Now, on those five or six other things Benning and hockey operations need to accomplish to strengthen and refresh the Canucks roster amid the economic recession the National Hockey League is going through.
All-round Dallas Stars forward Jason Dickinson was a good hit on Saturday, as the Canucks spent just one third-round pick to fill their biggest need of the offseason: a tough, mobile and defensive center. to anchor what must be an improved third row.
But Seattle’s expansion draft offers other opportunities for the Canucks. Can they persuade the Kraken to take away an important contract? And out of all those attractive players made available to Seattle by other teams, are there a Benning or two who can book by making a claim-and-swap deal with Kraken GM Ron Francis?
The excitement this week about the possibilities extends to the Pacific Northwest beyond Seattle.
Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Motte, Jason Dickinson.
Nate Schmidt, Tyler Myers, Olli Juolevi.
Possible Seattle goals
F Kole Lind
Saturday’s pre-roster freeze on Dickinson’s acquisition, which will be a steal if the 26-year-old meets the screenings as the Canucks’ new third-line center, has ousted Lind from Vancouver’s protected roster.
The 22-year-old is the best “prospect” the Canucks have to offer. After excellent progress in the American Hockey League in his second professional season in 2019-20, the 2017 second-round pick started 2021 with five goals and eight points in eight games for the Utica Comets before a promotion. in the NHL in which Lind failed to register a point in seven games. But he made a promising move to the center of the right wing in the AHL and has enough pedigree as a scorer to be a tradable asset for Seattle, even if Lind’s future in the NHL is far from guaranteed. .
The Kraken’s most intriguing potential contender is Holtby, the former Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cup winner who enjoyed his first season with the Canucks (save percentage of 0.889) while losing the starting position permanently to profit. by Thatcher Demko. After two consecutive seasons below NHL standards, the former Washington Capital seems difficult to move as he has one year left on his contract at a cap of $ 4.3 million after signing in Vancouver last October.
But the name Holtby still carries the street’s reputation in the NHL, and several teams beyond Seattle have expressed interest in the accomplished goalie who is still only 31 years old and is largely – and rightly so – considered for his professionalism and leadership. The Kraken and Canucks have discussed a sweetener for Seattle if it soaks up Holtby’s hat trick, but the parties are at odds at this point on how much sugar to add. Interest from other teams, if it’s legitimate, is important because it would make Holtby transferable as an asset even if the Kraken don’t see him as a player in Seattle.
F Matthew Highmore
The list of Canucks available for the Kraken is so unimpressive – Vancouver benefited from the exemption of 2020 Calder Trophy finalist Quinn Hughes – that we include fourth in line Highmore among Vancouver’s top three expansion contenders.
Acquired from Chicago in April when the Canucks abandoned center Adam Gaudette, who was not protected by the Blackhawks, Highmore, 25, did better than most of the players who auditioned for Vancouver towards the end of the season. . He contributed five points in 18 games for the Canucks, showing speed and consistency while proving he can kill penalties. Careers in the NHL have been built with less.
Outlook for the salary cap
As GM Benning said on Saturday, the exchange for Dickinson is just the first of several improvements management is hoping to make this summer. The team needs another top six winger and at least two defenders. And they might need more defensemen than that, as the Canucks are taking offers on Nate Schmidt, while Alex Edler’s agent Mark Stowe went on TV in BC last week to say that his client, a career Canuck, plans to explore unrestricted free will. July 28. So there’s a lot of work to be done in Vancouver, and much of it relies on Benning getting off some contracts to create ceiling space to pay for his roster upgrades.
That’s why Holtby’s situation matters and why the Canucks are considering moving Schmidt before next season so his $ 5.95 million cap can be redeployed. That’s why Benning should buy out at least Jake Virtanen and his $ 2.55 million hit, and why the Canucks continue to look for an exit ramp on Loui Eriksson, whose six-year, $ 36 million contract has one season remaining – probably in the least. The deal for Dickinson was just the start of things.