Mike Gillis has hit a free agent home run, signing the much coveted Dan Hamhuis to a 6 year deal worth $4.5 million per season. Hamhuis will step-in as their number one shutdown defenceman, replacing Willie Mitchell. He will bring defensive stability and toughness to the blueline.
I like this deal. Hamhuis is only 27 years old, so the six year deal shouldn’t be a problem. Paying him $4.5 million per season suggests that the Smithers, BC native gave the Canucks a bit of a hometown discount. A Bieksa trade can’t be too far away to clear cap space. Perhaps Buffalo would be interested, considering they lost both Henrik Tallinder and Tony Lydman today. The Canucks will be wanting a gritty winger that can score and play on their third line at a low cap hit.
The Canucks have also begun rebuilding their third line, signing Manny Malhotra to a three-year deal worth $2.5 million per season. Malhotra also gets a no trade clause in the deal. I’m not sure what to think about this deal. Malhotra is a centre and if Cody Hodgson is to become what we all hope he will, that will put Malhotra as their 4th line centre. I also don’t like giving a no trade clause to a role player. So this is a bit of a gamble, but it’s a gamble perhaps worth taking. Malhotra can kill penalties, provide size and toughness, and win faceoffs. In fact, Malhotra was the best faceoff man in the league last season, winning 62.5% of his draws last year. I’m a little on the fence with this deal because of the money, but I like it a lot better knowing that it didn’t prevent them from landing Dan Hamhuis.
Mike Gillis also added Joel Perrault to the mix, signing him to a one year deal worth $510,000. The deal is a one-way deal, so the 27 year old will probably play on the fourth line. Perrault is a 6’1″, 200lbs centre who has split time between the NHL and AHL over the last few years.
*Update: It looks like the Canucks signed one more player. Jeff Tambellini (yes, Steve’s son) has signed with the Canucks. A little surprising, I thought Tambellini was an RFA, but apparently he was a UFA. He signed a one-year deal. As long as it’s a two-way contract (*Update: confirmed, it’s a two-way deal), I like the move. He’s a former first round draft pick who is going to get his last chance to become a full time NHL player. Maybe a move back home for the BC boy is what he needs.