April 21 2016 01:00PM
Just a week ago, J.D. Burke asked what the Canucks should do with their surplus cap space and it reminded me of remarks Jim Benning made at a Town Hall in March. No specific quote, but rather the focus he placed on the Canucks ability to play vulture as cap crunched teams look to unload salary.
That's an avenue of roster development I've hoped the Canucks would take as it meets their long and short-term goal much better than signing players closer to thirty in free agency. Players in free agency could be here four, five or even six years, but that sets their prime miles ahead of where the Canucks next wave will meet theirs. Adding players in their early-to-mid-twenties, on the other hand, would supplement that core.
The New York Islanders worked this angle to perfection, landing Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk in advance of the 2014 season. They landed great value on the two by waiting out the teams that held them and now they're huge parts of their core.
That got me thinking... who are the teams that the Canucks have identified as possible targets? Some are obvious, others less so. All these figures are drawn from www.CapFriendly.com and based on a flat salary cap. Of course, the cap could be as high as $75-million, but it's clear that some teams will be hamstrung regardless.
April 21 2016 11:00AM
The NHL playoffs have been fantastic!
But we are here to talk about Canucks prospects - The Utica Comets begin the AHL playoffs this weekend, the Wings are in tough against the Stingrays. While in the CHL, Kyle Pettit is the only remaining Canucks prospect still active as the Erie Otters and London Knights meet in what should be a fantastic battle.
April 21 2016 09:00AM
Yannick Weber was supposed to reaffirm what looked to be an already stated case as a full-time NHL defenceman this season.
There wasn't much left to prove, but that always elusive element of consistency would have gone a long way in cementing what already had been. From the season's onset though it slipped through Weber's fingers and forced the Canucks hand as they relented ice-time and relinquished his roster spot entirely by February.
Though his even-strength production cratered to near-nothingness, it was his inability to chip in on the man advantage that likely drove the final nail in his coffin. His 13 points with the man advantage just a season prior shrivelled to 5 this season, without so much as a single goal to show for his troubles.
Rightly or wrongly, Weber's ability to sustain any amount of long-term success at the NHL level was always going to be tied to his power play contributions. Such is the plight of the specialist. That doesn't necessarily mean this jack of one trade was a master of none, though. In fact, there's ample evidence to suggest that Weber contributed above several of the players he found himself behind on the Canucks depth chart last season.
The Weber ship has likely sailed from Vancouver but as we rewind the season it will become increasingly clear that there should be room for him elsewhere. Preferably in the NHL, even.
April 20 2016 08:44PM
It took a little bit longer than some may have liked, but Jim Benning has gotten the job done. The Vancouver Canucks earlier today announced the signing of goaltender Thatcher Demko to a three-year entry-level deal.
Financial terms weren't immediately available, but you have to think that Demko will be getting the rookie maximum (if not very close to it). Demko's college season ended back on April 7 and he had the option of signing with the Canucks or going back to Boston College for his senior year (which he will now forego).
April 20 2016 05:19PM
Photo courtesy: Sarah Hobday
The Comets finished off their 2015-16 regular season last weekend. Heading into the final three games of the campaign, the Comets needed to win more games than either the Bridgeport Sound Tigers or the Portland Pirates in order to move up to seventh in the Eastern Conference and avoid the Toronto Marlies in the first round of the AHL playoffs.
To see how that turned out, as well as which Canucks prospects lit it up in their return from the NHL, you'll have to read on.