VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have had preliminary discussions with the agent for centre Jason Arnott and see the 37-year-old veteran as a possible fit for their vacant third-line centre position.
Arnott's agent, his brother Wade, confirmed Wednesday that the two sides have had discussions.
"The answer is yes," Wade Arnott said. "There seems to be some mutual interest."
He characterized the discussions as preliminary and said nothing is imminent.
Arnott does seem to fit the mold for what the Canucks are looking for in a third-line centre. He has good size — 6-5 and 220 pounds — and is still capable of chipping in some offence. In 72 games last season with the St. Louis Blues, Arnott had 17 goals and 34 points.
In 1,244 NHL games, Arnott has 417 goals and 938 points.
"He had kind of a different role in St. Louis," Wade Arnott said. "He played lower in the lineup and still produced at a pretty good rate."
Arnott was the seventh overall pick in the 1993 draft by the Edmonton Oilers, one of six NHL teams he has played for. He helped lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000 when he scored the Cup-winning goal in double overtime in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars. He also served as captain of the Nashville Predators for two seasons.
It's likely the Canucks are holding off on signing Arnott until they see how the Shane Doan sweepstakes turn out. Doan was in Vancouver on Tuesday night and had dinner with Canucks management at a downtown restaurant.
Doan continues to say he prefers to return to the Phoenix Coyotes but wants the team's ownership mess to be resolved before he re-signs. He has also visited with the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.
If Doan does sign with the Canucks, it's unlikely Vancouver would pursue Arnott. Finding salary cap space would be tough, for starters, and the team likely does not want two forwards north of age 35. Doan turns 36 on Oct. 10. A day later, Arnott will celebrate his 38th birthday.
All those miles on Arnott's big body will obviously be a concern for the Canucks. But Wade Arnott said his brother is in great shape.
"He feels his fitness level has never been better," Wade Arnott said.
Arnott made $2.875 million last season with the Blues and averaged 14:08 of ice time per game.
Assistant general manager Laurence Gilman on Wednesday refused to discuss Tuesday night's meeting with Doan or the team's discussions with Arnott.
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