Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 20 Players to Target

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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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 /

105. . Wing. 25, $3 million. Brandon Pirri. 12. player

A young forward set to become a top-six scorer with his terrific hands and his high playmaking abilities, Pirri is an RFA who has been released by the Anaheim Ducks. Though not the most physical of the players, his quality play with the puck could earn Jim Benning’s trust.

Though not established a 20+ goal scorer as some of the other names on this list are, Pirri is a great scorer at his age, one of the best available under 26 years of age as a free agent this summer. The only reason he is not in the top-10 is that he isn’t a promised versatile two-way player nor an established 20+ goal scorer.

. Forward. 28, $3.3. Shawn Matthias. 11. player. 103

He’s a leader, he’s a body banger, he’s a reliable two-way player, and he can play both the pivot and the wing. What else do you want? Shawn Matthias is a complete player who could return to Van City after being let go (an unpopular decision, mind you) and signing a $2.3 million contract.

A force in the faceoff circle, Jim Benning may be wise to not pass Matthias up for a second time. The fit is there, but it would not be the most ideal to see Matthias anywhere above the third line. For that reason, he finds himself this low in the rankings.

Darren Helm has all the right tools to be wanted by Jim Benning. He is a terrific skater who can play all three forward positions. He has great two-way upside and is a work horse who works himself so hard each and every night to the extent some question if his body will be able to endure the stress. But without an injury trouble the past couple of seasons, Helm could be the real steal in this year’s free agency.

With Alex Burrows in decline, Helm could be the hard-working forward who becomes a surprise fit with the Sedins or a leader on a younger line, perhaps to the right of Horvat or as a third-liner. He is a top penalty killer. His work ethic will be able to help Anton Rodin during his transition days back into the NHL.

Helm fills the two-way versatility need to the absolute perfection. Jim Benning has already contacted Helm’s camp.

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