14 RFA offer sheet targets for the Vancouver Canucks in the summer of 2022

Photo credit:© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Last week, Jeff Marek speculated on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the Vancouver Canucks had specifically targeted their own 2022 third round pick in the trade that sent Travis Hamonic to Ottawa for the purposes of potentially making an offer sheet this offseason. When a team makes a successful offer sheet that is not matched, they must compensate that player’s original team with a set price of draft picks, and those draft picks cannot be from elsewhere.
That pick, originally sent to Vegas in exchange for Nate Schmidt, had subsequently been flipped to Ottawa in exchange for Evgenii Dadonov.
Unfortunately, the rumour itself doesn’t make a lot of sense, as the period during which offer sheets can be made occurs after the Entry Draft, meaning any successful offer sheets this year would be compensated with 2023 draft picks. The time to spend 2022 draft picks on offer sheets was last year — as evidenced by the Carolina Hurricanes giving up a 2022 first and a 2022 third for the privilege of poaching Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens.
But just because it’s not true that Canucks’ management got their own 2022 third back in anticipation of an offer sheet, doesn’t mean they’re not anticipating an offer sheet. Perhaps this rumour was just a case of Marek getting his wires crossed, because an offer sheet does make some sense for the Canucks — who still hold all of their 2023 selections, minus a seventh rounder — and there are a number of solid candidates on the RFA market this summer.
Note: In order to be eligible to receive an offer sheet, a player must have had at least one NHL contract expire, RFA status, and received a qualifying offer. They also have to agree to the offer sheet before anything happens.

Ethan Bear, Carolina Hurricanes

RHD, 24, 5’11”, 197lb, $2mil expiring cap hit

The Hurricanes picked up Bear last offseason in exchange for Warren Foegele, and he went on to have a decent — if unspectacular — first season with his new club. Bear is known for his mobility and is described as a two-way defender, though there are holes in either end of his game. At the age of 24, he still has some upward potential left in him.
With six pending UFAs and four pending RFAs of various value on the roster, money could get tight in Carolina, and with Brett Pesce and Anthony Deangelo already slotted ahead on the depth chart, Bear could be the one to go. Even a moderate offer sheet to him may not be matched.
Potential Offer Sheet: Three years at $2.1 million AAV.
Compensation: A third round pick in 2023.

Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets

RHD, 21, 5’11”, 179lb, $894K expiring cap hit

Boqvist is an appealing talent, even if that talent might not be exactly what the Canucks are looking for. He’s a great skater and an even better puck handler who should be a power play fixture for the majority of his career. Though he is right-handed, he’s also a bit small and a bit questionable in his own end — not uncommon for a 21-year-old offensive defender. Boqvist can move the puck well, which is an area that Vancouver has struggled in of late, and if that’s all they’re looking for in a blueline acquisition, he makes some sense.
Getting him out of Columbus will be the tricky bit. They’ve got enough depth on their blueline that they’d probably be able to give him up, but also more than enough cap space to match any offer sheet if they were so inclined.
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $3 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Noah Dobson, New York Islanders

RHD, 22, 6’4”, 195lb, $894K expiring cap hit

Dobson is everything the Canucks are looking to add to their defence corps. He’s big, he’s an excellent skater, and — despite coming into the league as an offensive defender — he’s already rounding his game out at both ends of the ice. Dobson looks like a future top-pairing defender, and he might already be there.
Of course, that makes it all the more difficult to pry him loose from the Islanders, especially given that he’s their only real contract of consequence this offseason. Any offer sheet would have to be truly excessive to not be matched.
Potential Offer Sheet: Five years at $6 million.
Compensation: First and third round picks in 2023.

Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights

LHD, 23, 6’6”, 215lb, $792K expiring cap hit

Hague may be a left-handed defender, which is where the Canucks have significantly more depth, but he also brings with him some attributes that are largely absent on the Vancouver blueline. He’s a massive defence-first defender who can punish opponents with physicality, but he’s also a fine skater and holds some yet-untapped offensive potential. He would really round out a left side of Quinn Hughes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Vegas is as tight against the cap as anyone — in fact, they’re already over it for 2022/23, even before signing RFAs like Hague and Nicolas Roy. They’ve also already got all of Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Whitecloud, and maybe even Dylan Coghlan rated ahead of Hague on the right side, to say nothing of Shea Theodore, who plays over there often. They’re ripe to be poached.
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $3.5 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers

RW, 21, 6’3”, 199lb, $925K expiring cap hit

After being drafted second overall in 2019, Kakko has undoubtedly been a disappointment at the NHL level. But he still possesses an intriguing combination of size, speed, and skill — the holy trinity of NHL forwards. Right now, he’s a “tools, no toolbox” sort of project, but he probably stands  a better chance of putting it all together than most. The Canucks would prefer if he were a left wing, but there’s no reason not to think he couldn’t shift over.
The Rangers would be loath to give up someone they drafted so high, but they’ve got salary-related issues out the wazoo this summer. Any overpayment via offer sheet might put them in a tough enough spot to walk away from Kakko.
Potential Offer Sheet: Two years at $3.5 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins

RW, 25, 6’1”, 194lb, $3.2mil expiring cap hit

POHO Jim Rutherford has acquired Kapanen twice already — once via the draft and once via trade — so this is not the first time the forward’s name has been linked to Vancouver. Rutherford has made his desire to add speed to the Canucks’ lineup very clear, and Kapanen offers more speed than the majority of NHL forwards.
He’s coming off a so-so season, but has a long history of being an effective middle-six winger who can play all over the lineup, and enough size and jam to not be a pushover. With all of Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Bryan Rust to re-sign, cap space will be tight in Pittsburgh.
Potential Offer Sheet: Two years at $3.8 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames

LHD, 25, 6’0”, 183lb, $750k expiring cap hit

Isn’t it about time that the Canucks started stealing some players back from the Flames? Kylington may be a leftie, but otherwise he’s everything that Vancouver wants to add to its back-end; he’s a quick skater, excels at moving the puck out of his zone, puts up points, and is solid enough defensively. As an added bonus, he’s played the right side plenty in his short career already.
The Flames have cap space galore this offseason, but a vast majority of it will be going to Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, and Andrew Mangiapane. There’s definitely potential to snag someone important away with a well-placed offer sheet.
Potential Offer Sheet: Three years at $3.9 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Andrew Mangiapane, Calgary Flames

LW, 26, 5’10”, 184lb, $2.425mil expiring cap hit

If stealing Kylington away from the Flames would be fun, stealing Mangiapane would be downright thrilling. The undersized but scrappy left winger has turned into a genuine sniper in Calgary, and he has a particular penchant for scoring key goals. If the Canucks move on from any of their high-profile scorers during the offseason, they’d have a hard time finding a better replacement than Mangiapane.
That said, the Flames will try desperately to hold on to this talent. New contracts for Tkachuk and Gaudreau might make that difficult, but any offer sheet would have to be a little over-the-top for them not to match.
Potential Offer Sheet: Five years at $6 million.
Compensation: First and third round picks in 2023.

Jacob Middleton, Minnesota Wild

LHD, 26, 6’3”, 219lb, $725K expiring cap hit

Middleton drew a lot of attention this past Trade Deadline for his size, snarl, and defensive acumen. He’s not exactly a plodding skater, either, though he’ll likely never put up big numbers at the NHL level.
He’d bring something to the left side of the Canucks’ blueline that is otherwise largely absent. The Wild are in cap hell starting next year, and they only gave up a mid-round pick and a backup goalie in exchange for Middleton, so they might not be too worried about hanging on to him. He could be a good, cheap get.
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $2.1 million.
Compensation: A third round pick in 2023.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers

RW, 24, 6’4”, 201lb, $1.175mil expiring cap hit

Edmonton might have fallen out of love with their loveable goofball this season, despite him making some serious progress as an NHL player. Cap space is tight for the Oilers, and they need wingers who can produce alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which Puljujarvi just hasn’t been able to master quite yet.
That said, he’s got size, skill, skating ability, and a surprising amount of defensive acumen. He was one of the Oilers’ more effective two-way forwards this season, and still has plenty of room to grow. He could feasibly fit anywhere in the Canucks’ lineup, if they could only pry him away.
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $4.2 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Nicolas Roy, Vegas Golden Knights

C/RW, 25, 6’4”, 205lb, $750K expiring cap hit

We already spilled plenty of ink over Vegas and their cap woes, and the Canucks won’t be the only team looking to take advantage of it this offseason. Few pieces on the Golden Knights roster look as primed for poaching as Roy, the enormous power forward who broke out in 2021/22.
Whether he’s at center or on the wing, Roy can dominate a game with his rare blend of physical prowess and fine-tuned skill. He’s a great skater for his size, and is even starting to flash some serious defensive acumen. If the Canucks are looking for a certain talent this offseason, Roy has it. Really, there’s little that Roy can’t do right now — aside from be afforded by Vegas, perhaps.
Potential Offer Sheet: Five years at $4.2 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Rasmus Sandin, Toronto Maple Leafs

LHD, 22, 5’11”, 183lb, $894K expiring cap hit

We’re getting a little tired of saying a defender has superior skating and puck-moving abilities to go along with a strong two-way game, but that’s exactly what the Canucks are looking for this summer, and it’s exactly what Sandin brings to the table. Though he’s a tad undersized, Sandin can both drive offence from the blueline and keep things tight in his own end. Aside from a need for more muscle, there are few holes to be found in his game.
Cap space is always an issue in Toronto, and this offseason will be no different. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun if the Canucks stole a Sandin from the Maple Leafs a decade after they stole a Sundin?
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $3.25 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils

LW, 26, 6’2”, 195lb, $2.75mil expiring cap hit

Wood is an interesting offer sheet candidate, to be sure. He’s got top-flite speed, and he normally uses that speed to crash head-long into opponents, so he checks a lot of boxes for the Canucks right now. He’s scored at a 20-goal clip before, and should slot in nicely into the middle-six.
That being said, Wood was injured for the majority of the 2021/22 season after a hip surgery, so he’s a bit of an unknown element at this point. To further complicate matters, the Devils are flush with cap space and roster space up front. Making an offer sheet that wouldn’t get matched is possible, but not without taking on a great risk.
Potential Offer Sheet: Three years at $3.8 million.
Compensation: A second round pick in 2023.

Pavel Zacha, New Jersey Devils

C/LW, 25, 6’3”, 210lb, $2.25mil expiring cap hit

Zacha’s name has already been linked to the Canucks via trade rumours, so maybe they look to cut out the middleman and just make him an offer sheet. Zacha has that rare combo of size, skating ability, and two-way skill, and he’s able to play pretty much anywhere in a team’s lineup. If the Canucks move on from a forward or two this summer, Zacha looks like a multifaceted replacement.
There’s also the added bonus that New Jersey might actively be looking to move on from Zacha themselves, which could make him easier to get. By going low on salary and high on length, the Canucks might just be able to steal him away.
Potential Offer Sheet: Four years at $2.1 million.
Compensation: A third round pick in 2023.

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