Canucks looking for big winger who can score

by
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks added Loui Eriksson in free agency, but they want more.

In dire need of goals, Eriksson's going to help. He scored 30 times last season, and will form what should be a formidable all-Swedish first line with the Sedin twins. But Jim Benning knows the Canucks - the only team to score fewer than 200 goals in the Western Conference - need more offense.

While the Sedins are around, Vancouver is going to chase a playoff spot. That much is clear early in an offseason in which the club has tried to get better for the immediate future.

"If I had a crystal ball, I would say we'd try to add a winger who had some grit and size to him, who can score," Benning told The Province's Jason Botchford.

Those players aren't available on the free-agent market, which means Benning is going to have to get what he wants via trade. And that won't be easy. Gone already is forward prospect and 2014 first-round pick Jared McCann, traded to Florida for defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

Here's a look at the Canucks' depth chart up front:

LW C RW
Daniel Sedin Henrik Sedin Loui Eriksson
Sven Baertschi Brandon Sutter Jannik Hansen
Alex Burrows Bo Horvat Jake Virtanen
Ronalds Kenins Markus Granlund Derek Dorsett
Emerson Etem Brendan Gaunce

There isn't much to trade from that group. Prospects and/or draft picks could be used to pluck one of the pending 2017 unrestricted free-agent forwards, who are up there in age and who could help in the short term: Patrick Marleau, Patrick Sharp, and Jarome Iginla. None of those players fit the description Benning is looking for, though, with Iginla coming the closest. He scored 22 goals as a 38-year-old last season, so there's still game left on his stick.

While Eriksson's bringing 30 goals to Vancouver, the Canucks are losing Radim Vrbata's 13 goals, and 44 over the last two seasons. Any way you look at it, there's still work to be done, which means the summer may still hold intrigue out west.

- With h/t to Pro Hockey Talk