Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 6 Strategies to Use

Jan 7, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Arizona Coyotes won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Arizona Coyotes won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic (17) warms up before the game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

#6 REALITY CHECK: A Benning’s Call

But at the end of the day, it’s the GM’s call, isn’t it?

GM Jim Benning has been criticized for overpaying a few players for their services as a free agent. Netminder Ryan Miller at $6 million per year is one while right winger Radim Vrbata at $5 million per year was another.

More from The Canuck Way

But at this year’s Free Agent Frenzy, Benning advertised to spend. Are we excited about that in Canucks Nation or are we worried about another 34-year-old signing a big deal for the sake of “winning”?

Ultimately it’s up to the GM. Who does he want to get and how much does he cough up? The best-case scenario would be hitting the grand slam and getting Steven Stamkos. Young, speedy, scoring, and able to replace the older leaders and bump a first-line forward down to the middle six.

But given the salary cap the Canucks are working with, here is what to expect with the ~$10 million the Canucks have going into July 1st.

Second Best Scenario: Kyle Okposo and Kris Russell

The addition of scoring is real. There is power in the strides of Kyle Okposo as well as the ability to play a sound two-way game that Jim Benning loves so much. After a performance that matched Stamkos’s point totals, Okposo’s stock is nearly second-to-none.

This may turn out to be a cap crunch. Expect Okposo to get near $7 million per year for half-dozen years. As for Russell, expect him to get up to $4.5 million per year for four years or so. But that being said that lineup looks pretty competent to me.

The catch is the cap. Those numbers aren’t including the extension for Sven Baertschi. The Canucks, however, if they manage to move Alex Burrows and Luca Sbisa who both are not in the lineup as written, will have room to add even more or to sign RFA’s like Etem or Pedan.

But when it is all said and done, Vancouver’s fans should set an expectation going into July. What is good spending as advertised? Is neglecting Dan Hamhuis the right call if a Kris Russell were to come in or sticking true to the hometown guy the right thing to do.

Expectations: A Top Six Winger and a Puck Moving D

To voice my bit of the expectation going into Free Agency, I would want to see a top six winger come to Vancouver with a puck moving blueliner. Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer, and Kris Russell (if you haven’t noticed already) are my favorites, while Milan Lucic’s name has just resurfaced into the market.

Next: OFFSEASON: Survival Guide for June

But the real potential is waiting for Trader Jim in the trade market. Disposing of Burrows, Higgins, and Sbisa is going to be crucial for the Canucks while getting a good return in picks would be awesome.