By Dominic Lancella on June 17, 2014
After five straight seasons of the Vancouver Canucks winning their division and making the playoffs, the team stumbled down the stretch and missed the playoffs in the 2013-14 season. Coach John Tortorella was fired after just one season and now the team is searching for answers in preparation for next season. Here are five free agents that the Canucks should think about signing in the offseason.
The Canucks were dead last in the Western Conference last season in power play goals, scoring just 39. It’s hard to believe considering the playmaking ability of some of Vancouver’s forwards. Moulson is a proven power play asset who would greatly help the Canucks with a man advantage. Moulson scored 23 goals last season and 14 of them came on the power play.
Stralman came out of nowhere and played great in the 2014 playoffs for the New York Rangers. He’s not a flashy player and doesn’t score a lot, but he will stabilize the defense of any team he lands on. The Canucks got plenty of scoring from defenders last season but could use a guy like Stralman to add depth and defense to the team. The chance of Vancouver getting him remains unknown, as many teams will be looking at Stralman this offseason.
The Canucks were second to last in the entire NHL in goals last season with 196; only the Buffalo Sabres scored less. They could certainly use a player like Vanek, who is a goal-scorer if nothing else. Vanek has at least 20 goals in each of his first nine seasons. His type of offensive impact is something the Canucks desperately need. Like Moulson, Vanek is a player who will crash the net and score goals on the power play.
You may notice a theme developing -- Vancouver needs guys who can put the puck in the net. Hemsky has proved he can do that over his career. He hasn’t scored at the same rate as Moulson or Vanek, but he brings a different dynamic of skill that the Canucks could use. Hemsky signing with the Canucks seems like a feasible possibility because he’s spent his entire 11-year career in Canada between the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.
Stastny is No. 1 on this list because not only does he produce points at a high rate, he’s also one of the younger quality free agents out there. At 28, Stastny's in his prime and is coming off a 60-point season that included 25 goals and 35 assists. The Canucks already have two quality centers in Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, but adding a player of Stastny’s caliber would immediately improve a franchise that’s in danger of going on the decline.
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