May 12 2015 03:43PM
As reported this afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks have agreed to an entry level contract with their 2014 7th round pick, Mackenze Stewart. At the time he was drafted, we were baffled by the Stewart pick as he was completely off the draft radar as a re-entry player, and showed absolutely no statistical indication he'd ever be ready for NHL duty. Well one year later, has enough changed that Stewart appears to be a good bet to hold down an NHL job in some capacity? Has he taken significant strides to build himself into a legitimate prospect for the Canucks?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. This is an absolutely baffling move that makes little to no sense, not only from a statistical standpoint, but from a scouting perspective as well. Read past the jump to find out why signing Stewart was such an odd move for the Canucks, and a head-scratcher for the scouting community.
May 11 2015 03:31PM
In the first part of this series, I contemplated how the Canucks could achieve their "Rebuild on the Fly" goal of winning now while incrementally moving towards becoming a contender again. I argued that the Canucks should look to move Chris Higgins, the rights to Shawn Matthias, and 2016 UFA's Radim Vrbata, Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis in exchange for draft picks (2 x late 1st, 2 x 2nds, a 5th and a prospect) and free up $16.6M in cap space.
Many of the comments from the initial post were around the hole left on defense, with the departures of Bieksa and Hamhuis. In this part, I'll look at the RFAs the Canucks should resign and UFAs the Canucks should target, with a focus on replacing Hamhuis and Bieksa with experienced defensemen who can help mentor the younger members of the Canucks defensive corps.
Read past the jump to see how Vancouver can address their defensive issues this offseason.
Pending UFA Brad Richardson undergoes ankle surgery; does his injury make a Canucks return more likely?
May 11 2015 01:36PM
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports
Vancouver Canucks checking centre Brad Richardson, a pending unrestricted free agent, is undergoing surgery today to repair the ankle injury that cost him the second half of his season and probably several million dollars on the open market, according to News 1130 Sports.
Richardson, 30, managed eight goals and 21 points in 45 games while playing thoroughly excellent hockey on the penalty kill and holding down a key defensive role for the club. He's a useful depth piece, and has provided the club with tremendous value since signing a two-year deal with an annual average value of $1.15 million as an unrestricted free agent in the cap-crunch summer of 2013.
It seems probable that Richardson is on his way out the door, but might his ill-timed and frustratingly persistent ankle injury make it more likely that he's in a Canucks uniform again next season?
May 10 2015 03:02PM
Having exercised six of the seven stages of grief following the Vancouver Canucks unceremonious first round exit, we can comfortably move into the final such part of the program: acceptance. We've since left the anger, denial, shock, bargaining and depression behind us - each varying in degree of difficulty and length - having just now come to terms with the heartbreak left in the wake of this season and consequently a new found appreciation for those that got away before or during it.
Except for Ryan Kesler. Screw that guy.
I mean, who among us wouldn't get a kick out of watching a former Canuck raise the cup? Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here though. Lets check in on some former players and coaches to see how they've done to this point and how their prospects look going forward.
May 09 2015 01:20PM
The Matt O'Connor derby came to an end this morning with the highly-touted undrafted college free agent choosing to sign with the Ottawa Senators instead of the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, or New York Rangers. While Canucks fans are certainly disappointed that their team didn't land the big fish in the college UFA market once again, missing out on O'Connor isn't necessarily a big deal.
How can failing to sign a guy with so much hype and buzz surrounding him be a very minor miss for Jim Benning and the Canucks? Read past the jump to find out.