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Saskatchewan's Severson locks up six-year, $25-million deal with NHL's New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson, top, fights with Vancouver Canucks center Brendan Gaunce during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in Newark, N.J.

Julio Cortez / AP

Damon Severson has skated his way to security and stability thanks to a six-year contract extension with the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils.

The Saskatchewan product is set for life, but the reality of it all hasn’t quite settled in.

Severson signed a deal worth $25-million (U.S.) this week. Not bad for a young defenceman with 203 NHL games under his belt.

“It’s weird – maybe it’s not hit me yet – but it feels really good to kind of have it all finished up and not have anybody question me or ask me anymore how negotiations are going and stuff,” Severson, a native of Melville and former member of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, said on Tuesday.

“It’s something I was looking forward to getting done and now that it’s done, it’s ‘Okay, now I can just play hockey and everybody knows where I’m at and I can just focus on the next six years at getting better and helping the team that signed me to the contract.’ It’s super exciting and I couldn’t be happier.”

The deal works out to an average salary of $4,166,700. The contract breakdown is as follows: 2017-18: $2,500,000; 2018-19: $3,000,000; 2019-20: $4,675,000; 2020-21: $4,675,000; 2021-22: $5,050,000; 2022-23: $5,100,000.

“I’m just fortunate,” said Severson, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound blueliner, who is represented by Saskatoon-based Thunder Creek Professional Player Management.

“I kind of wanted to do a longer-term deal and get the stability and confidence instilled in me and show the organization I wanted to be here. From both sides, it’s a major relief. We were convinced that this is the place where we’re going to make this team better and move together towards bigger and better things.

“This is the way things kind of shook down. It could have gone a different way. It could have went plenty of different ways. Six years in New Jersey, I’m very happy for that and I look forward to it.”

Severson, 23, set new career-highs to lead New Jersey defencemen with 28 assists, 31 points and 125 shots in 80 regular-season games played.

“Any time you get a guy locked up long term, his role is expected to increase and a lot is expected of that player,” said Severson. “I expect a lot of myself and I know the type of player and person I can be. I just hope to continue that and prove to the people that awarded me this contract that I’m worth it and prove that they’re right.”

Severson has skated in 203 regular-season games with New Jersey since the 2013-14 season, scoring nine goals and 60 assists for 69 points with 112 penalty minutes. 

“Damon brings an important dimension to our hockey club and he is a young defenseman that we are excited to work with,” Devils’ executive vice-president/general manager Ray Shero told NHL.com.

“We are happy to have Damon under contract through the 2022-23 season.”

Severson was New Jersey’s second choice, 60th overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Dzary@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/@DZfromtheSP

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