With the Stanley Cup being awarded to the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL offseason is in full swing. If the Vancouver Canucks want to be on the Avalanche’s level, they still have a long way to go. But they can start their climb to contention this offseason.
It looks like President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin will make a bunch of interesting changes to the Canucks roster. The next few weeks and months will be very interesting.
Of course with no hockey on comes silly season. Rumours surrounding the Canucks have been swirling and many have been for months.
Over the past few days, there have been many Canucks rumours from notable insiders. Let’s go over them here.
Canucks reportedly interested in RFA defenceman Ethan Bear
On Monday’s edition of CHEK TV’s Donnie and Dhali: The Team, Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Canucks have made contact with the agent of Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Ethan Bear. He is a pending RFA.
“Early contact has been made between the agent and the Vancouver Canucks, but it’s way too early to tell where this goes,” said Dhaliwal.
Bear is coming off a two-year contract with a two million dollar AAV. He was brought to Carolina by trade from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Warren Foegle. He played 58 games this past season and put up five goals and nine assists.
The 25-year-old played a reduced role in Carolina. In Edmonton, he had an average ice time of 21:58 in 2019-20 in a top-four role and 17:58 in 2020-21. With the Hurricanes, his average ice time was 16:05. (A big reason was that he dealt with injuries)
Bear is a right-handed defenceman and that is the type of player the Canucks really need. He is a mobile puck-moving defenceman who can block shots and can help out on the penalty kill. Standing at 5’11”, he is also not afraid to be physical.
Bear is an ideal target for the Canucks. He ticks off a lot of boxes. He won’t come at a big cap hit either. It will probably be a two-or three year deal with an AAV of three million dollars. He has a qualifying offer of two million dollars and is offer sheet eligible. Bear could also be part of a trade package.
Again, it is early to tell where Bear will go and other teams will surely have interest.
Could Michael DiPietro be traded?
It looks like Michael DiPietro could be on the way out.
On Wednesday’s edition of Donnie and Dhali, Dhaliwal reported an interesting tidbit on the 23-year-old.
“Mikey DiPietro, it’s time for a change. He needs a fresh start, he’s got to get out of here. He’s falling behind Arturs Silovs,“ said Dhaliwal. “Someone told me this morning the Habs may have interest. I think the Canucks are hopefully going to get him moved by next week.”
DiPietro has had a tough couple of years. He did not play a hockey game for over a year due to being on the Canucks taxi squad in 2020-21. That took a big hit on his development.
With Abbotsford this past season, DiPietro posted a 15-13-5 record, a .901 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.95.
Now it is a stretch to say he has fallen behind Silovs. Silovs’ numbers in the AHL are worse. (he has only played 10 games) He has a record of 3-6-0, a .888 save percentage and a 3.10 GAA. But Silovs has a ton of potential and the Canucks seem to be high on him.
Giving DiPietro a fresh start would help him. But what kind of return would they get? Probably a late pick or C prospect.
Interest in Brock Boeser
Brock Boeser needs a new contract. According to The Fourth Period’s Irfaan Gaffar, talks have been quiet.
There is no surprise there is interest in Boeser. The qualifying offer makes re-signing him very difficult.
However, Boeser’s value isn’t as high as you think it is. For starters, Kevin Fiala was traded to the Los Angeles Kings from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for the 19th overall pick and prospect Brock Faber. Will Boeser get that same type of return? Probably not especially since Fiala is coming off an 85 point season.
Even if they find the right partner and price, there is more risk to trading than Boeser than re-signing him.
An offer they can’t refuse for J.T. Miller
Of course, we have to talk about J.T. Miller who has been in trade rumours for what feels like forever. With Miller going to want a huge raise after his contract runs out in 2023, there is the gut feeling the Canucks could trade him.
TSN insider Darren Dreger spoke about Miller on Wednesday’s Sekeres and Price show.
“I believe, this is my speculation, that Vancouver is going to get an offer on JT Miller they just simply can’t refuse,” said Dreger. “There is no shortage of interest…maybe on the draft floor? Probably.”
It’s been reported numerous times that there is lots of interest in Miller and the Canucks are going to want a big return. A draft-day deal is also likely.
Rutherford spoke about Miller to The Province’s Patrick Johnston this past week.
“With J.T. Miller, we’ve suggested we would like to keep him. He’s been a good player for the Canucks,” said Rutherford. “But it may not make sense for both sides. This is a time that he’s earned, going into free agency. We’d like to do it but we’ve got to be careful.”
The part where he says “it may not make sense for both sides” in terms of re-signing him is interesting. Could Rutherford be hinting that Miller will be moved? Maybe.
It feels like a Miller could trade will happen sooner rather than later.