Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 5 Right Wingers to Target

Feb 25, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 16, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Anaheim Ducks forward Chris Stewart (29) gets ready for the face off against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

No.3: Chris Stewart

Speaking of tough forechecking wingers, Chris Stewart of the Anaheim Ducks is an unrestricted free agent who could be leaving to find himself a new home. Why does he make sense for the Vancouver Canucks? Here’s why.

Height / Weight: 6-foot-2, 230 lbs
Age: 28
2015-16 Stats: 56 GP — 8 Goals — 12 Assists — 20 Points
2015-16 Salary: $1.7 million
Expected UFA Salary: $1.5 million

Chris Stewart is your ultimate power forward project. After being drafted 18th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2006, Chris Stewart has failed to settle in with a team in the NHL. After stints with the Avalanche, the St. Louis Blues, the Buffalo Sabres, the Minnesota Wild, and the Anaheim Ducks, the massive forward has failed to turn into the Milan Lucic-type of player he could have been.

The raw tools are there, however. If the consistency and the defensive responsibilities can become an integral part of his game, he can be a foundational piece for any club going forward. He can shoot, he can check, he can fight, and he can play with Brandon Prust’s warrior mentality.

If Jim Benning decides to take on another reclamation project as he has with Sven Baertschi, Linden Vey, and Markus Granlund, he will have no problem signing the massive winger. If Willie Desjardins can turn the 28-year-old into the power forward Stewart could have been, it would be a job well done and a reason to stay for the season.

Looking at those highlights (from years ago, mind you), Stewart has the strength to battle in front of the net, he has the scorer’s instinct, and a rocket slap shot. If he can play like that for 70 games of the season, I would not mind having him as a Canuck.

Proposed Line
S. Baertschi – B. Sutter – C. Stewart

Yes, the formation of this line would mean that the Bo Horvat line would consist of one of Jake Virtanen or Anton Rodin switching to the off-wing to make things happen in Baertschi’s absence. But the potential of this line is just too good to pass by.

Size, speed, strength, playmaking, shooting, and even the defense — they are all there in this package of what would be a trio of Jim Benning’s reclamation projects. If Stewart can become the power forward version of the successful story of Baertschi’s conversion, Stewart will have no problem in a few years playing a middle-six role with Virtanen, behind Brock Boeser.

I would not mind Benning overpaying a bit to keep Stewart for two more years on the West Coast.

Next: No.2. LOUI ERIKSSON