Amidst reports of Mattias Ohlund retiring and Roberto Luongo being on the trading block, I have a plea for the Vancouver Canucks and their fans to read, and take in. Call me sentimental, call me old-fashioned, but this could work out incredibly well for both sides. Tampa Bay Lightning fans had great reason to be happy when the Bolts signed Mattias Ohlund a couple years ago. He is the consummate professional and everything you could ever want in a leader. When Markus Naslund left the Canucks, many thought that Ohlund should take the captaincy. Unfortunately, knee injuries have absolutely de-railed Ohlund’s career. The intention of this blog is not to have it sound exactly like my last one; the intention of this blog is to make a proposition.
1st Round Draft Pick (Detroit)
To Tampa Bay
Before anyone starts jumping up and down and crying because this is an “underpayment” for Roberto Luongo, let me take a second to explain. This deal is completely contingent on Mattias Ohlund retiring the second he lands in Vancouver. If that isn’t going to happen, there’s no deal to be made here. Essentially, the Canucks are ridding themselves of Roberto’s cap hit, taking no salary back and getting a mid-first round draft pick in exchange for that. With the saved cap space, the Canucks would have room to sign Cory Schneider AND go after a big name free agent like Parise or Suter. It seems like a WIN for the Vancouver Canucks on the business side of the ledger. Now consider the sentimental side of things.
When Mattias Ohlund left the Canucks, it was a sad day for anyone who followed his career. A career long Canuck up until that point, Ohlund meant a lot to the city of Vancouver. His work in the community, his incredible on ice play and his ability to connect with people were just some of the qualities that engraved him in the hearts of Vancouver fans. For many, his departure signaled the end of an era with the Vancouver Canucks’ franchise. Gone was the era of the West Coast Express; its final candle had been dimmed. Looking back on things, the Canucks had arguably the most exciting hockey team in the National Hockey League for a long while. That group had it all. Unfortunately, they were never able to put it all together and win the big prize. Even then, it’s hard to discount the individual achievements of the likes of Naslund, Bertuzzi, Ohlund, Jovanovski and many others. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vancouver Canucks owe it to Mattias to allow him to retire a Vancouver Canuck. He is, and always will be, a Canuck and he deserves to leave hockey with the organization that drafted him.
It’s not often you see deals like this happen. These sorts of things only happen for really, really special individuals; Mattias Ohlund is an incredible player, but more importantly, an incredible person. From the Vancouver Canucks’ perspective, this deal makes perfect sense. On the Tampa Bay Lightning side of things, well, it’s not hard to see that this deal is absolutely spot-on. The Bolts get rid of Ohlund’s contract the right, and moral, way and also acquire the franchise goaltender they are looking for. It sounds pretty good to me.
Anyways. It’s my hope that fans on both sides can understand the sentimental value of what could transpire with this sort of deal. Dare I say that I might shed a tear if this goes through?
Thanks for reading.