For Further Reading: Troy Stecher’s departure from Vancouver leaving a bad taste for Canucks fans, scribes

This isn’t “big Red Wings news,” but if you’re interested in another team’s take on why a valued player (even if he’s not their MVP) left town, this “futher reading” is for you:

Vancouver Canucks fans and scribes aren’t thrilled that Richmond, British Columbia native Troy Stecher ended up signing with the Detroit Red Wings after the cap-strapped Canucks chose not to qualify Stecher. The 26-year-old spoke positively about joining the Red Wings, but it’s hard to imagine that he’s not a little bummed about not remaining with his hometown team.

The Vancouver Sun’s Steve Ewen reports that the Canucks’ pursuit of free agent defenseman (and, ultimately, Edmonton Oiler) Tyson Barrie and trading for Oliver Ekman-Larsson from Arizona (who remains a Coyote) lost them both Chris Tanev and Stecher’s services:

[Canucks GM Jim] Benning said in his Friday afternoon media availability that the team had made an offer to Tanev and that Tanev was going to “sleep on it tonight and we should have an answer on that tomorrow morning.”

The Flames announced their deal with Tanev instead a few hours later. Tanev did a video conference call for media on Saturday morning.

“I was definitely sitting on pins and needles, seeing where I’d end up,” the 30-year-old Tanev said. “I sort of had the idea that I wasn’t going to be back in Vancouver after the last five or six weeks.”

TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal has reported that the Canucks have had limited contact as well with Stecher this off-season.

According to Dhaliwal, the Canucks reached out to Stecher Saturday morning, expressed interest but wanted to wait first on word from free-agent defenceman Tyson Barrie, another right-shot rearguard.

The Athletic’s Harman Dayal (via Max Bultman on Twitter) also reports that Stecher was a free agent-chasing casualty:

In the process of chasing Barrie, however, the club also missed out on Stecher. According to The Athletic colleague and TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks were in discussions with Stecher’s camp on a contract but asked him to wait until the afternoon so they could get clarity on Barrie, who was their higher priority. Stecher’s camp responded by saying they couldn’t wait and risk losing out on the other offers on the table, so they signed for two years with Detroit at a tidy $1.7 million cap hit instead.

Missing out on Stecher at a $1.7 million cap hit is unquestionably a hit to the backend. There have been a number of counterarguments rationalizing his departure. One is that the Canucks couldn’t return with the same backend they had last year. That much is true, but it’s a blanket statement that doesn’t address the specifics of the issue. The blue line was insufficient because they lacked high-end top-four defencemen — Stecher, a credible No.5 who can step into the top-four in a pinch, wasn’t the problem. Vancouver’s backend absolutely needs to get better, but it’s the top-four that needs help, not necessarily the No.5 right-shot slot that Stecher was occupying.

Other critics will say that he’s “small and can’t defend,” but his defensive profile objectively reflects surplus value. Over the last three years, no Canuck defender has been on the ice for a lower rate of 5-on-5 goals against.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.