July 26 2010 10:15AM
Canucks fans have two more years to watch Raymond pot some beauties.
The Vancouver Canucks avoided an arbitration hearing, signing an 11th hour deal with Mason Raymond for 2 years at an average of $2.55 million. With Raymond back in the fold and the top 6 forwards locked, Mike Gillis and the Canucks will now turn their attention to dealing with their cap situation and their blue line.
So what's the next move?
The Canucks salary cap situation became clearer and frankly easier, as they re-signed Mason Raymond for two years. Now that Raymond is back on the books, Gillis can focus on dealing with their crowded blue line. With Salo injured and out for 3-6 months, the Canucks General Manager will need to make a decision on how to deal with this situation. Salo's injury provides some cap relief for the Canucks, as does Raymond's contract (which came is far less than many were predicting). This means that the Canucks are not as pressed against the cap as they were projecting a week ago. But they still need to move a body off the defense, and Kevin Bieksa is still on chopping block.
I still believe that the Canucks can and should trade Bieksa. With less of a cap crunch now, the Canucks have more options when trying to trade Bieksa. Now they may be able to take back some salary to make a trade more palatable for their trade partner. They may be able to trade with a team who is looking to upgrade their blueline but already has enough bodies on the back end.
Now that the Raymond deal is done, the Canucks can hopefully let some trade requests for Bieksa come in and start to percolate a lot. I doubt that we will see anything done until late August or early September now. But if the Raymond signing is the first domino to fall, maybe we'll see some action sooner rather than later.