Canucks will give newly signed Larsen the chance to run the power play

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With the hockey world expecting the Vancouver Canucks to deal pending unrestricted free agents Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis in February, Jim Benning instead acquired the rights to Philip Larsen.

On Friday, after signing Loui Eriksson to that six-year, $36 million contract, the Canucks inked Larsen to a one-year, one-way deal worth $1.025 million.

He last played professionally in North America during the 2013-14 season, with three goals and 12 points in 30 games with Edmonton, but has spent the last two seasons in the KHL, with 36 points in 52 games last season.

Signed to his new deal in Vancouver, it seems the Canucks will give the right-shooting defenseman a look on the power play when training camp opens, according to Benning. Current Canucks forward Jannik Hansen has played with Larsen before on the Danish national team, and Benning said Eriksson knows him as well.

Benning said he spoke with both players about Larsen.

“They say his ability to carry the puck up ice and walk the line and get pucks through is excellent,” Benning told reporters, as per TSN 1040 radio.

“When we made the trade, we were kind of trying to figure out a right-shot defenseman that could run the power play, so we’re going to give him that opportunity.”

The Canucks had the 27th-ranked power play last season.

Two seasons ago, Yannick Weber finished tied for second on the team with five power play goals, using a cannon for a right shot from the blue line.

In 2015-16, however, Weber appeared in only 45 games and didn’t score a goal for the Canucks. He then went to free agency on Friday, as expected, signing with the Nashville Predators.