The Vancouver Canucks are facing a challenging situation with their current salary cap limit, being $4.2 million over. Despite this financial constraint, they have several needs to address if they want to compete for a playoff spot. One critical aspect that requires attention is improving their scoring on the wings to support their star center, Elias Pettersson.
Need for Scoring from the Blue Line
Elias Pettersson, as the star center of the Canucks, is undoubtedly a key player on their roster. However, for the team to be successful and make a serious push for the playoffs, they need to have reliable scoring options on the wings. This will not only take some pressure off Pettersson but also provide additional offensive threats that opponents must respect. Scoring depth is crucial in a competitive league like the NHL, and the Canucks must address this need to become a well-rounded offensive force.
POWER PLAY PETEY! pic.twitter.com/z6pSLXkQDf
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 27, 2023
Another area that requires improvement for the Canucks is their power play, which finished at a respectable but not exceptional 22%. A potent power play can make a significant difference in winning those crucial games one-goal games and earning important points in the standings. To enhance their power play, the Canucks need to add a shooting option from the blue line, which Matt Dumba can provide. As seen above, their PP does use point shots, but they are more for laying pucks into the slot for tip ins and rebounds. While the Canucks are getting some success with that method, adding another option could only help to diversify their options.
Matt Dumba is a Solution
Among the available unrestricted free-agent defensemen, Matt Dumba stands out as an ideal candidate to fulfill the Canucks’ needs. Dumba, who is coming off of a $6 million per season deal, has demonstrated his offensive abilities during his time with the Minnesota Wild. While his point totals have gone down since his 50-point season in 2018, so have the goal totals for the Wild.
Matt Dumba OT buzzer beater my goodness pic.twitter.com/oneclIzmCm
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 28, 2021
Dumba’s two-way defensive ability makes him a perfect fit for improving the Canucks in both defense and offense. His powerful shot from the blue line will add a new dimension to their power play, providing an additional shooting option, making their PP more unpredictable, and challenging opponents to adjust defensively. Additionally, Dumba’s passing ability and skill in moving the puck up the ice in transition will help facilitate smoother defensive zone exits, allowing them to attack with more speed through the neutral zone, an area that has caused them issues in recent seasons.
Not only will Dumba bolster the Canucks’ offensive capabilities, but his defensive prowess is equally valuable. His physical style of play will add some much-needed grit and intensity. Moreover, Dumba’s shot-blocking ability will make it more difficult for offenses to settle into the zone and continue to get high-quality shots through to their young starter, Thatcher Demko, who had a difficult 2022-23 season as he faced far more shots from the high danger zones than he had in previous seasons. His experience in playing top-pairing minutes will also bring stability and reliability to the Canucks’ defensive unit.
Matt Dumba lowers the boom on Evgeny Kuznetsov 😳 pic.twitter.com/FC7cqDFX3X
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) March 19, 2023
In comparison to their current right-side defensemen, namely Filip Hronek, Tyler Myers, and Noah Juulsen, Dumba undoubtedly outshines them in terms of skill and potential impact. His addition to the team will elevate the Canucks’ blue line and create a more well-rounded and competitive defensive group.
Even with significant salary cap constraints, the Vancouver Canucks’ retool model should prioritize addressing the need for scoring on the wings to support Elias Pettersson and enhancing their power play by adding a shooting option from the blue line. Matt Dumba, as an unrestricted free-agent defenseman, fits the bill perfectly with his offensive contributions, defensive skills, and overall experience. Adding Dumba to their roster will undoubtedly improve the Canucks’ chances of competing for a playoff spot, which is their stated goal this season.