The Vancouver Canucks continue to bolster their lineup with a few more key signings this week. The biggest signing still is goalie Ryan Miller. But the signing of forward Radim Vrbata is a very close second.
Vrbata signed a two year $10m contract with the Canucks. Vrbata is coming out of an exceptional season with the Coyotes, accumulating a total of 51 points. This signing all but confirms that the Sedin twins will have a new line mate this season. I thought for sure Bonino would get the chance, but not anymore.
Vrbata has already spoken to media about how he’s looking forward to playing along- side the Swedish veterans. I believe the first line is indeed the right spot for Vrbata. He’s got speed, great passing ability and has exceptional puck handling skills.
But the Canucks didn’t stop there. They also came to an agreement with forward Zack Kassian and defencemen Yannik Weber.
Kassian signed a new two year, $3.5m contract, while Weber signed a one year deal worth $850,000. These are two vital signings to the Canucks success this year. The signing of Weber was crucial due to the departure of veteran defencemen Jason Garrison. Weber is quick and could be an asset on the powerplay. He doesn’t have very much experience and will be looking to prove his worth to the team. Keeping Zack Kassian was a must for the Canucks. This guy will serve as a great second line forward. He isn’t afraid to fore-check hard and pressure his opponents. He’s a fighter and has proven he can score goals.
The 23-year-old enforcer accumulated 29 points last season for the Canucks along with a staggering 124 penalty minutes. I believe the second line for the Canucks could possibly include Kassian, Bonino and Burrows. This line would be the perfect mix of youth, speed and intimidation in my opinion.
Regardless, of what the lines are, the Canucks are well on their way to establishing a strong, balanced roster for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to see how head coach Willie Desjardins will work his roster. Out of all the signings that have occurred for this team so far, Ryan Miller is still the best one. However, I still think the Canucks have some work to do in the defensive end. Kevin Bieska and Dan Hamhuis can’t do it all on their own. The Canucks will need a big season from Alexander Edler and a breakout season from Yannik Weber this year.
I can’t wait to see which one of the new youngsters will step up and help the Canucks succeed this year.