- Kyle Welsford
Free Agency 2022 Review
Updated: Aug 28, 2022
A: Exceptional, Fantastic, Great
B: Good, Solid, Quality
C: Average, Ordinary, Meh
D: Bad, Poor, unsatisfactory
F: Terrible, Fail, Insignificant
In order of Average Annual Value
Ilya Mikheyev: (4 x 4.75M) - LW/RW
GP: 53 G: 21 A: 11 TP: 32 (NHL)
The Canucks biggest and perhaps most surprising signing in free agency was Ilya Mikheyev. Due to a lack of cap space heading into free agency his 4.75M price tag came as quite a shock to many. Mikheyev is an unproven player who has only played 146 games in his entire NHL career, and his career high in goals and points last season may be the exception and not the rule.
There is, however, a lot to like about Mikheyev.
Mikheyev is one of the fastest players in the league and his large frame (6’3”) makes him tenacious on the forecheck. He is a fantastic penalty killer and responsible at both ends of the ice.
Ilya Mikheyev checks 3 enormous boxes for the Canucks: speed, size, and penalty killing. He is just entering his prime at the age of 27 so locking him up for 4 years is a reasonable bet, but it didn’t come cheap.
Curtis Lazar: (3 x 1M) - C/RW
GP: 70 G: 8 A: 8 TP: 16 (NHL)
The Canucks signed B.C boy Curtis Lazar to a 3-year contract worth 1M per season. Lazar labelled a bust early in his career has found his role as a hard-to-play against two-way center that hits everything in sight (Lazar led the Bruins last year in hits).
Furthermore, Lazar is a right-handed center and can kill penalties which were huge organizational needs.
There is a lot to like about this signing and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lazar turned into a fan favourite.
Andrei Kuzmenko: (1 x 950k) - LW
GP: 45 G: 20 A: 33 TP: 53 (KHL)
The Canucks, under new management, signed the most sought-after European free agent, Andrei Kuzmenko. Kuzmenko playing in the KHL finished 2nd in scoring, recording 53 points in 45 games. He has elite offensive upside and should immediately make this team more dangerous.
Kuzmenko will at minimum fill a top 9 role with the team and at the age of 26 on a contract year, he will be given every opportunity to show that he deserves a long-term contract in the NHL.
Kuzmenko has the highest ceiling out of any of the free agent signings and it isn't even remotely close.
Dakota Joshua: (2 x 825k) - C
GP: 30 G: 3 A: 5 TP: 8 (NHL)
Perhaps my favourite signing in this year’s free agency, Dakota Joshua is a fast and physical skater who can play all three forward positions. Splitting time between the AHL and NHL last season, Joshua continually improved throughout the season. Notching 20 points in 35 games in the AHL and adding another 8 points in 30 games for the St Louis Blues, the Canucks are betting on the 25-year-old to develop into an everyday NHL player.
For those who like analytics Dakota Joshua led all St Louis Blues in expected goal differential (59.9%)
Wyatt Kalynuk: (1 x 750k) - LD
GP: 52 G: 7 A: 20 TP: 27 (AHL)
The Canucks signed left-handed defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk to a one-year league minimum contract. The former 7th-round pick made a splash in his first season in the NHL recording 9 points in 21 games at the age of 23 for the Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately, Kalynuk only suited up for 5 games last season due to a lingering ankle injury.
Now at the age of 25, the Canucks are making a low-risk high reward bet on his potential as Kalynuk should add some competition for the 3rd left-handed defence spot on the roster and serve as a quality AHL defenseman at worst.
Christian Wolanin: (1 x 750k) - LD
GP: 37 G: 1 A: 17 TP: 18 (AHL)
Journeyman Christian Wolanin has found his way onto the Canucks after signing a one-year league minimum contract. Wolanin spent most of last season in the AHL posting 18 points in 37 games and added 2 points in 9 NHL games when called up. He should serve as a solid AHL defenseman down in Abbotsford and provide the organization with some more defensive depth.
Philip Di Giuseppe: (1 x 750k) - LW
GP: 42 G: 12 A: 24 TP: 36 (AHL)
Phillip Di Giuseppe is returning to Abbotsford!
Nothing wrong with this signing, should serve as a top 6 forward in the AHL and can play on the main roster in a pinch. Keeping Abbotsford competitive is important for developing prospects.
Collin Delia: (1 x 750k) - G
GP: 22 GAA: 3.04SV%: .905 (AHL)
This signing effectively ended Michael DiPietro’s tenure as a Canuck.
Collin Delia is a 28-year-old netminder who put up a mundane .905 save percentage in the AHL last season. In conjunction with Arturs Silovs continued development, there is simply no room for DiPietro, who has sought a trade out of Vancouver.
I guess we are seeing a Delia, Silovs tandem next year in Abbotsford.
Patrick Alvin's first free agency with the Canucks was a success in my books. For one, the oldest player they signed was 28 years old, no more signing players over 30, especially with term.
Secondly, they got faster and bigger and added a slew of players that will slot on the PK, all massive organizational needs.
Yes, they didn't acquire any right-handed defensemen which was disappointing, but these low-risk and low-cost signings should make this organization more flexible and deeper.
Overall Grade: B