The Canucks will have a new goaltender between the pipes next season.
Anders Nilsson is coming west, signing a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season with the Canucks on Saturday.
“Anders has a big, athletic frame and we expect that he will compete at high level when called upon,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “Alongside Jacob, we feel his addition will continue to make us competitive every night at the goaltending position.”
Nilsson fills the spot left open by the departed Ryan Miller, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks in free agency.
In Nilsson, the Canucks get a less proven goaltender with youth and potential on his side. Ten years younger than Miller, Nilsson is expected to push Jacob Markstrom, who becomes the new starting goalie next season.
At 6-foot-5 and 229 pounds, Nilsson is a big man. The 27-year-old from Lulea, Sweden was Markstrom’s teammate at the World Junior Championships in 2010.
Nilsson had his best year in the NHL statistically last season, posting a .923 save percentage in 26 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Nilsson impressed for Team Sweden at the 2014 IIHF World Championships, posting a 6-2-0 record with a save percentage of .937.
Here’s the scouting report on Nilsson, courtesy of Elite Prospects:
A huge goaltender that is technically skilled. Nilsson has good hockey smarts plays with calmness and has good mental strength. Challenges the shooters and has been very consistent during his career, rarely having bad games. Furthermore, he is athletic and quite agile.
This is a good value signing for the Canucks, who aren’t going to overspend with their goaltenders for the first time in forever.