Vancouver Canucks 2024 NHL Free Agency Live Blog

Photo credit:Robert Munnich
Lachlan Irvine
11 days ago
Happy Canada Day, and welcome to the CanucksArmy free agency live blog!
Jim Rutherford, Patrick Allvin and the rest of the Canucks’ front office have been planning for July 1 from the moment the season ended in Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers. And they know as well as anybody that simply “running it back” won’t be enough to push the Canucks to the next level.
A lot of the Canucks’ intended free agent targets are already gone, including Jake Guentzel heading to Tampa Bay and Sam Reinhart returning to Florida. So Allvin & Co. will have to pivot and find a different way to secure a new linemate for Elias Pettersson, upgrade the blue line and refill the depth pool. Last season’s signings were all key contributors to the team’s success in 2023-24. Can the Canucks recapture that magic a second time today?
Throughout the day I’ll be updating this page with the biggest rumours, stories and signings from across the NHL, and how they might affect the Canucks plans overall. If you want to keep up with all the deals during your day off from work, make sure to bookmark this page and hit the refresh button often during the morning and afternoon!
Let the chaos begin!

1:20 – Canucks sign Vinny Desharnais

Hold up we’ve got a late signing!
My initial thoughts: I don’t really know if Vincent Desharnais solves much of anything for the Canucks. The team already has plenty of heavy defensive-minded options on the blue line, and opting for another one who’s 6-foot-7 without much offensive upside feels like a missed opportunity to add some more scoring punch or playmaking.
At a cost of $2 million AAV, Desharnais’ deal certainly isn’t a backbreaker, but it’s also more than I would’ve paid for a sixth or seventh defenseman.

1:00 – Done for now!

With the market near picked clean, it’s time to shut this live blog down. Thank you so much for following along today, be sure to check out the work by our CA staff as we go in-depth on all the newest Canucks before heading off on summer break! Enjoy your offseason!

12:30 – Let’s look at some early winners and losers

The contracts are slowing down to a crawl, so let’s go back and look at some earlier moves in the meantime.
Winner: Nashville Predators
The Preds have had easily the biggest free agency day of any team, adding Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skeji in one fell swoop. Nashville learned their lesson from losing to the Canucks in the first round: if you can’t score, you aren’t winning. Now they’ve got some big time finishers and have essentially found a way to retool on the fly. They should be much better next season.
Loser: Dallas Stars
For a team that made the Western Conference Final this year, the Stars sure haven’t made enough upgrades. Outside of re-signing Matt Duchene to a one-year deal, the Stars biggest move of the day was giving a three year deal to Casey DeSmith after Scott Wedgewood left for Nashville. The Stars are clearly banking on improvements from their existing roster, but I’m not so sure that’s in the cards.
Winner: New Jersey Devils
After adding Jacob Markstrom and trading John Marino, the Devils have spent today bolstering their blue line by adding Brett Pesce and Brenden Dillon. Last year the Devils Achilles’ heel was their inability to keep the puck out of the net. Now a lot of close games that they lost in 2023-24 could flip in their favour this season.
Loser: Vegas Golden Knights
How the turn tables. The Knights let Jonathan Marchessault walk assuming they’d be able to replace him with someone like Steven Stamkos. Instead both  players went to Nashville and Vegas has been caught holding the bag with only  Zach Aston-Reese and Tanner Laczynski to show for it. Just goes to show that if you’re running an organization as ruthless about transactions as Vegas, the bill eventually comes due.

12:00 – Once again I am asking for a puck moving defenceman

11:20 – DeBrusk talking to the media as the market slows down

The newest Vancouver Canuck spoke the media via Zoom at 11, and we’ll have more on his press conference later today. But in the meantime, DeBrusk spoke about his experience learning behind one of the NHL’s all time best two-way forwards.
With the rest of the NHL spending over $700 million in the first hour(!) of free agency, the market is running out of options fast. We’ll see how long we have to wait for a state of the union from Patrik Allvin.

11:00 – Canucks add goalie Jiri Patera as Silovs insurance

Folks, we have a goalie signing.
Jiri Patera has been in the Vegas Golden Knights system for the last four years, spending the vast majority of it with their farm team in Henderson. Patera has just eight games of NHL experience over the last two seasons (less than Arturs Silovs did entering the playoffs!) and will likely slot in as a third or fourth option for the Canucks with Silovs expected to take on the role of Thatcher Demko’s backup.

10:40 – Where to go from here

The Canucks don’t have a whole lot of cap space left to work with, but there’s still some needs they have to fill before October. The Canucks seem to have the forwards all locked up, but they could probably use at least one more puck-moving defender to round out the blue line. Perhaps an Erik Brannstrom or Adam Boqvist could fit that bill without breaking the bank.

10:15 – Canucks add AHL depth in centre Nate Smith

A rare signing that makes you say, “Who??”
Nate Smith has been in the Arizona Coyotes system for the last three years, save for a couple months with Team USA during the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Last season Smith had 31 points for the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners but never got a sniff of NHL action. Odds are that will be the same case in Vancouver, but perhaps the 25 year old can find another gear in Abbotsford.

10:00 – Forbort deal finalized

Another strong bargain bin add for the Canucks. With Ian Cole heading to Utah for double the price, Forbort provides better value for what the Canucks are trying to accomplish by leaving more cap space for additional moves.

9:30 – The Canucks have arrived

Patrik Allvin is cooking.
This is a biiiiig swing by the Canucks. DeBrusk has been one of the Bruins’ top forwards for quite some time, but was always Boston’s best “willing to trade for help” player as well. Seven years is a heck of a commitment for the Canucks to make for a Pettersson winger, but if things go according to plan it could end up looking like a bargain.
Kiefer Sherwood was a tough matchup for the Canucks in the playoffs, and now he brings his speed to a bottom six that’s sorely lacking it. Sherwood had 27 points with Nashville last season and knows how to play a physical checking role as well for a nice team friendly contract.
If there’s one common theme among these Canucks deals, it’s that they’re all hard to play against. Danton Heinen had 36 points with Boston last season and injects more strong skating into the depth chart. Heinen is able to make plays off the rush and take on bigger defensive responsibilities like the penalty kill. At $2.25 million the Canucks are paying right around market value for depth on the wings.

9:15 – Derek Forbort, Vancouver Canuck?

Hey, I know that insider tv viewer!
Derek Forbort played 35 games for Boston last season and picked up four points in the process. Forbort will give the Canucks another depth defensive option, but one who’ll be more focused on a shutdown role than providing scoring. The term of the deal has not yet been announced.

9:04 – OEL signs with Toronto

Quads told me my analysis can’t just be laughing for this contract, so I’ll try to play nice.
In fairness, OEL was quite good this past season with the Cup champion Panthers. But he was also on a cheap one year deal with zero pressure, whereas there’s going to be plenty in Toronto.
Never underestimate Brad Treliving’s love for former Canucks.

9:00 – The market officially opens!

The deals are going to come fast and furious now, so stay tuned as we find out which players are officially off the board.

8:50 – Toffoli is San Jose bound

Tyler Toffoli has secured the bag in Northern California, taking the chance to play with Macklin Celebrini on the Sharks even if that means playing on a team that won’t be competing for the playoffs.

8:22 – Friends to Enemies

This is somehow the worst case scenario.
Lindholm going to the Bruins always made sense, but Zadorov too?! Talk about a profound betrayal. We knew the likelihood of either finding their way back to Vancouver was near zero, but we’ll see what the numbers look like when they come in.

8:13 – Brandon Montour to Seattle

Another defenseman is off the board, and he’s heading to the team down the I-5.
Brandon Montour was a pivotal part of the Panthers resurgence in the last two years, although he saw his points take a dip this season due to injuries. Seattle’s getting a strong piece for their blue line with a Stanley Cup pedigree, but a 7-year deal worth $50 million feels a little rich for my blood.

7:45 – Jake Guentzel Bolts for Tampa, Tanev Leafs for Toronto

We already have a couple major signings to talk about.
Jake Guentzel was the Canucks’ big free agent target, but the Lightning swooped in and traded for his signing rights from Carolina after moving out Mikhail Sergachev and Tanner Jeannot. Guentzel’s new $9 million AAV would’ve made him the second highest paid Canuck behind Elias Pettersson, but instead he takes a deal in Tampa Bay, where he’ll get to play alongside Nikita Kucherov with no state income tax.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division, a former Canuck has put ink to paper.
This deal is a head scratcher for a second, but then you remember the Leafs’ GM is Brad Treliving. The Canucks were hoping to bring Tanev back home to shore up the blue line, but if six years at an AAV of $4.5 million for the 34-year old was the asking price, then maybe they dodged a bullet on that one.

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