April 24, 2024

Canucks boost defense with Soucy, Cole

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2023-24 regular season, which starts Oct. 10. Today, the Vancouver Canucks: 


2022-23 season: 38-37-7, fifth in Pacific Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs


Key arrivals

Carson Soucy, D: Signed a three-year contract July 1 to play a potential top-four role and help fix the penalty kill. Soucy, who turned 29 on Thursday, had 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 68 penalty minutes in 78 regular-season games and two points (one goal, one assist) in 14 playoff games last season playing mostly on a third pair with the Seattle Kraken. … Ian Cole, D: The 34-year-old signed a one-year contract July 1. He had 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 78 regular-season games and three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. … Teddy Blueger, F: The 28-year-old signed a one-year contract July 1 after he had 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 63 regular-season games for the Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins last season, including six points (two goals, four assists) in 18 games after he was traded to Vegas on March 1. He had two points (one goal, one assist) in six postseason games to help the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup. 

Video: NHL Tonight on the offseason for the Canucks


Key departures

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D: Signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers on July 1 after Vancouver bought out the final four seasons of an eight-year contract he signed with the Arizona Coyotes. Ekman-Larsson had 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 54 games last season. … Ethan Bear, D: The Canucks did not issue a qualifying offer after Bear injured his shoulder playing for Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Championship, requiring surgery that’s likely to keep him out until December. Bear, an unrestricted free agent, had 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 61 games last season. … Collin Delia, G: Signed a one-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets on July 1 after going 10-6-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in an NHL career-high 20 games (18 starts) last season. … Travis Dermott, D: Signed a one-year contract with the Coyotes after missing most of last season with a concussion. He scored one goal in 11 games. … Kyle Burroughs, D: Signed a three-year contract with the San Jose Sharks on July 1. He had five points (two goals, three assists) in 48 games. … Vitali Kravtsov, F: Signed with Traktor in the Kontinental Hockey League. Kravstov was acquired from the New York Rangers on Feb. 25 and had one goal and one assist in 16 games for Vancouver. 


On the cusp

Arturs Silovs, G: The 22-year-old improved quickly after giving up five goals on 27 shots in his NHL debut Feb. 15 to finish 3-2-0 with a .908 save percentage. The sixth-round pick (No. 156) in the 2019 NHL Draft helped host Latvia win its first-ever IIHF medal (bronze) at the 2023 World Championship and was named tournament MVP after finishing with a .921 save percentage. He appears to have the inside track on Spencer Martin in a competition to back up Thatcher Demko. … Akito Hirose, D: The 24-year-old impressed with his poise and puck moving after signing as a college free agent out of Minnesota State University on March 29. He had three assists in the final seven games of last season with the Canucks and signed a two-year contract July 2. 


What they still need

Giving Elias Pettersson a new contract. The 24-year-old forward can become a restricted free agent after the season, and the Canucks prefer to sign their best player long term. Pettersson set NHL career highs last season in goals (39), assists (63) and points (102). He added penalty killing to his duties and finished seventh in Selke Trophy voting as top defensive forward.

Video: VAN@ANA: Pettersson records his 100th point of season


They said it

“One thing that we prioritized was our back end, getting a little bit bigger, heavier, PK guys in Carson Soucy and Ian Cole, their playoff experience and Cole’s Cup-winning pedigree.” — general manager Patrik Allvin 


Fantasy focus

Anthony Beauvillier had a solid start with Vancouver last season with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 33 games after being acquired from the New York Islanders. He has high fantasy upside on the top line with elite center Pettersson and wing Andrei Kuzmenko, in addition to playing on their top power-play unit with Pettersson, Kuzmenko, J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes. Given his exposure to talented teammates, Beauvillier should be treated as a top 200 overall option in fantasy. — Anna Dua 


Projected lineup

Anthony Beauvillier — Elias Pettersson — Andrei Kuzmenko

Ilya Mikheyev — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser

Phillip Di Giuseppe — Teddy Blueger — Conor Garland

Dakota JoshuaNils AmanVasily Podkolzin

Quinn Hughes — Ian Cole 

Carson Soucy – Filip Hronek

Christian WolaninTyler Myers

Thatcher Demko

Arturs Silovs

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