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.
Tim Schaller to Vancouver. 2 years. $1.9 and $1.9
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) July 1, 2018
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.
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.
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.
The #Canucks signed free agent F Tim Schaller who underwent hand surgery recently, he will be on the shelf for most of the summer and leading into training camp according to NBC Sports Boston..
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 1, 2018
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.