Latest on notable Canucks such as Dan Hamhuis and Ryan Miller plus more speculation on how the Oilers will address their blueline needs.
What next for the Canucks?
VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre reported there was little actual news to come out of the Canucks’ recent post-mortem press conference. Of the 11 Canucks eligible for some form of free agency on July 1, half probably won’t be back.Those include right wing Radim Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Starter Ryan Miller will be back, though his age (36) and contract (one year remaining at $6 million) make him a logical trade candidate.
MacIntyre expects winger Chris Higgins and possibly Alex Burrows might be bought out of the final year of their contracts, though Burrows’ strong finish and leadership value could give management second thoughts about parting ways with him.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks pending UFA Dan Hamhuis isn’t ruling out a possible contract extension. While admitting he could sign with another club via free agency, Hamhuis acknowledged his deep roots in the Vancouver community. However, he also wants to ensure he can find the right fit for his services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s desire to play as close to Los Angeles and his wife (actress Noureen DeWulf) limits any potential trade options for the Canucks. I daresay they’ll try shopping him toward next year’s trade deadline.
Vrbata’s a goner and Higgins will be bought out of the final year of his deal. As MacIntyre observed, a buyout of Burrows seems less certain than it did a month from now. However, if there’s a need to free up more cap space to add a free agent like, say, Loui Eriksson, I believe they’ll dump him in a heartbeat.
Hamhuis, on the other hand, could stay with the Canucks. I expect he could test the market first and see if the Canucks will match the best offer. I can also see them offering up a three-year deal for around $4 million annually to keep him.
Latest on the Oilers.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis responded to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent comment wondering if Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman would be a good fit with the Oilers. He feels Wideman could be a power-play specialist who could add a right-handed shot to their lower defense hierarchy.
Jason Gregor believes the Oilers should add a right-handed defenseman without subtracting a left-handed shot from their blueline. “I’d do it moving out some of the skilled forwards instead of moving out some of the young left-shot defenders”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Wideman-to-Edmonton happening for several reasons. He’s 33, has one year left on his contract with a $5.25 million cap hit, carries a full no-movement clause and currently skates for the Flames, the Oilers’ arch-rival. I don’t believe he’s the type of blue-line help the Oilers have in mind. They will almost certainly ship out one of their skilled young forwards not named Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall or Leon Draisaitl for a top-pairing, right-shooting defenseman.