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Canucks strike out on Tanev, Stecher and Barrie

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Three blueliners who all had connections to the Canucks have found new homes.

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyson Barrie #94 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates before the start of the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Scotiabank Arena on February 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

As we enter the second day of free agency, there is more curiousity about the direction of the Canucks blueline.

On Friday evening, the Calgary Flames announced that they had signed Chris Tanev to a four year, $18 million dollar deal. The deal will see Tanev make $4.5 million per season.

Of all the deals between Tanev, Stecher and Barrie, this is the one contract where you can breathe a sigh of relief, and credit Jim Benning for not committing to the former Canuck.

We all know that Tanev has been an absolute warrior for this team for nearly a decade. He’s also past his prime and injury prone. He’s not the kind of player you want to commit to long-term at this point in his career.

During a free agency in which short-term deals have been all the rage, Tanev was one of the only players to sign for more than three years. Of course, former Canuck Jacob Markstrom was one of those players. Both Markstrom and Tanev and their combined $10.5 million salaries now make up one-eighth of the Flames allotted cap hit going into next season.

B.C. boys turn elsewhere

While not committing to Tanev long-term was a smart move by Jim Benning, watching two of his other blueline targets, Tyson Barrie and Troy Stecher, sign elsewhere on reasonable deals is a little harder to stomach.

Let’s start with the former Canuck. It was reported on Saturday that Troy Stecher has signed a two-year, $3.4 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

This deal sees Stecher take a pay cut of $700,000 after the Canucks decided not to qualify him at his previous year’s salary of $2.4 million.

I know the most positive Canucks fans out there will shrug their shoulders and say “well something had to give on the blueline.” The problem is that as of writing, their blueline is demonstrably worse, and at $1.7 million, it’s hard not to think of that as great value for a bottom-pairing defenceman like Stecher who’s adept at preventing goals.

According to TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal, it sounds like the Canucks pursuit of Tyson Barrie was the major blockade in Stecher’s decision to sign elsewhere.

How did that turn out?

While you could argue that the Canucks were prudent in letting Calgary sign Markstrom and Tanev at their contracts, it’s hard not to be jealous of Edmonton snagging the talented right-shot defenceman in Barrie.

I wrote about the state of the Canucks blueline prior to free agency. Less than 36 hours after the free agency window opened, those questions have only intensified.

Okay armchair GM’s, what’s the next move for the Canucks in order to improve their defence? Or, are you comfortable with the team rostering 2-3 rookies next season among the likes of Olli Juolevi, Jack Rathbone, Brogan Rafferty and Jalen Chatfield?