Canucks ink eight

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

The Vancouver Canucks made us wait, and then they signed eight.

"We've added some depth to our minor league team, we've added some depth to our big team," said assistant general manager Steve Tambellini.

The Canucks acquired free agents Byron Ritchie, Brad Isbister, Curtis Sanford and Greg Classen yesterday after going silent on the first two days of free agent season. They also signed four others, including goaltender Corey Schneider.

Burnaby-born, 30-year-old centre Ritchie had a 14-point, 64-game season with the Calgary Flames in 2006-2007. The 1995 Hartford Whalers' draft pick previously played for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers.

Six-foot-four, Edmonton-born left-winger Isbister replaces the size Canucks lost when Todd Bertuzzi was traded last year.

"Everyone knows the type of tenacity and emotion [Ritchie] brings to the game," Tambellini said. "We're looking to rebuild some of our bottom six and bringing in some size and skating ability with Brad Isbister."

The Canucks picked up ex-St. Louis Blues' goaltender Sanford to replace backup Dany Sabourin, who signed with Pittsburgh Penguins.

Goaltender Schneider, 21, inked a three-year entry-level contract. The Canucks' first-round pick in 2004 is earmarked for the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose.

"Hopefully, some day in the future I can work with a guy like Roberto [Luongo]," said Schneider, who was studying finance at Boston College.

Czech defenceman Lukas Krajicek, acquired in 2006's blockbuster trade for Luongo, extended his contract. Moose centre Brad Moran and left-winger Jason Jaffray also made deals. They're expected to challenge for spots in Vancouver's roster at training camp in September.


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