Blackhawks Goalie Graveyard?
Did Khabibulin fall victim to the same fate as Brian Boucher?
I started getting into hockey a couple of years ago when Boucher, playing for the Hawks, went 1-10-3. He ended up getting waived by the Blackhawks that year and played minimal games for the Blue Jackets.
Boucher holds the distinction for the longest consecutive streak of shutouts. He piled up 5 in a row playing for Phoenix before the lockout. He played second banana to Kiprusoff during Calgary's epic run to the finals before ending up in the Blackhawks goalie bin. He's now playing second fiddle to Nabokov in San Jose and earned a shutout in his first start.
Boucher was never a great goaltender but I'm wondering if Khabibulin has suffered the same situation from Chicago? Perhaps moving to another team would see him retrn to form. It's always sad to see goalies destroyed because of the team in front of them.
Canucks' Basket Full of Assets:
The Canucks future is looking mighty bright these days. The Canucks are sitting on $10 Million in cap space and a host of good assets. Should an economic downturn hit the NHL, the Canucks should be in a good position to weather the storm.
They have a whack of assets in the minors. Solid potential lies in Grabner and Hodgson. Ouelett has proven he can score in the NHL and play a good plus/minus game. As for defense, one hopes that Rahimi and Suave will continue to develop. Schneider has all the traits of a future goaltender.
Their current line up is looking even rosier. They've locked up their top 4 defensemen for another couple of years. Edler and Bieska have been stud defensemen and have been gotten on the cheap. Kesler, Raymond, Hansen, Brown, Rypien and Burrows have looked dynamite. All have been inexpensive and should stand to get sizable raises but not in the same year.
What's been amazing has been the diversity of talent the Canucks have on deck. Edler has earned good points and a great plus/minus. Bieska has piled up points and PIM's. Kesler and Burrows have scored, agitated and shut down top lines. Raymond and Hansen have speed and soft hands. Brown and Rypien can throw punches and grind out some goals.
Besides that they have older players who will probably fetch good trades or sign discount deals. The Sedins will probably sign for less than they could get and should continue to set the offensive bar. Ohlund may do the same as he's at the high point in his carreer. Pyatt and Bieksa could be good trade-bait. Wellwood and Bernier are low-risk gambles that could pay off or be dropped if necessary.
All in all the Canucks should compete this year and grow even stronger as time goes on. They are stacked with prospects, youth, well-priced players, diversity and cap-space. The future has never been brighter.