3 players cheaper than Sam Reinhart for the Canucks to target in the 2022 offseason, or right now
Photo credit:© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber1 year ago
Over the past week, there has been a lot of discussion about the Canucks trading with the Buffalo Sabres for @Sam Reinhart.
The Canucks have a plethora of holes in their lineup and Reinhart helps fill one of those holes in the top-nine forward group.
The problem is, this offseason isn’t the right time for the Canucks to make a move for a player.
The Canucks need to shed salary and their best trade chips are draft picks. It’s too early for the Canucks to dish out draft picks in trades as they aren’t yet at the point of being competitive for the Stanley Cup, which needs to be the ultimate goal. Adding a player at ninth overall who will be on an ELC for two or three years could pay dividends for the club down the road.
Sure, a player like Reinhart helps the Canucks get closer to the playoffs but unless they are able to send money back in the trade to accelerate the turnover of their own salary cap problem, the more likely scenario is that they are aggressive in the summer of 2022 when the contracts of @Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson, and others come off the books.
Not to mention Roberto Luongo’s recapture penalty of $3,035,212 coming off of the Canucks cap after next season.
The summer of 2022 is the time for this team to be aggressive.
With that being said, let’s have a look at some players who the Canucks can target next offseason to make their team closer to competing for the Stanley Cup instead of just hoping to sneak into the playoffs for the 2022-23 season.
We are looking a year ahead but there are some interesting names for the Canucks to pursue in free agency during the 2022 offseason.
If signed in free agency, these players won’t cost the Canucks anything but cap space and can help bolster the core with some added depth scoring and leadership that can help this team perform up to their potential in the playoffs. Two of these three names have been rumoured in trade talks this past season and Jim Benning has said he wants to be aggressive, so, a sign and trade for them this offseason is a possible option on these players as well.
After showing very well in his first four NHL seasons, Max Domi’s scoring touch took a step back in 2019-20 and then went down a cliff this past season in his first year with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With CBJ, he averaged the lowest ice time of his whole career, only playing an average of 15:13 in 54 games. He spent a lot of time bouncing between the second and third lines while playing on CBJ’s second power play unit.
Domi’s offensive game took a step back from his excellent 2018-19 season where he was nearly a 30-goal scorer and put up 72 points in 82 games. The thing that hasn’t dropped off in his game is his playmaking ability at five-on-five.
After a down year in Columbus, I’d expect Domi to bounce back next season. He never really had a set line in Columbus — Domi played over 50 minutes with 10 different forwards this year — but continued to have solid first assist rates with 0.87 per 60 minutes.
His 8% shooting percentage at five-on-five is likely to rise if he goes back to being being a player who crashes the crease to create offence. When he’s at his best, Domi feasts around the right side of the net.
He scored a good chunk of his goals from in tight before moving to Columbus and struggling to put up the same offence that he had in Montreal and Arizona.
Coming off a two-year, $10,600,000 contract, it’s highly unlikely that Domi receives much of a raise or is even in a position to sign a contract longer than four years long. He is going to need a strong 2021-22 season to garner a raise and a long-term contract when he hits free agency in the summer of 2022.
The Canucks are in a prime position to make a run at Domi in that offseason as there is the obvious connection between Domi and @Bo Horvat, with Domi being a former linemate of Horvat with the London Knights and a groomsman at Horvat’s wedding back in 2019.
Domi is a defensively responsible middle-six winger who has shown to have offensive pop when used in a top-six role.
Isolated 5v5 impact provided by HockeyViz
Domi and his aggressiveness towards the crease is a great fit with Horvat and Nils Höglander/Vasily Podkolzin on a second line that would be tough to defend against in the offensive zone. His ability to play centre as well as the wing makes him a good piece to add if you want to mix him around in the top-nine with some depth pieces to create third-line offence.
Many believe that Domi is even a potential trade route that the Canucks can explore this season and with the Blue Jackets looking like a team that needs a mix-up, Domi might shake loose and into the trade market sooner, rather than later.
There have been rumours of him wanting out of Columbus throughout this past season and at a $5,300,000 cap hit, it’s hard to imagine that the Canucks can add a player of his cap value without the Blue Jackets retaining some salary on the one year remaining on his contract.
In the most likely scenario, Domi returns to Columbus and plays out his season before hitting free agency in the summer. If a sign and trade work for the Canucks this offseason, they should explore it, but giving up serious assets for a player you can approach in free agency seems like a bit of a rushed move.
Jim Benning wants to be aggressive this offseason but I’d like to see him play the long game on Domi.
Over the past three seasons, Chris Tierney has been used as a shutdown centre for the Ottawa Senators. It’s hard to evaluate his analytics and say that he is a big upgrade for the Canucks but for a team that needs some centre depth, Tierney fits the mould.
In the summer of 2022, he will be coming off of a two-year, $7,000,000 contract where his numbers will not likely rise much as he has been used in a middle line centre role with the Senators and was pushed down to the third line at times this season.
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He has been pretty healthy over the past five seasons, only missing 15 games in that time frame. Tierney is a penalty-killing centre who got little to no time on the Sens’ power play this past season. He was trusted to be one of the Senators’ most reliable penalty-killing centres and would help the Canucks take some pressure off of their top-six centres while shorthanded.
Placing Tierney between two efficient middle-six wingers in a third-line role is the best chance for him to find his offensive touch again. He scored 17 goals back in 2017-18 during his final season with the San Jose Sharks. Tierney is an interesting option for the Canucks to approach during the next offseason as he will turn 28 when he becomes a free agent and won’t likely cost an arm and a leg to sign in free agency.
He was a very effective defensive player in his three years with the Sharks and looked great in his first season with the Senators. Since then, he has played on a very weak Senators team and been tasked with going up against the opposition’s best lines for a lot of his ice time.
If the price is right, Tierney is a very plausible option to play centre in the Canucks’ bottom-six moving forward. The Sens have young centre depth with Josh Norris, Nick Paul, Colin White and Logan Brown all in the NHL or about to make the jump next season.
Benning might be able to get aggressive and pick Tierney out of the Sens for pennies on the dollar as Tierney will be a pending UFA and is not likely to sign back with the Sens after next season.
If the Canucks want to add a middle-six winger who can add goals, Rickard Rakell is another cheaper option in the 2022 free-agent crop.
Rakell will be coming off of a six-year, $22,800,000 contract and will likely earn a similar yearly salary as his current $3,789,444 cap hit.
Rakell scored 30 goals in the first two years of his six-year contract and the Anaheim Ducks were loving his production at his sub-four-million dollar cap hit. From there, he slowed down, with his shooting percentage dropping under 10% in each of the past three seasons.
It’s been good to see him continuing to score goals at even-strength, a spot where the Canucks’ bottom-six really needs some help.
With Rakell becoming a UFA in the Summer of 2022, his next contract length and price will depend on how well he performs next season. He is playing the most minutes out of every Ducks’ forward so they may look to lock him up for a long time. If he wants to win, he’s going to have to get out of Anaheim.
The Ducks may look to move on from him at the coming deadline as they are in the midst of a rebuild and could likely add some valuable currency through draft picks and prospects for Rakell’s services.
If he is moved at the deadline and goes on a playoff run with a team, that will likely boost the value of his next contract. Either way, I think Rakell will come in somewhere above five million dollars and is a big swing for the Canucks if they can get him under contract for three to four years.
Rakell’s defensive game has taken a dip over the past three seasons but that’s a pretty bad team down in Anaheim.
He definitely needs to defend the net better, though he may look better if he wasn’t on the Ducks.
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His strength has always been on offence.
Over the past six seasons, Rakell has been one of the league’s best at creating individual scoring chances.
Over the past three seasons, he is 28th in the league for individual expected goals at five-on-five but has not been able to capitalize as he has the lowest shooting percentage (6.96%) out of the top 100.
The weird thing is that he does a ton of his work right around the crease and plays tough in the offensive zone. He’s not a perimeter player as shown here by his spray chart from the past three seasons.
If Rakell were to find some good linemates and improve his shooting accuracy, he shows a lot of potential to not only be a top-six contributor but to be one of the top play driving wingers in the NHL.
He lacks the eye-popping goal and assists stat line because of his inefficiency on the power play. He has only scored three power play goals in his past 121 games and did not score a power play goal in any of his 52 games last season.
It’s a big swing but if Rakell were to find chemistry with Pettersson, the Canucks would make a lethal top-six even better.
There are going to be conversations about each of the three examples listed in this article as the offseason goes on and if Benning is wanting to be aggressive, expect the Canucks to be in the hunt for one of these players on expiring deals, similar to Reinhart.
If they can trade for one of them and lock him into a contract before he hits free agency, you are saving money and getting the Canucks a lot closer to being a playoff team than they currently are. Each of these three players has bounce-back potential and are currently between the age of 26-28.
I’d be surprised to see these three players back with their current teams after the 2022 offseason and it feels at least a couple of them are already on the trade block for their teams. Domi and Tierney have had rumours swirling around them for months now and Rakell’s name is a likely one to hear about once we get closer to draft time.
Each of these players could use a new home to reset their careers and try to compete in the playoffs before they turn 30.
Why not have them try here in Vancouver?
Which of these three cheaper options would you like to see the Canucks pursue in the next 13 months?
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