Vancouver Canucks: What Missing Drake Caggiula Means

Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Drake Caggiula (9) skates around with the trophy after beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. North Dakota defeated Quinnipiac 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Drake Caggiula (9) skates around with the trophy after beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. North Dakota defeated Quinnipiac 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Drake Caggiula (9) skates around with the trophy after beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. North Dakota defeated Quinnipiac 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward Drake Caggiula (9) skates around with the trophy after beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. North Dakota defeated Quinnipiac 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

So what exactly did the Vancouver Canucks lose by not being able to sign free agent Drake Caggiula?

The Vancouver Canucks were so close to signing Drake Caggiula, but so far from acquiring the services of the NCAA’s top free agent forward. Now that the hate, the disappointment, and the hype has settled down in Vancouver, it is time to really analyze what the Canucks lost here.

Just to recap the events leading up to Caggiula’s signing with the Edmonton Oilers, here is a summary of the Canucks’ case to sign Caggiula:

The Canucks were one of the handful teams interested in the Caggiula before the Frozen Four was even over. Jim Benning was in person in Tampa Bay and was impressed by what the then-North Dakota Fighting Hawk was doing.

Then a couple of weeks removed from North Dakota’s Championship, Caggiula started to make rounds to the eight NHL teams he was interested in. The Canucks and the Philadelphia Flyers were the supposed front-runners.

When Caggiula visited the Canucks early in May, GM Benning was very optimistic about the occasion. Unlike the opinion of some who rolled their eyes at their supposedly naive GM, Caggiula eventually narrowed down his list to the Canadian NHL teams — Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Vancouver, mind you, had the biggest cards to deal here. Top prospect Brock Boeser, a linemate of Caggiula’s, was committed to the organization. Add North Dakota defenseman Troy Stecher — a native of Richmond, B.C. — and you have the potential for a NoDak Trio consisting of perhaps three of the top five performers at the Frozen Four for the NoDaks.

But at the end of the day, there they were, the Edmonton Oilers, who stood smiling after winning the Caggiula sweepstakes last Friday. And here we were in Vancouver, some of us pretty much reduced to a bunch of angry fans.

I will not deny the fact that I was disappointed. After just finishing up the Free Agent Fridays post that day, I could only imagine how good the Canucks would be with Caggiula playing behind a top-notch free agent like Andrew Ladd.

But now, here are the cold hard facts. The Edmonton Oilers had a bigger card — a guy named Connor McDavid.

So what did we learn from all this?

Next: The CONNOR MCDAVID Effect