4 former Stanley Cup champions among UFA defencemen Canucks could target

Cooper Godin
June 20, 2024  (6:22 PM)

Justin Schultz with the Seattle Kraken.
Photo credit: TSN

The free agent market is set to be full of defencemen for Patrik Allvin and the Vancouver Canucks to choose from if they're unable to bring back Ian Cole, Tyler Myers and Nikita Zadorov.

In a recent article on The Athletic, Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance shared 16 different options for the Vancouver Canucks on the open market starting on Canada Day. Among the options they listed are four former Stanley Cup champions - Joel Edmundson, Alec Martinez, Justin Schultz and Chad Ruhwedel.
"Joel Edmundson was once one of the most underrated two-way defenders in the NHL.

He's still a mean, versatile, 6-foot-5 defender with decent defensive instincts. His ability to defend the rush and pivot on retrievals has diminished somewhat with age, however, and he's an absolute zero offensively.

Edmundson would certainly help the Canucks offset any potential losses in size on the back end in unrestricted free agency, and his style of play would seem to be a fit with how the Canucks approached team-level defence this season." Drance and Dayal said about Joel Edmundson.

As for three-time Stanley Cup champion Alec Martinez, Drance and Dayal believe he'll be highly sought after because of his leadership ability and would be a good fit for the Canucks in a lesser role than he had with the Vegas Golden Knights.
"The 36-year-old defensive stalwart, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is likely to move on from the Golden Knights this summer.

He'll be highly sought after for his leadership ability and defensive acumen on the open market. Not to mention that though Martinez's two-way results cratered somewhat this season, he still mostly held up in a top-of-the-lineup role on a high-end team this season.

There's always risk with signing 36-year-old players, especially because of 35-plus contract rules, but in a more limited role than what he held down in Vegas last season, Martinez would still be a good bet to help a contending team win games while bringing championship-level weight to the dressing room." Drance and Dayal said.

When it comes to Justin Schultz, the third Stanley Cup champion mentioned, Drance and Dayal believe that him coming to Vancouver is probably a bit of a long-shot because of how his time in Pittsburgh with Jim Rutherford and Co. ended back in 2020.
"Justin Schultz seems like a long shot to be pursued by the Canucks.

It didn't end well with him and Rutherford's Penguins when he was a major part of Pittsburgh's back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning teams in the middle of the previous decade. And when he was last an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022, the club didn't pursue him with any particular vigour, despite its clear need on the right side of the defence.

Schultz is a gifted puck-moving defender with good size and a veteran ability to elevate his game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He's been steady and productive through both of his seasons down the I-5 with the Kraken, and would certainly add some much-needed offensive juice to the Vancouver back end if the Canucks decided to try to recruit him this time out."

The fourth and final Stanley Cup champion mentioned by Drance and Dayal is Chad Ruhwedel. The pair say that he's has a huge shot from the point and brings plenty of toughness. Ruhwedel is someone the Canucks management staff is very familiar with from his time in Pittsburgh while Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin were there.
"Chad Ruhwedel is a steady depth option who cut his teeth in the Penguins organization. It took him a while, but Ruhwedel finally cemented himself as an everyday NHL-level defender over the past few seasons.

Although Ruhwedel is listed at 5-foot-11, he defends with a good level of toughness. He's not the most productive defender, but he's got a huge shot from the point. Just a steady depth option, you might think of him as the defender version of Sam Lafferty." They said.

Let's take a look at the other 12 names mentioned by Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal on Thursday.
Name (Age / 2023-24 team)
Brett Pesce (29 / Carolina Hurricanes)
Chris Tanev (34 / Calgary Flames & Dallas Stars)
Dylan DeMelo (31 / Winnipeg Jets)
Brady Skjei (30 / Carolina Hurricanes)
Matt Roy (29 / Los Angeles Kings)
Brenden Dillon (33 / Winnipeg Jets)
Alexandre Carrier (27 / Nashville Predators)
Jani Hakanpää (32 / Dallas Stars)
Matt Grzelcyk (30 / Boston Bruins)
Sebastian Aho (28 / New York Islanders)
Ilya Lyubushkin (30 / Anaheim Ducks & Toronto Maple Leafs)
Nick Blankenburg (26 / Columbus Blue Jackets)
Of the four former Stanley Cup champions mentioned by Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal, which would be the best for the Vancouver Canucks - Joel Edmundson, Alec Martinez, Chad Ruhwedel or Justin Schultz? Let us know what you think in the poll below.
20 JUIN   |   1373 ANSWERS
4 former Stanley Cup champions among UFA defencemen Canucks could target

Which former Stanley Cup champion should the Canucks add?

Justin Schultz31723.1 %
Joel Edmundson42531 %
Alec Martinez56040.8 %
Chad Ruhwedel715.2 %
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