Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty - USA TODAY Sports

Report: Canucks Sign Centre Tim Schaller to a Two-Year Contract

According to multiple reports, the Canucks have signed former Boston Bruins centre Tim Schaller to a two-year contract valued at $3.8-million, with a cap hit of $1.9-million annually.

In fairness, the first to report this contract was a member of the Bruins online community, Bruins Stats, and we gave him his due yesterday, with a quick hit musing on the possibility of Schaller to the Canucks on a contract precisely like the one they’ve signed today.

Schaller, 27, has been a member of the Bruins organization for the last two seasons after getting his first sniff of NHL action in the Buffalo Sabres organization. It wasn’t until his age 26 season that he broke through as something of a regular, though — he’s a late bloomer.

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This signing represents another in a series of moves by the Canucks aimed at making them a tougher team. Schaller isn’t exactly a pugilist in the traditional sense, but he’s no stranger to the rough stuff — just ask Erik Gudbranson. In his 82 games last season, Schaller had 42 penalty minutes, including two majors.

Between the whistles, Schaller is (perhaps surprisingly, admittedly) useful player. In his last three seasons, he’s helped keep his team in the black by shots, shots on goal, unblocked shots and expected goals alike — more good things happen with him on the ice than bad. The context is that he was on a stacked Bruins roster for much of that time, and played behind Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Riley Nash — he wasn’t playing the opposition’s best with any regularity.

I wouldn’t expect any offence from Schaller. He’s never been a scorer, even going back to his time in the developmental leagues on his way to the NHL. Last season was a career-high for Schaller with 22 points (12 goals and 10 assists) in 82 games.

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You wouldn’t want to test how Schaller would fare further up the lineup, but as a fourth-line centre, one could do a lot worse. Because of the Bruins’ depth last season, Schaller ended up playing a lot on the wing, too, so he offers versatility to the Canucks’ bottoms-six.

The contract itself is a bit rich. The predictive model that Hockey-Graphs Editor Matt Cane developed expected a two-year contract for Schaller at little over $1-million annually. One can find some semblance of solace in the short term of the deal, though. Besides, with the Canucks’ cap situation as healthy as it is, this isn’t the type of deal that will affect their ability to do business.

If there’s a catch, it’s that Schaller just underwent hand surgery and won’t be ready for the start training camp, according to Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal. It sounds like he could be ready for the start of the regular season, though.

This Schaller contract might not be the best deal, but that tends to be par for the course around this time of year. For a team that needs toughness and centre depth, like the Canucks, it’s perfectly acceptable, and that’s good enough.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Thanks JD for doing your best to provide a balanced perspective to these free agent signings. I’m sure your personal views are strongly negative so this shows your development as a professional writer.

    These signings foreshadow a plan for some of the Canucks. Looks likely Gaunce and Gaudette are AHL bound so the Comets will be very strong down the middle.

    The signing of Roussel perhaps sends a message on the young left wingers. Goldobin better compete for a spot. His days are numbered id a waiver exempt player beats him out.

    Canucks seem content to be a non-playoff tougher to play against team next year.

  • DJ_44

    I like the Schaller signing. Nice $$ and term. I do not dislike the signing of Beagle or Rousell, however the term gives one pause. The first years do not matter with respect to cap.

    With Schaller and Beagle here, I hope Gagner will be moved. Gaunce will be traded, or more likely waived.

  • Killer Marmot

    This is the type of signing that the Canucks need to help fill the gaps this season. Not too long of a contract, not too much, not too old, and he plays centre. The type of guy who can often serve as the 13th/14th forward rather than have younger players sit out games.

    The other two signings? Not a fan.

    • Bud Poile

      The addition of Beagle allows a Sutter trade-especially at the TDL.
      Sutter will be coveted then and the 2019 draft is in Vancouver.
      Last year when Horvat and Sutter were both injured this team went into a death spiral.
      We want heavy NHL teams not taking liberties with a young,soft team.
      In three years time the young guys mature and these signings have been prudent insurance.

      • argoleas

        Plausible, but Sutter will only become expendable when Pettersson and Gaudette are fully ready to take over their Center spots. May happen by this TDL, or may not happen for 2 more years.

        I agree that having protection against heavy teams is very warranted, but still concerned we got too many bodies. I advocated to having Archibald as the 13 forward that can be inserted for heavier teams, and use a faster and lighter team vs other teams. If they clean up some of their other contracts/bodies like Gags and Granny (and one can dream, Eriksson), then a good balance may be achieved.

        No question that these signings were also as a direct result of the brutal experience of that Sutter/Horvat injury duo, then seeing how well Gags and Dowd fared. As you well put it – a death spiral.

        We shall see how it all sorts itself out before the roster reductions in October.

  • Holmes

    I really like the addition of the these three players. Beagle was an important part of the most recent cup winner. Roussel will beat the crap (or at least try to) out of anyone who picks on our skill guys and Schaller seems like an OK addition. What I am not thrilled with is the term and cash for all three. It does not seem egregious but not sure about playing the two deals forward four years. Seems like that could be a dicey time when the young bucks and making substantial coin

  • bigsports

    I like this signing for the right term of 2 years and what he brings to the team. The nucks have been too soft for several years now and if Roussel and Schaller bring back some of that bite then that’s good for protecting the young guys.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    The Roussel signing made some sense. This one, and the Beagle signing are typical Benning nonsense. We now have more 4th line players on the roster than any team in the NHL. Depressing.