Vancouver Canucks Weekend a Big One

The Vancouver Canucks weekend settled their only restricted free agent, elevated a prospect, and solidified their depth. We’re taking a quick look at the contracts the Canucks signed on June 30.

Canada Day, Canucks Weekend

After months of waiting for the team’s new management group to make a significant impact, four Canucks got extended deals on June 30th. Those extensions join seven deals completed since the season’s end, most of which Nic Brown talks about here. They range in levels of impact, but all of them have a ripple effect on the player depth chart. While there are still issues to be worked out – one issue in particular – it’s a good excuse to see who’s in the system. The changes behind the bench are nice, but fans look on the ice during the game.

Arshdeep Bains

Already we’re breaking our own rules, here. Bains was signed while the NHL season was still going on back in March. He led the Western Hockey League in scoring in 2021-22, but he is also 21 years old. His numbers were marvellous with 43 goals and 112 points in 68 games, the first time he came anywhere near that level. Still, he showed promise in his third and fourth seasons with 26 goals and 72 points in 86 total games.

How well those numbers translate to professional hockey remains to be seen. His best feature – and what may provide him with an eventual NHL ticket – is his work. He’s earned his way to the top of the league and was praised by his then-coach Brent Sutter as being both creative and coachable. He needs time in the professional leagues, so Vancouver is unlikely to see him just yet.

Signing Bains was an easy way to break Patrik Allvin in as the Canucks’ new general manager. He was born in Surrey, was the leading scorer in the WHL, and went undrafted. A three-year deal for a local player with zero risk attached is as good a way to start your tenure as any. But on to the deals that were actually signed for the Canucks weekend.

Expectation: Maybe a cup of coffee in the NHL this coming season, but probably not.

William Lockwood

William Lockwood has the pressure on, starting now. Not only has the team been waiting for him since he was drafted in 2016, but he was also drafted in 2016. The only other player from that draft that played any NHL games is Olli Juolevi. While the trade that moved Juolevi was surprisingly good, fans would like to see a player of their own succeed, too.

And that’s the thing about university picks: if they stay in university then they’re going to be a while. Lockwood has only been playing professional hockey for two seasons, almost entirely in the AHL. He had a bit of a shaky start to 2020-21 in Utica but ended the season there on a tear. It got him two games in Vancouver, and he didn’t look entirely out of place. He picked up another 13 games with the big club late last season after some decent numbers in Abbotsford.

Lockwood is a bit of an odd duck. He’s very slight – not 6 feet, maybe 175 pounds – and very fast. But he isn’t going to be a scorer, really. His best chance is as a penalty killer and fourth-line specialist, which he can do. If he succeeds at that, Lockwood may well have a 15-year career, if he survives. He loves using his speed and is extremely irritating to play against, but he needs to add finish at the NHL level. In his 15 games so far, he has zero goals and zero points.

Expectation: He’s fast, and the team needs speed. He’s cheap, and the team needs cost control. He’s also young. Ish. Okay, two out of three ain’t bad! He has a chance to stick with the team, especially if they don’t renew Matthew Highmore.

Noah Juulsen

Here’s part of that trade for Juolevi. Noah Juulsen was brought up to the Canucks for eight games in 2021-22. The former 2015 first-round pick is, like Bains, also from Surrey. While his NHL career has only lasted 56 games total, his career has seen an awful lot of highs and lows. He was drafted as a solid, all-around defenseman who could produce – and he did, in his draft year. Once he left juniors, though, it was to join a decidedly mediocre Montreal Canadiens and their farm Laval Titan.

He was pretty much dropped into the fire in Montreal, getting almost 20 minutes a night in his rookie season. Juulsen scored just one goal and three points in his 23 run. He got another 21 games in Montreal the next year, then was put on waivers as other prospects arrived. He was claimed by the Florida Panthers and played four games with them before the deal that sent him and Juho Lammikko to Vancouver.

Juulsen can hardly be called a prospect at age 25, but he can still make it to the league. His best chance might be now, with the Canucks in desperate need of right-side defencemen. He’s not without skills – he was taken 26th overall for a reason – but he has to not only make a good impression in Abbotsford but also avoid injury. He hasn’t been great at that.

Expectation: Starting in Abbotsford, even with a great training camp. But that doesn’t mean he’ll stay there for the entire season. If he doesn’t crack the NHL to stay this year, though, he could be a career AHLer.

Brock Boeser

Oh, have you heard?


It was Canada Day, but the Canucks Weekend. Getting four contracts extended settles in some of the depth for Abbotsford nicely. Sets up the team’s forward lines pretty well for the immediate future, too.

This one day of work isn’t a bad overview of what the term “depth” means for an NHL team. A star, a likely fourth-line starter, a potential call-up, and a future hopeful. A lot can change in a weekend.