The Vancouver Canucks need scoring depth, and among the top options could be free agents-to-be Loui Eriksson and Troy Brouwer. Boston, too, will be looking at ways to improve their roster, and scoring could be an issue if Eriksson bolts. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers could be searching for an experienced backup to go along with some blueline help.
A lack of scoring depth scuttled the Vancouver Canucks playoff hopes this season. Only the New Jersey Devils scored fewer goals . Addressing this should be a priority for GM Jim Benning.
Since March, there’s been talk Benning could pursue Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson via free agency. However, Jeff Paterson of The Province believes the St. Louis Blues’ Troy Brouwer could be a better fit.
Paterson cites the 30-year-old Brouwer’s playoff experience, right-handed shot, versatility, durability, work ethic and leadership as the positive factors he’d bring the Canucks. Coming off a three-year, $11- million deal, he could be an affordable addition on a three- or four-year deal.
The Canucks have $14 million in cap space for 2016-17 and all their core players signed for next season. Benning has the space to bring in Brouwer if he wants, perhaps for around $4 million annually. The Blues winger would certainly be a much more affordable option than Eriksson, who’s rumored to be seeking a five-year, $30-million deal.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the Canucks can woo Brouwer. His performance in the 2016 playoffs has increased his visibility and improved his free-agent value. He won’t lack for suitors if he hits the open market on July 1.
IF ERIKSSON LEAVES BOSTON, BRUINS WILL NEED REPLACEMENT
One of those clubs could be the Bruins, who’ll need a suitable replacement for Eriksson if he departs via free agency in July. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty suggests Brouwer could be a good fit.
Stamkos is a long shot for the Bruins, especially since their priority this summer is improving their defense. Okposo could be a solid option but he could seek $6 million annually.
Weise would certainly be an affordable pickup via free agency, but he’s not capable of filling a top-six role. As for the Ducks, it’s unlikely they’ll part with Silfverberg.
OILERS SEEK EXPERIENCED BACKUP GOALTENDER
It’s assumed the Edmonton Oilers will pursue a top-two defenseman via trade or free agency this summer. However, that might not be the only area of their roster they address.
Matheson considers the Buffalo Sabres’ Chad Johnson as the best bet, but he earned $1.3 million last season and will seek a raise this summer. He also played in 45 games this season. Other options include Al Montoya of the Florida Panthers, Carter Hutton of the Nashville Predators and Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Predators are reportedly interested in re-signing Hutton. Montoya is popular with the Panthers and their fans and could be staying put. As for the Jets, they could keep Hutchinson, promote promising Connor Hellebuyck and attempt to move starter Ondrej Pavelec.
If Johnson is too expensive and Hutton, Montoya and Hutchinson prove unavailable, the Oilers won’t have have many choices in an already thin goalie market. Jhonas Enroth won’t be returning with the Los Angeles Kings but, like Johnson, he’s seeking a larger role.
If there’s nothing available through free agency, the Oilers could be forced into the trade market to address this need.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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