Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks are out on Milan Lucic, according to a report from TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres:
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) June 30, 2016
It would seem the club will need to find other ways to fill their MOAR GIANTS! quota…
With Lucic reportedly out of the equation expect the Canucks to turn to one of their secondary targets. Sekeres reports that Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer and Darren Helm have now moved to the top of Vancouver’s list and that matches what I’m hearing. I’d also strongly suggest that of those four names, Eriksson is far and away the top priority.
Losing out on Lucic is a bit of a body blow to long-time fans of Vancouver hockey. I mean, we’re talking about a player so highly thought of in Vancouver that one of his shifts in major junior is genuinely a thing of local legend…
Though Lucic is an impressive top-line calibre forward and probably the prototypical NHL power winger, it’s likely that the deal he’s set to sign tomorrow is going to give the hockey world some serious sticker shock. No one would be surprised were he to sign for seven years and for as much as $7 million per season. As good as Lucic is, that’s a deal that would’ve carried significant risk for the Canucks.
Of course, it’s not as if Eriksson (30), Ladd (30), Brouwer (31) and Helm (29) don’t come with similar concerns. They certainly do, although the commitment in money and term that might be required to land them probably won’t get into Lucic territory when the market opens tomorrow. It could well get close though.
And it’s worth noting that the space between what Lucic can provide to a team and what, say, Ladd can isn’t mammoth. These are both first-line calibre wingers we’re talking about. Lucic is the more impactful offensive player and is more unique – particularly because of ridiculous, percentage-driving shot efficiency – but Ladd is the superior defensive player and they’ve scored at the same rate at even-strength over the past four seasons.
Eriksson is similarly an elite two-way winger, though he’s not really a first-line calibre point producer. On the other hand, if he’s playing with the twins – with whom he’s familiar and has shown great chemistry on the international stage – he probably would score at a first-line rate, like he did last season in Boston.
As for Helm and Brouwer, they’re really third-line pieces, though Brouwer’s right-handed shot and ability to contribute on the power play could make him an intriguing backup option should Ladd and Eriksson sign elsewhere. On the other hand, Brouwer’s payday could well be inflated by the stellar performance he put together in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. And as good as Brouwer has been in big games throughout his career, we’re still talking about a third-line quality point producer at even strength. Committing serious money and term to players with that profile rarely works out well for the team signing the contract.
Now that Lucic has reportedly spurned the Canucks, a major domino has fallen before the sun even rises on July 1. It will surely impact how the club approaches things over the next 24 hours.
The former Boston Bruins winger might have been a uniquely good fit alongside the Sedin twins, but we’ll never know and there are still some enormously intriguing options available on the market.
Whatever happens, it should be fascinating.