The Vancouver Canucks have extended qualifying offers to eight players and allowed five others to go to free agency.
It doesn’t surprise me to see that the Vancouver Canucks are ready to move on from Markus Granlund, Brendan Gaunce, and Derrick Pouliot. The time is now to allow the next wave of young players such as Zack MacEwen, Kole Lind, and Jonah Gadjovich, among others, prove they have what it takes to play in the NHL.
Today, the team extended qualifying offers to Brock Boeser, Reid Boucher, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Leivo, Tyler Motte, the newly acquired Francis Perron, along with NCAA pickups Josh Teves and Brogan Rafferty (hockey player).
Boeser is no surprise as he will obviously not accept the qualifying offer, but has proved that he is a critical piece of the puzzle moving forward. He is due for a big pay raise, and will likely become the team’s highest-paid player the moment he signs his new contract. Leivo also comes at little surprise, as he proved to be an effective winger that can slot in anywhere in the lineup.
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Boucher is a huge part of the Utica Comets, and who knows, maybe one day he’ll be able to translate his AHL goalscoring ability to the NHL one day. Getting his contract done shouldn’t take too long. It’s good to see that the Canucks haven’t given up on Goldobin, as he vowed to come back much stronger next year.
Motte deserves a spot back on the team, as he gave his all every single night for the Canucks last season, and will be a key part to the team’s fourth line next season. The newly acquired Perron had a successful season in the AHL last year, where he put up 47 points in 63 games with the San Jose Barracuda. He will add to the team’s depth at left wing, and could be a big part of the Comets lineup.
Teves and Rafferty both deserve a longer look, and I am extremely excited to see how Rafferty in particular progresses. Fingers crossed he surprises out of camp and earns a spot in the Canucks lineup. The Canucks did not qualify Ben Hutton, Granlund, Gaunce, Pouliot, and Yan-Pavel Laplante. These players are now unrestricted free agents and can negotiate with other teams.
As I wrote this morning, there’s still a shred of hope that the Canucks bring back Hutton, but for that to happen he would need to take a lot less than the four million dollars an arbitrator would likely award him. It is a dangerous route, but I am hoping that the stars align and the team is able to get Hutton back on a cheap deal.
What do you think Canucks fans? Is there any player that you wish the Canucks didn’t extend a qualifying offer to? Let me know in the comments section below! In my opinion, Benning made all the right moves in the players he chose to bring back, and who he chose to let go. Opening up roster spots for the next wave of youth is something I can get behind.