7 wingers Canucks could sign in free agency to play with Pettersson

The Vancouver Canucks have a problem.

They don’t have enough talented, offensive-minded wingers on their roster, so they saddle their best players with subpar linemates. Just look at Elias Pettersson playing with Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty for stretches during the playoffs.

Management heads into this offseason with a top-six winger at the top of their list of needs. Patrik Allvin admitted as much during the end-of-season exit interviews.

The good news is that there are lots of suitable options available in free agency. The Canucks are getting off roughly $25 million in contracts that they’ll be able to reallocate.

While the team may opt to find the missing piece through trade, going through the free agency market means they don’t need to surrender any additional assets except the cap space.

With Pettersson’s extension kicking in next season, the Canucks will need to maximize his talent. That starts with getting at least one more skilled winger to play alongside the Swedish star, perhaps one of the players on this list.

1. Jake Guentzel

  • 2023-24 stats: 67 GP, 30 G, 47 A, 77 PTS
  • Age: 29
  • Shoots: Left

Jake Guentzel is a player the Canucks pursued prior to the trade deadline. The 29-year-old winger is one of the premier players on the free agent market this summer, and for good reason.

Guentzel has two 40-goal seasons, a Stanley Cup, and an excellent playoff resume. After arriving midseason this year, he performed unbelievably well for the Carolina Hurricanes.

He’s a finisher, play-driver, and elite winger in this league. While he would likely command at least $8-9 million on a long-term deal, there are few players who can match Guentzel’s offensive game.

2. Sam Reinhart

  • 2023-24 stats: 82 GP, 57 G, 37 A, 94 PTS
  • Age: 28
  • Shoots: Right

Let’s get the other big name out of the way before moving on. Sam Reinhart is a North Vancouver-born winger who enjoyed a career-best season this year, finishing second among all players in goals.

Reinhart is going to get paid this summer. His contract might cost more than $10 million per season, and the Canucks are likely priced out. However, if they can move off additional money and want to swing for the fences, Reinhart is another elite option.

3. Tyler Toffoli

  • 2023-24 stats: 79 GP, 33 G, 22 A, 55 PTS
  • Age: 32
  • Shoots: Right

The Canucks and Tyler Toffoli are no strangers. He played 10 games with the team during the 2019-20 season and is seen as the “one that got away” by many fans. The Canucks reportedly checked in on trading for Toffoli before the deadline, but he was eventually moved to the Winnipeg Jets.

The advantage of adding Toffoli to the roster is that you know he fits. During his first season with the team, he displayed great chemistry with many of its current players and helped key a strong power-play unit.

The disadvantage is that Toffoli is getting older, and he’s not the fastest skater. Allvin has said the Canucks want to add speed, and that’s not Toffoli’s game. However, he makes an intriguing option on July 1.

4. Anthony Duclair

  • 2023-24 stats: 73 GP, 24 G, 18 A, 42 PTS
  • Age: 28
  • Shoots: Left

Anthony Duclair is another player who was traded at the deadline and will now likely hit the open market. He’s had an up-and-down NHL career but has shown the ability to put the puck in the back of the net with three 20-goal seasons and one additional 30-goal season.

Duclair will not cost the Canucks nearly as much as some of the other names on this list. He’s got the speed and skill to finish plays.

Duclair would finish a lot more feeds from Pettersson than Ilya Mikheyev did this past postseason.

5. Jonathan Marchessault

  • 2023-24 stats: 82 GP, 42 G, 27 A, 69 PTS
  • Age: 33
  • Shoots: Right

The long-time Vegas Golden Knights winger could be a cap casualty this summer and hit the open market. Jonathan Marchessault scored 40 goals for the first time this season, and while you likely can’t count on that happening again, he’s consistently around the 30-goal mark.

Marchessault is also a pain to play against. While he’s only 5-foot-9, he’s extremely powerful and knows how to get to his spots on the ice. The Canucks already play one smaller winger, Nils Höglander, with Pettersson, so they may not want to add another, but Marchessault does not play small at all.

6. Tyler Bertuzzi

  • 2023-24 stats: 80 GP, 21 G, 22 A, 43 PTS
  • Age: 29
  • Shoots: Left

The nephew of former Canucks forward Todd, Tyler Bertuzzi is not the same level of player but has some similar aspects. When on his game, Tyler can be a physical presence with a goal-scoring touch. He had 30 goals in 68 games a few seasons back and broke the 20-goal mark again this past year.

7. Anthony Mantha

  • 2023-24 stats: 74 GP, 23 G, 21 A, 44 PTS
  • Age: 29
  • Shoots: Left

Last but not least is Anthony Mantha. He was one of the Vegas Golden Knights trade deadline acquisitions and while his performance with his new team wasn’t great, he brings a lot of interesting qualities to the table.

Mantha is 6-foot-5, nearly 235 pounds, and scored 23 goals this past season. That type of size on a line with Pettersson is an intriguing combination, especially considering Mantha has solid speed.