Vancouver Canucks

Beefing up: Coyotes ink John Scott

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The Pacific Division continued to get tougher on Friday in the wake of Milan Lucic’s arrival in Los Angeles.

The Anaheim Ducks signed Brian McGrattan while the Arizona Coyotes added tough guy John Scott on a one-year deal.

Scott spent the 2014-15 season with the San Jose Sharks scoring career-high three goals and four points to go along with 87 penalty minutes in 38 games. The 32-year-old has a history with Coyotes’ assistant GM Darcy Regier as the two were together in Buffalo.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Scott’s deal is a one-way contract worth $575,000.

Arizona also signed Steve Downie to a one-year deal on July 1.

The Canucks added Brandon Prust in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.

“L.A. got tougher in bringing in Lucic. Other teams got tougher,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Thursday when discussing the Prust acquisition. “I don’t want our younger players getting picked on this year. I want them to go out, be able to play and feel comfortable.

“With (Derek) Dorsett and Prust in the lineup, they’re going to create a safe working environment for our young players.”

Dorsett (17) and Prust (16) were second and third in fighting majors last season, according to Hockeyfights.com. Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the league with 19.

Downie was 14th in fighting majors last season with eight.

Benning takes heat after admitting he could’ve traded Miller

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A curious thing happened Thursday night during a town hall for Canucks ticketholders:

The GM got booed.

Jim Benning, who’s already come under fire this offseason, took some serious heat after admitting that — rather than dealing popular backup goalie Eddie Lack — he could’ve traded away veteran starter Ryan Miller.

More, from The Province:

Up to now, most believed the Canucks didn’t have many options when it came to their goalies.

Turns out, they had all the options.

“We could have moved Ryan Miller,” Benning revealed matter-of-factly. “There were teams calling on Ryan Miller.”

Benning was cut off by boos. Something that happened a couple of times.

He did not waver. He double downed in his belief in Miller, pointing out his high win total this year and reiterated that he wants a veteran as his No. 1 and a young goalie as his backup.

The Lack trade — Benning sent the 27-year-old to Carolina at the draft in exchange for a third round pick this year and a seventh-rounder next year — was widely critiqued by Canucks fans, who liked the personable Swede and didn’t like the middling return.

There was also widespread belief that, after backstopping the Canucks to the playoffs last year while Miller was injured, Lack would’ve been a capable and less expensive ($1.15M to Miller’s $6M) starter for a Vancouver team that appears to be in a transitional phase anyway.

Some saw Lack as the better goalie than Miller, period.

Benning, though, never saw it that way. The Province notes that a Lack-Jacob Markstrom tandem “was never going to be a thing” under this regime, and Benning essentially said the ‘Canes brought Lack in to be Cam Ward’s backup.

Which now makes the Carolina situation one worth monitoring. Should Lack wrestle the gig away from Ward and have success in a different market, it’ll only further stoke the flames under Benning’s chair.

Related

Linden defends Lack trade, thinks Canucks will have ‘real good goaltending next year’

Benning knows he ‘could get criticized’ for trading fan favorite Eddie Lack

Canucks re-sign Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening

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The Vancouver Canucks added depth to their blue line on Thursday by re-signing restricted free agent defensemen Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Clendening’s deal is a one-year, two-way contract worth $760,000.

Clendening was acquired by the Canucks from the Chicago Blackhawks in January.

The 22-year-old appeared in 17 games with Vancouver following the trade registering two assists and eight penalty minutes while averaging 17:27 in time on ice.

Clendening also appeared in 11 American Hockey League games with the Utica Comets scoring a goal and adding four assists. He added three goals and five helpers in 23 Calder Cup playoff games.

“When (Clendening is) playing his game, he has a good stick and covers the lanes and uses body positioning for cutting down angles,” Canucks’ GM Jim Benning told The Province. “The best part of this game is his hockey sense and ability to move the puck up ice fast. And he has a good shot from the point and has his head up. He can walk the line and spot people in front of the net. He had a real good playoff down there (Utica) and looked like he’s ready to play.”

Corrado appeared in 10 games with the Canucks during the 2014-15 season scoring one goal and registering a minus-7 rating.

In 35 AHL games with the Comets, the 22-year-old scored seven goals and nine assists. He added one goal and 24 penalty minutes in 18 Calder Cup playoff games.

“It was my first year in the Western Conference and one thing I learned was that for whatever reason — the number of games and the travel — you go through a lot of defencemen,” said Benning. “At one point, we were on our 11th defenceman in the organization and we’re going to start off carrying eight probably.”

Coyotes praise Duclair’s ‘outstanding’ playmaking skill

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Anthony Duclair’s making a solid impression on his new team.

Duclair, acquired by Arizona from the Rangers in the Keith Yandle trade, took part in the Coyotes’ prospect development camp this week and earned high praise from head coach Dave Tippett.

“Some of the plays he makes out there are outstanding,” Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s a young player that he’ll still have to learn how to play without the puck, some coverage things, but his assets of skating and quickness and skill all are very high priority for us.”

Duclair, who turns 20 in August, figures to be on Arizona’s opening-night roster this season. He’s got NHL experience — seven points in 18 games with the Rangers last year — and is an integral part of the Coyotes’ youth movement.

What’s more, Duclair doesn’t have a ton of competition.

Though they made some moves at forward in free agency — bringing aboard (or, re-board) the likes of Antoine Vermette, Boyd Gordon, Steve Downie and Brad Richardson — the Coyotes are still pretty thin up front, especially on the wings. A left-handed shot that can play the right, Duclair’s in a battle with fellow youngsters Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz, Lucas Lessio, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak for minutes with the big club.

It’s a battle he’s ready to take on.

“They’re pushing younger, so what better scenario for me,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to be here.”

PHT Morning Skate: Eddie Lack pays tribute to former teammate on new mask

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Last spring when Eddie Lack was looking for help designing his new mask, Roberto Luongo tweeted the 27-year-old with his own design suggestion. Now with the Carolina Hurricanes, Lack decided to pay tribute to his former Vancouver Canucks teammate by putting Luongo’s face on his mask.

Applying for an NHL expansion franchise will cost interested groups $10 million, which includes $2 million that’s non-refundable. (Seattle Times)

Pittsburgh’s bid to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship got support from U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Wednesday. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Defenseman Kevin Lohan, the younger cousin of actress Lindsay Lohan, is at Washington Capitals development camp. (CSNWashington.com)

Jack Eichel shows off his hands at Sabres’ development camp (Bar Down)

Former NHLer Colby Armstrong says it was frustrating playing with Phil Kessel in Toronto. (Sportsnet)

Canucks’ prospect Thatcher Demko feels ‘better than new’ after hip surgery. (Metro News)

Hurricanes’ prospect Sergey Tolchinsky scored an amazing breakaway goal at Carolina’s development camp. (Bar Down)

John Schiavo had quite the goal during a shootout at New York Islanders development camp on Wednesday night.