Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 7 Centers to Target

Jan 5, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 5, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 18, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Colorado Avalanche won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

No.6: Shawn Matthias

Another former Canuck making this list of free agent centers is Shawn Matthias. After being claimed as a free agent last summer by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matthias was a trade deadline acquisition by the Colorado Avalanche.

The Leafs gained an AHL prospect and a fourth-round pick with the trade. What is Matthias going to get in the open market now?

Height / Weight: 6-foot-4, 231 lbs
Age: 28
2015-16 Stats: 71 GP — 12 Goals — 16 Assists — 28 Points
2015-16 Salary: $2.3 million
Expected UFA Salary: $3.3 million

What Matthias brings to the Vancouver Canucks size and versatility down the middle and to the left side of the puck. Though not known as a scorer at the NHL level, his most recent near 30-point season indicates that he is able to provide timely scoring.

While he was in Toronto it seems that Matthias has developed leadership characteristics which could come very handy if he were to sign with the Canucks.

With faceoff success not being the story for the Canucks this past season, Matthias would be a welcomed addition to the Canucks lineup with his ability to win faceoffs using his size and strength. His ability to rough it up will make up for the loss of Brandon Prust, who also becomes a UFA.

Proposed Line
J. McCann – S. Matthias – J. Virtanen

This is an exciting line. A do-it-all third line that scores, checks, and defends with quickness and heaviness. Although inconsistency may become an issue, if Matthias can take the next step, moving McCann to the wings may allow him to play in the NHL and not spend a potentially wasteful, disheartening year down in the AHL.

The one issue with Matthias may be inconsistency, but he seems a lot less inconsistent now than he did with the Canucks. With the combination of size and quick hands, Matthias could become a solid middle-six guy for the Canucks. Also, his ability to play the left wing is also attractive considering how much offensive flexibility the Canucks might need when young players draw into the lineup.

Next: No.5: SAM GAGNER