WRITTEN FOR THECANUCKWAY.COM
MAY, 22, 2019-
The Vancouver Canucks have a very important off-season ahead of them. While the draft is of utmost importance, free agency is also a key factor, and is something the team needs to be wary of.
When one looks at the Vancouver Canucks roster, it is easy to see the needs. Outside of the “core four” players, of Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat the team has holes in every position. The easiest solution to these problems would be to go out and sign an expensive free agent, but there are a handful of reasons why this would be a terrible idea.
This off-season presents an abundance of high-quality free agents hitting the market, and two of them have caught the eyes of many Canucks fans. These two players are San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and Columbus left winger Artemi Panarin.
Of the pair, Panarin might make a bit of sense. In the last few seasons, the Russian has established himself as an elite winger in the league and would undoubtedly help the Canucks in the immediacy as well as in the future. Panarin is also of an age (27) where he would likely still be productive come this teams time to win. Unfortunately, he is likely to demand a salary too high for the Canucks to invest in.
At the moment, Vancouver has lots of cap space and would be able to throw money at a free agent, however with the pending renewals of the “core four”, that cap space is smaller than it may seem. Panarin would make sense as he completes a full line in the top six, and he may be enough to squeeze the Canucks into the playoffs, much like the 2018-19 Blue Jackets.
On the other end of the game is aging defenceman, Erik Karlsson. A star turned in Ottawa, the Swede has established himself as one of the best blueliners in the history of the game.
He brings outstanding offensive production, as well as reliable defensive performances. Unfortunately, he has the very likely potential of turning into the Loui Eriksson of defence.