You never know what’s out there in free agency so I didn’t think too much about that.”

In 13 seasons with the Canucks, Edler has the most points among defensemen in franchise history.

General manager Jim Benning calls Edler the “cornerstone of our defense.” He added in his statement that Edler is a “leader with tremendous experience” who “contributes to every part of our team game.”

Edler had 10 goals and 24 assists in 56 games last season but struggled with injuries.

Asked if he would consider taking games off to preserve his health, Edler said: “I come into training camp in great shape every year and I certainly think my body can take 82 games,” he said.

Still, Edler understands his role with the Canucks may evolve as younger defensemen like Quinn Hughes grow into stronger NHL players.

“I’m always going to try to be the best out there every game, the best that I can,” he said. “If guys are better than me, they should play more. That’s just how it works.”