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WWYDW: Free Agency

NHL free agency begins in just under a week, and rumours are starting to trickle out about which players the Canucks might have interest in.

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Myers and Nyquist are just a couple of the names available, though and the Canucks could be in on any number of the smaller names available as well as the big tickets. Who would you like to see the Canucks go after in free agency?

Last week I asked: Who should the Canucks select at 10th overall?

Puck Viking:

Depends who is on the board at 10. If someone who you have rated in the top 7 you take them. If theres 3 or 4 players you like left and they are fairly equal then trade back.

Maybe something like 10 and Hutton to Montreal for 15, 2nd rounder and Josh brook.

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Then draft seider or soderstrom as one should be there. If not take a forward.


This is a tough one, because it’s hard to predict who will be available after 1 and 2. Here is my list of preferences, based on who MIGHT be available

1. Podkolzin
2. Cozens
3. Dach
4. Krebs
5. Caufield
6. Zegras
7. Boldy
8. Soderstrom

I do think they should take a forward in the first round, as there does seem to be some separation between them and Soderstrom. The Canucks also need goals badly, and they can hopefully pick someone like Thomson, Korczak or Honka in the second round.


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Assuming the first four picks are Hughes, Kakko, Byram, Turcotte, then I would take the top remaining player in this order:

Gino über alles

Keep the #10 pick for BPA but be willing to sell high from current roster for another pick from 8-19, someone in that range can be convinced to make a deal for established veterans to help with their playoff push.

To embrace the grind of a rebuild means that you have to do it properly, and the best way is to acquire core pieces by packaging existing players of value that won’t be here when the team turns a corner. It would be very optimistic to turn what is essentially spare parts into high draft picks but there is enough opportunity there for some progress.

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See how serious Edmonton is about cap relief and see what they need to get 8th overall off their hands. Anything short of a key core prospect or a draft pick should be seriously considered. Also see how serious Vegas is about their cap room and see what #17 would cost with the same considerations. Both teams need to win now much more than they need prospects, there’s a deal there with enough of a salary dump or retention.

Philadelphia has had the best prospect pool for years and the last thing they need is another draft pick, see what they’ll need for a playoff push next year and do everything you reasonably can to make that trade for another pick. If you can walk off the floor tomorrow with a skilled forward at 10 and one of the top RHDs at 11 then you’ve pretty much won the day.

speering major:

So tough to answer this considering we don’t know who’s available at 10. Also, I’m not going to pretend I have a great book on any of these prospects so I’m going off of what little I’ve seen and some articles

I think Zegras is a great fit. Both Petterson and Boeser are great shooters. Horvat is more of shot first center than a playmaker. It makes sense to look at a highly skilled playmaking winger. Zergras seems to fit that description

I really like Boldy. Seems to do everything at a high level but his skating is nothing special. From everything I’ve seen he has a really high floor.

Cozens size and skating really stand out to me. I think Canucks fans are a bit shell shocked with JV going at 6 but his hockey IQ isn’t comparable to Cozens IMO. I think one of those 3 will be available and that’s who I would take

Also I think Benning should go hard at a team like LVK at 17th who has cap issues. Try to package the Canucks 40th and whatever pieces it takes to make it happen. Maybe 40th + 2020 pick + a comet for 17th and Clarkson

I think at 17th one of the following would be available. These players could really accelerate a rebuild. Seider, Harley, Soderstrom, Broberg, or York. Possibly take Kaliyev in that spot also. Having a deep pool is important but these are the kind of players that can crack a line up in a year or 2. The Canucks need to swing for another first rounder IMO

    • Hockey Bunker

      To make it exciting for fans I would use a sealed bid system where the bids are revealed live on TV.
      Under that system you go through this pre July 1 discussion period and then submit secret bids. The teams and players don’t know who has bid on whom. There is a risk you could get too many FA or none.
      Then they get opened up on July 1. That would be a true free agent frenzy. If a player rejects the highest bid, he has 30 minutes to decide, he goes back to his old team for a year at his old salary plus 5% and can be traded. If his team rejects it the player goes back in the pool for a July 8 bid.
      Any player with no bids goes in the July 8 pool.
      This process repeats for 4 weeks and after that remaining players are free to resign in the normal way.
      Wild I know but wow …great TV.

      Of course players are free to resign with their old teams before getting to July 1

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Ask anyone in Buffalo or Winnipeg what they think Myers is worth. I guarantee you won’t find anyone saying 8 mil per year. More like 4. His unexceptional stats with Winnipeg are actually inflated by playing on a very good team. Jim, do not sign this guy.

    • speering major

      Agreed. Solve this problem with a legit top RHD (for the Canucks) with a UFA next season like Barrie or add depth with guys on a shorter term contract. We are living through the Eriksson nightmare and watching McDavid and Draisatl go to waste as the oil are hamstrung with bad contracts. Take a swing when you have a competitive team. This Myers talk is absurd. He makes the team better but he’s going to do the org more harm than good in the long run unless they get him for 6 x $6 million or less. Even that’s a stretch. I really hope this is just posturing and due diligence

  • speering major

    For the most part, avoid it

    Trade Tanev to LVK for Miller and Clarkson. Even retain salary or add a sweetener if you have to. The team is better off doing that then throwing $50 million at Myers for 7 years

    Buf is rumored to be shopping D. Trade Sutter for Bogosian

    Jesse P wants out of Edmonton. Maybe send them Baertschi. EDM is in win now mode and Sven does improve the cast of wingers in their top 6….when healthy

    Use remaining cap space to sign Benn and/or Nyquist. Benning is trying to save his job but he should be careful not to tank the org in the process or else he won’t be finding other work as easily

    They want to upgrade D and this would do the job. Huge upgrade from last season

    Edler Miller
    Hughes Stetcher
    O.J. Benn/Bogosian

    Considering Tanev missed 25 games and there’s no MDZ, Gudbranson, and Pouliot, this is a significantly better D, especially when you add Hughes and potentially Miller + Benn/Bogosian

    Miller Pettersson Boeser
    Pearson Horvat Nyquist
    Roussel Guadette JV
    Jesse P Beagle Leivo/Motte/Goldobin/Schaller

    This is a significantly better forward group even if you only have Petey and Brock healthy vs last season and add Miller. Adding 2 top 6 wingers is a big step up. 3 of the core 4 trending towards their prime. Bottom 6 gets better also. Zack knocking at the door

    All in all I would say solve the D issue through trade, even Zaitsev on the cheap is better than Myers on monster term. Add a depth piece like Benn if you have to. If Nyquist can be had at a reasonable price, that’s a decent option. JB could also look to add depth by taking Burakovsky off of the Caps hands. Adding players like Jesse P and Burakovsky with pedigree and upside could be nice depth and competition. Pushing the cast of Leivo, Schaller, Goldobin, and Motte to step up or get left behind

  • Goon

    Ideally, do nothing. This team is not yet good enough to warrant chasing big-money free agents.

    If Benning absolutely must sign Myers, anything more than $6 million per or 5 years total would be an absolute disaster. If you could get him for $5.5×4 it’s still not great, but it wouldn’t be an albatross.

  • North Van Halen

    Vancouver has $17mil in cap space. Sign Boeser, Goldie, Myers & Nyqvist and Vancouver has $0 cap space. In fact, the Canucks would likely need to shed salary at that point. Well at least we know why they had to let Ben go (though the dude ain’t worth near $4mil). How do they justify this?
    Somebody at Canuck HQ is trying to rush the process and it seems everyone can see this but those at Arthur Griffiths Way. Personally, I think the best move for this franchise would be to sit on our hands July 1, wait for the stupid contracts to shake out (staring straight at Tyler Myers) then pickup a couple of the value contracts from the leftovers. I’d follow that up by waiting on the teams in cap pinches and seeing if I could use some of that cap space to alleviate their problems for other value contracts or prospects & picks (has anyone ever told Benning he’s allowed to trade draft picks he acquires from other teams, they are useful).
    What I absolutely would not do is tie up term and contract on more 30 year olds. If these contracts are going to mean needing to jettison more contracts both now and when Petey and Hughes contracts are up, then they shouldn’t even be considered. This team needs to take advantage of their cap space and young core, not create future cap issues with potential anchor contracts.
    If Myers and Nyqvist become Canucks with term and high dollar contracts, any goodwill this management group has accumulated will be gone as well as my patience. At that point, they should be judged exclusively by the team thats fielded this October and it will be playoffs or bust, each move that attempts to accelerate the rebuild diminishes my patience.

    • CamBurke

      “each move that attempts to accelerate the rebuild diminishes my patience.”

      You’ve been living on false hope and whining for 50 years pal, what does another 50 matter… it’ll still be the same. lol

  • Friedman had an interesting take: “I just don’t know if there’s a team that has the want or will for Myers other than the Canucks right now.” If this is true, Benning should be picking up on the cap crunches and telling Myers that we want him at a reasonable cost that fits our budget or go elsewhere.

    There are only 5 teams spending less on defence than the Canucks. Boston and the Canucks already have 7 defencemen under contract so technically, we don’t need Myers. The other 4 teams (Ottawa, Columbus, Toronto, and Dallas) have 5 defencemen but Ottawa is cheap, Toronto has no space, and Columbus just hasn’t resigned Werensky and Murray. That leaves Dallas or another team that’s already spending more than the Canucks (19.5% of cap) on defence.

    I hope Benning can spin this into a Cody Franson scenario where he was expected to get a massively inflated UFA contract and had to settle on a massively discounted $3.3M x 2 contract.

    • North Van Halen

      One of Benning’s biggest failings seems to be an ability to gauge the market and look for value. He seems to be more like, ‘I need it, I don’t care the cost.’ See the trade for Miller & last seasons free agent acquisitions Beagle & Roussell, etc.
      Whether or not these players make the team better, they were all acquired at full market value and then some once Benning identified them as needed pieces. I hope you’re right but I’m terrified July 1 is our Groundhog Day where common sense and prudence is ignored in favour of paying too much to get another ‘foundational piece’.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Sure hope Benning reads this forum. Every article written about free agency and a potential Myers signing has the fans holding their heads and screaming in agony. NVH is correct, sign one more bad deal and you’re on your own, Jim. We’ve tried to help.

  • Foximus

    Panarin all day every day is the UFA we should go for. He would cost us but it would be worth it. I realize he is looking at Flo, NYI and NYR but why not Vancouver?! Otherwise draft and develop. And resign Schenn for a couple more years at $1 million/year.

  • Kanuckhotep

    I see no reason for Benning to go after any fat FA contract signing come Canada Day. He needs to dump the Sutter and Eriksson contracts and he’s no doubt tried to but found no takers. The Luongo retirement situation was dumped in his lap, most of all by Buttman and J.T. Miller has been added to the mix. And with Brock most of all needed to be signed how can Benning really sign anyone of note in this scenario. I wouldn’t know if ownership has him under the gun to make the playoffs next year in an all-or-nothing decree or not. This post season this year for the Canucks has been the strangest in quite some time. How this turns out is anyone’s guess.

    • LiborPolasek

      Ditto, this offseason has been really strange: after a great draft, JB seems to be acting like a desperate GM (Aquillini’s probably changed his mandate about making the playoffs or no contract). Hope Myers dont get term and cost; hopefully the current LE situation is a constant reminder to shop wisely this July 1..

  • Chuk

    Benning was blessed with a fan base that was accepting of a rebuild and he keeps pantsing himself July 1. This trend will continue. I think we’re good with missing it one more year because of that dumb conditional 1st he just gave up. So put the pen down this year, and save your bullets for Barrie next summer. Or get super lucky and have a crack at Pietra.

  • Jabs

    No doubt that this team needs help on the back end to be able to raise their game. I like Myers as long as the dollars are right. If the Canucks have to start getting in the 7-8 million dollar per year range then walk away and look for more cost effective options or trades.

    As for forward, I would avoid spending any big money on free agents at this position unless some of the more talented players really wan tot be here and show it with the money. This is unlikely so look for the value players.
    I like Ryan Hartman who wasn’t qualified and is now a UFA. I think he may be a gem in waiting. In the same category is Connelly, he could be a buy low and get a good return player.

  • West Coast Hockey Fan

    Brilliant idea… the Canucks should sign give Winnipeg a first-round pick to allow Tylers Meyers to sign a 8 year $8 million deal, then give San Jose a second to sign Nyquist for an 8 year 7.5M and then demand Brock to take a home town discount. When he refuses, trade him to Edmonton for Sam Ganer and Lucic, then be forced to buy out Bo Horvat… Pierre Dorion and the Edmonton’s former GM Peter Chiarelli are outdoing JB for the most incompetent GM of the NHL… JB must regain this title at all cost!

  • El Santo

    Incremental improvement (meaning consistency, finish in the playoff hunt or better) while continuing to build for the future. This should be the M.O., but in all likelihood will be sullied in an effort to “win” now.
    (1) Target an affordable UFA bottom pairing D (Benn or Nemeth?). Pass on Myers, but if they must, no more than $6.5 per.
    (2) Resign RFAs: Boeser, Leivo, Motte, Teves, Rafferty, Schenn, Perron.
    Assuming no Myers, they should explore the following:
    (3a) Virtanen for Colin Miller, rights to Gusev (26yo KHL star who plays for SKA St. Pete where Podkolzin plays), and Clarkson’s contract ($5.25 1yr left). This saves Vegas $7.9 million.
    IMO drafting Podkolzin makes Virtanen expendable. Ship him to a team like Vegas who wants to win now and needs cap relief and affordable depth for 2019-20.
    (3b) Brisebois (and/or Tanev if Leafs prefer) to Toronto for Zaitsev ([email protected]$4.5 for 5 yrs), Connor Brown (versatile winger), and Horton’s contract ($5.3 1yr left). Saves the Leafs $11.2 without Tanev or $6.75 with Tanev.
    Both opportunities to weaponize cap space for one season while the young players develop.
    (4) If (and this is the big IF) they can pull it off…trade Eriksson, Sutter, Baertschi, Spooner, Schaller, and Tanev for whatever you can get – preferably young RD, wingers, and draft picks.
    Could see Sutter as a fit with the Avs, Tanev with the Jets, and Eriksson/Spooner with the Sens which would likely cost us picks. Baertschi would be nice to keep, but is expendable, as is Goldobin.
    If they found a way to trade all the contracts above and not sign Myers, they could afford to sign a bottom pair UFA LD (1), re-sign young RFAs (2), and take on the salaries in trades (3a) and (3b). After 2019-20, Clarkson/Horton contracts + FAs clear ~$19 million in cap space for the 2020-21 season.
    The net change would be the following:
    Plus: RD Miller, RD Zaitsev, LW/RW Brown, LD Benn, LW Gusev (RFA), Clarkson $, Horton $
    Minus: Eriksson, Sutter, Baertschi, Tanev, Virtanen, Goldobin, Spooner, Schaller, Brisebois
    The draft picks/prospects exchanged in the trades would hopefully be a surplus for the Canucks, but at worst should be about a wash.
    Godspeed Jimbo…