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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Canucks Free Agent "Frenzy" Preview: 3 ways to affordably shore up the forward ranks

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 12:00PM

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday marks the start of a new league year and the opening of the unrestricted free agent market, with all of the frenzied activity and the bloated deals that come with it.

The Canucks are expected to have a quiet July 1, and will most likely just look to upgrade their organizational depth. With that in mind, here are some cheap options that the Canucks could pursue to bolster their forward ranks.

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Canucks re-sign Alex Biega, according to Alex Biega

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 11:27AM

We expected the Vancouver Canucks to make some moves in free agency that would shore up their NHL and AHL-level defensive depth, and they've got at least some of their shopping done before the rush.

On Tuesday, Utica Comets defenseman Alex Biega - who played in seven games for the Canucks during the 2014-15 campaign and cashed in a dramatic game-winning goal - broke the news that he's re-signed with the organization. That news has since been confirmed by the team.

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