1. Vladislav Namestnikov
Vladislav Namestnikov is still a productive player in the NHL. The 29-year-old has consistently produced roughly 30 points per year throughout his nine years in the league. His last contract paid him $2 million per year, and his next contract will likely be similar.
As a middle-six centre,(can also play both wing positions) he could slot perfectly between the left-winger Kuzmenko and the right-winger Podkolzin, and potentially have instant chemistry.
Namestnikov comes from a strong hockey family. His father, Evgeny, played 43 games in the NHL, including 35 for the Canucks over four seasons. His uncle is Detroit Red Wings legend Slava Kozlov. Another uncle, Ivan Novoseltsev, played five seasons in the league, and his younger brother, Max, plays for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.
He is well-acquainted with both Russian and North American culture. He spent the majority of his childhood on this side of the pond and speaks perfect English. He would be an excellent mentor for these two promising players.
2. Alex Galchenyuk
Like Namestnikov, Galchenyuk grew up in North America, as his dad, Alexander Galchenyuk Sr., played professional hockey here. In addition to his flawless English and Russian, Galchenyuk is also fluent in Italian.
The former third-overall pick has struggled at the NHL level since leaving Montreal in 2018, but he can still produce in a bottom-six role. Coming off a league-minimum, one-year deal, he will undoubtedly be a risk-free addition to whichever team he signs with this off-season.
If that team happens to be the Canucks, they would benefit greatly from having him.
3. Valeri Nichushkin
One of the many feel-good stories of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, Valeri Nichushkin is having an excellent year. With eight goals and 13 points through 16 games these playoffs, he is certain to get a raise from the $2.5 million he made this year.
Up until this season, Nichushkin had struggled offensively in the NHL, infamously scoring zero goals during the 57 games he played for the Dallas Stars in 2018-19. Something seems to have clicked this year, however, as he recorded 25 goals and 52 points in 62 regular-season games with the Colorado Avalanche.
He has always been solid defensively, as JFresh reported on Sunday, and could boost the Canucks’ penalty kill greatly.
If Canucks management is to try to lure Nichushkin over, they must be wary of the recency bias that comes with him. He will undoubtedly get a raise, but one good year is not enough proof to give a player a massive contract — even if that year ends with a shiny Stanley Cup ring on his finger.