The Vancouver Canucks are within striking distance of first place in the Pacific Division as we head into the last part of the season, meaning the team likely won’t be considered sellers this year. With that in mind, Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic (subscription required) spoke to several agents that represent the team’s pending unrestricted free agents. Chris Tanev’s agent Wade Arnott told Dhaliwal that the veteran defenseman’s “priority is to re-sign in Vancouver.”
Tanev is in the final season of a five-year, $22.25MM contract signed in 2015, but is finally having a relatively healthy campaign. After averaging just 54 games played in each of the first four years, Tanev has already suited up 47 times in 2019-20 and is averaging nearly 20 minutes a night for the Canucks. The defensive defenseman is also on track to set a career-high in points, and leads the club in short-handed ice time. That’s a big piece of the team to let walk if the Canucks decide not to re-sign the 30-year old, though it is obvious he wants to stay.
- In Winnipeg, two more Jets’ defensemen have been placed on injured reserve. Carl Dahlstrom and Tucker Poolman find themselves with the designation today, with the former facing a six-week absence due to a broken bone in his hand. Poolman isn’t expected to be out as long, but suffering defensemen seems to be a trend in Winnipeg this year. The team will get Dmitry Kulikov back on the top pairing beside Josh Morrissey, but are still putting together a patchwork blue line.
- Craig Button of TSN has released his latest rankings for the 2020 entry draft, and it is no longer Quinton Byfield trying to chase down Alexis Lafreniere at the top. Tim Stuetzle, the top-ranked international skater by NHL Central Scouting, has climbed to the second spot on Button’s list, while Austrian-born Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s is now in fifth. Rossi would tie Thomas Vanek as the highest drafted Austrian ever in the NHL if he were to go in that spot this June.