The Vancouver Canucks finished 19 points behind the Pacific Division leading Calgary Flames last season and five points back of the 2nd Western Conference Wild Card spot. That position was snagged by the Nashville Predators with 97 points.
With forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk moving on from the Flames, Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency and Tkachuk via trade to the Florida Panthers, we initially believed the Vancouver Canucks might have the opportunity to close the Calgary gap a bit this season.
The Flames believe otherwise.
“With two big guys like that leaving, there’s room and opportunity to grow, not just for me but for other guys on the team,” recently re-signed Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane said Wednesday. “Obviously we’ve got some new pieces and some guys left, but I’m still excited about our team. I think we can be in the mix to finish atop the division. I really do.”
The 26-year-old winger signed on Tuesday for three years at 5.8-million per season.
New acquisition from Florida and signer of a new eight-year extension Jonathan Huberdeau was the next to share the confidence.
“Right now we have a good lineup,” Huberdeau said Friday. “Our defense is really good, we have a great goalie. Look through the lineup, we just have a good team.”
The man who tied for 2nd in NHL scoring last season with Gaudreau, Huberdeau arrived July 22nd from the Panthers with defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, forward prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional 1st-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft for Tkachuk and a conditional 4th-round pick in 2025.
Addition by subtraction all-important chemistry-wise? One never knows, but Mangiapane says no.
“Johnny and ‘Chuck’ are great guys on and off the ice, Mangiapane said. “I wish nothing but the best for them, both in their careers and their lives.”
Arb’, no Arb’
Speaking of those Predators, they ‘lost’ an arbitration case to 25-year-old forward Yakov Trenin who was awarded a two-year deal worth $1.7-million per season. He had 24 points in 80 regular season games and three goals over four playoffs games this past spring.
Meanwhile, two other players avoided arbitration by signing deals prior to their scheduled hearings. Over the years, this occurs in a great majority of the cases.
Keegan Kolesar of the Vegas Golden Knights also had 24 points last season, but he voluntarily accepted a three-year contract worth $1.4-million per season.
Miles Wood, son of former NHL’er Randy Wood, avoided an arbitration hearing by signing a one-year deal worth $3.2-million with the New Jersey Devils. The number is a little bit surprising. Although Wood’s feistiness and all-around talents are appreciated, he missed almost all of last season following a hip injury and surgery.
More Vancouver Canucks and NHL info coming shortly … have a great weekend!