Earlier this season, some speculation suggested the Vancouver Canucks might pursue Los Angeles Kings left winger (and Vancouver native) Milan Lucic via free agency. The Kings and Lucic, however, are reportedly working toward a new deal that will keep him in L.A.
The Canucks could find another local boy potentially available on July 1 to help them on the wing. St. Louis Blue right winger Troy Brouwer recently told Vancouver's News 1130 radio he's thought about joining the Canucks. “Family and friends, playing for my hometown, it would be an experience for sure,” Brouwer said.
Lacking skilled depth on right wing, the Canucks could use the services of the 30-year-old Brouwer. The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder is experienced, durable, physical and has three 20-plus goal seasons on his resume. He's also coming off a strong playoff performance, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games.
Brouwer's completing a three-year, $11-million contract. His postseason play this spring could push his free-agent value to over $4.5-million per season on a four- or five-year deal.
The Canucks have limited salary-cap space ($9.2 million) for 2016-17. While their core players are under contract, that still doesn't leave much to significantly bolster their roster. They could get $2 million in cap relief if they buy out aging winger Alex Burrows later this month.
Just because Brouwer's open to the possibility of joining the Canucks, however, doesn't mean he's the guy Canucks GM Jim Benning has his sights set on. Earlier this spring, there was talk Benning could pursue Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson if he hits the open market on July 1.
Eriksson, 30, played alongside the Sedin twins for Sweden in international competition. Benning also knows him from his days as the Bruins assistant GM.
It's rumored Eriksson seeks a five-year deal worth $6-million annually. If the Canucks land him, they won't have sufficient cap space to chase Brouwer.
After recently acquiring defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Florida Panthers, Benning might not be done adding to his D-corps. TSN's Darren Dreger claims Benning could target Dallas Stars rearguard and shot-blocking specialist Kris Russell if he becomes available on July 1.
Russell, 29, is finishing a two-year deal worth an annual average salary of $2.6 million. Depending on his asking price, his addition could hamper Benning's efforts to bolster his scoring depth.
BARRIE, AVALANCHE STILL WORKING ON DEAL
Defenseman Tyson Barrie's contract negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche remain a point of off-season interest. The 24-year-old RFA is completing a two-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.6 million. He also has arbitration rights this summer.
Sportnset's Elliotte Friedman recently suggested the Avalanche could move Barrie if unable to work out a new deal with him. He followed up last Friday by saying there's “nothing fresh” on the status of those contract talks, maintaining his belief the blueliner could be dealt this summer.
Terry Frei and Mike Chambers weighed in on the Barrie contract situation, taking seriously Friedman's belief the rearguard might get dealt.
Frei claims Avalanche coach Patrick Roy wants to add a big, physical defenseman, adding there's concern an expensive new deal for Barrie could skew their salary cap. Chambers, however, believes losing Barrie's puck-moving skills would be a big mistake.
Both pundits ultimately expect the Avs will get Barrie under contract, though it could take arbitration to get it done.
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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