Unlike many writers, who hide their inner fan behind a thin veneer of professionalism, I enjoy the world of the possible…and impossible. Rumors, the life blood of any fantasy artist. I often hear local radio hacks suggesting a show about rumors and possible trade options is a show wasted on the lowest common denominator. I say hogwash! It is you sir’s who are a waste. Imagination you lack, and thus I will attempt to shame you by creating something beautiful out of nothing more than my own idea of the possible.
While they are my favorite team, I’ve had little desire to write about the Canucks. Frankly, what’s there to say? This is the Canucks. We’ve never been here before, this is rarified air.
GM Mike Gillis has a fairly complete and well designed squad. Thus, potential trades seem to be about little more than moving sideways. However, what was once the deepest blue line in the NHL has recently fallen prey to a multitude of injuries. Gone are Edler, Hamhuis, Ballard, Alberts, and Sweat. Edler and Ballard should be back before the end of the season, as should Alberts, but Hamhuis is concussed, and thus his return is uncertain. With the team poised to finish first in the Western conference, and perhaps tops in the NHL, does Gillis look for a short term fix for his battered back end? Heaven forbid they lose Bieksa or Ehrhoff because of overuse.
Go figure, their depth has left them in a pickle. If they acquire say, a Chris Phillips, as has been rumored, their left with a bulging back end come playoff time, and used limited assets in the process, while leaving the forwards untouched. As I see it, acquiring another top six dman would be a waste of resources. In the above scenario Phillips would be your 7th dman during the playoffs, with Rome and Alberts taking the 8th and 9th spots. Meanwhile you’ve given up a second round pick and maybe a prospect (probably the asking price for Phillips) for a player getting little ice time, not to mention the problems his 3.5 million dollar salary creates. Thus, while I’m in favor of picking up a bottom of the rotation guy for cheep, I’d look at improving the forwards first.
This isn’t original, but the major issues facing the Canucks are their lack of bottom six talent down the middle and their inability to find a consistent top six winger for the second line. Don’t get me wrong, they have enough in both areas to get by, but getting by and winning a cup are two different things. Ideally they should trade for a legitimate fourth line center (It’s a bad thing if your suggesting your fourth line center isn’t ‘legitimate’), someone who is flexible, can play third line minutes if called upon and who can bring grit and leadership. The ideal fit would have been Chris Kelly in Ottawa, but he was just picked up by Boston for a second rounder…high price! An alternative could be Marty Reasoner in Florida. He’s an unrestricted FA at the end of the year and only makes 1.15 million. He’s got good speed, can take faceoff’s, provide leadership and has decent skill. I doubt he would cost much either. A player like Ottawa’s Jesse Winchester could also be a possible fit. Looking at the standings it becomes clear that there are a lot of buyers, and few sellers. Thus explaining Chris Kelly for a second round pick…
In my opinion the most important position of need is a legitimate second line winger to play beside Ryan Kesler. He has been driving that line, almost single handedly, regardless of wingers. I don’t see Samuelson or Raymond as quality second line forwards. They are both streaky players, and are better suited moving between the second and third lines as they warm and cool. I would love to see Gillis acquire a top end forward. For me, and this is truly a fantasy, I would take a shot at Kesler’s USA teammate Zack Parise. True he’s injured, and true he is in line for a big payday next season, but both issues can be overcome with creativity. First, he’s scheduled to return in March, which would give him time to acclimatize to his new surroundings. Second, the Canucks have a number of expiring contracts this offseason, including Salo, Ehrhoff, and Bieksa. I would offer Mason Raymond, Cory Schneider or Jordan Schroeder, and a first round pick to New Jersey for Parise. NJ could use the youth and speed of Raymond, plus, they are desperate to find a replacement for Brodeur. Few young goalies are playing better than Schnieder at the moment. This would also allow the Canucks to make a move with an Eastern conference team, rather than within the West. I think this deal makes sense for both teams. To add fuel to the fire, I don’t know that NJ can afford to resign Parise, as they have big dollar contracts committed to Kovalchuk, Elias, Rolston, Volchenkov, Brodeur and Zajac.
Anyways, if you can’t get Parise I would look at some of the vets out there like Cory Stillman or Jason Arnott. Enough for now. What do you think Canuck fans? What’s on your wish list? Could Parise work?
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