The Vancouver Canucks won’t be delving into the NHL free agent market until they free up some cash, if they jump in at all. They may only want or need to make a trade or two before training camp in September. Either way it’s fascinating to see some of the names that are still on the market.
The restricted free agent (RFA) board is tantalizing. Noah Dobson is a righty D-man the Vancouver Canucks would love to have, while Jesper Bratt is a winger who’s name was brought up in a potential New Jersey Devils deal for JT Miller. Sportsnet had 2021 Calder Trophy runner-up Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars as their most coveted, offer-sheet-worthy youngster.
It’s possible GM Lou Lamoriello has already signed Dobson on Long Island and just hasn’t reported it. That’s Lou.
In terms of unrestricted free agents (UFA), centre Nazem Kadri of the champion Colorado Avalanche is clearly the top name out there.
With that in mind, here’s a little sampling of rumours, tips, or theories, first from Stefen Rosner of NYI Hockey Now.
This past weekend, I spoke to someone very close to the Nazem Kadri situation, who shared that Kadri was Long Island bound, with the question just being when.
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will need to shed salary, which seems to be the reason the free agent signing has not happened sooner. The amount that needs to be shed is unknown at this time for two reasons.
We have yet to see any information regarding Noah Dobson’s & Alexander Romanov’s extensions, both RFA’s that are believed to have been signed already. We also do not know what Nazem Kadri’s contract with the New York Islanders, if legitimate, is worth.
The Islanders scenario involves moving an existing centre to wing and the need to move a contract or two for salary cap purposes.
Meanwhile, veteran writer Bob Duff volleyed this from Detroit Hockey Now.
Adding a player of Kadri’s stature would definitely strengthen Detroit down the middle. So much so, it would actually give the Red Wings quite a bit of depth on three lines. Technically, they could move Andrew Copp to the wing to create a pretty dynamic second or even first line. Or going further, Copp could center a third line, but that seems less likely.
Regardless of what would work, Kadri would come in after an 87-point regular season (28-59) and then being nearly a point-per-game guy in 16 playoff contests (7-8-15). Kadri plays hard and embodies the Yzerman-type work ethic that he’s instilling in his roster. In fact, Sportsnet’s Sonny Sachdeva argues that the Red Wings would “covet” a guy like him just based on how Yzerman’s long time friend Darren Pang describes the GM’s roster building.
Again, there’s the issue of having to make some tough decisions with guys already in the organization. But if Yzerman is looking to truly put Detroit in its best spot in the last six seasons, signing Kadri would certainly do the trick.
Someone will definitely be getting better by adding Kadri. The anticipation is a little slower in early August but it’s still entertaining.
Like you and I, Vancouver Canucks managers are simply passive observers at the moment.