Jim Benning continued to strip down Mike Gillis’s model on Wednesday, July 1 – the first day of the NHL’s free agency period for 2015.
The Canucks’ general manager shipped Zack Kassian out of Vancouver, sending him to Montreal and adding the power forward and occasional scoring winger to the list of this summer’s departures, along with Kevin Bieksa (gone to Anaheim) and backup goalie Eddie Lack (to Carolina).
In return for Kassian and a 5th Round pick in next year’s NHL Draft, the Canucks received Brandon Prust from the Canadiens.
Full Trade/Signing Highlights from Day 1 of Free Agency, 2015:
- The Canucks signed free agent defenceman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, $1.75-million deal, the team’s biggest addition of Canada. Vancouver also signed depth goaltender Richard Bachman to a two-year deal, defenceman Taylor Fedun to a one-year deal, and re-signed offensive defenceman Yannick Weber to a one-year $1.5 million deal.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs made the biggest splash on Day 1, finally trading star winger Phil Kessel. Kessel was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with Leafs prospects Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, and a 2nd Round pick in 2016; in return, Toronto receives forward Nick Spaling, prospects Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington, and two picks – a conditional 1st Rounder in 2016 and a 3rd Rounder in 2016.
- The Anaheim Ducks inked their newest defenceman, Kevin Bieksa, to a two-year extension worth $8 million. On the flip, the Ducks lost d-man Francois Beauchemin to Colorado, where he signed for three years and $13.5 million.
- The Detroit Red Wings landed this summer’s biggest free agent, powerplay quarterback Mike Green, to a three-year, $18-million deal. Green was deemed expendable by the Washington Capitals, despite a 45-point season in 2014-15.
- The San Jose Sharks added to their blueline corps, signing Paul Martin to a four-year, $19.4-million contract.
- Apart from dealing Kessel, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced a few signings: re-signing Richard Panik (1 year); P.A. Parenteau (1 year, $1.5 million); and Matt Hunwick (2 years, $1.2 million).
- The Calgary Flames continue to bulk up for their climb up the Western Conference, signing prized two-way forward Michael Frolik to five years at $4.3 million per season.
- Former Canuck Cody Hodgson rebounded after being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, signing a one-year, $1 million deal with the Nashville Predators.
- The Canucks also officially lost centre Brad Richardson, who signed with the Arizona Coyotes for three years and a reported $6.2 million.
VIDEO: Matt Bartkowski – Goal – Game 7, 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal
VIDEO: Trevor Linden welcomes Matt Bartkowski to Vancouver
VIDEO: Zack Kassian 2-1 goal vs Boston Bruins (February, 2015)
VIDEO: The Best of Phil Kessel