When it comes to Vancouver, fans have a lot to be excited about. Acquiring Russian star Podkolzin was an absolute steal at the ten spot. Sure, he is signed overseas for another two seasons, but most prospects do not enter the league right away anyway. On top of this, the Canucks saw Swedish forward Nils Hoglander fall into their lap in round two. Both of these guys were passed up by many teams and were steals for the Canucks. They are both talented wingers who play with very high levels of intensity at both ends of the ice.
The Canucks also made a big splash, acquiring gritty winger Michael Ferland for a very reasonable price. He will be making 3.5 million dollars per season for four years. In his past two seasons, he has accumulated a total of 81 points in 148 games. These numbers are not mind-blowing, but they are impressive when you factor in his ice time and the other aspects of his game that make him so effective. For starters, he would immediately become Vancouver's most physical player. He is a tremendous athlete and he has proven to be an absolute nightmare to play against in the playoffs.
Another acquisition saw Jim Benning overpay to acquire Lightning forward J.T. Miller who was on the chopping block due to Tampa's salary cap situation. Despite this tough predicament for Tampa, the Canucks still sent away a third round selection and a conditional first round pick which could be taken in 2020 or 2021 depending on Vancouver's draft placement.
Don't get me wrong, J.T.Miller is a very versatile forward who should help the team as a top 6 forward. However, Jim Benning has made a habit of making countless moves during the off-season in an effort to solidify his roster and add depth. Adding depth is usually good, but it will certainly restrict the team moving forward. Last season alone we watched Benning sign three depth forwards who may not even make the lineup this year. Tim Schaller was one of these players who the Canucks fortunately only have under contract for one more season. However, Beagle and Roussel are signed for another three seasons at 3 million per year! These are good depth forwards, but signing a pile of them is simply not the answer for Vancouver.
When it comes down to it, Benning is going to overpay for depth forwards and leave nothing for the young players looking to make the team. Ideally, Benning will need to move some lengthier contracts this season in order to sure up some space moving forward. It is unfortunate, but players like Sutter, Beagle, Roussel and Schaller just aren't in the Canucks future. I would expect some moves from Canucks management early this season if these veterans fail to impress early in the year.
In a perfect world, Benning will do his best to move Beagle, Roussel, or Eriksson this season. They combine for far too much cap and there will be no roster spot available for them moving forward. Young players like Gaudette could potentially be forced to play in the AHL far longer than required simply because Benning signed too many forwards to lengthy contracts. This endless supply of signings each and every year will ultimately fail and Benning needs to make some adjustments if he wants to ensure success moving forward. Strong drafting has got the Canucks back on track, hopefully the rapid turn around is not reversed as a result of poor decision making and splurging in free agency.