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Canucks sign Luke Schenn and three more depth defencemen

The Abbotsford Canucks’ defence is starting to take shape

Tampa Bay Lightning Boat Parade
Luke Schenn of the Tampa Bay Lightning raises the Stanley Cup during the boat parade to celebrate the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup July 12, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

A fan favourite is returning to the Vancouver Canucks.

And no, I’m not talking about Brandon Sutter.

The Canucks have announced a number of depth defenceman signings on the opening of free agency today. The biggest name among the four announced so far is 31-year-old Luke Schenn.

The eldest of the Schenn brothers is re-joining the Canucks on a two-year deal with $850,000 per season. Currently, he slots in as the seventh or eighth defenceman on the Canucks depth chart.

That’s exactly where a player of Schenn’s calibre belongs. Unfortunately, there’s a good argument that the three other guys ahead of him on the right side (Travis Hamonic, Tyler Myers and Tucker Poolman) aren’t all that much more effective.

Schenn played 18 games for the Canucks towards the end of the 2018-19 season, largely alongside a rookie Quinn Hughes. He didn’t look out of place, and he endeared himself to fans with his physical style of play.

Over the last two seasons with Tampa Bay, Schenn posted seven points in 63 regular season games, while averaging 11:26 per game in a sheltered role. Schenn played another 19 playoff games with Tampa over the last two years, where he won two Stanley Cups.

Local boys join Canucks

The Abbotsford Canucks’ defence is beginning to take shape.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Canucks have signed Maple Ridge native Brad Hunt to a contract.

The 32-year-old is a smaller defenceman (5’9”, 187 pounds) who has wheels and some intriguing offensive ability. Based on the Canucks current depth chart though, it appears as if Hunt will be one of the primary defenders for the Canucks farm team next season.

The Canucks have also signed 24-year-old, left-shot defenceman DeVante Stephens. The White Rock native was drafted in the fifth round by the Buffalo Sabres in 2015, and has spent time with both the Sabres and Lightning organizations. He has yet to play in an NHL game, but did post a career-high five goals and 11 points in 26 AHL games last season.

Canucks find a Keeper

Corny pun aside, the Canucks also signed 25-year-old, right-shot defenceman Brady Keeper to a two-year deal worth $762,500 per season.

Keeper has spent the last three years with the Panthers organization after a standout career at the University of Maine. He’s a hard-nose physical defender who spent most of last season on Florida’s taxi squad.

While he likely starts in Abbotsford, Keeper might be a name to watch. The 6’2”, 194 pound defenceman is a responsible, tough defenceman who can skate. He has seven goals, 21 points in 72 career AHL games, along with 120 penalty minutes.