The Vancouver Canucks have been busy of some sorts during the 2021 offseason. Although the Canucks are playing the long game when it comes to resigning their young stars, they have made a few impact moves in their quest for their first Stanley Cup.
The Canucks started the offseason off with a bang moving the Utica Comets closer to home in Abbotsford. It has been a long time coming but finally, the Canucks farm is in their backyard. Having the kids close to home just makes too much sense and for the Fraser Valley fans, it is a huge win. Luckily, they chose to name many great name options after the parent Vancouver Canucks, which is not a huge miss. Overall this is a great move for the fans and organization.
Some think the Canucks made a mistake trading for Oliver Ekman-Larsson (OEL) and Conor Garland and some do not. The Canucks unloaded the likes of Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson, as well as draft picks. Although all three players the Canucks sent to Arizona are on expiring contracts they totaled $12 million this season. $12 million for three players that would not have been everyday players in Vancouver just does not make sense, especially when the Canucks are looking to compete. The downside is the Canucks threw in the ninth-overall selection (Dylan Guenther). Luckily the Canucks got two players to complement their current roster. The thought in Vancouver is OEL will pair well with Hughes and help speed up his already impressive development. While Garland should slide in perfectly with Bo Horvat on the second line.
Grade: C+ (FOR NOW)
The Canucks have stayed busy in free agency, resigning Travis Hamonic, Brandon Sutter, Olli Juolevi, and Justin Bailey. Along with their re-signing they went out and signed plenty of players. Nic Petan, Tucker Poolman, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Brad Hunt, Jaroslav Halak, and familiar face Luke Schenn will all join the Canucks. Although the Canucks did not make any major splashes in free agency, they made some much necessary depth moves.
Jason Dickinson Trade
Prior to the NHL’s roster lock before the expansion, the Canucks and Dallas Stars agreed on a trade sending Jason Dickinson to Vancouver for a 2021 third-round pick. The young centreman brings a lot to the Canucks including the ability to man the second penalty kill unit. At just 26-years-old Dickinson could prove to be a steal in the future.
Nate Schmidt Trade
At the start of the offseason word got out that defenceman Nate Schmidt wanted out of Vancouver. During the 2020 offseason the Canucks acquired Schmidt for a third-round pick from Vegas, come the 2021 offseason the Canucks traded Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2022 third-round pick. The Canucks got what they gave up for Schmidt negating any damage of the trade last offseason.
The Canucks have finally unutilized the buyout. For years Canucks fans have asked to see certain players bought out but it had never been financially feasible, but this time it made sense. The Canucks bought out two players goalie Braden Holtby and forward Jake Virtanen. Holtby was entering the final season of his two-year contract and unexpectedly did not get selected by the Seattle Kraken, thus forcing the Canucks to buy out the underperforming goaltender. While the draft bust Jake Virtanen not only has disappointed the Canucks year in and year out, he has found himself in legal trouble. Therefore making him the NHL’s perfect buy-out candidate.
The Canucks have had a successful offseason thus far. Yet they are still needing to resign Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. As long as they can sign their young stars to either long-term or team-friendly bridge deals the 2021 offseason will be a major success. With the free-agent additions, trades, and a new close-to-home farm team, things are looking bright for Vancouver. Hopefully, fans will be able to attend games and get the boys rolling in 2021.
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