Canucks News & Rumors: DeKeyser, Hughes, Horvat & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the Canucks signed defenceman Danny DeKeyser to a professional tryout (PTO) on Friday. Meanwhile, Quinn Hughes has told the club he is willing to play on the right side this season. Additionally, Bo Horvat discussed his contract negotiations on Monday.

Canucks Sign Danny DeKeyser to PTO

The Canucks signed DeKeyser to a PTO before training camp on Friday. The 32-year-old defenceman is coming off of a six-year, $30 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings, where he spent his entire 10-year NHL career. He was once a top-four NHL defenceman, but he had back surgery two seasons ago and has spent time on the injured list the past two seasons, while his play has been inconsistent  (from ‘Vancouver Canucks ink veteran rearguard Danny DeKeyser to pro tryout contract,’ The Province, September 10, 2022). He played 47 games in the 2020-21 season and 59 games in the 2021-22 season.

Danny DeKeyser Detroit Red Wings
Danny DeKeyser, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“Having had the surgery two years ago, I’m just trying to keep my head on straight and work hard every day,” DeKeyser said. “It (the back) has been feeling good. A lot of ups and downs these last couple of years. I had stretches where I felt like I played pretty good hockey and other times, some stretches I would have liked to have played better.”

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DeKeyser is a left-handed defenceman, which doesn’t fix the club’s issue with their lack of right-shot defenceman. The Athletic’s Thomas Drance joined Donnie and Dhali on Friday and noted adding the veteran blueliner allows the Canucks to ease into training camp. Adding DeKeyser will allow the organization to go younger for longer while resting the defenceman who are locks to make the opening day roster. This benefits the club as they will have a better chance at seeing where some of their younger defenders are in their development. 

Hughes Willing to Play On Right-Side

Rick Dhaliwal told Sekeres and Price he asked the president of hockey operations, Jim Rutherford, why the club hasn’t added a right-shot defenceman. Rutherford noted the Canucks have a few left-shot blueliners who can move over to the right in Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Travis Dermott. The president of hockey operations also added Hughes wouldn’t mind playing on the right side. 

Related: 4 Canucks Alternate Captain Candidates for 2022-23

If the Canucks move their best defenceman to the right side and he plays well, it would be a boost to the club’s blue line. The Canucks have Ekman-Larsson, Dermott and Rathbone to play on the left, while Hughes would be on the right side along with Tyler Myers and Luke Schenn. However, the organization may not have to move a left-shot defender to the right if Tucker Poolman is healthy and remains healthy throughout the season. 

Horvat Discusses Contract Negotiations 

Horvat discussed his contract with the media on Monday, stating multiple times he wants to be a Canuck for the long term. The captain added he will leave the contract negotiations up to his agent Pat Morris and keep talks private. Horvat said he does not plan on placing a timeline on negotiations and will also leave that up to Morris.

Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Horvat is in the final season of his six-year, $33 million deal. He is also coming off an impressive 31-goal season, which he did in 70 games. Dhaliwal previously mentioned the general feeling is the forward will cost the Canucks around $7 million per season or a little bit over. 

Canucks Might Bring Chiasson Back

Dhaliwal also asked Rutherford about another PTO, and he said the club likes Alex Chiasson. The Canucks love his character and leadership. The organization views him as someone who could be useful in Abbotsford with the younger players. Chiasson has been skating with members of the club for some time now. The forward played 67 games with the Canucks last season, scoring 13 goals and posting 22 points in 67 games. He scored six of his 13 goals last season on the man advantage, giving him a total of 10 power-play points. He has played 631 NHL games, scoring 114 goals and posting 224 points throughout his career.