The Vancouver Canucks can add to their list of former players that have recently gone overseas.
On Saturday evening, it was announced that forward Jayce Hawryluk had signed a one-year deal with Skellefteå AIK of the SHL. The news was shared on Twitter by agent Andrey Matveev, a few hours after details of Jake Virtanen’s new KHL contract surfaced.
Financial information was not disclosed.
Originally selected 32nd overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Hawryluk didn’t make his debut with the Panthers until the 2018-19 season, where he registered seven goals, five assists and 16 PIM in 42 games. The following season, Hawryluk only suited up for 15 games in Florida, notching one goal and two assists, before being claimed off waivers by the Ottawa Senators right before the 2020 trade deadline.
Hawryluk played a similar role in the nation’s capital, filling out their bottom-six when needed. He was able to increase his offensive production with the Senators, putting up seven points in 11 games, but still found himself as a UFA at the end of the season.
Hawryluk was eventually signed by the Canucks in October 2020, inking a one-year, two-way deal worth $800,000. The 25-year-old stayed on the taxi squad for the first month of the season, but eventually claimed a roster spot after fellow fourth-line Tyler Motte went down with injury.
Similar to Motte, Hawryluk became a fan favourite.
Despite playing bottom-six minutes, Hawryluk consistently showcased grit, tenacity and speed when on the ice, while also contributing to the team’s penalty kill in the absence of Motte. In 30 games with the Canucks, Hawryluk registered two goals, three assists and 9 PIM.
Similar to his time in Ottawa, however, Hawryluk was also not tendered a qualifying offer by the Canucks, once again become an unrestricted free agent.
This came as a bit of a surprise to some fans given Hawryluk’s performance in 2019-20. Outside of Motte, the team didn’t have much toughness and determination coming from their bottom-six, and will likely have two available winger spots on their fourth line to start the 2020-21 campaign, given that Motte could miss the start of the year due to injury.
As a result, the Canucks will likely be choosing from Zack MacEwen, Matthew Highmore or newcomer Phillip Di Giuseppe to join Brandon Sutter on the bottom line, and will be hoping that these players can have the same impact as Hawryluk.
Hawryluk will become the second Canadian on Skellefteå AIK’s roster, joining forward Adam Mascherin. He will also be playing with Canuck prospect Linus Karlsson, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks at the 2019 trade deadline in exchange for Jonathan Dahlen.
The upcoming SHL season is set to begin on Saturday, September 11th.
What are your thoughts on Hawryluk’s new contract? Should the Canucks have held onto the player instead? Let us know in the comments!