Yes you read that right the Canucks will likely have too many forwards next year!
The Canucks have 18 NHL caliber forwards on the books for next year including RFA's and Darren Archibald since he is very likely to re-sign You might be asking where did all this depth come from I thought the Canucks were lacking depth? Well the Canucks have actually always had not too shabby depth they just have so many injuries every year that it looks like they don't have any; The Canucks have also lost Burmistrov, Dorsett and the Sedins and have 3 UFA forwards in Dowd, Jokinen and Archibald. That may seem like a lot however all of those forwards came mid-season so none of them are considered subtractions in fact Archibald is considered an addition because he is highly likely to re-sign.
The Canucks have actually gained 3 forwards in Motte, Leipsic and Archibald. Yes that is one less addition then subtraction but then there are 3 rookies likely to come in next year in Pettersson, Dahlen and Gaudette. That puts it up to 2 more additions then subtractions and then I also have the Canucks re-signing Jokinen and adding a UFA center which I will explain later. That brings us up to 19 forwards and 8 new additions! The other 12 forwards that aren't new additions include the elite players in Horvat and Boeser the veterans Eriksson, Gagner and Sutter the RFA's Boucher, Baertschi, Granlund and Virtanen and then Goldobin and Gaunce. This is obviously too many forwards but luckily there is a whole off season ahead.
The Canucks have 17 forwards and 14 million in cap space, this plan eliminates some players while taking advantage of some of that cap space left from the Sedins. I would start off with signing Virtanen to a 2 year contract and if he doesn't improve that's when you give up on him and trade him or let him go to free agency. Next I would sign Archibald to a 3 year contract. My next move would be to trade Baertschi for a 2019 first round pick, I just don't think he fits into the plan anymore and this would add some extra excitement to the 2019 draft in Vancouver. Then I would trade Granlund for a 3rd or 4th round pick he had a rough year and like Baertschi I don't see how he fits into the scheme. My last trades would be to get whatever they can for Boucher and Gaunce preferably 2 late round picks to draft the Wahlgren twins next year. If they can't find any trades they would have to hold on to Gaunce but they could just leave Boucher unsigned or just sign him and keep him in the AHL to try to add some value to trade him later.
That would take off 4 forwards and add one and leave the cap space roughly the same considering they were all RFA's being traded and re-signing Virtanen would pretty much cancel out Gaunce's contract. The Canucks could also end up with another forward if they end up winning 2nd or 3rd in the lottery and taking Svechnikov or Zadina but that is highly unlikely. I can't see them trading any of the vets because nobody would take there contract and the young players need mentorship or the young players because you don't trade young players when your rebuilding. So now what do they do with all that cap space. I would re-sign Jokinen to a 1 year deal because he would be a great mentor and got 10 points in 14 games with the Canucks compared to 7 points in 64 games with the Oilers, Kings and Blue Jackets this season. That still wouldn't shed much cap space so there's one more move for the Canucks to make. If the Canucks could only make one move this summer it would be to take on a big contract. The perfect contract to take on is Spezza he has 1 year remaining on a $7.5 million dollar contract. He fits all the needs big contract, second line center and short term. Spezza only had 26 points but I think he would be a solid perfect fit as the second line center. The only problem is Spezza has a 10 team modified no trade clause but I think he would want to go to the Canucks simply because he would have a big second line center mentor role which he doesn't have in Dallas in this role he could prove himself and get more money in FA next summer. If the Canucks took on Spezza's contract the package from Dallas I see reasonable would be Dallas first round pick and Julius Honka which fits the Canucks need for young dmen and picks. This would be perfect if Dallas would accept. I would save the rest of the cap space for revamping the D corp.
The 2018-2019 Roster
This would leave 15 forwards (16 if they get Svechnikov or Zadina) on the Canucks 2018-2019 roster. This would mean 1 player would have to at least start in the AHL. I would start off having Motte in the AHL. Motte and wouldn't be in the AHL long as there is almost guaranteed be an injury within the first month. These are the lines I see the Canucks starting with next season assuming it's Gaudette over Dahlen.
This leaves an all-around skilled top line, a scoring second line, a speedy 3rd line and a defensive and physical 4th line. I would love to see Dahlen on the 2nd or 3rd line especially instead of Gagner but there really isn't anywhere Gagner fits and you can't healthy scratch him. With this forward group I think the Canucks could compete they will just need to upgrade the D corp and goalies.