The Vancouver Canucks have signed unrestricted free-agent defenceman Tucker Poolman to a four-year deal worth $10 million dollars. Bally Sports Midwest reporter Andy Strickland broke the news during Free Agent Frenzy.
Tucker Poolman to #Canucks
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 28, 2021
Tucker Poolman Signed by the Vancouver Canucks
Poolman has played only 120 career NHL games and all of them to date as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Drafted in the fifth round in 2013, Poolman signs his third major-league contract, costing the Canucks $2.5 million in AAV.
Last season, Poolman received a promotion in average ice-time but struggled to do much with the opportunity. In 39 games he posted one assist, 49 blocks, 69 hits and 2 penalty minutes. With regards to his possession metrics, the 28-year-old was outshot on the ice by a reasonable margin and his relative Corsi For was at -6.0 percentage points in 2020-21.
— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) July 28, 2021
What This Means Going Forward
It is pretty debatable as to whether Poolman warranted that sort of payout. After all, he struggled in an elevated role on a Jets team known for its defensive frailties. Paired primarily with Josh Morrissey, Poolman churned out an undesirable expected goal share (43.34 percent) at five-on-five and was heavily out-chanced in high danger areas.
As a result, Vancouver takes another risk in an attempt to reshape its roster. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Luke Schenn and now Tucker Poolman brought in to give a facelift to the blueline, it feels as though the plastic surgeon has left a few wrinkles on there.
The main issue, as Harman Dayal points out, is the cost for defencemen incapable of providing much value in elevated roles. While Vancouver jettisoned the unwanted salaries of Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel, they’ve now taken on risky commodities with longer term.
That said, Poolman is highly thought of as a defensive defenceman. Perhaps the task of playing in Winnipeg’s haphazard defensive environment stunted Poolman’s potential to add value. But there are clear challenges in Vancouver too. And Poolman will likely slot in as the fourth defenceman on the depth chart. In other words, the Canucks will likely employ him in the same way as the Jets did.