Vancouver Canucks free agency rumours: Yakupov, Alzner, Weal

Oct 22, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues right wing Nail Yakupov (64) skates during the warmup period against Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues right wing Nail Yakupov (64) skates during the warmup period against Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Nail Yakupov is interested in playing for the Vancouver Canucks.

The weekend for the Vancouver Canucks was a productive one. They added skill, power and high-ceiling potential with each pick at the draft. Now, they have the chance in free agency to fill their roster with NHL-proven players as they wait for the drafted prospects to develop.

Beginning this week, all 31 NHL teams can talk to unrestricted free agents to unofficially discuss potential signings. Though the teams and the agents may not discuss the specifics of a potential contract before July 1st, there was a plenty of chatter already around the league.

The Canucks did not disappoint.

Here’s the free agency rumour roundup for your Vancouver Canucks!

Nail Yakupov: Yesterday’s rival, tomorrow’s friend?

Speaking of the entry draft, a name that was once selected first overall may be coming to Vancouver.

Nail Yakupov, the long-time Edmonton Oiler, is looking for a new team after the St. Louis Blues declined to extend him a qualifying offer today. According to Rick Dhaliwal of News 1130 Sports, the right winger is interested in signing with the Canucks.

As a 23-year-old, Yakupov scored just three goals and nine points with the Blues in 40 games played last season.

More from The Canuck Way

Though most praised for his sniping ability, his shortcomings as a defensively responsible forward have pushed him to be a fringe-NHL player in the recent years.

As of now, there are no indications of the Canucks reaching out to Yakupov’s camp. But, do not be surprised if the youth and the scoring potential entice Canucks general manager Jim Benning to take a long, hard look at adding the Russian on July 1st.

Benning’s fondness for acquiring ‘reclamation project’ players may result in seeing Yakupov in a Canucks jersey, playing on opening night against his old team, the Edmonton Oilers.

Do the Canucks have the capacity to take on yet another young player that needs to be developed?

Jordan Weal: Going local?

For the second year in a row, the Canucks may look to add a young local player. Forward Jordan Weal from North Vancouver may be this year’s version of Troy Stecher.

After being drafted 70th overall by the L. A. Kings in 2010, Weal has not realised his offensive potential at the NHL level. When the Kings traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers, the 5-foot-10 forward seemed to have lost the offensive prowess that yielded 220 points in 264 games at the AHL level, with no points in 14 games in the 2015-16 season.

Last season, however, Weal was able to put up eight goals and 12 points in 23 games for the Flyers. In addition, he was a great positive impact on the Flyers’ possession game, finishing the season with a +6.5 relative Corsi-for rating to lead the team.

Although diminutive at 180 pounds, Weal has the versatility of being able to play all three forward positions as a right-hand shot. That might come handy on the power play, eh?

Unlike Yakupov, Weal already has Vancouver’s attention.

Karl Alzner: Can’t have too many defensemen

On that note, the Canucks have also shown interest in free-agent defenseman Karl Alzner, who hails from Burnaby. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman was paid $2.8 million last season by the Washington Capitals and he may be looking for a raise.

As a mobile shutdown defender with size, his addition may enable the Canucks to pull off a trade involving Chris Tanev — just a thought.

Here are some other minor rumours of note:

Many expected the Canucks to sign Ryan Miller over the draft weekend.

Dmitri Kulikov could also be an option for the Vancouver Canucks. With the loss of Luca Sbisa and Nikita Tryamkin, the Canucks could look to add an NHL-calibre blueliner in the open market.

Next: 2017 Free Agency Preview -- Where the Canucks Stand

The Vancouver Canucks have the cap space to sign some of these players and to make things happen come July 1st. The real question is whether they should sign these players for the betterment of the rebuild.