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Team Reset

Canucks offense should get boost from Loui Eriksson

Veteran likely to play on top line; Vancouver hopes younger forwards can provide support

by Cutler Klein @CutlerKlein / NHL.com Staff Writer

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:

In a city surrounded by water, the Vancouver Canucks landed one of the big fish of the offseason.

The Canucks signed forward Loui Eriksson to a six-year contract July 1. He likely will play right wing on the top line with center Henrik Sedin and left wing Daniel Sedin. There are several young forwards, among them Jake Virtanen, Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce, who will be looking for more playing time.

Veteran Alexander Edler will anchor the defense. The addition of defenseman Erik Gudbranson in a trade with the Florida Panthers on May 25 for forward Jared McCann and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft should help the Canucks, who allowed 2.91 goals per game last season, 23rd in the NHL. 

Ryan Miller, 36, likely will enter the season as the No. 1 goalie, but he hasn't played more than 60 games since 2011-12. The Canucks signed Jacob Markstrom to a three-year contract extension July 7 and he could see extended playing time if Miller can't handle the workload. 

After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canucks will try to avoid sitting out consecutive postseasons for the first time since missing four straight from 1997-2000.

Video: LAK@VAN: Miller's save on Andreoff in the 3rd

Here is what the Canucks look like today: 

KEY ADDITIONS: Loui Eriksson, RW: The 31-year-old scored 30 goals for the Boston Bruins last season, the second-best total of his NHL career (36 in 2008-09 for the Dallas Stars), and his 63 points were the most since he had 71 with the Stars in 2011-12. The Swede, expected to play with his countrymen, the Sedins, could provide the offensive boost the Canucks need to get back in the playoffs; they were 29th in the League in scoring (2.27 goals per game) last season. … Erik Gudbranson, D: The 24-year-old averaged 20:06 of ice time and had nine points and a plus-3 rating in 64 games for Florida last season. He'll likely play with second-year defenseman Ben Hutton on the second pair, providing a physical, veteran presence. … Anton Rodin, RW: A 2009 second-round draft pick (No. 53), Rodin returns to the Canucks after three seasons in his native Sweden. He signed a one-year contract March 22 but finished the season with Brynas. The 25-year-old had 16 goals and 37 points in 33 games, and was named the most valuable player in the Swedish Hockey League. He could provide the kind of depth scoring the Canucks need. … Jayson Megna, C: The 26-year-old signed a one-year contract on July 1. He had one goal in six games with the New York Rangers last season and 15 goals and 44 points in 68 games with Hartford of the American Hockey League. He could see time on one of the bottom two lines. … Philip Larsen, D: Larsen returns to the NHL after two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. Last season, he had 11 goals and 36 points in 52 games with Jokerit. He has 31 points (eight goals) in 125 regular-season games in parts of five seasons with the Stars and Edmonton Oilers. He signed a one-year contract July 1.

KEY DEPARTURES: Dan Hamhuis, D: He signed a two-year contract with the Stars on July 1. Injuries limited him the past two seasons; in 2015-16 he had three goals and 13 points in 58 games. … Yannick Weber, D: The 27-year-old had seven points and a minus-17 rating in 45 games last season. He signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators on July 1. Weber's departure could mean more ice time for a younger player like Nikita Tryamkin or Alex Biega. … Linden Vey, RW: The forward signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Calgary Flames on July 5. Last season, he had four goals and 15 points in 41 games with the Canucks, and three goals and 15 points with Utica of the AHL. … Jared McCann, C: The 24th pick of the 2014 draft, McCann had 18 points in 69 games as a rookie last season. 

ON THE CUSP: Brendan Gaunce, C: The 26th pick of the 2012 draft made his NHL debut last season and had one goal in 20 games. He'll be in contention for a roster spot in training camp but could start his second pro season in the AHL. … Nikita Tryamkin, D: The 6-foot-7, 228-pound defenseman signed a two-year, entry-level contract March 9 and made his NHL debut one week later. The 21-year-old had one goal and one assist in 13 games, and could earn a spot on the third pair to start this season. 

WHAT THEY STILL NEED: Another top-six forward to provide a scoring boost. The Canucks' second and third lines are more or less interchangeable at this point. Any combination of players from Sven Baertschi, Virtanen, Horvat and Hansen could see time on either line. In order to better define roles for those players and lessen the drop-off in production after the first line, there's a need to bring in more elite scoring talent. That will allow the Sedins and Eriksson to comfortably manage top-line minutes while allowing young players like Virtanen and Horvat to ease into bigger roles. … Vancouver also could use a top-pair defenseman. A top pair of Edler and Christopher Tanev is serviceable, but Edler is 30, entering his 11th season and has played more than 65 games once in the past four seasons. 

PETE JENSEN'S FANTASY FOCUS: Larsen has played in Europe the past two seasons but returns to the NHL with a chance to compete for time on the Canucks' first power-play unit with the Sedins and Eriksson. The lineup has its share of concerns, but its power-play efficiency should improve with the addition of Eriksson, who had 10 goals and 17 points on the man-advantage last season. Larsen never has played a full season in the League but should be on your fantasy watch list in case his production translates to 30 or more points with 15 on the power play this season.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen

Emerson Etem - Brandon Sutter - Jannik Hansen

Derek Dorsett - Markus Granlund - Alexandre Burrows

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson

Luca Sbisa - Philip Larsen

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

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