The Vancouver Canucks achieved an impressive 2014-15 season as they returned to the playoffs, instilling hope in a fanbase hungry for its first Stanley Cup championship. This is an important free agency for the Canucks as the regime wants to continue the momentum gained from the previous season. So how did this team prepare for the 2015-16 season?
Somehow, the first thing on their agenda was signing Luca Sbisa and Derek Dorsett to egregious contract extensions. Both of these contracts spanned multiple years and cost the team valuable cap space. Sbisa is possibly the worst defenseman in the NHL while Dorsett doesn’t offer much outside of grit and face-punching. Investing in assets that don’t help the team win is confusing.
As for their free agency moves, the Canucks were able to improve through minor acquisitions. However Matt Bartkowski and Richard Bachman only help so much. Bartkowski provides solid defensive depth, while Bachman is a backup with NHL experience, and neither of them are difference-makers.
Meanwhile, the Canucks had no problem re-signing Yannick Weber, Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening, so their defensive depth looks solid. That is, until you realize that Clendening wasn’t good in the NHL last year and him paired along with Sbisa is a disaster against even the worst of competition.
As for the forwards, they lost a couple in Brad Richardson and Shawn Matthias. While Richardson is replaceable, losing Matthias is hard as the Canucks will lose some of their needed forward depth to return to the playoffs next year.
Overall grade: D. The Canucks remained the same while giving away horrible contract extensions to players who won’t help them win.