For the Canucks, this is a great deal, it just sucks that the organization had to trade Kesler, then go out and get the Top-6 winger Kesler always wanted.
After the Canucks snagged Ryan Miller on July 1st, a lot of fans were on the fence, due to the fact that the Canucks lacked star power up front and offence was nowhere to be seen. Vrbata provides two unique traits that will benefit the Canucks immensely for next season: powerplay expertise and shootout prowess. Vrbata has great numbers on the man advantage, and he’ll likely be the trigger man on the Canucks top PP unit next season. Additionally, Vrbata is great at shootouts, something the Canucks haven’t had since Mason Raymond’s infamous spin-o-rama. Not only is Vrbata a fit for his pure goal scoring ability, but his power play excellence and shootout experience will fill important gaps for the team.
With Vrbata, the Canucks now have a difficult decision to make. It’s highly doubtful that all three of Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen will all return to the team next season, as the signing of the Czech right winger and the re-signing of Zack Kassian leaves the Canucks loaded on the right side. As a natural right winger, it only makes sense that Hansen is the odd man out in the group, and could be packaged along with one of the Canucks’ bottom six centers and prospect/picks for a legitimate second line center, something the Canucks lack. However, it’ll be up to Canucks GM Jim Benning to make the right moves with the roster and the cap to turn the Canucks back into a contending team like he’s promising.
Radim Vrbata brings a lot to the table, and with his production offensively, the Canucks can become a playoff team once again. However, it must be a team effort if the Canucks want to seriously contend, and the Sedins will have to drink from the fountain of youth and reverse their current production trend. Although the Canucks aren’t going to be on the radar as a serious contending team from the get-go, the addition of Vrbata will mark the return of (hopefully) some exciting hockey at Rogers Arena.