Canucks sign defenseman Ben Hutton to 2-year contract extension

The Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

Hutton, 23, has two goals and two assists in 20 games this season. In his rookie NHL season last year, he played in 75 games and recorded 25 points -- 24 of them assists -- to lead Canucks defensemen in scoring. Among NHL rookies, he was sixth in ice time and tied for seventh in assists.

He has struggled at times this season while looking for chemistry with Erik Gudbranson. However, he has played better of late for the Canucks, who have won four of their past seven following a nine-game losing streak.

"Ben is developing into one of our young, emerging core players and is an important part of our future," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. "We're excited to see him further elevate his game and help this team compete for years to come."

A native of Ontario, Hutton helped Canada win gold in the 2016 world championships. He was picked by Vancouver in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, out of Maine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.