There is no shortage of speculation about what the Vancouver Canucks’ top six forward group could look like going into 2022-23. With names like JT Miller and Conor Garland swirling about in trade rumours, and the uncertainty that Brock Boeser will come back, it could be a whole different group putting the puck in the net next year. But we rarely talk about the bottom six.
The majority of the Canucks’ bottom six forwards are due for contract renewals this off-season, and the chances are that several of them will not return. Let’s take a look at who may and may not come back and who could replace those who depart.
Matthew Highmore and Juho Lammikko
Similar to Highmore, Juho Lammikko contributes much more to the Canucks than goals and assists. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, he plays in key defensive situations, kills penalties, and contributes the occasional goal — just like Highmore.
Also a pending RFA coming off of a league-minimum deal, Lammikko should get a similar contract to Highmore. A slight raise on a multi-year deal would be a win for both the player and the team.
2021-22 was the third time in Alex Chiasson’s career in which he earned his contract in training camp after signing a PTO. With everything he provided the Canucks this year, he should have no issue getting his next deal done early, whether in Vancouver or elsewhere.
Canucks media was opposed to Chiasson at the beginning of the year because he occupied valuable powerplay time that could have gone to young guys like Vasily Podkolzin or Nils Hoglander. But he was successful on the man-advantage, so who can blame him?
In addition to his 13 goals and 22 points, Chiasson brought veteran leadership to a relatively inexperienced team. He is also one of the only players on the team with a Stanley Cup ring on his finger — and we all know how much general managers value a winning pedigree.
As he met and probably exceeded most people’s expectations, Chiasson might be able to squeeze out either a multi-year deal at league minimum or a one-year contract with a raise. Either way, he deserves to be rewarded for his play, and whichever team he lands on will be lucky to have him — including the Canucks.