Canucks Free Agent Frenzy Preview

Thomas Drance
July 01 2015 07:30AM

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Will the Canucks nab a name UFA like Radim Vrbata or Ryan Miller on July 1?
Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

It's July 1, which means the 2014-15 NHL league year is officially over. Long live the 2015-16 NHL league year!

The official start to the league Calendar will kick off on Wednesday in the same way that every single other campaign has in my life time: with an orgy of misguided spending on players whose best days are behind them. It looked, momentarily, as if the Canucks would be excluded from this annual spree of excess, but Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and company could actually be involved in a serious way now that Kevin Bieksa and his $4.6 million cap hit has been dealt away.

What can we expect from the Canucks today? Read on past the jump.

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Top-10 best Kevin Bieksa moments from his Canucks career

Grainne Downey
July 01 2015 12:05AM

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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Bieksa isn't as serviceable as he once was, but he will be missed by many Canucks fans.

Bieksa competed hard every night, brought entertainment, and played some awesome hockey, which meant a lot to Canucks fans throughout the last decade. Really, the only thing that Bieksa didn't give to Canucks fans was a legitimate explanation for the Juice nickname. 

With apologies for omitting the truly memorable Sbieksa defense pairing, here are my top-10 most favourite Bieksa moments from his Canucks career.

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Benning: Canucks to shop for puck-moving 'mobile' defenseman with newfound cap space

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 06:09PM

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Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks were unlikely to be players in free agency. That was prior to Tuesday evening's trade of Kevin Bieksa and his $4.6 million cap hit to the Anaheim Ducks, though.

In the wake of the Bieksa trade the Canucks have nearly $8.3 million in salary cap space to play with according to NHLNumbers.com, and with only four pre-arbitration restricted free agents left to sign, can realistically be players, even if it's only in some limited fashion, when the market opens at noon on July 1. 

So what might the Canucks target on the open market? How about some additional blue-line speed.

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Canucks finally trade Kevin Bieksa, to Anaheim, for 2016 2nd-round pick

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 04:20PM

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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday evening the Vancouver Canucks dealt veteran defender Kevin Bieksa to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2016 second-round draft pick.

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Canucks Free Agent "Frenzy" Preview: 5 possible 3rd-string goaltenders to pursue

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 02:00PM

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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Canucks have cashed in their goaltending surplus (however unsatisfactory it way, particularly in light of more recent goalies trade) and have allowed Joacim Eriksson to walk un-tendered to the KHL, they'll need to refill their AHL-level goaltending ranks. Jacob Markstrom will graduate to the NHL full time next season, leaving the organization with only Joe Cannata - a .913 goaltender in his AHL career so far - in the professional pipeline.

Not only do the Canucks need a veteran AHL-level goaltender, they ideally need a good one. The thing about employing a competent third-string goalie is that it's not unusual at all for them to legitimately get into some NHL games in any given season. The Canucks, for example, are just one Ryan Miller injury (or re-injury) away from having to ride Markstrom - a guy who hasn't proven that he can hack it at the NHL level - as a workhorse starter. 

So, yeah, it would behoove the club to go out and find a competent veteran third-string goaltender, the sort of guy you can trust to give you a few games in the NHL if needed. Here a five options available in unrestricted free agency.

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