Canucks sign Swedish UFA defenceman Tom Nilsson

The Vancouver Canucks have made a smaller splash today, signing free agent defenceman Tom Nilsson to a one year two way contract.

The 22 year old right-handed defenceman played for Frolunda of the SHL last season and was originally selected in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, with the pick before the Canucks took forward Joseph Labate. He signed an entry level contract on March 9, 2013.

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Prior to the 2015-16 season, the 6’0″ 183 lbs defenceman was traded from the Maple Leafs to the New York Islanders, with four other prospects for Michael Grabner. After failing to secure a spot with the big club, Nilsson and the New York Islanders agreed to terminate his contract, and he returned to the SHL.

Nilsson is regarded as a hard nosed defensive specialist who plays loves to hit and be physical. He is a fairly good skater, but could work on rounding out his offensive game.

The Canucks now have considerable depth in their defensive ranks, with 9 players already penciled in for the NHL roster and with the Utica Comets seeming to have their own plethora of defenceman. Ideally they would add some more impact defenceman to the group, but the depth of bodies is interesting.

With that, it’s hard to predict what Nilsson will provide that they don’t already have with the likes of Andrey Pedan, Nikita Tryamkin and newly acquired Erik Gudbranson. All young physical defenceman who seem to be able offer more to the organization then what Nilsson will be able to provide. But Utica does need to have depth and that is likely where Nilsson will play the entire season.

Not that Nilsson won’t be a welcome addition to the organization and could round out into a serviceable depth player. Just means something has to give over the summer at some point, as the Canucks are now bursting at the seams with defenceman.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of using the UFA market to add to your prospect pool, and the Canucks are doing just that. It is only May, so there is plenty of time to see how all the chips will fall before the season begins when it comes to the back-end.

  • TrueBlue

    I’m not sure that you can claim that the Canucks’ D “has suddenly become a strength.”

    They have more of them, yes, but you can still only put two on the ice at the same time. And if those two are just big bodies who largely blocks shots, fail to suppress chances and don’t generate offense, well, you haven’t really got a strength.

    • TrueBlue

      The Leafs have 9 defenseman in Reilly, Gardiner, Zaitsev, Carrick, Marincin, Hunwick, Corrado, Percy & Harrington that will likely battle for 7 NHL spots barring a trade or free agent signing.

      And that does not include Robidas who they seem content on keeping “injured”.

      While I have nothing against Corrado, part of me wants to see him get waived just to see what the reaction would be around these parts.

  • Almo89

    Floating on the web just now I saw on a Canadien’s blog about them making a package of defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and David Desharnais to move up to either the 4th or 5th spot. Any comments?

  • TrueBlue

    Jim Benning is Mad or Genius.

    He handles the roster so fast that in a very short period of time there will be nothing, or it will be one other GMs would take 2x-3x as long to assemble.

    • TrueBlue

      I understood when I signed the contract that I would likely anchor the Comets defense and be an injury call up.

      My family and I are grateful to the Canucks for rewarding years of hard work with a $1.5 million guarantee.

  • Cageyvet

    Hard to complain about a two-way contract, let’s not forget that Utica needs players too, and if any of these lower-tier gambles pay off, great. If not, at the very least the prospects you are really counting on aren’t thrown to the wolves with a crap team around them. If this guy can almost play in the NHL, then he should be solid in the AHL.

  • Almo89

    love this contract compared to Ulf Sammuelsson with out the offense. Jim is putting together a mean and nasty defense who won’t let our goalies pushed around anymore and make other teams hate playing against us. Start in the right direction guys things will work out we still have youth and brock thatcher jake bo and who we take with the 5th overall good core to add too.

    • Cageyvet

      LOL basically toronto deemed he was worth 1/5 of grabner. islanders agreed to terminate his contract after camp. he’s not ulf sammuelsson. he’ll be third pari AHL dman bud.

  • Cageyvet

    This actually makes sense.

    Benning is bolstering his defense ranks because he’s seen what happened to the Nucks with all the injuries suffered this past season.

    With all the injuries we suffered to the defensive core (Edler, Tanev, Hamhuis, etc) and the focus on shot blocking these days it’s more than likely the team will suffer injuries to your defense core so you’ve got to have deep defensive contributors otherwise we’ll just creamed again.

    It seems like a hobby for CA writers to question EVERYTHING Benning does but when you run a business not all decisions Management makes will make sense (or necessarily has to be “liked”) to those on the outside when it could be the RIGHT decision for the team/organisation.

  • Cageyvet

    Yeah! More players who are big and can hit! Who needs goals, anyways? Hits! Hits! And more hits!

    Meat and potatoes, boys! Just hit everyone in the league, that’ll show ’em!

  • Cageyvet

    This idiotic and stupid GM can’t make up his mind. One day he goes and gets huge physcial players for his Boston model thinking, and the next day he goes with more soft Swedes. Grow a pair and make up your mind. This team needs leadership and not your howdy doody wishy washy give the farm away management. Get lost already and take Weisbrod and Linden with you.

    • Cageyvet

      I think he’s a “soft Swede” in the same way Kronwall is a “soft Swede”. So yeah a real pansy. We need more “tough Canadians” like Raymond and Hodgson.

      Great point.

    • Cageyvet

      Not sure how many offensive defenseman you feel we should have in the system, but with Stetcher, Subban & Larsen(Hutton)now in the system these guys need to be surrounded by stable solid defenseman.

      Nothing wrong with this signing at all. Whether he is Utica bound and called up or he makes team how much worse can he be than Weber or Bartkowski?