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Canucks strengthen forward group with Mikheev, Kuzmenko, Lazar


After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com takes a look at where each team stands in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, which begins Oct. 7. Today, the Vancouver Canucks:

Season 2021-22: 40-30-12, fifth in Pacific Division. did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Ilya MikheyevF: The 27-year-old signed a four-year contract on July 13 after setting NHL career highs in goals (21) and points (32) in 53 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Mikheyev will get a chance to play in the top six and upgrade the penalty… Curtis LazarF: The 27-year-old signed a three-year contract on July 13 after getting 16 points, including an NHL-leading eight goals, in 70 games for the Boston Bruins last season. … Andrei KuzmenkoF: The 26-year-old signed a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13 after spending eight seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, including the last four with SKA St. Petersburg. He finished second in the league with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) in 45 games and could play in the top six and on the power play. … Dakota JoshuaF: The 26-year-old signed a two-year deal on July 13 after having eight points (three goals, five assists) in 30 games for the St. Louis Blues last season. … Colin DeliaG: The 28-year-old signed a one-year deal on July 13 after going 1-4-1 with a 3.85 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in eight games (six starts) for the Chicago Blackhawks last season. He is expected to compete Spencer Martin for the backup job back Thatcher Demko

Video: FLA@TOR: Mikheyev skates in, takes a backhand

Basic departures

Alex ChiassonF: The unrestricted free agent had 22 points (13 goals, nine assists) in 67 games last season. … Juho LammikkoF: He is a UFA after not being given a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent. Lammikko had NHL career highs in goals (seven), assists (eight), points (15) and games played (75) last season. … Matthew HighmoreF: He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on July 14 after not receiving a qualifying offer. He set NHL career highs in goals (five), assists (seven) and points (12) in 46 games last season. … Jaroslav HalakG: He signed a one-year deal with the New York Rangers on July 13 after going 4-7-2 with a 2.94 GAA and .903 save percentage last season. … Brad HuntD: He signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche on July 15 after posting 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 50 games last season.

On the doorstep

Jack RathboneD: The 23-year-old didn’t have a point in nine games with the Canucks last season, but had 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games with Abbotsford of the American Hockey League despite missing time with injuries. After signing a two-year contract on July 1, Rathbone, who was selected with the No. 95 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, could get a chance to play in the NHL more regularly this season.

What they still need

The Canucks entered the offseason hoping to upgrade a defense that relied heavily on Demko last season, but it looks like they’ll be back with the same group. That makes it all the more important for coach Bruce Boudreau to find the right mix among an offensive group that is deeper and faster, but doesn’t seem to mesh easily from top to bottom. This includes finding a position for a defensive forward Jason Dickinsonwho struggled last season and could compete with Joshua to be in the starting lineup.

They said it

“I certainly hope so, but I certainly hope we have another level. We have to be ready from day one in training camp and just push it, and by adding some players here now, I think we create more internal competition.”— general manager Patrik Allvin on whether the Canucks’ 32-15-10 record since hiring Boudreau to replace Travis Green on Dec. 5 is a sign of the team’s potential

Imagination focus

Brock Boeser is a fantasy rebounding candidate after averaging 0.65 points per game (46 in 71 games) last season, the worst in a full season of his NHL career. The forward is likely to have an elite colleague JT Miller and the Elias Peterson and should be considered a Top 150 player for this season. Another wrinkle on Boeser’s opposite wing could be a breakout candidate Vasily Podkolzin (fourth in Vancouver with 0.76 5-on-5 goals per 60 minutes as a rookie last season) Mikheyev or Kuzmenko. — Anna Dua

Video: LAK@VAN: Boeser buries one timer for PPG, nets 22nd

Intended composition

Ilya Mikheyev — Elias Petterson — Brock Boeser

Tanner PearsonBo HorvathConor Garland

Andrei Kuzmenko — JT Miller — Vasily Podkolzin

Nils Hoglander — Curtis Lazar — Dakota Joshua

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Quinn HughesLuke Sen

Travis DermottTucker Poolman

Thatcher Demko

Spencer Martin





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