The Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Ian Cole, center Teddy Blueger, and AHL forward Tristen Nielsen to contracts, per the team. Cole will earn $3MM on a one-year deal, Blueger will earn $1.9MM on a one-year deal, and Nielsen signed a two-year entry-level deal. They’ve also signed veteran blueliner Matt Irwin to a one-year, two-way contract. They’ve also added goalie Zachary Sawchenko on a one-year, two-way deal.
One of the primary focuses for the Canucks heading into free agency was upgrading their defense, and it’s tough to do much better than Cole in that aspect of the game. Regularly blocking over 100 shots a year, and averaging one of the better Defensive Point Shares in the league, the induction of Cole marketably improves the quality of the team’s defense headed into next year. Pair that with the signing of Irwin, and the Canucks defensive depth chart has improved considerably in the last 24 hours.
With Blueger, the Canucks should be expecting somewhere in the range of 20-30 points from him next season. A recent player for the Stanley Cup-winning Vegas Golden Knights, Blueger now brings playoff experience to a team that is in desperate need of getting there. Aside from his playoff experience, the addition of Blueger will tremendously help the Canucks penalty kill, a unit that carried a league-worst 71.6% success rate last season.