In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the Canucks are interested in adding a right-shot defenceman and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Ethan Bear might be of interest. Meanwhile, an update on Bo Horvat’s contract negotiations. Addtionally, the Canucks wrapped up their Young Stars tournament on Monday, and Danila Klimovich stood out.
Canucks Interested in Bear
Rick Dhaliwal noted president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told him the club is interested in a right-shot defenceman under the age of 26. Dhaliwal listed Bear and Nils Lundkvist as two players the club is interested in. However, the New York Rangers traded Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars for two conditional draft picks on Monday.
Elliotte Friedman joined Donnie and Dhali before the trade and said Lundkvist is the easier number to add for the Canucks cap-wise, while Bear can help the club right away. He adds the following season is important to the Canucks, and the club likely favours adding Bear to the roster. Now that Lunkdvist has been traded, Bear is the likely option the team will attempt to add. The 25 years old will have a cap hit of $2.2 million next season, which is why adding him is tough.
Horvat Extension is Not Close
Friedman also discussed Horvat’s contract extension. He said it is not close and not progressing, while his next contract will be in the $7 million range. The initial offer to Horvat was reportedly in the $5 million range. The captain has expressed interest in being a Canuck for the long term.
“I want to be a Vancouver Canuck,” Horvat said. “I want to stay here and I love our group. My wife and I love the city. If I wanted to play for one team for my whole career, it would be the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously, it’s a long process and we’ll see where it goes.”
He added he can’t allow the contract negotiations to affect him as a leader, and he is fully committed to the club next season. Horvat scored a career-high 31 goals in 70 games last season and will look to build on it in the 2022-23 season.
Klimovich Impresses at Young Stars Tournament
The Young Stars tournament returned this past weekend in Penticton. The Canucks played three games against the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. A few notable names participated in the tournament for the Canucks, including Nils Aman, Linus Karlsson and Arshdeep Bains. The player that stood out for the organization was Klimovich.
The 2021 second-round pick impressed last week, especially against the Jets, as he scored a goal and posted an assist. Klimovich is looking to improve on his rookie season in the American Hockey League (AHL), as he scored eight goals in 62 games in the 2021-22 season. Klimovich is one of the organization’s top prospects and will have the opportunity to continue to grow in Abbotsford this season.
Edmonton Signs Virtanen to PTO
The Oilers signed former Canuck Jake Virtanen to a professional tryout agreement on Monday. The Oilers were among four to five teams interested in adding the forward. Virtanen was placed on administrative leave by the Canucks in May after a sexual assault allegation was made against him and was bought out by the club a few months later. He was charged with sexual assault in January 2022 but was found not guilty in July.
Virtanen scored five goals in 38 games with the Canucks in 2020-21. He played in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) last season with the Moscow Spartak, posting nine goals and 16 points in 36 games.
Canucks Training Camp Starts in Whistler
The Canucks announced their 2022-23 roster for training camp on Tuesday. Training camp will take place in Whistler from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24. Each date will include three practices and a scrimmage.
After wrapping up the Young Stars Classic, the organization turns its focus to the main roster and players on the bubble of making the team. This will be the Canucks’ first camp under Bruce Boudreau, which could be a different pace compared to training camp under former head coach Travis Green.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.