The Vancouver Canucks aren’t expected to be big spenders when NHL free agency opens Sunday, but they do have plenty of cap space to work with and have several vacant roster spots they need to fill.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal, the team is showing interest in forward Antoine Roussel.
Roussel has spent his entire career with the Dallas Stars after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
The Canucks were not known for their physicality this past season and Roussel would certainly help in that area if the two sides do, in fact, agree on a deal. Roussel has 806 penalty minutes in 413 career regular-season NHL games. The 28-year-old registered five goals and 12 assists in 73 games this past season while averaging just 12:26 in ice-time per game, his lowest totals since his 39-game rookie campaign.
Roussel is coming off a four-year contract that paid him an average of $2 million per season.
Dhaliwal also noted Jay Beagle is another player the Canucks are looking at, although there will be plenty of competition for the coveted depth centre.
Beagle’s stock rose during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run as the 32-year-old played a key role centring Washington’s fourth line. His cap hit the past three seasons has been $1.75 million.
“We’ve gotten to a place now where we’ve got a very good group of exciting young players, and that continues to build,” Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden told Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre earlier this week when discussing free agency plans. “It’s just a matter of being patient and sticking with it now. July 1 is not a day to build. You can add some pieces. But if you look at good teams, the core is usually drafted.
“We need to think about getting better from within. We need to get our young players to take a step and be better. Our wins next year will be from the growth of young players. That’s where we are. July 1 isn’t a day where we’re going to build our team. It’s a patient day for us.”