Canucks bolster defence

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

After a busy Friday by President Mike Gillis, the Canucks have a numbers problem on their hands; albeit, a good problem.

With the addition of three defencemen - Christian Ehrhoff, Brad Lukowich and Mathieu Schneider, Vancouver now has 10 blueliners with one-way contracts vying for the top six spots.

The overflow on the back end will make for some fierce competition during training camp and with injuries being such a big part of the game, depth on defence is definitely welcomed.

Take the 2007-08 season for example, when Vancouver lost over 130 man-games to injuries on defense alone. The Canucks finished 11th in the West that year.

It's only a matter of time before Sami Salo ends up on the injury list.

Besides depth, one major area of improvement that Ehrhoff, 27, and Schneider, 40, will provide is on the power play, which finished 17th (18.8 per cent) in the NHL last season.

In addition to speed and power from the point, both have experience quarterbacking on the man-advantage, with Schneider averaging over five minutes a game on the power play in Montreal last year.

Throw Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, and Salo into the mix and coach Alain Vigneault has a plethora of options on the power play.

This Vancouver blueline has more speed, size, mobility, and experience, and all Gillis had to do was spend $6.217 million in salary cap space and move two Nonis- era dud prospects in Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi.

No matter how you slice it, the Canucks now have one of the most versatile defensive units in the NHL.


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