The Canucks have reached a contract agreement with three of their pending free agents as they announced deals for defenseman Jack Rathbone (one-way), blueliner Noah Juulsen (two-way), and winger Will Lockwood (two-way). While the financial terms of the contracts weren’t disclosed, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that Rathbone’s two-year deal will carry an $850K AAV while PuckPedia adds (Twitter link) that Lockwood’s is worth $750K in the NHL and $125K in the minors. Meanwhile, CapFriendly reports that Juulsen’s pact is worth $750K in the NHL and $250K in the minors.
Rathbone, 23, was on an expiring contract but technically didn’t qualify for restricted free agency so he had 10.2(c) status which made him ineligible to receive an offer sheet. He had an impressive season with AHL Abbotsford, picking up 10 goals and 30 assists in just 39 games. However, his production didn’t translate to the NHL level as he was held off the scoresheet in nine games with Vancouver while averaging 13:30 per game of ice time. He remains waiver-exempt for next season but he should have a chance to push for a full-time roster spot with the Canucks in training camp.
As for Juulsen, the 25-year-old was set to become a Group Six unrestricted free agent but will instead stick around. Vancouver acquired the rearguard just before the beginning of the season from Florida along with forward Juho Lammikko in exchange for defenseman Olli Juolevi. Juulsen got into eight games with the Canucks (giving him 56 NHL appearances for his career) but spent most of the year with Abbotsford, collecting 16 points in 50 contests. He’ll likely return to the AHL level next season as long as he clears waivers in training camp.
Lockwood, meanwhile, had the most NHL playing time of the three in 2021-22 as the 24-year-old got into 13 contests with Vancouver but was held without a point. He was more successful in the minors with Abbotsford, however, as he picked up nine goals and 16 helpers in 46 games. Lockwood also has a year of waiver exemption remaining and will likely once again start next season in the minors with an eye on playing himself into being one of the first players recalled when injuries arise.