The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing, but the Vancouver Canucks are yet again nowhere to be found. This could be a blessing in disguise. The boys in blue now have plenty of time to recover for a run in 2022. Before we get ahead of our selves let’s look at the 2021 Vancouver Canucks offseason needs.
Contracts To Be Extended
It is no secret that the Canucks main priority is to sign the young studs Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to new deals. Said deals will be expensive but worth it long after the 2021 Vancouver Canucks offseason. Aside from Pettersson and Hughes the Canucks have a few other free agents in need of contract extensions.
Veteran guys such as Brandon Sutter, Travis Hamonic, and Alexander Edler as well as young up-and-coming players such as Olli Juolevi, Kole Lind, Brogan Rafferty, and Jalen Chatfield are all in need of new deals. The Canucks won"t be able to safely keep everyone without continuing their cap troubles.
Who gets left behind on the 2021 Vancouver Canucks offseason train? With the Canucks inching closer to playoff contention, keeping most of their young players is a must. Although the same cannot be said for the veterans. With the Canucks notoriously lacking grit Hamonic should be the priority number of the three veterans. Followed by penalty kill specialist Brandon Sutter. Thus leaving Edler as the odd man out, letting him chase a Stanly Cup somewhere more ready to compete.
The Canucks are loaded with questionable contracts. Contacts such as Loui Eriksson, Tyler Myers, and Antoine Roussel. Eriksson and Roussel are great buyout candidates with one year remaining on both deals, Myers though is a bit more questionable having three years remaining. Another player that makes the most sense for a buyout is, Jake Virtanen. The former sixth overall pick has not lived up to expectations and is currently on leave from the team while investigated for sexual misconduct allegations.
With the Canucks getting ready to make the jump out of the rebuild and back into the playoffs trade candidates become a grey area. Although there are still a few options, such as Virtanen (If not bought out). A team may be willing to take a chance and hope a change of scenery can spark the young power forward. Teams in need of a goalie such as the Oilers may be a good trade partner for Braden Holtby if he is not taken in the expansion draft. a couple of other trade candidates are Nate Schmidt who did not seem to find his footing in his first season or even J.T. Miller.
Now trading J.T. Miller sounds crazy, but in fact, it may be so crazy it is genius. Miller"s value has never been this high. Almost a point per game player in Vancouver, Miller is becoming a household name around the NHL, and if the lighting could fetch a first-round pick and then some for a third-line Miller, just imagine what the Canucks could receive for first-line Miller.
Target Free Agents
Resigning"s have not happened yet but 2021 seems poised to have a strong free-agent class. Unfourantly for Canucks fans the 2021 Vancouver Canucks offseason will likely not involve Alexander Ovechkin. It may not come with any big fish outside Hughes and Pettersson, but it could come with a few key pieces down the road.
The Canucks always seem to lack grit, they are in need of a player who can spark the team and protect their stars, fortunately as of now, there are a couple of players that fit the bill. Wayne Simmonds and Corey Perry are both set to hit the open market this offseason.
Along with the grit, the Canucks will be in need of a replacement for Edler. Such as Alec Martinez, Ryan Murray, or Mike Reilly.
With a strong class and a weak bottom six, the Canucks should also look for a couple of improvements. Apart from the forwards listed above they can look at some veteran leadership in Bobby Ryan or Blake Coleman to help improve and develop the younger talent around them.
Some other notable targets could be Zach Hyman, Tyler Bozak, Riley Nash, and Devin Shore.
2021 Vancouver Canucks Offseason Needs
First things first before the offseason gets into full swing the Canucks need to resign Pettersson and Hughes. After which they have to decide on the directions of certain players, mainly Edler. After the expansion draft and the entry draft, it may be worth unloading unneeded player"s contracts, shaking things up, bringing in some new faces, changing the direction, sign some grit, and more leadership to bring Vancouver that elusive Stanley Cup.
Finally, if the 2021 Vancouver Canucks offseason is not too hectic maybe explore a rebrand, lets move on from the orca and build a winning culture in Vancouver.
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