It has been just over a week since the NHL Entry Draft, but the Vancouver Canucks are making news with the team’s day-one signings. General manager Jim Benning has focused on defensive improvement. However, there’s more to do to reshape the team and limited salary cap space to do it.
In this edition of Canucks news and
Item One: Canucks Sign Four New Players
On July 1, the first day of free agency, the Canucks signed center Tyler Gravoc, defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, defenseman Jordie Benn, and defenseman Tyler Myers.
The 26-year-old Tyler Graovac signed a two-way contract. He played in 65 games for the Stockton Heat in 2018-19, scoring 24 goals and 26 assists. He led the team in goals and was second in points.
Oscar Fantenberg signed a one-year contract for $850,000. Last season, the 27-year-old, left-shot Fantenberg played with both the Los Angeles Kings (46 games) and the Calgary Flames (15 games). Not known for his scoring,
Jordie Benn, a 31-year-old, left-shot defense from Victoria, BC, came closer to home to play with the Canucks after three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and six with the Dallas Stars. He signed a two-year contract for $2 million average annual value (AAV).
Finally, the Canucks’ biggest signing (no pun intended) was 6-foot-8, right-shot defenseman
During his career, Myers scored 265 points (74 goals, 191 assists) in 635 regular season games. He brings a wealth of Stanley Cup experience, scoring 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 39 playoff games. Myers won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season in 2009.
Item Two: Luongo’s Retirement Costs the Canucks Salary Cap Space
Roberto Luongo retired this week. He is the greatest goalie in Canucks history and is certain to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. However, his retirement leaves the Canucks in a salary cap crunch. Because he retired before his contract expired, he leaves the team with a salary cap hit of approximately $2.2 million per season as a “recapture penalty.”
Related: Luongo Leaves Dual Canucks Legacy
The Canucks owe Luongo more than $3 million each of the next three seasons, which comes directly off the Canucks’ salary cap. Because the $800,000 the Canucks were still paying Luongo officially comes off the books, the actual cap impact is around $2.2 million.
Item Three: Canucks Place Spooner on Waivers
This past week, Ryan Spooner was waived by the Vancouver Canucks. They will buy out his contract. Spooner came to the Canucks late last season in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers to move Sam Gagner. Both once-successful forwards were struggling.
Although he has been bought out, the team will still carry just over $1 million in cap hit for both the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 season. That, in addition to the salary cap hit from Luongo’s retirement, means the Canucks will carry a $3.033 million hit into each of the next two seasons.
The team will now have just over $17.5 million in salary cap space as free agency opens.
Item Four: Two Goalie Prospects on the Move
The Canucks picked goaltender Arturs Silovs from Latvia with their 156th draft pick, and he will reportedly play next season with the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Silovs drew attention during the World Under-18 Championships, where he was by far the best player on an overmatched Latvian squad that made it to the quarterfinals. He shut out Slovakia in the deciding game of the preliminary round.
Goalie Matthew Thiessen will be playing for the University of Maine for the coming season. Thiessen was chosen with the 192nd pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He was ranked fourth by Central Scouting among North American goaltenders.
Item Five: Canucks Fantasy Hockey Forwards
Although I have never reported about Fantasy Hockey before, when I looked at the NHL Fantasy Hockey’s Top 100 Forward rankings for 2019-20, I saw that four Canucks were listed in the top 100.
Those players are Elias Pettersson at #22 (moving up four places since his last ranking), right winger Brock Boeser at #43, center Bo Horvat at #79, and newly-acquired J.T. Miller at the final place #100. This is Miller’s first time on the list of 100, which might suggest that fantasy enthusiasts see him as being in a good place with his new team.
For the sake of comparison, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov was ranked #1, the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin was ranked #2, the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid was #3, and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche was #4. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby was ranked #10.