Derek Forbort represents a good replacement for Ian Cole in Vancouver

While losing Ian Cole was a negative for the Vancouver Canucks, they landed on their feet (skates) by picking up fellow blue-liner Derek Forbort.
Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks
Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

In a general sense, it's tough to be critical of how free agency has gone so far for the Vancouver Canucks. We don't even mind that neither Nikita Zadorov or Elias Lindholm are coming back, with both asking for far too much and the Boston Bruins now having to deal with that problem.

However, there is one players the Canucks lost that we do consider to be a shame, but he's more underrated and less high-profile than Zadorov and Lindholm. We're talking specifically about Ian Cole, who signed a one-year, $3.1 million deal with Utah.

Cole is a physical and durable blue-liner who focuses mainly on -- and is very good at -- the defensive side of the game, which is just what you need and want from a third pairing player. He also provides invaluable leadership both on and off the ice, which extended to being the Canucks' representative for the NHLPA.

Younger and bigger, but better?

Certainly, Cole is someone that will be missed in Vancouver and tough to replace. And yet the Canucks may well have managed to do just that, by bringing in Derek Forbort.

As confirmed by the team on their official website, Forbort was signed on Monday to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Even at 32-years-old, he effectively represents a younger, bigger (and cheaper) version of Cole.

We appreciate that Forbort has never fulfilled the potential which saw him selected 15th overall in the 2010 entry draft, by the Los Angeles Kings. However, he's still carved out a steady nine-year NHL career.

Offensively limited like Cole, the Duluth, Minnesota native is ideally suited as one of the better blue-liners to have as part of a third pairing. He puts his heart and soul into playing defence, with the stamina to log major minutes as and when required.

Canucks GM likes the addition

As you'd expect, Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin is happy with the signing. As per the team's press release, Allvin said: "Derek gives us another big blueliner who has very good size and reach. He defends well in his own end and works extremely hard in winning one-on-one puck battles and defending the front of the net. He plays with an edge and will make our backend better.”

Perhaps the only concern, is that Forbort is coming off a campaign with the Boston Bruins where injuries limited his availability to 35 regular season games. However, as per his renowned toughness and durability, he surprised everyone by returning from what was meant to be season-ending surgery, to appear in three playoff games versus the Florida Panthers.

Bruins teammate Brandon Carolo summed up the feeling about Forbort, after his unexpected return for game one of the second round series against the Panthers. As per Conor Ryan of, Carlo said: "I kept telling him all night that he’s an absolute warrior. The way that he came in and handled himself throughout that game, mentally and physically, was very impressive. Coming back into a regular season game when you’ve missed that much time is hard. Coming back into the playoffs is a whole different animal and I’m so proud of the way that he handled himself tonight."

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Let's be clear in stating that Cole will be missed in Vancouver, albeit he was only around for one season. However, we feel confident in predicting that Forbort will be well-placed to pick up the slack for a Canucks team aiming to build on their improved defensively play this past campaign.

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