Vancouver Canucks Offseason Transactions: Part 2by Dom Lunardo September 11, 2021 0 comments
As we inch closer to the start of training camp and the subsequent 2021-22 National Hockey League campaign, the Vancouver Canucks are well-positioned to have a big bounce-back season. Stemming from this bounce-back is a solid offseason from general manager Jim Benning.
Last week, we examined the likes of Jason Dickinson, Thatcher Demko, and Conor Garland. This rendition focuses on three additional names which highlight Vancouver’s transactions this past summer. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Jaroslav Halak, Goaltender, Age 36, Acquired in Free-Agency
First up is the experienced netminder Halak, who joins Vancouver on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. A 15-year veteran, Halak has been in just about every situation in the National Hockey League. He should form a picture-perfect goaltending tandem alongside the Boston College product Demko. Right from the get-go, this has all the makings of a low-risk, high reward signing for the Canucks.
As a goaltender, Halak is calm, confident, and fiercely competitive. He’s answered the bell on more than a few occasions during previous stints with the Montreal Canadiens, St Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals. With recent stints with the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins. During the course of his career, spanning 539 games, Halak’s statistical output is impressive and consistent. With 281 wins to his name to go with 52 career shutouts. In addition, the Slovakian also possesses a career 2.52 goals-against-average and .905 save percentage. The Canucks needed some stability in goal after a disappointing campaign in 2020-21. This team certainly looks strong in goal with the likes of both Demko and Halak.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Defenseman, Age 30, Acquired via trade from Arizona
Ekman-Larsson, a former sixth overall pick, spent the better part of 11 seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. Now, the Sweden-born defenseman gets a fresh start in Vancouver. A warrior and born leader, who can do it all, Canucks fans are going to absolutely love Ekman-Larsson.
At the age of 30, “OEL” is still one of the most graceful blue-liners in hockey. As a player, he’s smart, reliable, and possesses a good stick. He’s a good skater, can log big minutes, and is an exceptional puck-mover. OEL also has the ability to quarterback a powerplay, and should immediately find a home on the Canucks’ second PP unit. Coming over via trade alongside Garland, Ekman-Larsson provides the Canucks with another complementary defenseman after stud blue-liner Quinn Hughes. This was a slam-dunk acquisition from Benning and one that will place the Canucks in good stead ahead of 2021-22. Get excited, Canucks fans-this team is for real.
Tucker Poolman, Defenseman, Age 28, Acquired in Free Agency
Next up on our list is the Dubuque, Iowa native Poolman. Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the fifth round back in 2013, Poolman provides the Canucks with some much-needed size (6’2, 200 pounds) and sandpaper on the back end. Last season with the Jets saw Poolman skate in 39 regular season games tallying one assist. While also averaging over 18 minutes worth of ice-time a game. Although Poolman is not one for offensive production, he never cheats on effort and is a solid player that many of the “young Canucks” such as Vasily Podkolzin, Jack Rathbone, and Nils Hoglander can learn from.
At the beginning of the free-agency period, the Canucks and Poolman agreed to terms on a $10 million, four-year deal. Not only is this very much a team-friendly transaction, but it’s also one that should age well in the NHL’s cap era. Poolman can kill penalties, move the puck, lay the body, and is an excellent addition to a young Canucks squad. The Canucks defense core received a much-needed face-lift this summer, specifically on the blue-line. They’ll definitely be well-positioned heading into October after the acquisitions of both Ekman-Larsson and Poolman.
Up Next? “Second Contracts” for Elias Pettersson & Quinn Hughes
Up next for Vancouver, are second contracts for two of their cornerstone pieces, Pettersson and Hughes. With nothing formally on the books yet, it appears that both players will be getting signed prior to the start of training camp.
In terms of what their contracts may look like, there are a few notable comparables. For starters, Andrei Svechnikov just signed a massive extension with the Carolina Hurricanes amounting to $62 million over eight years. This is music to the ears for Pettersson, who will likely garner something similar. On the defensive side of the Puck, Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche and Miro Heiskanen signed for $54M/six years and $67.6/eight years respectively. Look for Hughes to land in and around what Heiskanen and Makar signed for.
As training camps set to open across the league over the next few weeks, the Canucks are one of hockey’s most exciting teams. They’re young, fast, dynamic, and will have a bit of a “chip on their shoulder” when the puck drops in October. How will Vancouver’s offseason additions fare? Well, just have to wait and see.
Follow Dom Lunardo on Twitter @TapetoTape88
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images