The Canucks appear to have found their replacement for Braden Holtby who will officially be bought out later today. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports (Twitter link) that Jaroslav Halak is expected to sign a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Vancouver; the contract will also contain $1.5MM in performance bonuses. Meanwhile, CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal adds (via Twitter) that they will be signing defenseman Brad Hunt.
Halak had spent the past three seasons with Boston but had decided earlier this month that he’d be moving on. The 36-year-old suited up in 19 games with the Bruins last season, posting a 2.52 GAA with a .905 SV% but had been relegated to third-string status with Jeremy Swayman impressing down the stretch. He will be tasked with serving as a veteran mentor for Thatcher Demko but his track record is strong enough to push for playing time should Demko falter as well. The inclusion of bonuses in the deal will give Vancouver a bit more short-term flexibility as they could use the bonus cushion and ultimately defer some of the costs to next season.
As for Hunt, he has been a role player with the Wild for the past three seasons. He had an impressive campaign offensively in 2019-20 with eight goals and 11 assists in 59 games but he was limited to just a dozen appearances with Minnesota last season. The 32-year-old will likely have a similar role as he did with the Wild, serving as a reserve defender that can step in when injuries arise or when the power play needs a boost.