Free agent Vincent Desharnais signs two-year contract with Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
16 days ago
Another one of the Edmonton Oilers’ unrestricted free agents has found a new home elsewhere in the Pacific Division.
The Vancouver Canucks announced on Monday that the team has signed defenceman Vincent Desharnais to a two-year contract worth $2 million annually.
The Oilers selected Desharnais in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft following his freshman season at Providence College. After playing four NCAA seasons, the Oilers signed Desharnais to a minor-league contract rather than a standard entry-level deal.
Desharnais made his professional debut in 2019-20 with the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL and moved up to a full-time role with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL during the shortened 2021 season. He played top-pairing minutes on the Condors in 2021-22 and earned a two-year contract with the big-league club in March of that year.
The 2022-23 season got off to an unfortunate start for Deshanrias as he suffered a wrist injury during training camp and wound up having to get surgery. He made his season debut with the Condors in November, was called up to the Oilers in January, and never returned to the AHL.
Desharnais filled a hole on Edmonton’s blueline as a big, physical defender who could block shots and kill penalties on their third pairing. He struggled during the playoffs with the speed of the L.A. Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights but made considerable improvements in 2023-24, especially after Hall of Fame defenceman Paul Coffey joined the team’s coaching staff.
The 6-foot-7 defender scored one goal and 11 points over 78 games for the Oilers in 2023-24 and he added one assist in 16 games during their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Desharnais logged an average of 15:44 per game in his second season in the NHL and he was among the team’s most-used penalty killers, as he averaged 2:02 per game on the kill.
A tough, gritty defenceman with a great story, Desharnais became a fan favourite in Edmonton, but the Oilers ultimately opted to save some cap space by signing Josh Brown to a three-year deal worth $1 million annually to play the same role. For Desharnais, going from a minor-league deal and playing in the ECHL to earning $4 million on an NHL contract five years later is quite an accomplishment.

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