Earlier this month, the NHL went through yet another frenzy of free agent signings. The majority of players who had expiring contracts were looking to cash in with one of the other 29 teams that would pay them more money.
These annual bidding wars and frenzies of signings are far from what a free agent once represented. As recently as 20 years ago, the main reason a player became a free agent is because his team didn’t want him anymore. The athlete marketplace wasn’t like it is today, and there weren’t many star players who ever made it to free agency.
During the history of the Vancouver Canucks, the majority of their teams have been built through the draft and through trades. For example, almost the entire Vancouver Canucks team that made the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994 were players drafted by the team (Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure) or were traded to the team (Cliff Ronning, Geoff Courtnall, Greg Adams, Jyrki Lumme, Jeff Brown, Kirk McLean).
But there were a few free agents that came to the Canucks in their early days and made an impact, and the team has evolved into an active player in the free agent market today. Let’s take a look at the seven best free agent signings in the 40-year history of the Vancouver Canucks and rank them accordingly.