‘The Nuck Stops Here’ is an exclusively Vancouver Canucks column that runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Ronalds Kenins, Alex Friesen Signed
The following is a press release from the Canucks organization:
Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the club has signed forwards Ronalds Kenins and Alex Friesen.
Kenins, 24, split the 2014.15 season between Vancouver and the AHL Utica Comets. He appeared in 30 games with the Canucks in his first NHL season, registering 12 points (4-8-12) and eight penalty minutes. He also made his NHL post-season debut this year, registering two points (1-1-2) in five playoff games. In 36 games with the Comets this season, Kenins recorded 12 points (5-7-12) and 23 penalty minutes. The 6’0”, 209-pound native of Riga, Latvia, was signed as a free agent by Vancouver on July 30, 2013.
Friesen, 24, set career-highs in games played (60), goals (10), assists (20) and points (30) with the AHL Utica Comets this season. He also made his AHL post-season debut this year, registering 10 points (4-6-10) in 23 playoff games. The 5’10″, 185-pound native of Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario, was originally drafted by Vancouver in the sixth round, 172nd overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Goaltender Joacim Eriksson Signs in KHL
Swedish goaltending prospect Joacim Eriksson has signed with Dynamo Riga of the KHL. Eriksson played two seasons with the Comets as the starter in 2013-14 and the backup to Jacob Markstrom last season. He has played in one NHL game, coming in for mop-up duty in a 9-1 Canucks blowout loss to the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14 (and because of that, boasts a career GAA of 10.00.) The 6-foot-1 goaltender posted a .908 SV% this season, along with a GAA of 2.53.
Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann Invited to Team Canada Summer World Juniors Camp
Canucks prospects Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann are among the 194 players who have been invited Hockey Canada’s national team summer showcase. Virtanen was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning WJC squad, while McCann would have been considered had it not been for injuries. Both are expected to push for an NHL roster spot next season.
Should Yannick Weber be Re-Signed?
A storyline that, amidst the goalie drama, has gone relatively unnoticed, is what to do with RFA to-be Yannick Weber, a Swiss defender who scored 11 goals this past season. Late in the season, Weber was an integral part of a seemingly resurgent Canucks power play that skyrocketed all the way up into the top ten of the league. With his big shot and low-key defensive play, Weber seems like an attractive player for the team, but what complicates matters is that on the right side of defence, the Canucks boast Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa, as well as Adam Clendening and Frankie Corrado, both requiring waivers this coming season. It seems doubtful that any three of Tanev, Corrado and Clendening, who will all play big roles on the Canucks blue line in the coming years, will be moved out, leaving Bieksa. There have been rumors that the veteran defender will be willing to waive his NTC should the club he’s moving to guarantee him an extension, but it could still prove to be difficult to move the lifetime Canuck out of town. What works in the team’s favor when it comes to Weber is the fact that he is just an RFA, meaning his rights do hold at least a bit of value on the trade market (especially considering the rarity of double-digit goal total defensemen), but the preference is likely to keep him, which could wind up being a bit of a task. It should be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
Should the Canucks Take a Defenseman at all Costs?
One of the great debates among Canucks fans of late, is whether the team should take a defenseman with their 23rd overall pick, no matter who’s available, or whether the best move would be to take the best player available, no matter what position they play. While it’s true that selecting the BPA is often the right move, the Canucks have no blue chip defense prospects in the pipeline, and at #23, they have a chance to snag one and strengthen a glaring weakness in the organization. At their current position, potential picks include puck mover Oliver Kylington, shutdown defender Brandon Carlo, Thomas Chabot, Jeremy Roy, physical Czech Jakub Zboril and Swedes Gabriel Carlsson and Jacob Larsson. In terms of other skaters that could be available, Benning has expressed interest in Prince George Cougar Jansen Harkins, but may elect to go with a flashier option such as Daniel Sprong or Travis Konecny. There is certainly a bevy of choices at their disposal, and it will be interesting to see which route the Canucks decide to take.
Around the Blogosphere
Shawn Wiliken at Last Word On Sports takes a look at the Vancouver Canucks in the latest instalment of his 30-for-30 series [Last Word On Sports]
Prospect guru Ryan Biech takes a look at some options the Canucks have as far as forwards go at 23rd overall in the draft [Vancity Buzz]
Jason Botchford on why the Canucks should avoid selecting Brandon Carlo [The Province]
Ben Kuzma talks about defensemen available at #23, and if they should consider trading up [The Province]
Pass It To Bulis looks at who the experts have ranked at #23 in the draft [Vancouver Sun]