I'm one to welcome Naslund and Morrison back with open arms when their contracts are up. All i've been hearing in Canuckland these days is how Naslund isn't producing, how Morrison is invisible, and how Canucks fans cannot wait to get rid of their contracts. Well, i'm one to say: Don't get too ahead of yourself.
Canucks fans seem to easily forget that Markus Naslund was our top scorer 5 years running. Now I am one to agree that Markus has slowed down and is nowhere near old form, but has he really been given a chance? Sure he hasn't put up 6 million dollar numbers, but he is our captain. He has turned himself into a + player rather than a - player.
Ever since the Bertuzzi incident, all the focus on Naslund has been negative. Why? Because he isn't putting up 40 goal seasons anymore, and people seem to forget that Naslund and Bertuzzi made each other complete. When all the contreversy surrounding Bertuzzi affected Bertuzzi's play, it affected Naslund's play as well. How can you put up a 40 goal season with a player that no longer is respected by his fans, by the NHL, and by the world itself. I know that if i stepped on the ice every night with that much hate surrounding me, i couldn't perform one bit. And why did Bertuzzi do what he did? Because Naslund got targeted and cheap shotted. Did Bertuzzi take it too far? Absolutely, but he did what HE, at the time, thought was the right thing to do to prove to the NHL that Naslund isn't one to be pushed around.
When Nonis traded away Bertuzzi, it was evident that he didn't believe Naslund posessed the chemistry he once had with Bertuzzi any longer. And who did Naslund end up playing with? Bulis and Smolinski. Morrison and Pyatt. Moran and Reid. The Sedins. Not one of those players, not one, play anything like Todd Bertuzzi. When you develop on a line that contains a great passer in Morrison, and a power forward who will make sure you get to the net by any means possible, who will make crisp passes, pot in the goals when he gets the puck, you learn to adapt to that style of play. Playing with Bertuzzi for 6-7 years made Naslund adapt to Bertuzzi's style of play. Bertuzzi then adapted to Naslund's style of play, and it was magic on ice.
However, when you tear apart that chemistry, the logical thing to do is to find someone that posesses the same type of talent that Bertuzzi posessed. A big power forward that can score goals and make room for Naslund to play. Now i'm one to also say that Bulis, Moran, Reid, and the Sedins do not posess that skill. Now Pyatt seemed the most likely out of our lineup, but Naslund never got a chance to play with him for more than a span of 5 games at a time, he was always thrown around.
If the Canucks could have brought back Bertuzzi, who knows what would have happened? Maybe they could re-kindle the chemistry. Maybe they couldn't, but if Canucks fans truly believe that this year is a throwaway "Wait for Naslund and Morrison to leave so we can make a splash in the Free Agency pool" year, then why not bring back Bertuzzi for one last year, give him one last shot? Sure he may be a floater, but if the year is such a waste, it never hurts to try.
Look at the other top players in the league. Hossa - Plays with Kovalchuk. Heatley - plays with Spezza and Alfredsson. Sakic - plays with Hejduk. See what i'm getting at? None of these players are "Pyatt's" or "Moran's". Naslund isn't the type of player you shuffle around until you find chemistry. Naslund is the type of player that you trade some blue chip prospects to get him some help.
Even if you don't bring back Bertuzzi, acquire a big body that can produce points as well as make room for Naslund. Because I am certain that if you can bring a player that can make room for Naslund and make Naslund believe he is still playing with the Bertuzzi of old, he will produce big time points.
Great post, Ideen. Couldn't agree more about everything you wrote. Keep up the great work!
I'd prob get rid of Morrison, but defn hold on to naslund and I think he'd accept a lower price. The canucks have solidified their goaltending and defence, and are lucky to have the sedins. But they need more scoring, hopefully the cap goes up next year and they can dip into the UFA pool for some help, because they don't have many great offensive prospects emerging. Naslund I think should retire a Canuck, and play there for the remainder of his career. Vancouver needs some more of a physical presence in terms of forwards, their defence can intimidate opponents, but their forwards can't do much to the other teams defence.
My thoughts exactly. You presented the point perfectly. Now if only Nonis read this and looked back at some of the old tapes to realize that Naslund is indeed missing a power forward, and that would instantly boost up the offensive output of the Canucks.
Yes dkartik, that's what i'm getting at. When he had the extra money left over from the ridding of Bertuzzi and Cloutier, he didn't go out and try to fill that huge hole Bert left with a top 6 forward, he went out and got Bulis, Chouinard etc. to fill those holes. Why?
I am going to let you Canuck fans know that I am proud of you all for realizing you might as well stick a fork in your club for the foreseeable future. You can get use to looking up in the standings seeing the Wild and Avalanche ahead of your squad.
The Canucks will keep Naslund. The only way that doesn't happen is if Burke convinces him to sign and play with Bert again. As for the Wild comment, I'm all for being confident and such, but the Wild haven't proven anything yet.
The Wild haven't done anything yet this off-season to make me think that they'll be higher in the standings than the Canucks. The Canucks have gotten better defensively and probably have one of the best D/Goalie tandems in the league. The club hasn't had large changes up front and was starting to gel towards the end of the season, but it will still be hard to find goals. That's the only thing we are talking about. They still have a division-winning team, but need some size up front if they want to go all the way.
With the exact same offence we won the division...and now with better defence why can't we expect the same thing...and whose to say Nonis is even done yet