Earlier this week we took a look at the Canucks goaltenders and defencemen, deciding who is likely to return and who is likely to move on. Today, we look at the Canucks’ forwards.
Mike Gillis doesn’t have a lot of work to do with his forwards, but he does have options. His most important forwards are already under contract for next year, so it’ll be just a matter of tinkering with his depth forwards. Given the lack of production from his second line at even strength, he may want to find a better winger to play with Ryan Kesler.
Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows
They’re all part of the core of this team and all locked up long term. They’re not going anywhere.
Samuelsson had no shortage of critics this season but I wasn’t one of them. He is a smart, versatile player with a good shot and can get on some nice scoring streaks at times. He was playing hurt for a while this year which hurt his production, but I think he can regain his old form. He’s also a Stanley Cup winner and has underrated grit. He stays.
The time for Mason Raymond to prove that he is a legitimate second line winger is almost upon us. He turns 26 before next season and in my mind the jury is out on him. He might have been a prime candidate to be trade bait this offseason, but given his current injury, he won’t be. The Canucks will hope that he can show more grit and more finish, especially if he is going to be playing alongside Ryan Kesler for long periods of time. He stays.
He’s a leader, does a lot of the intangibles and assuming his eye recovers 100%, he will be back for another season. He stays.
Chris Higgins is an unrestricted free agent and had a very impressive playoffs. There’s probably not enough money for him here and he will sign elsewhere. He goes.
Lapierre probably exceeded everyone’s expectations in the playoffs this year and that should earn the restricted free agent a raise. He’s earned probably $1.3-1.5 million. The question is if the Canucks can afford to pay him and play him on the fourth line. The other question is if they need to make space for Cody Hodgson. I think Lapierre is trade bait. He goes.
Cody Hodgson didn’t get a lot of playing time with the big club this season, but that may change next year. The organization’s top prospect is now 21 years old and needs to play. Is more AHL time in his future or do the Canucks play him out of position on their 2nd or 3rd line? In the end I think the Canucks play him on the wing. He stays.
Hansen had a breakout year, and will return to the team, but at what price? He’s a restricted free agent and could get more than $1.5 million. They’ll find a way to do it though. He stays.
Torres signed a bargain basement $1 million deal last summer, and I don’t think he intends to be a bargain this time around. I think he brought an important element to the Canucks this year but I think he will sign elsewhere for more money. He goes.
I think Tanner Glass’ time with the Canucks is over. He seems to be well liked in the dressing room but he’s kind of a “tweener”. He can do a little of everything, but doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. I think they will replace him with a bigger, more physical player. He goes.
I thought Tambellini was a nice insurance policy this season, a speedy player that can fill-in at times, but I don’t think the Canucks will want to give him another chance given younger players like Cody Hodgson and Sergei Shirokov should be able to do that as well. He goes.
Oreskovich had a real nice finish to the season. His combination of size, speed and youth are perfect for the fourth line. He stays.