WWYDW: Which out-of-organization free agent is at the top of your Canucks wish list?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
29 days ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet powered by early-2000s post-hardcore bands.
Speaking of Thrice, we do realize that this is our third free agency-related column in a row. But can you really blame us? This is a site dedicated to the Vancouver Canucks, a team that is 40% free agent at this point, and we’re now just weeks away from the Frenzy.
This week, at the very least, we can offer you a turn away from the Canucks’ own free agents to those many, many soon-to-be unrestricted free agents from outside the organization, all set to hit the open market on July 1, 2024.
We’ve said previously that it’s nearly inevitable that some of the Canucks’ own players will be leaving this offseason. And that, in turn, makes new additions to the roster another near-inevitability, and UFA signings are the simplest way to go about finding replacements.
But not all UFAs are created equal. And we’re sure you’ve got a preference.
We do realize that making any sort of free agency-related judgements without being privy to negotiations of salary and terms is difficult. That’s why we’re narrowing this question down and focusing entirely on the very top of the list.
This week, we’re asking:

Which out-of-organization pending unrestricted free agent is at the top of your Canucks wish list for this offseason?

Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

Which Vancouver Canucks UFA would be your top priority to sign this offseason?

You answered below!
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Nikita Zadorov. He is built for the playoffs. Canucks want to win a Cup and Nikita has shown he can raise his game in the playoffs.
The opposition feared Zadorov when he was on the ice and he always made his presence known. He was solid defensively and provided a surprising amount of offence. He is big, durable, and has skill. Only Lindholm came close to matching what Nikita brought to the Canucks in the playoffs.
Canucks need to sign him.
Alex h:
Sign the playoffs warriors, dump the passengers.
arthur kidd:
I think the Lindholm love is a little low here. He may not have put up points in the regular season, but he was a solid force at centre during the playoffs. That’s a key position and he was filling it with aplomb. Can’t afford him? Trade Boeser. Let’s keep the guys who drive play.
Trade Pete:
Get rid of Petterssen, keep all the UFAs.
Joshua was terrific for the price and I see them making a deal to keep him. Otherwise, Z had the biggest impact of the UFAs and I’m sorry to see him go to greener pastures in the USA.
For me it’s got to be Dakota Joshua. He just brings so much to the table. Size, physicality, good hands, can move up and down the lineup, can kill penalties. He’s got to be priority #1.
The Luminator:
My top 5 UFA Canucks to prioritize would be: 1) Zadorov 2) Joshua 3) Myers 4) Blueger 5) Lindholm.
A good D-Fence is the best O-fence and it really should be the priority with only three D signed right now. I would try to sign Tanev at $5M to play with Hughes, qualify Hronek arbitration at $7M to pair with Zadorov at $5M (then re-sign Hronek after he’s played a season not next to Hughes!). Myers at $3M with Soucy is a big solid third pairing.
If we sign Joshua at $3.5M, we would have to both settle for Blueger at $1.5M as third line C instead of Lindholm and dump Mikheyev if we want to sign a new top-six UFA winger like Toffoli at $5M.
Hockey Bunker:
None of the free agents are worth overpaying to keep. None of them. Will take an assessment of where the team thinks it will be in two years…and plan accordingly with contracts coming off the books when D-Petey, Willander, and Lekkerimäki and maybe another one or two make the team.
Joshua may be the most intriguing…and would top my list if his raise can be capped at a million or so.
Myers the easiest to resign…at about $3 million.
Lindholm and Zadorov are likely too expensive with contracts too long.
Hronek: use arbitration to tie him down for a year or two.
Keep $5 million or more in dry powder to add players in-season as necessary.
defenceman factory:
Hronek is an RFA but he is the highest priority simply by the fact his contract will be most valuable.
The priority isn’t to sign him, but to resolve the top pairing RHD situation quickly. I’d prefer he was traded if there is a reasonable chance the Canucks can land one of the top RHD UFAs. Matt Roy is an upgrade defensively and on the PK. He does not have his points-stats padded by playing with Hughes. He will cost less than what Hronek reportedly wants.
The next highest priority is Myers. He and Soucy make a very cost-effective second pairing. Once those cornerstones are in place, you can decide what luxuries can be afforded. Everyone loves Zadorov and rightfully so, but a multi year deal at $5+ mil AAV for a third pairing D-man is a luxury.
First pair – $15.25 mil, second pair – $7.75 mil, leaves about $7-8 mil for the remaining four D-men. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry and don’t hit July 1 without a plan and a cap structure.
My personal absolute keeper is Zadorov. Provides more than just competent defence, and there really aren’t many other players in the league anything like him. Lindholm was a nice add, but not a 3c at his asking price. Sasson on the farm team had a great year and might work there.
John Bates:
Zadorov. Reasonable cap hit, five years or less.
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