What is the Vancouver Canucks’ biggest need this offseason?: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
13 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal previewed Vancouver’s priority needs to address during the 2024 offseason.
Between signing free agents, finding a high-end winger for Pettersson and even getting Pettersson returned to his star-form, the Canucks have their work cut out for them this summer.
The guys started by looking at the cap situation and how the forward group might shake out.
According to CapFriendly, there is $23.7 million in projected cap space but that includes Abbotsford goalie Nikita Tolopilo who’s cap hit is presumed to not be on the active roster next season. Harm’s estimation of cap space (including LTIR hits) is $27.2 million in cap space with 10 forwards, 3 defencemen, and 1 goalie signed to the current roster.
“You’ve basically got your pairs set when you look at the top 3 lines: Miller and Boeser, Hoglander and Pettersson, (Garland-*Joshua*),” said Harm. “If I were in their shoes, I would consider shifting Suter to 3C. Looking at the free agent market for centremen, it is a very shallow pool. I think you’ll have a much easier time if you shift Suter to the third line centre, have him play with Garland, and go out and get a winger, which I think are a lot easier to find. Before Blueger got the opportunity to play with Joshua and Garland, Suter-Joshua-Garland was a terrific line, but then Suter got hurt.”
“In the offseason as a whole, my biggest need is finding a star winger to play with Elias Pettersson,” Harm continued. “The Canucks only had one winger score 50 points this year. The Stars had five, the Rangers had three, the Panthers had three, and the Oilers only had two, but you get more leeway there with McDavid and Draisaitl. The one winger the Canucks had, Brock Boeser, stayed healthy and had a career season. He may not repeat the type of year that he had last season. It’s not a hot take to say he might not score 40 goals next season.”
Next up was the defence group.
“If the Canucks actually want to level up, they should be trying to aim higher than Myers in a second-pair role,” said Harm. “I’m not opposed to bringing him back as a number 5 defenceman to start on the third pair, but if we’re talking about upgrading, look at the depth of Dallas’ blue line and how much it helps now that they have another huge two-way minute-muncher in Chris Tanev. I like Soucy as your number 4, but Soucy and Myers together in the playoffs sometimes struggled to get the puck out. If you could give Soucy a partner who can hold that role a little better, that would be ideal. The Canucks were outshot by basically a 2:1 ratio without Hughes on the ice. Part of that starts with your blue line having trouble breaking it out whenever Hughes isn’t out there. You need two top-4 right-handed defencemen. Hronek could be one of them, but that’s a spot where, in a perfect world, you’d find an upgrade on Myers.”
Then came the discussion around the goaltender situation, with most assuming Arturs Silovs taking over the role as Demko’s backup.
“Demko probably needs a cap on his starts,” Harm started. “You can’t rely on him as a workhorse starter, and keeping him healthy and fresh for the playoffs has to be a massive priority. That means the number of non-Demko starts next year in the regular season is probably going up. Now that we’ve seen Demko get hurt multiple times, you don’t want to be in a position where Silovs is left to dry if he’s the only goalie with NHL experience. Whether it’s a veteran backup or a number 3 in the AHL who has NHL experience. Another question is, how much do you want to commit to Silovs after his playoff run? If you’re confident that this guy has a bright NHL future, you could give him the Kochetkov-type deal where he got a $2 million cap hit for four years. You’re paying a bit of a premium in years one and two, but if he blossoms, that’s going to be a bargain. Do the Canucks want to go that route with Silovs, or do they want cap savings for next season?”
Finally, the guys talked about which Canucks UFAs they’d prefer to be re-signed at market value. 
“Blueger makes a lot of sense barring him getting overpaid,” said Harm. “If you’re losing Elias Lindholm, then you want to maintain depth down the middle. I love the versatility and insurance; if someone gets hurt, you know Blueger can hang in a third-line role. The Canucks’ front office values that a lot and puts a ton of stock into the idea that contending teams have high-end fourth-line centres. That doesn’t mean you pay through the roof for it, but that’s a really important part of the roster. At market price, Blueger makes a lot of sense. For Joshua, I’m in the 50/50 range. A 3×3 might be palatable, but there’s a chance he gets more than that in free agency, and at that point, it’s see ya later. The tough part about it, whether it’s Joshua or Myers, is let’s say you want to make a run at a guy like Jake Guentzel who costs $9 million; all of a sudden, you might not be able to afford paying Joshua that money. Instead, if they traded for Ehlers, for example, and now the Pettersson winger is only $6 million, you’d have the money for Joshua. It’s not just, ‘Do I look at this player at this price?’ in a vacuum, it’s higher priority needs like a top-6 winger, what happens with Hronek; it’s a domino effect. That’s why I’m 50/50 on Joshua right now.”
“I have confidence in this management regime to have the right walk-away points and not get attached to guys,” Harm concluded
You can watch the full replay of today’s show below:

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