Vancouver Canucks general manager has plenty of cap space to upgrade his roster in free agency. A recent report from the Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnston suggests the Canucks could target the likes of Tyler Myers and Erik Karlsson.
As the Vancouver Canucks continue to fall out of the playoff race, head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning are seeing which parts of the roster need to be addressed this offseason.
Obviously, Benning’s first task is to rebuild a leaky and frustrating blue line. He has to work out an extension with top blueliner Alexander Edler, who is slated to hit free agency. Derrick Pouliot is good as gone, and one can’t rule out the possibility of a Chris Tanev trade — with the 29-year-old entering the final year of his contract.
And of course, Benning is going to have to find more scoring wingers to complement the core of Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. Those three are doing the vast majority of the scoring this year, and the Canucks won’t be playoff contenders in 2020 unless that changes.
Fortunately for Mr. Benning, the 2019 free agency class is one of the deepest and most star-studded in recent years. There will be a plethora of top-four defencemen and quality scoring wingers available once July 1st rolls around.
Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Sun has already taken a look at some of the players Vancouver could target this offseason. He suggests Benning could target Winnipeg Jets blueliner Tyler Myers, two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and the smooth-skating Jake Gardiner — whom the Toronto Maple Leafs probably can’t afford to keep.
Of course, Karlsson seems happy with the San Jose Sharks and might not want to pass up on the chance to stay with a title contender. Our very own David Quadrelli explained here why Karlsson would be a great fit in Vancouver, should he hit the open market.
As for Myers and Gardiner, both come with plenty offensive upside and could contribute on this team’s long-struggling power play. But Gardiner and Myers leave a lot to be desired when it comes to defensive play. The Canucks might be better off looking at stay-at-home blueliners this offseason.
In terms of scoring wingers, Benning could go hunting for the big fish like Artemi Panarin and Jeff Skinner, though the Buffalo Sabres will do everything they can to retain the latter. Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Eberle and Micheal Ferland are other intriguing options, too.
Benning has assembled a promising young core through the draft, and blueliners Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi are likely to make the team next season. But the Canucks have to add another experienced veteran to play in the top-four, and another 20-30 goal scorer or two could really help this team go a long way in 2020.