The Vancouver Canucks will have two big holes on offense with the losses of Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. Having been with the club since 1999, the Sedins have always been a source of offense and even though their skills had begun to deteriorate over the past few years, the two still combined for 105 points this past year at age 37. However, offense may not be the Canucks’ biggest need this season as the team has its biggest troubles on their blueline and might need to focus on that this offseason, according to Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre.
The team has a lot of question marks about the blueline with only Erik Gudbranson locked up for any length of time (three years at $4MM AAV). Top defenseman Alexander Edler is on his last season with the team and is already 32. With the team considering possibly trading veteran Chris Tanev who one of their biggest trade chips, there is little to look forward to on defense.
That isn’t the case on offense. The team might have lost the Sedins, but they have a group of prospects who are ready or close to ready to move into the lineup, including Elias Pettersson, Adam Gaudette, Kole Lind, Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin. However, defensive prospects are few and far between in Vancouver. The team has high hopes that 2015 fifth-overall pick Olli Juolevi might be ready to take on a major role with Vancouver next season. Taken ahead of both Mikhail Sergachev and Charlie McAvoy that year, the team has high expectations for him. The team also has the seventh overall pick in this year’s defensive-heavy draft, which should bring aboard another top defenseman to help the team out, although there is talk of the team moving that pick for a more developed pro-prospect instead, such as the rumors of the team wanting to acquire Carolina’s Noah Hanifin.
One possibility that MacIntyre suggests is instead of Hanifin would be to go out and trade for Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, who could find himself on the trade market with the team’s influx of youth on the blueline.
- After a recent report in which St. Louis Blues general manager spoke about how the team wants to acquire a top center this offseason, St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon writes that offers for John Tavares are likely unrealistic, the free agent pool is few and likely to become too high-priced and prospect Robert Thomas would be better off starting as a third-line center to get his feet wet. Despite that, he writes there are several potential trade options for the team if they really wants a realistic option for a second-line center. He suggests that both Tampa Bay Lightning’s Tyler Johnson and Montreal Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk would make for good options, especially the latter as Montreal is in need of defense, which St. Louis has plenty of.
- Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who has expressed interest in returning to the NHL after his contract with the Kings was terminated after pleading no contest to a charge stemming from a domestic dispute, supposedly had gained permission to cross the border to the U.S., according to KHL insider Aivis Kalnins, and look for a job in the NHL this offseason. While he is still looking for work in the NHL, NHL.com’s Igor Eronko reports that Voynov received that permission more than a year ago and traveled to the U.S. last summer. No word on whether any team is considering the former King, who played four seasons for them and the past three with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. Eronko adds that July 2 is the first day that Voynov can apply for a U.S. work visa.