On Thursday, the Canucks added two depth pieces to their AHL club, the Utica Comets, in forwards Zach Hamill, and Colin Stuart.
Hamill, a native of Port Coquitlam and a centre, has had a journeyman career since his selection by the Bruins at 8th overall in 2007, giving him only 20 games at the NHL level in the 2011-2012 season. The rest of his career has seen him dot the lineups of AHL clubs in Hershey, San Antonio, and Milwaukee.
Stuart, 31, hasn’t stepped foot on NHL ice since the 2012 season, where he played only two games with Buffalo. Before that, he posted up thirteen points with the now-defunct Atlanta Thrashers in 2009. The 6’2 forward spent the last year in the German elite league (DEL), with the Isehrlon Roosters.
Terms of the contracts were not revealed, but it is assumed that they involve two-way deals.
Not much. With the recent purchase of an AHL team that now resides in Utica, NY, the team is responsible for filling out a lot more roster spots than they once had to. Before this year, the Canucks had been used to simply standing as an affiliate to various AHL teams, like the Syracuse Crunch, Manitoba Moose, and Chicago Wolves – with them, the Canucks simply contributed to the rosters a set of their prospects whom they wished to develop. Now, with an entire team to look after, depth signings are needed, and players like Hamill and Stuart fit the bill. Expect Hamill to serve as a linemate to further the development of Nicklas Jensen.
After a lot of hype was created by Tony Gallagher of the Province, who revealed the personal struggles of former Vancouver Giants captain Gilbert Brule, hometown fans have been calling for the Canucks brass to bring the centre into the organization, at least on a tryout basis. Notably, Gallagher highlighted that Brule had shed away the personal burdens he carried, and had been in the best shape of his life, possibly hinting that he could play up to the potential he showed teams en route to his 6th overall selection by the Blue Jackets in the 2005 draft. During the season-ticket holders meeting that was broadcast on Wednesday, Gillis explained to fans that Brule would have been a redundant addition to the club. This confuses a lot of people, as a skilled depth-centre is exactly what the Canucks are on the hunt to acquire after Manny Malhotra’s decline in abilities this past year. Today it is even more confusing, with the addition of Zach Hamill.
Announced on Wednesday, the Canucks also re-signed two key depth pieces who have seen time on the NHL roster, in Jordan Schroeder and Dale Weise. Both players were Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) but managed to avoid arbitration. Capgeek reports that Schroeder has a one-year two-way deal, which pays him $600k both ways; TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Weise’s deal is for one year at $750,000.