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 hoping moves they made to upgrade their top two forward lines and defenseman group will help them make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
After acquiring forward J.T. Miller in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 22, the Canucks added defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn as free agents July 1 before signing forward Micheal Ferland on July 10. Those four add size, toughness, experience and, most importantly, scoring to a team that finished 26th in the NHL in goals each of the past two seasons and is last in scoring over the past four seasons combined with an average of 2.44 goals per game.
Ferland said he sees a lot of similarities between Vancouver and his previous team, the Carolina Hurricanes, who last season reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.
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"No one expected us to do that we did, and we were a young group over there, and that's what I see in Vancouver," Ferland said. "You look at Vancouver and the players they have and the guys they're bringing in, and I think that's the next step."
Video: Ferland signs four-year deal with Canucks
Here is what the Canucks look like today:
Tyler Myers, D: The 29-year-old had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 80 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. The 6-foot-8 defenseman should see increased offensive opportunities in a top-four role with the Canucks. … J.T. Miller, F: The 26-year-old had 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 75 games spent mostly on the third line for the Tampa Bay Lightning but averaged 22 goals playing higher up the lineup the previous three seasons with the Lightning and New York Rangers. … Micheal Ferland, F: The 27-year-old had 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 71 games last season, his second straight with at least 40. … Jordie Benn, D: Benn, who turns 32 on July 26, is coming off an NHL career-high 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) with the Montreal Canadiens.
Video: Tyler Myers signs five-year contract with the Canucks
Ben Hutton, D: The Canucks did not give the 26-year-old a qualifying offer despite him being second in average ice time (22:21) and third in scoring among Vancouver defensemen with 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 69 games last season. … Markus Granlund, F: The 26-year-old did not receive a qualifying offer and signed with the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent after spending the previous four seasons with the Canucks. … Derrick Pouliot, D: The 25-year-old signed with the St. Louis Blues after the Canucks did not give him a qualifying offer. He had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 61 games.
On the cusp
Quinn Hughes, D: The 19-year-old made his NHL debut late last season, after leading the University of Michigan with 33 points (five goals, 28 assists) in 32 games, and had three assists and averaged 18:05 of ice time in five games with the Canucks. A dynamic skater picked No. 7 in the 2018 NHL Draft, Hughes will get a chance to have an even bigger impact offensively in his first full season as a professional. … Olli Juolevi, D: The No. 5 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft resumed skating in June after his first professional season in North America ended with knee surgery Dec. 18. The 21-year-old had 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 18 games with Utica of the American Hockey League before the injury. Juolevi likely will start the season in Utica but should get a chance to make his NHL debut this season.
Video: VAN@NSH: Granlund, Hughes combine for opening PPG
What they still need
To create enough space under the NHL salary cap to re-sign forward Brock Boeser, a restricted free agent who was third on the Canucks in goals (26) and points (56) last season despite missing 13 games because of injury.
Miller could skate with Elias Pettersson and Boeser on the top line and power play. Miller had an NHL career-high 20 power-play points last season for the Lightning, who led the NHL in conversion percentage (28.2). He could gain additional fantasy value if his ice time (14:40 per game) increases and Hughes lives up to the hype. -- Rob Reese
Micheal Ferland -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- J.T. Miller
Sven Baertschi -- Brandon Sutter -- Josh Leivo
Loui Eriksson -- Jay Beagle -- Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler -- Tyler Myers
Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev
Jordie Benn -- Troy Stecher