Allvin presser

The Vancouver Canucks got to work on July 1st, signing six position players and one goaltender to contracts as free agency opened in the NHL.

Let’s just dive right in!

Jake DeBrusk, Forward, 6’1, 198lbs, 27 years old

Free agency kicked off with forward Jake DeBrusk agreeing to a seven-year, $5.5 million average annual value contract.

The 27-year-old winger is coming off his third consecutive 40-point season. He scored 19 goals and added 21 assists in 80 games and averaged 16:50 in ice time. 15 of his 19 goals came at even-strength last season.

DeBrusk was third among Bruins forwards for shorthanded ice time last season. He scored two shorthanded goals last season.

"I got asked about if I'd do it because I have that speed and a good stick and I was like, 'Why not? Why not give it a try?' And I think that's something that I've grown with. As the years have gone on, [the PK minutes] have gone up, and up, and up and I think that I have become an effective one. I still think I'm still learning [in] the defensive side of the game," DeBrusk said.

Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin spoke to the media in the late afternoon and discussed DeBrusk’s addition to the team.

“Jake is coming from a good program there in Boston. We like his speed and his versatility. He can play both special teams, [he has] got the experience of playing in the playoffs. What I've seen over the years [is that] Jake has consistently been able to elevate his game in the playoffs. He is a responsible two-way guy and I envision, unless Tocc finds different line combinations, but I envision him starting with Petey,” Allvin said.

Kiefer Sherwood, Forward, 6’0”, 194lbs, 29 years old

The next move the Canucks made was signing the ultra-physical winger from the Nashville Predators, Kiefer Sherwood to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.5 million.

Sherwood finished 15th in the league for hits last season. He had 234 hits in 68 games and had 33 hits in six playoff games against the Canucks.

“For me, it was just about identity and identifying the best fit,” said Sherwood about Vancouver being the right fit for him. “Obviously, I got a little close-up in playoffs and when [it was] all said and done, that's what excited me to be part of this group. It's a lot of special things brewing, so I definitely want to be part of it.”

Last season was a career year for Sherwood. On top of his scads of hits, Sherwood scored 10 goals and added 17 assists – all his points coming at even-strength.

“Even going back to when he played in the minors, he has always been a guy that our scouts have identified that [there] is more to come if he gets the opportunity,” said Allvin. “I felt that in the playoffs, he played extremely hard, gritty, tenacious, he was in on our forecheck, and made every single player on the team uncomfortable. As we looked, getting faster, and getting harder to play against, that was something we wanted to accomplish. And also, being a good PK guy.”

Danton Heinen, Forward, 6’2”, 195lbs, 28 years old

A local kid is coming home as Danton Heinen signed a two-year, $2.25 million AAV deal with his hometown club.

Heinen was fifth on the Bruins in five-on-five points last season and scored 17 goals while adding 19 assists. He had one shorthanded goal and one on the power play.

Last season, Heinen had the lowest shorthanded goals-against per minute on the Bruins. He had 94:45 of shorthanded ice time and was only on the ice for four goals-against.

“I take a lot of pride in my two-way game,” said Heinen. “That’s something I've tried to develop over the years – being good on both sides of the puck.”

The 28-year-old is a former captain of the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL.

Derek Forbort, Left-Shot Defenceman, 6’4”, 214lbs, 32 years old

The team added 32-year-old, 6’4”, left-shot defenceman Derek Forbort on a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Forbort was 2nd on the Bruins last season for shorthanded ice time per game.

The big defenceman scored two shorthanded goals during the 2022-23 season.

After DeBrusk said that Forbort enjoys eating pucks, the defenceman spoke about enjoying blocking shots and how it gets him into the game.

"When I get a couple of blocks early, it's something that helps me get in the game,” said Forbort. “I love doing it and it gets the boys pumped up on the bench."

Jiří Patera, Goalie, 6’3”, 212lbs, 25 years old

The first goalie added to the roster is 25-year-old, Jiří Patera.

Patera spent the past three seasons with the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL, with 78 games played. He has also played in eight NHL games over the past two seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Nate Smith, Forward, 6’0”, 177lbs, 25 years old

Another forward signing came with the right-shot centre, Nate Smith.

Smith has 24 goals and 34 assists for 58 points through two full seasons with the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) and has played in 14 NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes over the past three seasons.

Vincent Desharnais, Right-Shot Defenceman, 6’7”, 226lbs, 28 years old

The team announced the signing of big defenceman, Vincent Desharnais. The right-shot defenceman signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $2 million.

Desharnais has played the past two seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. He averaged 15:02 of ice time last season and scored one goal while adding 15 assists in 78 games played.

The 28-year-old is a penalty-killing defenceman who adds depth and size to the defence corps.

Patrik Allvin added a few nuggets in his media availability at the end of the day.

He confirmed that Brock Boeser is doing well in his recovery and is expected to be fully healthy by training camp.

The GM also mentioned that every player he spoke with this morning brought up the fans and how the arena was during the playoffs.

Allvin also talked about the team feeling good about how they used their money on a day of frenzies.

“July 1st is an interesting day but it's also a scary day. I think we were pretty good here today in terms of managing our money and getting hopefully good value out of the players we got,” said Allvin.

We will continue to have coverage this week but shift our sights to the youngsters who kicked off Canucks Development Camp this afternoon.

Expect to see some fun prospect coverage in the coming days here at!