The Vancouver Canucks made a splash in the free agency pool on Saturday, adding three pool worthy players and a couple of fringe players as well.
One of their biggest signings was forward Sam Gagner, inking him to a 3-year, $9.45 million deal. The 27-year old forward had a big bounce back season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, picking up 18 goals and 50 points in 81 games for the club, which ranked him 124th overall in pool scoring, 92nd among all forwards.
Next up on list was the 48th ranked goalie in the scoring rankings, Anders Nilsson, who signed a 2-year, $5 million deal, adding depth behind Jacob Markstrom for the the 2018 season. Nilsson played in Buffalo last year, posting 10 wins in 26 appearances. There's a fine chance that Nilsson will likely see an increase in ice-time, as Markstrom hasn't quite made it to the elite level, where he's playing 65 games or more.
On the blueline, the Canucks were also fortunate to add Michael Del Zotto, signing him to a 2-year, $6 million deal. The offensive-minded defender could help to anchor a floundering power play in 2017, as he brings 6 goals and 18 points in 51 games with the Flyers last season to the table. Del Zotto lost significant time last year to lower-body injuries, but he should start the season healthy.
The Canucks also added forward Alexander Burmistrov and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch on Saturday, both getting 1-year deals, below the $1 million mark.
|Henrik Sedin||7.000||Alexander Edler||5.000||Jacob Markstrom||3.670|
|Daniel Sedin||7.000||Christopher Tanev||4.450||Anders Nilsson||2.500|
|Loui Eriksson||6.000||Erik Gudbranson||3.500|
|Brandon Sutter||4.375||Michael Del Zotto||3.000|
|Sam Gagner||3.150||Ben Hutton||2.800|
|Derek Dorsett||2.650||Troy Stecher||0.925|
|Sven Baertschi||1.850||Olli Juolevi||0.925|
The Canucks had a lot of cap space to work with to start on Saturday and they put a pretty good dent in the 2018 number, adding over $9.5 million to their projected roster above. I currently have them in with $7.96 million left in cap space after Saturday's spending spree and they still have to re-sign Bo Horvat to a new deal out of his entry-level contract, which should also leave a big mark on their cap number.
As a team in the 2017 season, the Canucks were not a very hard-working bunch and the addition of both Gagner and Del Zotto, two talented underachievers, doesn't exactly build confidence on paper. The Canucks do have some quality youth coming up through the system and these signings may help bridge the gap, but staying competitive is also on management's docket for the year and I just don't think they're there yet.