Vancouver Canucks sign Del Zotto, Gagner, Burmistrov, Nilsson, Wiercioch

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15: Sam Gagner /

The Vancouver Canucks signed five free agents early on the first day of free agency.

The Vancouver Canucks signed five unrestricted free agents, committing  $22 million to them over the next three years.

After signing their own free agent Anton Rodin to a one-year, $700 000 contract, the Canucks found skill, depth and competition in signing forwards Sam Gagner and Alex Burmistrov, defensemen Patrick Wiercioch and Michael Del Zotto, and netminder Anders Nilsson.

Sam Gagner

Age: 27
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 200 lbs
2016-17 Stats: 81 GP – 18 G – 50 PTS

Gagner, a London, Ontario native, gets most of his points on the power play as a skilled yet somewhat diminutive forward. After posting 50 points last season, he will look to revive Vancouver’s struggling offence while proving that he can be an everyday 5-on-5 player as well.

According to his interview with TSN1040, Gagner was focused on the hockey fit in Vancouver rather than the money. It also seems that head coach Travis Green was heavily influential in this decision.

Michael Del Zotto

Age: 26
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195 lbs
2016-17 Stats: 51GP – 6G – 18PTS

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, a teammate of Gagner’s from Philadelphia, has also signed with the Canucks. The left-handed blueliner is most noted for his ability to move the puck quickly with his foot speed as well as his passing.

Del Zotto also presents the Canucks with a great option on the power play. On another note, Gagner described Del Zotto as a hard-working player with an underrated grit factor. Looking at the numbers, Del Zotto does rank eighth in hits/game among players who played 20 games or more this past season. Del Zotto may prove to be more than what many people think he is.

Anders Nilsson

Age: 27
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 229 lbs
2016-17 Stats: 26 GP – 10W – 10L – 2.67 GAA – .923 Sv%

Anders Nilsson will give Jacob Markstrom some competition as the two former teammates for Sweden’s 2010 World Juniors team will look to push each other. Now Vancouver has one of the NHL’s tallest goaltending duos.

Patrick Wiercioch

Age: 26
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 202 lbs
2016-17 Stats: 57GP – 4G – 12PTS

The Canucks managed to add to their blueline depth with the signing of a local product. Burnaby-native Patrick Wiercioch has been signed to a one-year contract.

As GM Jim Benning mentions, Wiercioch brings size and mobility to Vancouver and the ability to put some points up. He is capable of 20 points a season, perhaps even 30 points on a talented team should his offensive career numbers continue.

Given that he is only 26 years old, Wiercioch seems to be a great pick up, a low-risk-high-reward signing.

Alex Burmistrov

Age: 25
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 180 lbs
2016-17 Stats: 49GP – 5G – 16PTS

Russian centre Alex Burmistrov also signed with the Canucks. He erupted for 14 points in the 26 games he played with the Arizona Coyotes last season, a rate that equates to 44 points in 82 games.

As noted, Burmistrov is a very skilled, speedy forward with a good sense of the two-way game. He was drafted eighth overall in 2010. Aside from injury concerns, there are not many weaknesses to his game.

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With the addition of Del Zotto and Wiercioch, the Canucks seem to be resigned to letting Andrey Pedan sit in the press box with Alex Biega. Also with Gagner and Burmistrov coming in, the Canucks may have to have Nikolay Goldobin, Griffen Molino, or Jake Virtanen in the AHL.