The National Hockey League’s free agency season opened on Wednesday (July 28) and a number of the moves made by the Vancouver Canucks have revealed a bit of what may come with the affiliate team in Abbotsford.
Vancouver’s first signing of the day was to ink 2021 second round pick Danila Klimovich. The 18-year-old Belarusian forward was inked to a three-year entry level deal and it was confirmed he will be attending Canucks training camp in Abbotsford in September.
The two-way deal will allow him to also suit up for the Abbotsford Canucks. If he plays nine games or less in the NHL, his entry level deal will slide a year. This allows the parent club the possibility to keep him in Vancouver or Abbotsford for 2021-22.
Klimovich was chosen 41st overall by the Canucks in the draft, and recorded 52 points and 40 penalty minutes in 37 games with Minskie Zubry (Vysshaya Liga) this season. He tied for second in league scoring during the playoffs, adding 14 points in 12 games.
Klimovich represented Team Belarus at the 2021 World Under-18 Championship, recording six goals in five games, and appeared in three games for Belarus at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning did not rule out Klimovich playing in Abbotsford at a press conference with the media on Wednesday (July 29).
Confirmation on Danny Klimovich if he plays 9 or less NHL games, his ELC slides a year. He can play as many AHL games as he wants this year.
This signing gives the Canucks control and flexibility on what to do with the kid.
Key word is control, the Canucks choose where he goes.
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) July 28, 2021
Vancouver then announced the addition of North Delta native Nicholas Petan to a two-way deal. Petan’s salary will be $750,000 in the NHL and $450,000 in the AHL.
The centre was a star with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in round two, 43rd overall in the 2013 NHL draft. He’s played for both the Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL, collecting 28 points in 136 games.
He’s also suited up in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and Toronto Marlies. This past season he scored 15 points in 14 games with the Marlies, and added one point in seven games with the Maple Leafs.
Another two-way contract signed by the Canucks was a deal made with left winger Phillip Di Giuseppe. His contract structure is identical to Petan.
The Ontario native was a star at the University of Michigan hockey program and was picked in round two, 38th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2013. He’s scored 53 points in 201 NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers. He’s also suited up the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Hartford Wolf Pack.
This past season he scored eight points in 31 games with the Rangers.
Vancouver also signed defenceman Devante Stephens and centre Sheldon Dries to two-way contracts with the same terms.
Stephens is a White Rock native who was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (122nd overall) in the 2015 NHL draft. He played for the Valley West Giants in the BC U18 league before joining the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.
He’s spent time in the AHL with the Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch and with the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. Last season he recorded 11 points in 26 games with the Crunch and six points in 16 games with the Solar Bears.
Dries, a Michigan native, came up through the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. He also spent four seasons with the Western Michigan University Broncos.
Dries went undrafted but went on to sign an AHL contract with the Texas Stars in 2017. He then signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche the following season. In 2019 he signed a one-year, two-way extension with the Avs.
In 48 NHL games he has collected six points and he has also recorded 86 points in 163 AHL games.
In the afternoon, the Canucks announced the signings of defenceman Kyle Burroughs and forwards Sheldon Rempal and John Stevens.
Burroughs has agreed to terms on a two-year contract. Burroughs, 26, split the 2020.21 season playing five games with the Colorado Avalanche and 11 games with the AHL Colorado Eagles. The Vancouver native played an additional two playoff games for the Eagles last season.
The 6’0”, 194-pound defenceman has played 324 career AHL games and recorded 86 points and 431 penalty minutes. Burroughs was originally selected by the New York Islanders 196th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Rempal, 25, split the 2020-21 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. He was held off the scoresheet in three games with the Hurricanes and posted 14 points and six penalty minutes in 25 games with the Wolves.
The 5’10”, 165-pound forward has appeared in 10 career NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes and made his NHL debut on Oct. 18, 2018 vs the New York Islanders. In 140 career AHL games split between the Ontario Reign and Chicago Wolves, Rempal has tallied 75 points (23-52-75) and 74 penalty minutes.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Rempal was originally signed by Los Angeles as an undrafted free agent on March 30, 2018.
Stevens, 27, recorded 10 points and 12 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Utica Comets last season. In 165 career AHL games he has notched 51 points and 78 penalty minutes. Stevens was traded to Utica from Bridgeport on January 10, 2020.
The 6’2”, 205-pound native of Sea Isle, NJ played four seasons at Northeastern University, where he recorded 106 points in 132 games.
Other two-way contracts signed by the Canucks this year include forwards Vasily Podkolzin (May 30) and Karel Plasek (June 1).
The Abbotsford Canucks also announced the signing of Saskatoon Blades forward Chase Wouters on July 22.