In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, Tanner Pearson and Jason Dickinson emerge as trade candidates as the club looks to clear cap space. Meanwhile, Vincent Trocheck and Ryan Strome may be offseason targets for the Canucks, and Mike Yeo could be added to the team’s coaching staff.
Pearson and Dickinson Trade Candidates
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli released the first Trade Targets list of the summer with 28 names in play. Seravalli included three Canucks forwards in the list of 28. J.T. Miller was ranked fourth, while Pearson and Dickinson were ranked 18th.
“Rutherford said recently on the DFO Rundown that the amount of money the Canucks can move off their books will determine how big of a player they are on the trade and free agent market this summer,” Seravalli said. “We know from Pittsburgh that Pearson is not Rutherford’s type of winger. He’s already traded him once. Dickinson is vastly overpaid for his production, but it will cost assets to move him. The Canucks will be working to try and find suitors for both.”
President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford traded Pearson to Vancouver when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Erik Gudbranson. Pearson spent the following four seasons with the Canucks, posting a total of 54 goals and 109 points in 207 games. Former general manager Jim Benning extended the forward for three years with an average annual value (AAV) of $3.250 million in April 2021. The deal was a questionable one as the forward will be 31 years old at the end of it.
Meanwhile, the organization traded for Dickinson last summer, sending a 2021 third-round pick to the Dallas Stars. The club proceeded to sign him to a three-year deal with an AAV of $2.650 million. The Canucks hoped he could serve as a third-line centre and produce in a bottom-six role, but he failed to do both. He posted five goals and 11 points through 62 games last season.
The Canucks’ primary goal is to free up cap space this offseason. In order to do so, the club will have to trade away a few of their overpaid contracts. A few names stand out, including defencemen Oliver Ekman Larsson and Tyler Myers as trade candidates. However, due to the price and length of their contracts, it might be tough to move either one of them, especially Ekman-Larsson. Therefore, players like Pearson and Dickinson, who are not a part of the core and don’t contribute as much as the team’s top players, are great trade options.
Canucks Could Be Interested in Trocheck or Strome
One of the roster needs for the Canucks heading into the offseason is a right-handed centre. VancouverHockeyNow’s Rob Simpson states unrestricted free agent Trocheck is a right-shot centre the club could look to add. The forward does have history playing alongside Miller, however, Simpson points out that adding Trocheck may only be a possibility if the club trades their 2021-22 points leader. At 28 years old, Trocheck is coming off a 21-goal, 51-point season and finishing a six-year contract with an AAV of $4.750 million. He will likely get a contract in the $5.5 to $6 million range.
Simpson also notes the Canucks can eyeball New York Rangers centre Strome this offseason as well. Strome, 28, is coming off a 21-goal, 54-point season with the Rangers. Simpson adds the Canucks don’t have many options for a right-handed centre in free agency this offseason outside of Trocheck and Strome. Patrice Bergeron will likely return to the Boston Bruins if he continues to play, while Claude Giroux is 34 years old and is likely out of the age range the Canucks are looking for.
Canucks Could Add Yeo to Coaching Staff
The Canucks could continue making changes to their coaching staff by adding former head coach Yeo, according to Elliotte Friedman. The organization will likely want to add a coach since assistant coach Scott Walker opted to leave. Additionally, assistant coach Kyle Gustafson and video coach Darryl Seward were let go from the club this offseason. Yeo coached the Minnesota Wild for five seasons before coaching the St. Louis Blues for three seasons. He last served as an assistant on Alain Vigneault’s coaching staff with the Philadelphia Flyers. He took over as interim head coach after Vigneault was fired in December 2021.
Canucks Sign Nils Aman
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced the club has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with forward Nils Aman on Tuesday.
“Nils is a smart hockey player who plays with speed and has a strong work ethic,” said Allvin. “He possesses a good two-way game, and we look forward to seeing his continued development on both sides of the ice with the Canucks organization.”
The forward was originally a Colorado Avalanche draft pick, as the club selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. He became an unrestricted free agent on June 1st after Colorado decided not to sign him to an entry-level deal. He posted six goals and 14 points in 51 games with Leksands IF of the Swedish Hockey League last season. The Canucks continue to add depth as they sign a young forward to their roster.Bieksa Intends to Sign One-Day Contract With Canucks
Kevin Bieksa told The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman he was going to sign a one-day contract and retire as a Canuck on March 28, 2020, but COVID-19 shut that down (from ‘Kevin Bieksa on his ‘Hockey Night’ evolution and why he hasn’t formally retired,’ The Athletic, June 5, 2022). He noted he was in talks with the Canucks earlier in the season, and the organization was planning when to do it, but the club fired Benning. Bieksa hasn’t had a chance to meet with the new regime and discuss a potential one-day contract and retire as a Canuck.
“It was actually my dad’s idea. I don’t need to retire – officially. I don’t need the attention,” Bieksa said. “My dad was like, “It’s good for the Canucks. Good for your legacy.” I’m basically doing it for my dad. I’m supposed to retire as a Canuck.”
Bieksa spent 10 years with the Canucks, playing 597 games. He scored 56 goals and 241 points during his time with the club. It is only right the defenceman retires with the club as he played a crucial part in the team’s success while he was on the roster.
Young Star Tournament Update
Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre confirmed four teams will participate at the 2022 Young Stars tournament in Pentiction, B.C. The Winnipeg Jets join the Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames at the Young Star tournament, which will be held from Sept. 14 to the 18th. The Canucks have been unable to host the tournament for four years. The organization held the tournament from 2010 to 2018 but decided not to hold it in 2019 due to a lack of prospects. It was supposed to be held in 2020 but was not due to COVID-19.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.