Free agency: C
With not much cap space, it did not look like the Canucks were going to be active in free agency. But it turns out, the opposite happened.
Rutherford spoke about wanting more “sandpaper” on the team on the DFO Rundown podcast back in June. The two players they signed definitely brought sandpaper.
Curtis Lazar was a player I wanted the Canucks to sign and they got him. The Salmon Arm native is a very good defensive centre/right-winger and also does well on the penalty kill. He was a player the Canucks needed, especially with the fact that he is right-handed. Lazar seems like a good fit on the bottom six, especially with a one million dollar cap hit for three years.
Ilya Mikheyev was the biggest Canucks signing of the day. He brings sandpaper and speed. Mikheyev also is good in his own end and on the PK and isn’t afraid to get physical. He is coming off a career-high season which included 21 goals.
As much as I like Mikheyev, the contract raises some eyebrows. At four years and 4.75 million dollars a season, the Canucks are gambling here. Is his 21-goal, 32-point season a sign of the start of something bigger or is it just a mirage? If it’s the latter, the Canucks could have another anchor contract on their hands. Here’s hoping that isn’t the case.
The Canucks also made the Andrei Kuzmenko signing official on the first day of free agency. After beating out numerous teams in signing him, Vancouver got him in June. Kuzmenko is an excellent skater and playmaker but it looks like he’s a boom or bust player. On a one-year deal, he gets to prove that he belongs with the Canucks and in the NHL next season.
There were also some depth signings the Canucks made. Those players signed were left winger Dakota Joshua, defenceman Wyatt Kalinuk, goaltender Collin Delia and defenceman Christian Wolanin.
These players are expected to be in Abbotsford. However, Joshua seems the most likely to make the NHL roster next season. He is a physical player standing at 6’3″ and can provide a bit of offence. Allvin spoke about Joshua a lot during his media availability on the first day of free agency.
The biggest reason why I’m giving free agency a C grade for the Canucks (other than Mikheyev’s contract) is they didn’t address the defence. A lot of right-handed defencemen signed for cheap cap hits including Ilya Lyubushkin, Colin Miller and Troy Stecher.
It looks like the Canucks will have to fix the defence by trade…
Trades: I (For now)
Spoiler alert: The Canucks did not make any trades. Well, not yet anyway. There were lots of trade rumours surrounding the team for months, particularly J.T. Miller. Allvin and company are most definitely not done this offseason and could make trades in the coming weeks or months.