They say the best moves are the ones that were never made. Jim Benning may or may not have taken that a little too seriously. Thus far the Canucks have lost four players, resigned one, and made one new addition. With free agency in full swing Canucks fans are getting anxious that Benning and his crew will not be bringing in more additions. Let us get into what has been done and not into what is going to happen.
Letting Go of Jacob Markstrom
This hurt Canucks fan’s in many ways. The main piece of the Roberto Luongo trade is gone. Two-time Cyclone Taylor award winner Jacob Markstrom has found a new home. The most unfortunate part of that is his new home is, Calgary. Although the Canucks did not come up short, as the Flames gave Markstrom a monster six-year $36 million deal.
The departure of Markstrom gives Thatcher Demko reigns in Vancouver. Although Markstrom is now with the rival Flames, both parties came out successful Markstrom got the money he deserves, and Vancouver may have figured out their crease.
Signing Braden Holtby
Prior to Markstrom’s decision, the Canucks went out and found themselves a new goaltender. The Canucks managed to get their hand on former Vezina winner and Stanley Cup champion. As of right now, no one knows if Holtby is Markstrom’s replacement or Demko’s. Although we do know that Holtby will be the goalie exposed to Seattle in the expansion draft.
Adding Holtby was the best-case scenario if Markstrom was leaving. Holtby brings a lot to the table even if he has struggled as of recently. Such as his championship experience and veteran leadership will play a big role in the development of the team and Demko. Holtby is Demko’s perfect mentor.
Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher Departure
The Canucks said goodbye to not one but two of their right-handed defencemen. Both Tanev and Stecher were well-loved locker-room guys. Losing one without a replacement would not have been bad, but the Canucks managed to lose both. With the free agency market for right-handed defencemen looking slim Benning must have something up his sleeve, or this could blow up in his face.
Stecher signed a two-year $3.4 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Now fans may not be happy about the Canucks not forking out that kind of money to the young blueliner from the lower mainland but as stated above. Benning must have something up his sleeve.
Tanev on the other hand followed Markstrom all the way to Calgary. Signing a four-year $18 million deal. This deal seems a little out of the Canucks range. Tanev may have been loved in the locker room and all-around British Columbia, but he is an aging defenceman with an injury history. Vancouver wishes Tanev all the best in Calgary.
The Move That Was Not
Leading up to free agency the Canucks were reportedly in heavy pursuit of adding Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Fortunately for the Canucks payroll and future of the organization a deal was not struck before Ekman-Larsson’s deadline Friday morning.
Now Ekman-Larsson would be a good asset to any team, but his current contract would handcuff any team. Currently, he is locked up for seven more seasons. Seven seasons at $8.25 million per season. Unfortunately, the Canucks do not have the cap space to comfortably pull this move off.
The Canucks lost two of there three “big fish” with Tyler Toffoli still unsigned it could be all three. They have been able to add a great goalie in Braden Holtby though, which many could argue is an upgrade between the pipes. They also managed to avoid a major contract at the hands of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Adding more to what the did right, they have yet to give out a bad contract like years past. Although there is still work to be done with the blueline and top-six they have not busted in free agency just yet.
First Weekend Grade: B+
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