No, I'm not jumping off the bandwagon. But I've decided to take a look at the Canucks' free agents on July 1st.
Jan Bulis (III) - This guy was really unhappy with his playing time and lack of power-play time sometime in January and didn't seem like he would return to the team next year. But after a chat with Dave Nonis and getting his position in the club clarified, he's been great since. He's arguably been our most consistent player in the playoffs. In an interview with a Vancouver newspaper, he's currently very happy with his position with the club and hopes to re-sign with the Canucks. If he comes back, he won't be getting more than the $1.3 million he got this year.
Jeff Cowan (III) - A waiver wire pickup by Dave Nonis in December, Cowan has exceeded expectations. Originally brought in to stick up for teammates and add toughness to the lineup, he turned into a scoring machine in early March and was dubbed the "Brabarian" after a fan threw a bra on the ice. He has since cooled off, but has stepped up his play when needed to. Most likely will get a contract offer around $700,000 from the Canucks. Expect him to be at training camp in September.
Rory Fitzpatrick (III) - Signed as a free agent in the off-season to be the No. 7 defenceman, but was promoted to the 6th defenceman after Canucks prospect Luc Bourdon failed to make the team and was re-assigned back to junior. He's been our 6th defenceman for most of the year until the Canucks acquired Brent Sopel at the NHL Trade Deadline, since he's been sitting in the press box and has filled in nicely when injuries occurred. His future with the Canucks is up in the air, since prospects like Kirill Koltsov, Alexander Edler, and Luc Bourdon may all be ready for the NHL. If he remains with the Canucks, expect it to be a league-minimum salary with a two-way clause.
Wade Flaherty (III) - Was penciled in to be Roberto Luongo's backup this season, but was demoted to the AHL after the Canucks picked up Dany Sabourin off waivers a day before the start of the NHL regular season. He's been injured for most of the season in the minors and is contract most likely will not be renewed with propsect Cory Schneider most likely making the jump from college to minor-pro. He may be brought back as a coach in the Canucks organization, but not a player.
Lee Goren (III) - He finished third in scoring with the Manitoba Moose in the regular season. Most likely will be brought back as a depth player at the league-minimum.
Josh Green (III) - Green's been a key part of the No. 1 ranked penalty kill in the NHL in the regular season. Expect him to be back next year and be a regular on the 4th line.
Trevor Linden (III) - Was a healthy scratch at one point in the season, but has since elevated his play, earning regular powerplay time with the Sedins and playing regularly on the third/fourth line. His future really depends on how well the Canucks do in the playoffs. If he chooses to retire at the end of the year, expect him to be brought back for a front office job.
Mika Noronen (III) - Brought in at last year's NHL Trade Deadline to ease the pressure on Alex Auld. He was penciled in as Luongo's backup, but chose not to accept the Canucks qualifying offer and left for Russia instead due to potential limited playing time. He's gone for sure.
Taylor Pyatt (III) - Brought in for a 4th round pick from Buffalo, he's set career highs in goals and points playing alongside the Sedin twins. According to a report by CKNW, he's seeking a contract similar to what Matt Cooke received from the Canucks; a three-year deal worth $4.5 million. Seems like a fair deal for him, so it's probably a matter of time before they sign on the dotted line.
Bryan Smolinski (III) - Brought in at the NHL Trade Deadline from Chicago in exchange for a 2nd round pick, Smolinski's been alright, but not spectacular or terrible. Rumour is he loves Chicago and his family is there and he doesn't want them to have to move again, so don't expect him to re-sign with the Canucks and go back to the Blackhawks.
Brent Sopel (III) - When Sopel found out he was re-acquired by the Canucks at the deadline, he and his was extremely excited about coming back to Vancouver. In an interview with the TEAM 1040, Sopel told the station that he did not want to leave Vancouver in the first place and hopes to finish off his career here. If he does come back, he will definitely need to take at least a $1 million pay cut from the $2.4 million he made this year. He'll probably give the Canucks a hometown discount and come back next year.
Yannick Tremblay (III) - Been a good depth defenceman, expect him to be back next year.
Jozef Balej (VI) - Many fans thought that this guy would be one of the many competing for the job of playing along side the Sedins and being the right-handed shot. But for some unknown reason, he opted to sign with Fribourg-Gotteron in Switzerland. The Canucks will try to lure him back to North America, but if they can't. He will become unrestricted.
Jason King (VI) - After refusing to attend the Prospects Camp, King was unable to come to terms with the Canucks, he signed with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League. The Canucks may try to re-sign him, but don't be surprised if they let him walk.
Brad Moran (VI) - He finished second in Moose scoring and will most likely return next year as a depth forward.
Brandon Reid (VI) - He's been a healthy scratch in the minors frequently because of the veterans rule and other veterans outplaying him. The two times he was recalled to the NHL, he hasn't done much.
Prestin Ryan (VI) - Quietly has had a decent season with Manitoba. Expect him back to provide depth, but don't be too overly surprised if he is cut loose.
Dany Sabourin (VI) - The Canucks probably would like to bring him back to backup Luongo, but since he's unrestricted, he most likely would like to find another team where he can get a chance to be a starter.
Tommi Santala (VI) - He's been sitting in the pressbox for most of the year and hasn't been able to get into the linup. Most likely is gone unless he is willing to take a two-way contract and play most of next year in the minors.
Nathan Smith (VI) - Been a very good depth player for the Canucks this year and seems like won't be a first round bust anymore. He should become a decent fourth line center with his great faceoff skills. He should be back next year as a depth forward.