Canucks: Petan, Di Giuseppe and six more players sign two-way deals

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Nic Petan #61 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 22, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Flames defeated the Maple Leafs 3-0. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Nic Petan #61 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 22, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Flames defeated the Maple Leafs 3-0. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks will have some solid depth pieces in their system next season.

After the free agent frenzy on Wednesday morning, the team also gave out a handful of two-way contracts to fill out their Abbotsford roster, signing Nic Petan, Phillip Di GiuseppeKyle Burroughs, Sheldon Dries, Sheldon Rempal, John Stevens, and Devante Stephens to new deals.

Petan is the most well-known name on this list, having only played in Canadian markets over the past seven seasons with both the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs. Petan dominated in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks prior to being drafted, scoring 60 goals and 95 assists in 132 games. He also notched 28 points in 21 playoff games in the 2013 offseason, but his team eventually lost to the Halifax Mooseheads in the Memorial Cup Final. That year, Petan was coached by current Canuck bench boss Travis Green.

Petan was selected by Winnipeg in the second round, 43rd overall of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the club a few months later. Petan played one more season with the Winterhawks, once again lighting up the scoresheet with 113 points in 63 games, before making the jump to the big leagues. The 5’9″, 175 pound made his NHL debut on October 8th, 2015, also notching his first-career goal that night.

Petan went back and forth between the Jets and the Manitoba Moose, their AHL affiliate, for the next few campaigns. He suited up for 54 NHL games during the 2016-17 season, but found himself back in the AHL for much of the 2017-18 year. He only put up two assists in 13 games with Winnipeg in 2018-19 before being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the deadline.

The Delta, B.C. native still found himself in and out of the lineup, splitting time between the NHL and AHL. Petan produced at over a point-per-game pace with the Toronto Marlies, but only registered one goal and four assists in 28 games with the Maple Leafs over those same two seasons.

Petan signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with Vancouver, just a few days after not being qualified by the Maple Leafs. In 136 NHL games so far, Petan has posted six goals, 22 assists and 38 PIM.

Di Giuseppe was originally drafted a year prior to Petan, going 38th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Toronto, Ontario native played two more years in the NCAA with the University of Michigan before signing his first professional contract with the Hurricanes in March 2014.

He suited up for Carolina’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the 2014-15 campaign, notching 30 points in 76 games. He started the next year in Charlotte, but eventually made his NHL debut on December 5th, 2015 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Di Giuseppe played 146 more games with Carolina over the next four seasons, scoring 14 goals and 27 assists in a bottom-six role.

The left winger also played a handful of games with the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers before coming to Vancouver and landing his own one-year, $750,000 deal. Di Guiseppe has the most NHL experience out of the group with 201 contests, but will likely spend most of his time with Abbotsford next year.

Another 2013 draft pick, Burroughs was selected 196th overall by the New York Islanders. The 6’0″, 193 pound right-handed defenceman spent the next three seasons in the WHL with the Regina St. Pats and Medicine Hat Tigers before transitioning to the AHL in 2015-16 to play for the Islanders’ affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Burroughs was a mainstay on the blueline for Bridgeport over the next five seasons, notching 82 points in 304 games, while also donning the “C” in 2019-20, but was never able to jump up to the big leagues during that time. The Vancouver native was eventually traded to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2020 offseason, and finally made his NHL debut with the club on April 5th, 2021.

Burroughs landed a two-year deal with the Canucks.

Dries began his semi-professional career in the NCAA with Western Michigan University. The Macomb, Michigan native was never drafted, but was still able to land a one-year deal with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate for the Dallas Stars, for the 2017-18 season. He scored 30 points in 70 regular season games, as well as 10 points in 22 playoff games, before signing his first NHL entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche that offseason.

The 5’9″ centre played 40 games with his new club during the 2018-19 season, but ended up spending most of his time in the AHL for the next two campaigns.

Coming in as the other “Sheldon”, Rempal also went undrafted, playing for the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL and Clarkson University of the NCAA before landing a two-year, entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings in 2018.

Rempal made his NHL debut on October 18th, 2018, and would appear in six more NHL games before being demoted back to the affiliate Ontario Reign. The Calgary, Alberta native spent the next two seasons in the AHL before signing a league-minimum contract with the Hurricanes in the 2020 offseason. Rempal only played three contests with Carolina, eventually making his way back to the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.

The 5’10”, 165 pound right winger signed a one-year deal with Vancouver, and is hoping to register his first-career NHL point with the Canucks.

Stevens also went undrafted coming out of Northeastern University in the NCAA, but still managed to sign an entry-level deal with the Islanders in March 2017. He played three full seasons in Bridgeport, alongside Burroughs, before being traded to the Utica Comets halfway through the 2019-20 season.  The 6’3″, 199 pound centre registered 51 points in 165 games between Bridgeport and Utica.

Already 27 years old, Stevens is also still looking for his first NHL experience.

Stephens is the last player on this list, rounding out the trio of BC-born signings for the Canucks this offseason. Originally drafted 122nd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Whiterock, B.C. native spent the next two years with the Kelowna Rockets before transitioning to the AHL in 2017-18.

Stephens ended up splitting time between the Rochester Americans and the Syracuse Crunch over the next four seasons, while also making ECHL appearances with the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Orlando Solar Bears during that span.

Like Stevens, the 24-year-old blueliner is also searching for his first-career NHL contest.

The team was also able to resign forward Justin Bailey to a one-year deal. Bailey registered 28 goals and 19 assists with Utica during the 2019-20 season, and has appeared in five NHL games with Vancouver.

Given that the Canucks already signed players like Justin Dowling, Brad Hunt and Brady Keeper to one-way contracts, it’s highly unlikely that any of the above names will spend significant amounts of time in the NHL next season.

However, each one should bring talent and experience to Abbotsford, while providing General Manager Jim Benning and his front office team much more player depth within the organization.

Next. Canucks acquire goaltender Spencer Martin from Tampa Bay. dark

What are your thoughts on the handful of two-way deals? Let us know in the comments!