While many across Canada celebrated their country’s birthday with drinks, bar-b-ques, and boat rides yesterday, Jim Benning and the Vancouver Canucks front office were hard at work on the first day of NHL free agency. A busy day for the Canucks resulted in the addition of several pieces that will help both the NHL club and its AHL affiliate in Utica.
Tyler Myers (D) – Signed (five years)
The biggest—both literally and figuratively—splash for Benning and the Canucks was the addition of 6’8 defenseman Tyler Myers. Originally selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, Myers has appeared in 635 games at hockey’s highest level. A decorated defenseman, Myers has played for Buffalo and Winnipeg in his career and was the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2010. He was also a member of Team Canada’s World Junior Championship team that won gold in 2009.
Jordie Benn (D) – Signed (two years)
Benn joins the Canucks after spending the previous two-and-a-half seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He earned a career-high five goals and 22 points last year with the Canadiens and showed enough durability to appear in 81 games. Over the course of his career, he has played in 473 games at the NHL level and 165 in the American Hockey League.
Oscar Fantenberg (D) – Signed (one year)
A native of Ljunby, Sweden, Fantenberg will begin his third season of North American play in 2019-20. The defenseman skated in 46 games with the LA Kings before a mid-season trade that sent him to the Calgary Flames during the 2018-19 campaign. He has also racked up over 250 career pro games in Sweden and Russia.
Tyler Graovac (C) – Signed (one year, two-way)
Graovac set career marks and led the Stockton Heat in goals last season with 25 and was second on the team in assists (26) and points (50). His NHL experience totals 62 games between the Minnesota Wild and the Washington Capitals, while his AHL experience is far more extensive with 320 games played and 181 points.
Zane McIntyre (G) – Signed (one year, two-way)
McIntyre has spent his entire four-year pro career with the Boston Bruins after being selected by them in the 6th round of the 2010 NHL draft. Since then, he has worked tirelessly in Providence and, most recently, completed his second-straight 25+ win season. McIntyre turned pro in 2015 after a college career at North Dakota which saw 49 wins in his final two seasons and NCAA Goaltender of the Year honors as a senior in 2014-15. His AHL success has been very well documented, as the American netminder led the league in shutouts during 2017-18 and was an All-Star and All-AHL Second Team member in 2016-17.
While players like Brendan Gaunce (BOS), Tanner Kero (DAL), Luke Schenn (TB) and Cam Darcy (S.A. Rampage) are all pieces of last year’s puzzle that have moved on to other organizations, the moves made by the Vancouver front office on the first day of free agency should keep both the Canucks and Comets balanced and very competitive entering October.
Players currently under AHL Contracts: Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Seamus Malone, Vincent Arseneau, Dylan Blujus, Stefan LeBlanc, Carter Camper.