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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Feb 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Andrew Ladd (16) warms up prior to the first period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

99. . Center. 32, $6 million. David Backes. 6. player

David Backes is an older version of Bo Horvat with a lot more physicality to his game. He can win faceoffs, he can provide leadership, he can play shutdown, and he can still manage to score points — he had 45 of them last year, with 21 of them being goals.

With Henrik Sedin breaking down in the faceoff circles, it may be wise to throw Backes in the middle with the two Sedins on his sides. That being said, Backes himself is not far away from being an obsolete veteran. Though going short term may be appealing for Vancouver, the fit for Backes is hard to find at this point.

5. player. 94. . Wing. 30, $6 million. Andrew Ladd

A leader, a hometown favorite, a speedy 6-foot-3 monster, and a scorer who had 25 goals this past season. Ladd isn’t nearing the end of his career quite yet, and the Canucks will be wise in making a bid for Ladd on July 1st.

Having failed as the top forward for the Winnipeg Jets, Ladd is set to become a stellar second-line forward in the NHL. His high-tempo, high-pressure game is fit to be Bo Horvat’s wingman.

Again, a must-get if the four names above him on this list aren’t available for the Canucks.

. RW. 28, $7.5 million. Kyle Okposo. 4. player. 106

I really like Kyle Okposo, but the experts seem to be on a different page. The fit with the Canucks isn’t there for the all-around power forward who had 22 goals and 64 points this past season. I would think that a hard-working Okposo could power the Sedin line, but Eriksson seems to be ahead of everyone else thanks to his superb hockey smarts.

That being said, the Canucks should still call Okposo and see if he has any interest in signing in Vancouver. I really wish the Canucks have the opportunity to play him as the right winger with Bo Horvat in a few years’ time.

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