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Vancouver Canucks dip into free -agent market, sign Mikheyev, Lazar

The Vancouver Canucks have added to their forward group in free agency, signing former Toronto Maple Leaf Ilya Mikheyev and ex-Boston Bruin Curtis Lazar.

Mikheyev joins the Canucks on a reported four-year deal with an average annual value of US$4.75 million.

The 27-year-old Russian right-winger had 32 points (21 goals, 11 assists) in 53 games for the Leafs last season, then added two goals and two assists in seven playoff appearances.

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The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Mikheyev has played all three of his NHL seasons in Toronto.

Lazar comes to Vancouver on a three-year deal with a reported average annual value of $1 million.

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The 27-year-old from Salmon Arm, B.C., had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 70 games for the Bruins last year.

Originally picked 17th overall by Ottawa in the 2013 NHL entry draft, the six-foot and 203-pound Lazar has played for the Bruins, Senators, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres over eight seasons in the league.

Lazar also has a strong connection to the Canucks, thanks to growing up in B.C., said Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin.

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“He is a responsible 200-foot player who can line up at centre or on the wing,” Allvin said in a statement. “Curtis brings energy, an ability to kill penalties and takes draws from the right side, which will be extremely valuable for our team.”

Vancouver further bolstered its forward ranks by signing forward Dakota Joshua on a two-year contract.

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The 26-year-old from Dearborn, Mich., had eight points (three goals, five assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 30 games for the St. Louis Blues last season.

The Canucks also signed depth defenceman Wyatt Kalynuk to a one-year, two-way deal on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old hails from Brandon, Man., and has amassed nine points (four goals, five assists) in 26 games for the Chicago Blackhawks over the past two seasons.

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Earlier in the day, Vancouver kicked off free agency by officially signing 26-year-old Russian forward Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Kuzmenko, 26, reportedly visited a handful of teams interested in his services before deciding to join the Canucks last month.

He comes to Vancouver after putting up 52 points (20 goals, 33 assists) and 10 penalty minutes in 45 games with St. Petersburg SKA in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) last season.

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The 5-foot-11 and 194-pound forward has played 37 games for Russia on the international stage, tallying 16 points (10 goals, six assists).

Allvin said in a statement that he’s been watching Kuzmenko play for some time, and is confident the new addition will be able to help Vancouver going forward.

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