It will be interesting to see how the Vancouver Canucks approach free agency this summer.
For the past few years, the start of free agency was a day of dread for Canucks fans. It was a day when the Canucks would sign free agents but to lucrative contracts. Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle and Tucker Poolman were among some of the players that got big paydays and their signings were divisive among the fans.
This time around, there is a new regime in place. Things are going to be different with Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin steering the ship. What kind of team will we see at training camp in September? We shall see.
The Canucks have a projected cap space of 11.523 million dollars according to CapFriendly. A big chunk of that cap space is likely going to be used for Brock Boeser’s next contract.
Free agency opens on July 13. With the Canucks cap situation, they are going to need to find players that are not only effective but come with cheap cap hits. There should be no more overpayments.
They are going to need help on the right side and on the bottom six so we will focus on those areas. Here are five free agents that the Canucks could potentially sign for cheap this July.
#1: Vladislav Namestikov, C, LW, RW
Vladislav Namestikov brings versatility since he can play all forward positions.
This past season, he was with the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars. (He was traded to the Stars at the deadline for a fourth-round pick.) In 75 games, with Detroit and Dallas, he scored 16 goals and managed 14 assists for 30 points. Namestikov had a goal and an assist in the Stars’ seven-game first-round series against the Calgary Flames.
The 29-year-old is coming off a two-year contract worth two million dollars per season. Expect him to get a raise but not a huge one at a two or three-year deal.
Namestikov can provide depth scoring for the Canucks but he is much better defensively. The one thing he also excels at is the penalty kill which for the Canucks, was really bad last year especially before the changes were made to the organization.
There is a lot to like about Namestikov. He can provide offence but is much better at defence and can find chemistry with new linemates. A two or three-year deal at or below three million dollars would be good value.
He would also be a good mentor for fellow countryman Vasily Podkolzin as fellow writer Brogan Houston pointed out a few weeks ago.