According to Bob McKenzie, goaltender Anders Nilsson has agreed to sign with the Vancouver Canucks. His new contract earns him $5 million over two years.
Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto and G Anders Nilsson to VAN.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2017
Anders Nilsson with Canucks, two years, $2.5 M aav
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2017
Anders Nilsson Signs with the Vancouver Canucks
Nilsson was drafted in the third round back in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. After a great season in the SHL with Lulea HF in which he had a 1.92 goals-against average, Nilsson signed an entry-level contract with Long Island.
He came over to North America in 2011-12, where he primarily played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. In 25 games, Nilsson had a .921 save percentage and a 2.41 GAA. He also made his NHL debut, playing four games with the Islanders.
The following year Nilsson struggled. He finished with a 2.93 GAA and a .899 SV% with Bridgeport in 21 games. In 2012-13, his numbers slightly rose up to a .901 SV% but continued to struggle in the limited NHL he saw. In 19 games, Nilsson had a 3.11 GAA and a .896 SV%.
Nilsson then left to go to the KHL. He joined Ak Bars Kazan, where he posted a 1.71 GAA and a .936 SV% in 38 games. Nilsson was a member of the KHL first all-star team as the league’s top goaltender, performing admirably in the postseason as well.
He returned to the NHL after just one year in Russia. After his rights were traded, he signed a two-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers to backup Cam Talbot. He only lasted 31 games, however, being traded to the St. Louis Blues after a disappointing .901 SV%.
Last summer, Nilsson was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fifth-round pick. In 2016-17, the 27-year-old had the best year of his career. Backing up Robin Lehner, Nilsson played 26 games, finishing with a 2.67 GAA and a .923 SV%.
Anders Nilsson joins the Canucks to be a backup to Jacob Markstrom. With Ryan Miller leaving, it is finally Markstrom’s crease in B.C. Nilsson has shown he can take a good workload as a backup, with 26 games last year and 31 in Edmonton two seasons ago. Overall, it is a low-risk bet for Vancouver on one of the better backup options on the open market.