June 29 2016 09:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks need goal scoring, want size and have to address dwindling fan interest. So it makes sense that they'd have some level of interest in adding a player like Milan Lucic.
Since joining the league in 2007-08, Lucic has averaged 50 points and 108 penalties in minutes per 82 games. To put that in context, only 17 other players in the entire NHL have matched that level of production and pugnacity in a single season over that span. He is, in a sense, the prototypical power forward. And he just happens to hail from East Vancouver.
It's an enticing package that checks off every box this franchise could look for in a free agent. And Canucks General Manager Jim Benning is sold. He's expressed as much to the public and apparently wine and dined Lucic to send the message directly, too. If yesterday's reports are any indication though, Benning isn't alone in this regard. Not even in this division. It appears as though the Edmonton Oilers are putting the full court press on Lucic and making serious headway.
June 28 2016 11:14AM
Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports
The fine has been levied as a result of comments Canucks general manager Jim Benning made this past Thursday in Buffalo, in which he expressed his interest - during an appearance with Matt Sekeres and Blake Price on TSN 1040 - in Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos, a pending unrestricted free agent, and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
The amount is double what then-Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson was fined for tampering back in 2009, when he made significantly more suggestive and pointed comments indicating that his club was interested in pursuing the Sedin twins. You'd think that perhaps the league just doubled the Wilson fine because Benning mentioned two players, but then, that doesn't make sense, because Henrik and Daniel Sedin are two distinct individuals also, even if we often group them together for obvious reasons...
June 28 2016 10:46AM
The Blue Water Cafe is the new Italian Kitchen and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson is the Vancouver Canucks' newest Mariano Rivera-style closer, according to a variety of reports surfacing from the often ahead of the game News 1130 Sports Twitter account.
News 1130 Sports reported on Tuesday morning that the Canucks met with unrestricted free agent winger Milan Lucic at the Blue Water Cafe - the same restaurant the club reportedly used to pitch Drake Caggiula on joining their club back in May - on Monday night, at a dinner that was attended by Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and Francesco Aquilini. The club even had the mayor drop by, presumably to outright offer his position to Lucic should the former Vancouver Giant and apex predator power forward opt to join his hometown team.
The details are fun, but taken together, what the trickle of news positively suggests is that the Canucks are all in on pursuing Lucic in free agency.
June 28 2016 09:00AM
Though free agents can't sign with a new club until July 1st, the week-long period that precludes that allows for preliminary discussions to begin between teams and players on the verge of hitting the open market. At least that's what this window is supposed to allow for. Realistically, it's tampering season.
So far the Vancouver Canucks have been connected to anyone of circumstance. Most especially Milan Lucic and Steven Stamkos. They've also declared their interest in acquiring P.K. Subban -- landing themselves in hot water for the trouble. Very little's been made of the secondary market and the Canucks plans therein, though. Until, of course, the indispensable Canucks Now (who I recommend you follow as soon as yesterday) dropped this nugget connecting the Canucks to Thomas Vanek.
The #Canucks have called the agent of Thomas Vanek to express interest. He is not the No. 1 target, but VAN may circle back to sign him.— Canucks Now (@CanucksNow) June 27, 2016
June 27 2016 04:23PM
Emerson Etem and the Vancouver Canucks have agreed to terms on a one-year contract extension, valued at $775,000. It's a curious move for Etem, who was due a qualifying offer of $892,500 for next season -- a five percent increase on his previous salary of $850,000.
It's a one-way contract and upon its expiry Etem will once again be granted restricted free agency.