August 25 2009 09:51AM
A number of news sources around Vancouver are reporting that the Canucks are close to signing veteran D Mathieu Schneider to a one-year deal.
It also appears that Canucks captain Roberto Luongo is nearing completion on a contract extension that will keep the all-star goaltender for a significant amount of length, possibly for the rest of his career.
There is a glimmer of hope that Mike Gillis is getting this team ready for the coming NHL season.
The Canucks have needed a puck-moving defenceman and a power-play quarterback for quite a while, long before Mathias Ohlund left through free agency. They've had Salo and Edler who both have booming shots, but they haven't had that player who controls the flow of the power play and owns the setup. They also get a player who slots in at the 4/5 position on the back-end, without giving up any of their top 3 defenceman through trade.
There is certainly a downside to signing Schneider. He's 40 and he comes at a price. However the Canucks have gotten a LOT younger this off-season, so adding a steadying veteran presence is welcome, and they can off-set some of his salary through bonuses that won't count against the cap, because he is over 35 years old. I think this is a decent signing for Gillis. It's not ideal, but it's a reasonably smart pick-up.
As for the Luongo extension, this has been rumoured for almost two months now, but appears to be nearing completion as Gillis traveled to visit Luongo recently.
Both sides have stated publicly that they want the deal done before the start of the season. There have, however, been no details on the specific length or terms of the contract. Getting this deal done gives Luongo a lot of things he's likely been looking for. It gives him faith that his GM believes in him wholeheartedly (see Mike Keenan). It gives him a long-term contract so he'll have stability and assurance. And it gives him long-term stewardship of a team in a hockey market.
Let's hope he gives something in return to the club and Canucks fans - a Stanley Cup.