With reports that the Vancouver Canucks intend to focus their sites on adding a top-level defenseman in free agency, its looks like general manager Jim Benning has made it clear who is at the top of his wishlist as Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that Vancouver expects to meet with unrestricted free agent Tyler Myers today, the first day teams can speak to unrestricted free agents.
Myers, who has played with the Winnipeg Jets for the past five years, is one of the top three unrestricted free agent defensemen along with Toronto’s Jake Gardiner and Montreal’s Jordie Benn. The 29-year-old could add some offense as he tallied nine goals and 31 points last season in Winnipeg. The 6-foot-8, 229-pound blueliner would give the team a solid top-four defenseman for the Canucks, who have lacked a solid top-four for years. Myers, along with a full season of 2018 first-rounder Quinn Hughes, could help bolster the team’s defense for a long time if the Canucks can convince him to sign with them.
- The Los Angeles Times’ Curtis Zupke reports that the Los Angeles Kings will tender qualifying offers to Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Michael Amadio, Daniel Brickley, Calvin Petersen, Sheldon Rempal and Matt Roy. No surprises there. He adds the team also does not intend to make qualifying offers to Nikita Scherbak, Alex Lintuniemi, Matteson Iacopelli and Pavel Jenys. Scherbak, who was claimed off waivers from Montreal, struggled after coming over to the Kings, while Lintuniemi has been passed by a number of Kings defenseman on their depth chart after the former second-round pick finished the season in Ontario in the AHL with a minus-30 rating.
- The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins reports that the Edmonton Oilers haven’t had much success so far in trying to trade winger Jesse Puljujarvi, who has asked for a trade, and had been shopped at the NHL Entry Draft Friday and Saturday. Edmonton has already made it clear they do not intend to trade him away for nothing and supposedly are asking for quite a bit. Leavins writes that they did talk to Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, but he balked at the asking price, which was winger Bryan Rust. Puljujarvi, a restricted free agent, has made it clear if he isn’t traded, he will play in Europe.
- Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are considering Chicago Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson to join Mike Babcock’s staff this upcoming season. Thompson, who led Chicago to the Calder Cup Finals in the AHL this season, has been considered a candidate to move to the NHL. Toronto has lost two assistant coaches this offseason. D.J. Smith was hired as the Ottawa Senators head coach, while Jim Hiller left the team to join Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz with the New York Islanders. No word on whether the Vegas Golden Knights will release him from his contract.