The wait is over. Since the Vancouver Canucks met thier fate in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs I have spent several hours here and there just trying to get a feel as to where the franchise sits in terms of what their team will look like next fall. I have seen several posts both here and on the CDC message board that would lead you to believe the the Canucks have millions of dollars under the cap and that all the other teams in the league are willing to accect unproven talent for 50 goal scorers. Some of the blogs are hard to take.
If the Canucks are able to pull of a deal that brings in Scott Gomez, Paul Kariya or Chris Drury ...I would love it as much as the next guy, however, there has to be a time where you take a shot of reality.
Last season was a surprise to everyone, and Roberto Luongo was the key in the cog. Guess what, Luongo is on the roster for the next few seasons, beyond that there just needs to be a little tweaking here and there for this team to return to the "Stanley Cup Contender" tag that it carried earlier in this decade. I was one of those people who had serious doubts about the club as we headed into last season, in fact, around the same time that every thing seemed to turnaround I for one had given up. The Canucks weren't going to make the playoffs, and even as the team was turning things around I was waiting for the wheels to fall off.
In the end, Alain Vigneault had established a system and the players had bought into it and the core of those players still remains. Salo, Ohlund and Mitchell still have a few years left on their contracts and while Morrison and Naslund are coming off subpar offensive seasons, the remain under contract for one more season. Furthermore, Dave Nonis made a wise decision in signing Ryan Kelser and Taylor Pyatt to three-year contracts prior to the free agency binge.
Trevor Linden and Jeff Cowan appear to be the odd guys out at the moment but from what I hear the deals may be more of a when as opposed to an if. With Cowan was close a few weeks ago but it would appear that the sides have decided to take a break for the NHL Draft before making any final decisions which leads me to think that maybe Cowan is asking a little too much so the Canucks may try to fill his role with a draft day trade or a free agent sigining.
As for Trevor Linden, this hits a soft spot in my heart. At the post season presser Nonis and Vigneault were very mum on the Linden front, however, I believe in all respect to both sides...we have to see what is left over. Linden had a decent regular season before an awesome post-season and should see some sort of increase from the $600,000 that he received last season.
I believe that I stated in my playoff predictions that I hate predictions so instead of making a confirmed decision, I will leave several (quality/reasonable) options available.
So let's cut to the chase. With out further aidue...my outlook on the 2007 - 2008 Vancouver Canucks.
1.Markus Naslund - $6,000,000
2.Daniel Sedin - $3,575,000
3.Henrik Sedin - $3,575,000
4.Brendan Morrison - $3,200,000
5.Matt Cooke - $1,500,000
6.Ryan Kesler - $1,700,000
7.Taylor Pyatt - $1,570,000
8.Alexander Burrows - $475,000
9.Jeff Cowan - $600,000
10.Trevor Linden - $900,000
1.Mattias Ohlund - $3,500,000
2.Sami Salo - $3,500,000
3.Willie Mitchell - $3,500,000
4.Kevin Bieska -$575,000
5.Lukas Krajieck - $800,000
1.Roberto Luongo - $6,500,000
2.Drew McIntyre - $600,000
The salary cap has not been set for next season but with rumors as low as $48 million and as high as $52 million let's settle in the middle at $50 million. With that being said the Canucks would be sitting at $41,995,000 with $8,000,000 to spend on three roster spots.
Dave Nonis has recently stated that he will not operate as close to the cap as he has in the past few seasons. Good move!, when you have a goaltender like Luongo that can steal games, you save yourself some room for a trade deadline deal.
As with last season, chances are that the Canucks will carry 12 forwards and 7 defensemen. Let's begin with finishing off the forwards, after reviewing the free agency charts I have selected a few that would fit into the budget and also fit nicely into the Canucks locker room.
Adam Miar - UFA (06-07 salary $675,000) - fits the mould and rather inexpensive
Kyle Calder - UFA (06-07 salary $2,900,000) - rather expensive but could fit in nicely for the right price which is below $2.9 million
Martin Gelinas - UFA (06-07 salary $900,000) - fits the mould and right price, this is my pick
Wes Walz - UFA (06-07 salary $1,300,000) - understands the defensive system, good speed, good leader, may cause some problems in the room
Paul Kariya - UFA (06-07 Salary $4,500,000) - too expensive but I included him to see what you think
Jason Weimer - UFA (06-07 salary $2,000,000) - little pricey for the return on production, from what I understand he spent last season in the minors, could be a steal. Tough as nails.
Yanic Perreault - UFA (06-07 salary $700,000) - looking for big pay raise, I have always like him, maybe its too late to enjoy his skill but another name to see what you have to say
Shane Hnidy UFA (06-07 salary $600,000) - heard the rumors, sounds like a good fit
Jamie Pushor UFA (06-07 salary $675,000) - veteran with good experience, played with the Wings during their dynasty
Jamie Heward UFA (06-07 salary $675,000) - good size and skill, probably wants more ice-time than the Canucks can offer
Nick Schultz RFA (06-07 salary $1,800,000)- restricted but could be a nice risk to take
Chris Schubert RFA (06-07 salary $525,000) - Nonis has shown interest in this guy previously
Barret Jackman RFA (06-07 salary $1,400,000) - Long shot but it would be nice to have him and Mitchell patrolling our blueline.
Regardless, some of these ideas may seem far fetched but that is what this stuff is all about...lets here it....
As I was preparing this I started to here rumors of a deal in the works for the Canucks to 'dump salary' and move up to the 2nd overall pick which would then allow them to become active players in the Scott Gomez, Chris Drury or Daniel Briere sweepstakes as well as some other free agents