The Vancouver Canucks extended forward Alexandre Grenier and defenseman Andrey Pedan for another year. Both could end up on waivers before the season starts.
Despite the Vancouver Canucks’ current defensive depth, Andrey Pedan was always expected to be re-signed this summer, especially after playing 13 NHL games in 2015-16. Alexandre Grenier‘s chances to make the NHL full-time don’t seem as big, but he, too, was expected to return for another year, after making his NHL debut last season.
But what are their chances of playing in the NHL in 2016-17?
Canucks.NHL.com: Pedan & Grenier sign contract extensions
"Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have signed defenceman Andrey Pedan and forward Alexandre Grenier each to a one-year, two-way contract extension."
Since Pedan and Grenier both made their NHL debuts for the Canucks last season, some fans seemed surprised about the term. Both players were signed to one-year deals, but it makes a lot of sense from the Canucks’ as well as the players’ points of view.
Pedan and Grenier are 23 and 24, respectively, meaning they are likely entering the prime of their careers. Both are on the verge of becoming NHL players and once they achieve that, they will probably want one-way contracts. If they break into the NHL as full-time players this season, they will be in a position to demand one-way deals in 2017. At this point, however, they are certainly not, and the Canucks wouldn’t want to give them one-way deals yet.
Unfortunately, there is another problem: waivers. Both Pedan and Grenier are waiver eligible and will have to clear in order to play in Utica. So what are the chances of them being put on waivers, clearing waivers, and playing in Vancouver vs. Utica this year?
In training camp, anything can happen, but the Canucks likely have their full roster penciled in already:
Sedin – Sedin – Eriksson
Rodin – Sutter – Hansen
Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen
Burrows – Granlund – Dorsett
Etem, Gaunce, Chaput, Megna, Zalewski, Grenier
Edler – Tanev
Hutton – Gudbranson
Sbisa – Larsen
Tryamkin, Biega, Pedan
That makes a total of nine players looking to earn a roster spot as an extra, with a maximum of three allowed. So who goes down?
Brendan Gaunce is exempt from waivers and the Canucks probably don’t want a young player like him in the press box anyway. So he is unlikely to stay as an extra. The only way for him to stick around to start the season is if he earns a spot in the starting lineup.
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That likely leaves us with eight players for the three remaining spots: Emerson Etem, Michael Chaput, Jayson Megna, Mike Zalewski, Nikita Tryamkin, Alex Biega, Pedan and Grenier. Out of those eight, Etem and Tryamkin are locks to stay in the NHL thanks to experience (Etem) and a European assignment clause (Tryamkin). So that really only leaves us with one spot for the rest.
Here, it depends on whether the Canucks want to start the season with seven or eight defensemen. If they go with seven, that seventh one will be Tryamkin. If they roll with eight, it could be one of Biega and Pedan. Since Biega was recently signed to a fresh one-way contract, Biega would be the logical option here. Plus, Pedan and Tryamkin are both big, physical, left-handed players while Biega would present a different option.
The logical conclusion would be that Pedan starts the year in the AHL. As an unproven player of his type, the chances of him being claimed off waivers are extremely slim. Especially if the Canucks do it early, and don’t wait until other teams suffer the first injuries in training camp.
If the Canucks go with seven defensemen, Biega and Pedan would both have to go down, which wouldn’t make too much sense with Biega’s contract. In that case, the Canucks would have two forward slots, one of which is filled by Etem. Disregarding the fact that I am not completely convinced that having two extra forwards makes a lot of sense, I believe Chaput and Megna are ahead of Grenier on the depth chart.
With a strong training camp, Pedan and Grenier could both find themselves in the NHL to start the season. But if everything goes somewhat as expected, they will hit waivers and move down to Utica.
Preliminary waiver list:
- D Andrey Pedan
- RW Alexandre Grenier
- C Mike Zalewski
- C Michael Chaput
- C Jayson Megna