Who is this guy?
Size: 5'10", 187
Biega was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with a fifth round pick in 2006, and since his graduation from college, he has been a perennial minor league player. Biega signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Canucks in the summer of 2013 and saw it renewed the following year. The 27-year-old's contract will expire again this summer and general manager Jim Benning will have to decided whether he is worth committing one of the team's contract spots for another season.
What did he do?
Biega only played seven games with the Canucks in the 2014/15 season, so most of his year was spent with the AHL's Utica Comets. The defender scored three goals and 19 points in 62 games with Utica and earned praise as a reliable minor leaguer, capable of being a solid depth defenseman who played in a top-pairing role on a winning AHL team. Biega made an impression in his first NHL game, scoring the game-winning-goal against the Minnesota Wild.
Did he play well?
Biega played very well with the Comets and, while he didn't blow anyone away during his time with the big club, he served as a capable stop-gap during a time where Vancouver's defense was decimated by injuries.
Many scouts who took in Comets' games came away very impressed by Biega's performance, most notably TSN's Ray Ferraro, who called him "unbelievable". His 5'10" frame means he will likely never be an NHL regular, but his puck-moving skills and transitional ability make him a more-than-competent component of an AHL team making a Calder Cup run.
What can we expect going forward?
Biega's career has likely plateaued at this point; he is no longer in a position where he can reasonably expect to be an NHL player and, at 27 years of age, he is far past the point of being labelled a "prospect". While his game still continues to develop (Elliotte Friedman cites the changes Biega made to his shot in his '30 Thoughts' column), it is extremely rare to see a 27-year-old take major strides in his development. And as his NHL 42.7% Corsi suggests, he is not currently a player you want to give consistent minutes to while in the playoff hunt.
But just because Biega is not capable of being in the Canucks' top six doesn't mean he is not useful. Jim Benning said recently that he wants to have 11 defenders in the Canucks' organization capable of playing in the NHL, and Beiga, who is both cheap and serviceable, fits the bill quite nicely. He can be among Utica's top-four defensemen and serve time in Vancouver when need be, cheaply contributing as a main piece on the AHL side, while being a replacement player for his NHL team.
As previously mentioned, Biega's contract runs out this July, and if unsigned, he will become an unrestricted free agent. If he is signed, expect a two-way contract with little term and a small salary, as Biega can be a relatively effective player in small samples in the NHL.