Canucks add Beagle, Roussel, Schaller to complement skilled forwards
Join Boeser, Horvat, Pettersson after retirement of Daniel, Henrik Sedinby Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent
After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Vancouver Canucks:
The Vancouver Canucks are counting on defensive improvements from their third and fourth lines to free up younger, skilled forwards to make up for the scoring that left with the retirement of Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
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The Canucks added free agent forwards who defend well, kill penalties and are hard to play against: Jay Beagle (four years, $12 million), Antoine Roussel (four years, $12 million), and Tim Schaller (two years, $3.8 million).
The Sedins combined for 105 points (26 goals, 79 assists) and Vancouver finished 26th in scoring last season (2.66 goals per game). The Canucks have averaged 2.37 goals per game the past three seasons, last in the NHL, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all three.
Rookie forward Elias Pettersson is likely to join Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser to try to improve the offense. The defensemen and goaltenders are unchanged after Vancouver finished 26th in goals against (3.16 per game).
General manager Jim Benning will take over hockey operations after president Trevor Linden left his position July 25.
Here is what the Canucks look like today:
Elias Pettersson, F: The No. 5 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft led the Swedish Hockey League in scoring (56 points; 24 goals, 32 assists) last season. The 19-year-old was named the most valuable player in the regular season and playoffs after helping Vaxjo win the SHL championship. … Jay Beagle, F: The 32-year-old was added for leadership and defense after winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals. With a 56.4 percent face-off winning percentage in the NHL, Beagle should help a penalty kill ranked 21st last season (78.3 percent) while taking some of the tough even-strength matchups previously reserved for Brandon Sutter. … Antoine Roussel, F: The 28-year-old played six seasons with the Dallas Stars and is being counted on to replace some of the grit lost after forward Derek Dorsett retired because of a neck injury. An agitator with 806 penalty minutes in 413 NHL games, Roussel is capable of more than the 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) he had last season. He averaged 13 goals and 27.5 points the previous four. … Tim Schaller, F: Like Beagle and Roussel, Schaller should make the Canucks harder to play against. The 27-year-old had 42 penalty minutes and an NHL career-high 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) with the Boston Bruins last season.
Daniel Sedin, F: Tied Boeser for the Canucks lead with 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) last season, the 11th time in the past 12 seasons one of the Sedin twins led them in scoring. … Henrik Sedin, F: Led Vancouver with 47 assists and his 50 points were second. ... Trevor Linden, president of hockey operations: The former Canucks forward whose No. 16 is retired left his job as an executive after four seasons.
Video: VAN@EDM: Canucks, Oilers send off the Sedin twins
On the cusp
Quintin Hughes, D: The No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft hasn't signed a contract and could end up back at the University of Michigan, especially with four left-shot defensemen already signed to one-way contracts. If Hughes, who had 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in 37 games as the youngest player in NCAA hockey last season, does turn pro, the 18-year-old could become the most skilled defenseman on the Canucks, who struggle to generate offense from the back end. … Adam Gaudette, F: The 21-year-old didn't have a point in five games with the Canucks at the end of last season after leading the NCAA with 60 points (30 goals, 30 assists) for Northeastern and winning the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey. But Gaudettte, picked in the fifth round (No. 149) of the 2015 NHL Draft, looked increasingly comfortable in his late-season stint and could force roster decisions with a strong training camp. … Thatcher Demko, G: The 22-year-old will compete with Anders Nilsson. to back up Jacob Markstrom. Demko had a .922 save percentage in his second American Hockey League season and won his NHL debut March 31. … Olli Juolevi, D: The No. 5 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft had 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 38 games in Liiga, Finland's top pro league, last season. Offseason back surgery and the number of left-side defensemen on the depth chart means the 20-year-old will likely start with Utica of the AHL.
Video: Canucks draft D Quintin Hughes No. 7
What they still need
A scoring second-line center. Pettersson could fill that role before the season is over, if not sooner, but if he starts at right wing like he did in the SHL, the Canucks don't have a true play-driving center to work alongside him.
There will be a new look for the Canucks this season without fantasy mainstays Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin in the lineup. That change brings opportunity for exciting prospects Pettersson, Hughes and Demko to become fantasy relevant as early as 2018-19. Pettersson could find himself in the top six this season. Hughes was the youngest player (18) for the United States at the 2018 IIHF World Championship, proving he's ready to compete for a roster spot during training camp. Demko could be a third option behind Markstrom and Nilsson but might earn the No. 1 job by the NHL All-Star break. -- Rob Reese
Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Brock Boeser
Loui Eriksson -- Brandon Sutter -- Elias Pettersson
Antoine Roussel -- Jay Beagle -- Jake Virtanen
Sam Gagner -- Markus Granlund -- Tim Schaller
Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher
Michael Del Zotto -- Christopher Tanev
Derrick Pouliot -- Erik Gudbranson