Offseason Roundup: Vancouver Canucks

Sept 11, 9:38 AM

Over the next month, theScore's NHL editors will review all the offseason moves for each team around the league.

The Vancouver Canucks' free fall was met with a splatter last season.

After a bountiful list of casualties were claimed in the Pacific Northwest - including the three men culpable in Vancouver's dysfunction -  the Canucks' upcoming campaign represents one of true rebirth. 

Offseason Roundup

His righteousness Trevor Linden, who was brought in before season's end, dispelled John Tortorella and his coaching staff after just one year on the job. The brazen bench boss crashed and burned in Vancouver, reducing the perennial postseason contenders to a lottery team last season. 

Linden would continue to make his mark, concluding his search for a new general manager where it began: Boston. Credited for his success across all levels of the sport, Jim Benning, Peter Chiarelli's understudy with the Bruins, was named the 11th general manager in Canucks history on May 23.

With Tortorella's successor due up, Benning gave the online job posting a boost by utilizing the team's second compliance buyout to preclude the final two seasons of David Booth's contract.

Then with two days to spare before the draft, the Canucks found their man.

Willie Desjardins seized his opportunity to jump from the AHL to the top flight after leading the Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship. The 57-year-old, who reportedly turned down a similar offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins, has just two years experience at the NHL level and never played in the league. 

With hockey ops solidified, it was time for the roster to undergo similar alteration. From the draft floor, two-time Olympian Ryan Kesler was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and a first-round pick. Seconds later, Jason Garrison was shipped to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second rounder, shedding more capital.

A fortified draft board gave the Canucks an opportunity to place ballcaps on Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Jared McCann and Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko through the first two rounds.

On July 1, the Canucks blitzed the free-agent market. Management displayed their faith in the Eddie Lack-Jacob Markstrom duo by signing Ryan Miller to a three-year, $18-million contract, before recouping some scoring by agreeing to a two-year, $10-million pact with former Arizona Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata

Later in the summer months the Canucks solidified their 2014-15 roster and kept two players under long-term control with modest two-and one-year deals respectively with Zack Kassian and Chris Tanev. The sandpapered Kassian, who boasted careers highs in both points (29) and penalty minutes (124) last season, will earn $3.5 million over two years while Tanev is set to haul in $2 million

Key Additions

F Radim Vrbata
F Nick Bonino
F Derek Dorsett
F Jake Virtanen
F Jared McCann
D Luca Sbisa
G Ryan Miller

Key Departures

F Ryan Kesler
F Mike Santorelli
F David Booth
F Zac Dalpe
D Jason Garrison

2014-15 Outlook

The Canucks will be scribbling out name tags and exchanging icebreakers on the first day of camp, but their offseason transformation was brought on out of necessity. Although it's impossible to predict how the moving parts will fit together, just getting back to hockey, for this organization, should help mitigate last season's misery and what projects to be a difficult road ahead. 

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Kim Klement