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Seattle Kraken sign leading scorer Jared McCann to 5-year extension

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Marcus Johansson sets up Jared McCann for the goal (0:43)

Jared McCann scores his 21st goal of the season to tie the game. (0:43)

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Kraken have made it clear they see forward Jared McCann as a key part of their core moving forward.

The Kraken signed McCann to a five-year, $25 million contract extension Tuesday, locking up a young player who has emerged during the expansion team's first season.

McCann is Seattle's leading scorer with 33 points despite missing eight games. He was slated to be a restricted free agent going into next season, but the extension will keep McCann locked in with the Kraken through the 2026-27 season.

"We talked for a couple weeks and kind of got something rolling and I'm very happy with how it came out," McCann said following Seattle's morning skate in Toronto.

McCann, 25, has already set a career high with 21 goals. His previous high came in the 2018-19 season when he scored 19 goals while splitting the season between Florida and Pittsburgh. McCann has played primarily on Seattle's top line and is one of only five Kraken players to have reached double figures in goals.

"I think we always thought he had the potential to do that when we looked at sort of his numbers and we thought there was a little bit more in his game that hopefully could come out," general manager Ron Francis said. "So you're always pleasantly surprised when that does happen. And certainly I think he's had that kind of season where he's stepping forward."

The next couple of weeks are likely to be busy for Francis as the Kraken make further decisions about solidifying their core group with the trade deadline approaching. McCann was thought to be a potential trade target because of his restricted-free-agent status.

Most of the attention around Seattle's trade options has centered on those who are unrestricted free agents next season, including defenseman Mark Giordano and forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson.

"It's really case by case because in reality we don't know what the next couple of weeks is going to bring," coach Dave Hakstol said. "For me, it's just a simple, honest approach, a couple of quiet conversations individually along the way and really just everybody remaining focused on the job at hand together."

McCann was originally drafted by Vancouver and played one season with the Canucks as a 19-year-old in 2015-16. He also played for Florida and Pittsburgh and was briefly a member of the Maple Leafs before being selected by Seattle.

McCann said he'd rented throughout his entire career and was looking forward to the option of actually buying a place to live.

"To be able to kind of maybe own something would take a lot of weight off the shoulders as well," McCann said.