Speed kills in today’s NHL and you can never have enough, Carl Hagelin is a free agent this summer and the Canucks should be interested in his services.
He was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup championship teams. Hagelin was part of the “HBK” line that also included former Canuck Nick Bonino and superstar sniper Phil Kessel. The trio was fast, scored timely goals and more importantly for the Penguins it was solid defensively and was a great checking line for head coach Mike Sullivan.
Enter the Canucks, who had a nice shutdown line of Antoine Roussel, Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen. With the addition of speed and defensive prowess Hagelin brings, it can free big Jake to focus on scoring more goals and continuing his offensive development.
The centre many fans and myself would like to see would be Adam Gaudette. Put Roussel with those two, and you have speed to burn — plus some physical play and a trio that could score those timely goals.
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It would make head coach Travis Green’s job much easier, knowing he could have a reliable and fast scoring/checking line to play against opposition’s top lines.
Another bonus to this line would be that with Gaudette sliding in at the third centre spot, it gives general manager Jim Benning the freedom to try and move Brandon Sutter.
If they were to add Hagelin, it would help an already improved penalty kill get better — with more speed and sound awareness.
He wouldd add a new look the Canucks haven’t had on the penalty kill since, dare I say, Ryan Kesler.
Hagelin isn’t an elite goal scorer, and he simply won’t put up huge numbers. His career high for goals in a season is 17 , and his career high for points is 39.
However, he is someone that can use his speed to create chances. Perhaps he could put up some more points on a line with Brock Boeser and his fellow country man Elias Pettersson? They say speed kills, and with the amount of speed that line would have, it could force the opposing defencemen to back off — creating lots of room for Elias and Brock to create.
He might not attract a lot of interest due to his age (31 in August). So it’s important for the Canucks to not overpay for a third liner, and to know when to put their wallet down and fold.
Hagelin was on a pricey contract this season, carrying a $4 million cap hit. While he won’t score something like that in free agency, the Canucks will need to find a reasonable deal for Hagelin.It could be a one-year deal worth $1 million. The beauty of this is that if he doesn’t work out, Hagelin. can always be flipped for a draft pick.