The Vancouver Canucks summer to-do list is almost complete, and they checked another box off this morning.
Troy Stecher, the pride of Richmond, has avoided arbitration and has re-signed for the next two years with the Canucks.
According to CapFriendly, his cap hit is $2.325 million per season, and $4.65 million over the length of the contract.
After Jim Benning spent his Canada Day overpaying bottom-six forwards, he’s turned the page to strike a very reasonable deal, at least from the Canucks point of view. Experience, along with RFA vs. UFA status both come into play here, but it’s a little but nuts to think that Stecher is making more than fourth-liners Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel.
It’s also a surprise to see the Canucks sign Stecher at a bargain, after they overpayed for his teammate, who Stecher has badly outplayed over the last two seasons.
Stecher's contract comes in at almost $500K less per year than Hutton's deal, which was a comparable Stecher's camp used #Canucks— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) July 20, 2018
Ben Hutton signed a two-year, $5.6 million extension in November, 2016. Since then, it’s largely been downhill for the Ottawa native after a strong rookie season. Meanwhile, Stecher has stepped up as a player who looks like he could be a long-term solution on the Canucks back-end.
The points might not have been there for Stecher last season, but he steadily gained Travis Green’s trust as the season went on. He was one of the Canucks better defensive defenceman, and has looked good on a pairing with Alex Edler since his first NHL game. He’s also proven to be a strong penalty killing defenceman in limited minutes.
For a player with his intelligence and potential, it’s a steal to see him signed at just over $2 million per season. That makes him the Canucks sixth-highest paid defenceman, even though he’s destined for top-four minutes next season.
Stecher is really a unique player in terms of his size and playing abilities. In terms of ice time and points, he compared statistically to defensive defenceman such as Derek Forbort and Greg Pateryn. Both players were possible contract comparables to Stecher, and these were their recent deals.
Derek Forbort (signed on Oct. 19th, 2017): Two years, $5.05 million, ($2.525 million per season). 2017-18 Stats: 78 GP, 1-17-18
Greg Pateryn (signed on July 1st, 2018): Three years, $6.75 million ($2.25 million per season). 2017-18 Stats: 73 GP, 1-12-13
Even though these deals are incredibly similar to Stecher’s, there are a couple of key differences here.
One is simply size. Both Pateryn and Forbort are over 6’3”, 210 pounds. Although they’re effective defencemen and are both used heavily in the defensive zone, they aren’t as quick or creative as Stecher is.
The second is age. Forbot is 26 and Pateryn is 28. Their potential certainly isn’t as high as Stecher’s, which further makes this deal a win for the organization.
Of course, there’s still a bitter twist of fate after today’s signing.
with Stecher signing, all 8D from last year are now signed, sealed and delivered. Figured there had to be change. Maybe there will still be. But not yet...— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) July 20, 2018
The promises of beginning the season with a shake-up on defence are slowly fading away. It seems like the organization is more than happy to move on from Ben Hutton, but they like everyone else they have on defence. Erik Gudbranson and Derrick Pouliot were recently re-signed before Stecher, and they’ve held onto the rest of their defencemen despite tepid interest in the market.
There is one remaining player who could orchestrate a shake-up: Quinn Hughes. He has the talent to crack the Canucks roster this year, but is that smart asset management? One thing is almost guaranteed, the Canucks would be a more exciting team with Stecher on the roster.
Size is irrelevant. Speed and determination can and will beat strength. Give me that Quinn Hughes - Troy Stecher defensive pairing all day babyyyyyyy— Justin Morissette (@JustinMoris) July 20, 2018