Canucks Add Depth in First Day of Free Agency, Still Facing Uncertainty with Luongo

Thomas Drance
July 05 2013 05:18PM

On the first day of free-agency a year ago the Canucks signed Jason Garrison in the early evening. So it's still possible that more moves are forthcoming from Griffiths Way (and we don't mean moves of the Jeremie Blain variety). But regardless, the opening "frenzy" period of free-agency is drawing to a close and I feel comfortable recapping the action from a Canucks perspective.

The Canucks mostly stood pat, as everyone and their grandmother's milkman expected, laying down a couple of bunts and adding Yannick Weber and Brad Richardson in free-agency. Mike Gillis said he was looking for "specific things" in terms of depth players in free-agency, and we'd imagine Weber's right-handed cannon for the power-play and Richardson's status as a live body that plays centre fit the bill. In total Mike Gillis and the Canucks added two players for a grand total of three million over two years, adding only 1.8M in committed salary cap-space for next season. Yey austerity! 

Meanwhile there were no extensions for Dale Weise, or Chris Tanev, or Jordan Schroeder were announced, though on the bright side at least Chris Tanev wasn't inked to a predatory offer sheet. The biggest news, however, was out of Las Vegas where Roberto Luongo still hasn't commented publicly on his "still in purgatory Vancouver" status, and has yet to confirm that he'll even report to training camp. At this point Luongo's silence speaks volumes, and is by far the bigger story than the signing of depth players like Richardson and Weber. 

Read past the jump.

On Depth

There's a lot of negativity surrounding the Canucks at the moment, and I suppose that's to be expected when you combine the ugly optics underpinning the Cory Schneider deal, the teams 1-8 postseason record over the past two seasons, and the clubs continued lack of forward depth. But realistically the Canucks remain in good shape and will handily compete for the postseason in the as yet to be officially named "Division A."

Going into next season, the Canucks have one of the best (if not the best) blue-line groups in the division (Los Angeles' blue-line is weaker with the addition of Jeff Schultz, the loss of Scuderi and the probable continued absence of Willie Mitchell). Though Vancouver's continued lack of bottom-six forward depth is galling, the Canucks survived the regular season as a one line team a year ago and so long as Kesler is in shape (and plays more than 35% of the clubs games) should at least have a second line this upcoming season. 

Yes the team absolutely needs better Ryan Kesler insurance than Jordan Schroeder is likely to provide if they want to be considered a serious "contender" next season. But unlike most observers I see no reason to believe the bottom has fallen out on this club as of yet.

Unless...

Along with solid top-end talent at forward and a quality blue-line, the Canucks still have an all-world netminder under contract in Roberto Luongo. High-end skilled forwards, a solid blue-line and a world class goaltender: that's a nice package as a whole. 

Of course, that rosy equation becomes undone if Roberto Luongo decides to retire, hold out, refuses to report to training camp or whatever. Luongo has yet to comment on the record about remaining in Vancouver, he's cancelled publicity interviews related to his playing in the World Series of Poker while representing the BCLC, and he generally seems pretty unsatisfied with his situation.

Which is totally understandable. Luongo is said to have checked out of Vancouver a while ago mentally, and his treatment this past season - where he was most often a backup, was yanked off the ice moments before the trade deadline, and was benched in favour of a stil injured Cory Schneider in games three and four of the postseason - probably didn't help matters.

Mike Gillis was asked on the Team 1040 whether or not he had any indication that Luongo would refuse to report and what options Luongo might be considering at the moment. Gillis answered with the following:

"I don't have any indication that he's going to (refuse to report). I'm going to go down there and meet him as soon as we sort of get settled down here after this. His options are I guess to not play hockey or to come back to us. Y'know it's obviously been a difficult situation with a lot of things being reported that are completely inaccurate throughout the whole time here. I'm not in the business of looking back and throwing people under the bus, and talking about things that may have been or could have been different, but the decision was made..."

So Gillis isn't in the business of "looking back and throwing people under the bus" when it comes to the topic of the Luongo debacle. That certainly seems like a convenient opinion for the executive who'd be first in line to get thrown under that bus to hold, no?

Overall Gillis and the Canucks did okay at the margins on the first day of free-agency - especially considering that their hands were tied with regards to the upper limit of the salary cap. I quite like the Richardson addition in particular, and Weber seems like a solid depth gamble who can maybe help on the power-play. At a combined cost of 1.8 million against the cap, it's tough to complain, and it's not like there was a plethora of talent being signed to reasonable contracts today (Clarke MacArthur aside).

Still the negativity surrounding this club persists, and is evident everywhere you look on Twitter or anywhere else on-line. I'm reminded of last weekend's draft when the club did well - yes, even on the Cory Schneider return - but it was all overshadowed by the persistence of the Luongo debacle.

If Luongo reports to camp and provides the club with Luongo-like above average goaltending, which we ultimately expect him to do, the Canucks will very probably compete with the Sharks and the Kings for the Division A crown next season. The result is fine.

But the curdling scent of the botched goaltender trade process still lingers and overwhelms. It stinks and will continue to so long as Luongo remains in the wilderness. 

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 antro
July 05 2013, 05:27PM
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@TD: do you consider Richardson an upgrade over Lapierre? Almost identical contracts.

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#2 Jamie E
July 05 2013, 05:53PM
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What are the cap implications if RL refuses to report. I know the team doesn't have to pay him, but are there cap savings?

If not, its a real bummer especially since this wouldn't be some bizarre and clever cap circumvention scheme, but a legitimate hold out.

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#3 Thomas
July 05 2013, 05:54PM
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@antro

Lap went for double what we got this guy at.

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#4 Leigh
July 05 2013, 05:56PM
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This is exactly why it was completely and totally the wrong move to trade Schneider. A buyout ultimately became the only way out, but ownership (who reportedly pushed for the ridiculous contract in the first place) refused to pay the money - money earned on the backs of the fanbase, which has made this a top-5 NHL club based on profits.

Ownership has a lot to answer for, and there's a part of me that really wants to see this blow up in their faces. I feel for Gillis, he was left with no other options - but ultimately his hands were tied by ownership and he was forced to trade the team's true #1 goaltender. Yes, the return was decent, but that's only a small part of this story.

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#5 D'Arnold
July 05 2013, 05:59PM
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I don't know what Richardson is like. I never noticed him.

I don't know if we're in good shape. The new division is going to be tough and we won't have as many weak teams to beat up on. If Kes goes down then our centre position will be very poor.

In a way, I'm glad we didn't sign high priced FAs this year. Most of them are getting WAY overpaid.

Lu needs to stop being a whiner. If Gillis finds a partner, I hope he deals Lu (miracles do happen). I'm tired of his act; his mental lapses and meltdowns. I don't want to get to a Final and have to worry about him giving up 20 goals in the opposition's building.

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#6 JCDavies
July 05 2013, 06:14PM
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@Jamie E

Definite cap savings, but what do the Canucks do for a goalie? And you wouldn't see those savings until the season starts and RL actually refuses to report. The Canucks wouldn't be able to use those savings to sign any free agents until then.

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#7 Matt
July 05 2013, 06:26PM
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@Thomas

Lappy went for less than Richardson, at 1.1 per.

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#8 Dave
July 05 2013, 06:30PM
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@Thomas

No, basically the same deal. Richardson: 2y, $1.15m AAV Lapierre: 2y, $1.10m AAV

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#9 NM00
July 05 2013, 06:48PM
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“But unlikely most observers I see no reason to believe the bottom has fallen out on this club as of yet.”

The Canucks are commiting $50 million to 10 players with an average opening day age of 31.

Nobody outside of Vancouver believes this core of $4+ million is elite anymore. And there isn’t enough money to win the depth competition against the better teams in a better division, either.

“The Canucks still have an all-world netminder under contract in Roberto Luongo.”

The Canucks have an |"asset" with negative trade value who they would gladly dump if they could.

His save percentage has been declining for 3 years and he is 34.

And he wants out fwiw.

“I quite like the Richardson addition in particular”

How is this any better than Lapierre who, you know, still plays centre regularly?

“I'm reminded of last weekend's draft when the club did well - yes, even on the Cory Schneider return”

The Canucks lowered their expected save percentage for 2013-2014 without upgrading another area of the NHL roster.

The Canucks project to be worse at the starter and backup goalie positions than they have been in years.

“If Luongo reports to camp and provides the club with Luongo-like above average goaltending, which we ultimately expect him to do”

He’s 34. He’ll be 35 when the playoffs start. And he’s just coming off his worst season in over a decade.

“the Canucks will very probably compete with the Sharks and the Kings for the Division A crown next season”

The Ducks & Oilers probably think they are competing with the Canucks as well. Wait…they are!

The Canucks have an old core and have not upgraded a single area on the roster. There are a number of spots where less production is to be expected.

The window has closed.

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#10 Matt
July 05 2013, 07:59PM
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NM00 wrote:

“But unlikely most observers I see no reason to believe the bottom has fallen out on this club as of yet.”

The Canucks are commiting $50 million to 10 players with an average opening day age of 31.

Nobody outside of Vancouver believes this core of $4+ million is elite anymore. And there isn’t enough money to win the depth competition against the better teams in a better division, either.

“The Canucks still have an all-world netminder under contract in Roberto Luongo.”

The Canucks have an |"asset" with negative trade value who they would gladly dump if they could.

His save percentage has been declining for 3 years and he is 34.

And he wants out fwiw.

“I quite like the Richardson addition in particular”

How is this any better than Lapierre who, you know, still plays centre regularly?

“I'm reminded of last weekend's draft when the club did well - yes, even on the Cory Schneider return”

The Canucks lowered their expected save percentage for 2013-2014 without upgrading another area of the NHL roster.

The Canucks project to be worse at the starter and backup goalie positions than they have been in years.

“If Luongo reports to camp and provides the club with Luongo-like above average goaltending, which we ultimately expect him to do”

He’s 34. He’ll be 35 when the playoffs start. And he’s just coming off his worst season in over a decade.

“the Canucks will very probably compete with the Sharks and the Kings for the Division A crown next season”

The Ducks & Oilers probably think they are competing with the Canucks as well. Wait…they are!

The Canucks have an old core and have not upgraded a single area on the roster. There are a number of spots where less production is to be expected.

The window has closed.

I usually make it a policy not to reply to you, but I just want to point out you're repeatedly contradicting yourself. The Canucks make moves to add top-flight prospects so that the team can continue to compete in the future and they're not "upgrading their NHL roster". But the long-term contracts the team signed to get key players for less than market value which gave the Canucks so much flexibility to add NHL roster depth that contributed to their success over the past five years is apparently a horrible thing, too. You can give up experience for youth, or you can give up youth for experience. Or you can just buy out exceptional roster players because the media and forum rabble don't like them, and then you're the Maple Leafs.

The Canucks can't just talk away from their contracts to sign overpriced free agents and they can't trade aging players for equally-competitive younger players straight across. Other GMs aren't stupid (Nonis excepted), and you can't pretend on internet forums that Gillis should make a bunch of trades that massively benefit the Canucks and cut the legs out from under their competitors. Other GMs aren't stupid.

The team's "aging" players remain excellent. Yes, quite a few are over 30, but none are over 35. And Gillis has done a lot of work over the past while to shore up prospect depth which was seriously lacking.

You know which teams have "windows"? The teams that make the playoffs. The Canucks have yet to miss the playoffs under Gillis's watch. The "window" remains open so long as the Canucks continue to make the playoffs year after year.

I don't mean to suggest there aren't valid criticisms of Gillis and the team's management and performance on the ice - obviously there are. But to just come here and post long posts day after day about how horrible everything is must be exhausting. I don't understand why you bother posting. Don't you have better things to do? If you're trolling, kudos, because you're doing a great job. I don't think you are though.

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#11 Matt
July 05 2013, 08:01PM
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I don't think I phrased my first point very well. You keep saying the team is getting old, but you tear into management for making trades to bring in picks and prospects.

There are two ways to get younger: You can get younger and better through skilled drafting and prospect development, or you can get younger and worse through trades and free-agent signings.

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#12 Mack
July 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Like both of todays pickups, but found it a bit disheartening to see Lapierre take a contract with a cap hit of 1.1 mill in St Louis - this is a guy who has taken hometown discounts in the past. Given that, we could have had someone who we know is a very effective 4th line centre for possibly under a million a year cap hit. Obviously this is just speculation and maybe the organization wanted to move away from him for other reasons, but there was definitely value to be found there. Hopefully we don't go away from the other asset we know, Alberts!

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#13 Mack
July 05 2013, 08:04PM
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@Mack

*Didn't mean hometown as that would be Montreal, but he's taken a discount to stay in Vancouver!

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#14 K. McKee
July 05 2013, 08:15PM
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@NM00

I disagree that the door is closed, and I see real potential when the cap goes up this year. First, solid defense best in the division. Second, Solid top two lines, with a couple of replacements a year or two away. Three a good checking line: Higgins, Richardson and Hansen. Luongo will get over this, mostly due to pride and he wants to be the goalie at the Olympics - if he doesn't play this fall he will not get selected.

I play most of the current situation in Vancouver not on Gillis but on Vigneault. He refused to play young players, he refused to have the twins (best conditioned athletes on the team) play big minutes. He did not help Edler deal with problems. He played favourites, especially Alberts instead of Ballard (Alberts way to slow). He continued to play Lapierre after his mouth had gotten Vancouver into trouble with the refs. He refused to deal with issues, swept them under the rug so that we could win. He was all about his winning record in the regular season, instead of sacrificing some points to be able to let young players develop. Very short sighted and all about his image.

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#15 K. McKee
July 05 2013, 08:17PM
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@Dave

Difference between the two is that Richardson can shoot, can skate and does not have a big mouth that creates problems with refs. AV would never reign him in.

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#16 NM00
July 05 2013, 08:22PM
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Matt wrote:

I don't think I phrased my first point very well. You keep saying the team is getting old, but you tear into management for making trades to bring in picks and prospects.

There are two ways to get younger: You can get younger and better through skilled drafting and prospect development, or you can get younger and worse through trades and free-agent signings.

The team traded the save percentage leader of the last 3 seasons to add a prospect to play in the middle-bottom of the roster. If he hits his ceiling. You think this deserves praise?

Gillis also wasted two decent assets on rental Roy. Does this deserve praise?

You want me to praise the stupidity of the last 15 months in regards to the goaltending situation?

You want me to praise the fact that Gillis sat on the Schneider asset for two seasons too long while the Canucks were at the top of the win curve?

The Canucks have done a terrible job integrating prospects into the lineup the last few years and it's catching up to them all at once.

All along they said "we want our prospect to be overcooked when they come up". Now they are rushing a bunch of them due to their cap crunch.

And, objectively, nobody thinks these prospects are very good.

And who expects major contributions from them next year outside of Canuck fans?

Show me a position on the roster where the Canucks can expect MORE production next year?

There are a number of positions where less production can be expected (starting goalie, backup goalie, 3LC & 4LC if those spots go to rookies).

Not to mention the number of players where we hope they can maintain their production since they are getting old.

And this team is 1-8 in the last 2 playoffs.

With what do you disagree? Or is it that you believe fans should be Kool Aid drinkers?

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#17 NM00
July 05 2013, 08:28PM
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K. McKee wrote:

I disagree that the door is closed, and I see real potential when the cap goes up this year. First, solid defense best in the division. Second, Solid top two lines, with a couple of replacements a year or two away. Three a good checking line: Higgins, Richardson and Hansen. Luongo will get over this, mostly due to pride and he wants to be the goalie at the Olympics - if he doesn't play this fall he will not get selected.

I play most of the current situation in Vancouver not on Gillis but on Vigneault. He refused to play young players, he refused to have the twins (best conditioned athletes on the team) play big minutes. He did not help Edler deal with problems. He played favourites, especially Alberts instead of Ballard (Alberts way to slow). He continued to play Lapierre after his mouth had gotten Vancouver into trouble with the refs. He refused to deal with issues, swept them under the rug so that we could win. He was all about his winning record in the regular season, instead of sacrificing some points to be able to let young players develop. Very short sighted and all about his image.

There is limited upside in the 10 expensive players on the roster due to their age.

The Canucks also traded away the team MVP for a player unlikely to play on the NHL roster next year.

Where exactly can the Canucks expect MORE production next year?

I can see a number of areas where they have downgraded which I have already point out.

I can see a number of areas where it wouldn't be surprising to see less production due to age.

And the team is 1-8 in the last 2 playoffs.

And the team is going to a harder division.

You think Tortorella is going to be fully committed to the "youth movemement" when his team is battling for a playoff spot?

He's not a wizard that is going to make the Sedins younger, Kesler healthy and Luongo younger.

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#19 Ruprecht
July 05 2013, 08:46PM
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A couple of decent signings, NHL talent, playoff experience, fit the budget. What's the problem here? Let Lu take the rest of the summer off from the press, he's earned it.

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#20 brant
July 05 2013, 08:52PM
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@NM00

"Where exactly can the Canucks expect MORE production next year?"

Well, Kesler played 17 regular season games last year and Booth played 12. Kesler also played most of those on a broken foot.

So, it's a safe bet they'll get more production there.

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#21 NM00
July 05 2013, 09:01PM
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@Thomas Drance

Lapierre has played centre regularly with a good faceoff % and, as you say, Richardson hasn't in a while.

"Schneider is the teams "SV% leader" over the past three years but that's crazy disingenuous considering how much more often Luongo has played. Large sample SV%>Small sample SV%."

Schneider has put up a great save percentage EACH of the last 3 seasons. He hasn't received as much playing time as his production merited because of Luongo and his contract.

Frankly, the closest "comparison" I can see to him is Raask.

If you are familiar with Fangraphs, you have probably heard of the 50/30/20 rough estimate for the next season's performance.

Put appropriate weight on the last 3 seasons and compare Luongo's projection to Schneider's projection for next season...

"VAN really needed was elite talent going forward and Horvat is that."

How is Horvat "elite" exactly? What makes him better than Hodgson (who certainly is not elite but useful) and Gaunce for that matter?

And he's a prospect. Many fail and most fail to hit their ceilings.

"As for VANs core not being elite anymore, it might be true, but it's tough to judge when Kesler's healthy."

Why are you expecting more production and/or better health from an old core?

"Luongo still owns."

He owns a large contract and just had his worst year in a decade.

"My general point is that the negativity surrounding the club from people like yourself doesn't seem to reflect the reality that this club is a pretty good bet to make the postseason".

And I've never said that the Canucks are guaranteed to miss the playoffs. I expect they'll make the playoffs next year if Lou is the starting goalie. But that's not the goal, is it?

You seem to be glossing over the many areas in which the Canucks should expect less production than last year.

Show me where on the Canucks roster more production can be expected?

The Canucks don't have the money for Kesler insurance like Cullen or a decent 3LC like Gordon. Both of which you identified as needs.

The Canucks have had an exceptional tandem for the last 3 years. That's over.

I agree with Jim Hughson that the Sedins need to be more of a 1A line on a contending team. Once again, they will be asked to carry a larger than realistic load.

What you call negative I call realistic. I assume conformity isn't an expectation on here and I don't see any evidence or any logical reason to expect the Canucks to be better next year aside from better "luck" in the playoffs.

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#22 It's just begun
July 05 2013, 09:03PM
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To those people who thought the 'goalie situation' in Van ended when the trade Cory- think again. It's just begun.

The hockey season isn't even in session yet, and everyones still talking trash about it. The media enxt season will have a hay-day with this gone show. It will continue to plague the team as long as Luongo stays here. Aquilini shouldn't have been the cheapest owner in the entire league -he shoudl have bought out Luongo. This is all his doing. No cup for us cause of him.

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#23 NM00
July 05 2013, 09:05PM
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brant wrote:

@NM00

"Where exactly can the Canucks expect MORE production next year?"

Well, Kesler played 17 regular season games last year and Booth played 12. Kesler also played most of those on a broken foot.

So, it's a safe bet they'll get more production there.

Raymond & Roy are also gone .

The 10 most expensive players on the roster, of which Kesler and Booth are members, have an average opening day age of 31.

Kesler & Booth may be healthy. The Sedins & Lou may have injury issues. Or perhaps Hammer or Edler. Collectively, why would this group produce more as it ages?

And, yeah, Schneider is gone too. Irrespective of what he does in the future, the Canucks have typically had a save percentage advantage whenever he has been in net for the last 3 years.

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#24 Josh
July 05 2013, 09:23PM
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@Thomas Drance

Agree with the point about the overheated negativity some have about this team but I can see their point. After the cup loss in 2011 people expected we would be able to contend for the cup for the next few years. But we've been dispatched from the playoffs in quick fashion the past two years and now were gonna try again this year with essentially the same squad (just older). I hate cliches but what is the definition of insanity again?

I'd settle for just knowing what the actual plans are for this team. Are we trying to win now, build a youth movement for the future, or ice a contender each year? There seems to be no overarching plan and direction nowadays, just reactionary spasms to contract difficulties, trade realities, and game style developments.

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#25 JCDavies
July 05 2013, 09:35PM
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@NM00

"What you call negative I call realistic. "

This isn't realism. A realist can see both the negatives and the positives.

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#26 NM00
July 05 2013, 10:04PM
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@JCDavies

The positive is I agree with Drance that the Canucks are a "pretty good bet to make the postseason."

Not that anyone will be satisfied.

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#27 NM00
July 05 2013, 10:12PM
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Josh wrote:

Agree with the point about the overheated negativity some have about this team but I can see their point. After the cup loss in 2011 people expected we would be able to contend for the cup for the next few years. But we've been dispatched from the playoffs in quick fashion the past two years and now were gonna try again this year with essentially the same squad (just older). I hate cliches but what is the definition of insanity again?

I'd settle for just knowing what the actual plans are for this team. Are we trying to win now, build a youth movement for the future, or ice a contender each year? There seems to be no overarching plan and direction nowadays, just reactionary spasms to contract difficulties, trade realities, and game style developments.

THIS.

The core is too old, top heavy and needs to be relied upon less.

The prospects are not good enough and/or far enough along in their development to make an impact while the current window with this core is supposedly open for another year.

Where did Hockey Prospectus rank the Canuck system prior to the 2013 draft?

The last prospect the Canucks drafted and developed was 2005 2nd rounder Mason Raymond. Who is no longer in the organization.

The pattern of giving away draft picks on failed trades as well as Grabner, Hodgson & Schneider for underwhelming returns is sending the Canucks into no man's land shortly.

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#28 Whatthe...
July 05 2013, 10:27PM
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@NM00

Remain strong to the cause bro

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#29 nanodummy
July 05 2013, 10:58PM
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Wow, NM, you are really jaded. Sorry the canucks aren't the 2011 edition. That team was a gold standard that can be met only a few times in a decade, if you are lucky.

The Sedins may not be 110 point scorers, but they never really were. Counting on them to be in the top 50 for the next few years, no doubt.

As for Horvat, his "ceiling" is Patrice Bergeron. To have him turn into a reliable third line two way centreman would be fantastic and realistic. Plenty of top 10 picks make the top 9, and this draft is a deep one.

Henrik Zetterberg is the Sedins age. Datsyuk is older. Neither of them are hart, art ross or lindsey winners. Do you think detroit's window has closed?

The kings are scary, the rest of the division, competitive. The Oilers? Please. That team is one line deep and still doesn't have one top pairing defenseman. Edler and Hamhuis are some of the best in the league.

Teams reload all the time. Is this year the canucks best chance at a cup? Probably not. Are they better than they were in 2007? Certainly. The Sedins are still elite talent and perhaps Kesler and Booth won't both be injured at the same time for 75% of the season that is only half as long... This season was a freak, and we still won the division handily.

We aren't as deep as the hawks this year, and perhaps the kings, but we are certainly not the calgary flames of 2009. If you think the Oilers, Wild, Ducks or Phoenix are a match for this team, I think you are blinded by your disappointment.

Windows don't open and close. San Jose is older than we are and their window is wide open. The cup is luck, health and skill, in that order.

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#30 NM00
July 05 2013, 11:44PM
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@nanodummy

"Windows don't open and close. San Jose is older than we are and their window is wide open.

San Jose actually has some similarities to Vancouver.

They used their last top 10 draft pick on Logan Couture. The Canucks used their top 10 pick a year later on Cody Hodgson which is now Zack Kassian.

The Sharks used a quality late 1st round selection in Charlie Coyle as a piece to acquire Brent Burns.

Have the Canucks in the Gillis era developed that type of late 1st round prospect to use in trade to improve the NHL team?

Ottawa just pulled off a similar feat today.

The difference between the Sharks forward group and the Canucks group is that the Canucks live and die with the Sedins and Kesler.

Whereas the Sharks rely less on their older wave of Thornton, Marleau and Pavelski.

The Sharks essentially resigned their entire roster.

The Canucks, due to god awful management by alleged wizards Gillis & Gilman, have to allow proven middle and bottom of the roster players (Roy, Raymond, Lapierre & Alberts) to depart via free agency and hope to find lightning in a bottle replacements.

And rush their 2011 1st rounder because they don't trust their 2009 1st rounder.

And the Canucks have a goalie they can't give away. San Jose...not so much.

"The cup is luck, health and skill, in that order."

Completely devoid of meaning.

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#31 K. McKee
July 05 2013, 11:47PM
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First position this season. I think they will be third in the division. Behind San Jose and LA. Anaheim just got weaker by losing Ryan and eventually Selanne and Koivu will act their age (a lot older than the twins or Kesler). Phoenix is a psychological basket case who knows what they will do. Edmonton will never be a good team as long as they are expecting MacT and the rest of the old guard run the team. Calgary does not have a legit number 1 goalie, a first line center, a number one or two dman, unless you think Giordano is (not big enough).

Luongo is a potential issue if he craps out, but I think he will come around particularily if the twins have a chance to talk to him. Gillis is no great shakes, but as I said earlier, he let AV run the team, and he let it run down.

Next year should be better. The twins come back perhaps at $5mill each as second line. Or they leave and Vancouver has whopper cap money. Cap will go up and few teams in the west can compete. Calgary, Phoenix and Edmonton cannot go to a high cap and neither can Anaheim. SJ is older than Vancouver and a weaker defense. Look I do not think Vancouver has done a great job in recent years, but they are in much better shape than most clubs.

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#32 NM00
July 05 2013, 11:57PM
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@K. McKee

"Next year should be better. The twins come back perhaps at $5mill each as second line. Or they leave and Vancouver has whopper cap money."

Why exactly are the twins taking paycuts?

What is the first line if the twins are gone?

If they leave, how exactly do you expect the Canucks to get better?

"SJ is older than Vancouver and a weaker defense."

Lost in all of this is the fact the Canucks have had scoring issues in the past 3 playoffs aside from one series against San Jose in 2011.

Perhaps it is bad luck.

Or perhaps the Canucks don't have players with the necessary skill set to score in the playoffs.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

In any case, SJ's "weaker defense" had little issue with Vancouver this past playoff.

Though a lot of that was penalty issues which don't appear to be going away.

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#33 General Canuckspital
July 06 2013, 12:42AM
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Luongo is the poster child of what happens when you overpay and overrated player. Not only has he proven that he cant get the ob done, he's so overpaid that NO other team wants him. There's no one but the idiot Gillis to blame for that one. Luongo does not want to play for the Canucks, and does not want to except that no other teams want him...simply, his contract is a rip off.I hope the Luongo fiasco lives on for a few more years and teaches the franchise and its fans a valuable lesson. Which is, spend good money on proven winners and not on players who have never drank from the cup. Simple economics, people want to pay less for more, not more for less.

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#34 Van C. Native
July 06 2013, 12:49AM
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@K. McKee

" Look I do not think Vancouver has done a great job in recent years, but they are in much better shape than most clubs."

If what the Canucks have done in the last 6 years are good enough for you, especially in the last 2 years, than you really have low standards. The only thing the Canucks are better than at this point is a decaying jar of anchovies....but I could be wrong about that.

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#35 Canuckistanian
July 06 2013, 01:32AM
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@NM00

"Show me where on the Canucks roster more production can be expected?"

Was that a rhetorical question?

Regardless, in no particular order: Kesler will produce far more than last year; as will Booth; Kassian will produce far more; as will Schroeder; I expect Higgins will have a slightly better year offensively; as will Dank and Burr (after being freed from carrying a team by themselves); Richardson will score more than Lappy; and Corrado will produce more than Alberts, as will Weber.

Did you miss last season where we iced a one-line team? By adding a line or two through a return to health, increased offensive production should inexorably result.

This team is playoff-bound again. Their ultimate success will be largely dependent upon, just like every team every year, luck (and yes, while Chicago last year and LA the year before --- and, what the hell, Boston the year before that etc. --- needed far less luck in those years then we will this year, they still had remarkable runs of good fortune in not losing key players to injury during the playoffs...unlike, say, that team that lost the Cup in 2011). Realistically, my expectations are low but I still have hope and will still cheer them on.

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#36 Canuckistanian
July 06 2013, 01:40AM
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I should add to above:

"needed far less luck..."

should read

"needed far, far (FAR!) less luck..."

Point is, they still needed some. They had the skill to win the Cup, kinda like that team that lost in 2011, but were fortunate to not get injuries to core players and not have Kelly Sutherland and his buddies epically punk them.

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#37 Mantastic
July 06 2013, 02:14AM
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@Thomas Drance

Horvat elite talent? Are you joking me? You can only say elite in this draft when talking about 6 players and Horvat isn't one of them. He didn't even score a ppg rate on a stacked team!

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#38 pheenster
July 06 2013, 03:21AM
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NM00 wrote:

Raymond & Roy are also gone .

The 10 most expensive players on the roster, of which Kesler and Booth are members, have an average opening day age of 31.

Kesler & Booth may be healthy. The Sedins & Lou may have injury issues. Or perhaps Hammer or Edler. Collectively, why would this group produce more as it ages?

And, yeah, Schneider is gone too. Irrespective of what he does in the future, the Canucks have typically had a save percentage advantage whenever he has been in net for the last 3 years.

That was an outstanding job of twisting the guy's point around to fit your narrative.

8.5/10

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#39 non descript
July 06 2013, 06:01AM
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maybe luongo will cheer up if they make him captain again.

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#40 EGS
July 06 2013, 08:06AM
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Has everyone calmed down after a good night sleep? ;)

We all get it (even if not everyone wants to admit it) - yesterday WAS a disappointing day. Even though expectations were set ahead of time I'm sure we were all hoping that some way, somehow, something significant and impactful would have been done. I'll stop there b/c it didn't happen, atleast IMO.

Now there is definitely some legitimacy in the statements surrounding the health of our core (Kesler and Booth for example), and combined with the shortened season and AV perhaps not utilizing what he had properly, I don't think things are as bad as some are making it out to be. Yes, yesterday was very underwhelming and dissapointing BUT, IF some key players stay healthy and a few step up and actually produce (maybe Torts is just the guy to help make it happen) then I think we're in better shape than it may appear.

Will we be a cup contending team next year? Hard to say (right now, I'll guess probably not) but I personally am looking forward to the injection of youth and seeing how Torts utilizes the hand he is dealt. Then and only then should ppl start whining and complaining (way too early for that right now). It is what it is, we're up against the cap and not much we can do about it.

Enjoy your summer!

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#43 Vicanuck
July 06 2013, 08:27AM
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I seem to remember Gillis throwing Hodgson under the bus not to long ago... A child at the time...

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#44 Ruprecht
July 06 2013, 10:07AM
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Looking at who signed where, and for the type of money and term, this might have been a good year to have some reservation spending. I like what we picked up. Despite all the doom and gloom we may or may not face, really, nothing yesterday impressed me as being a good deal. If anything I think a couple of teams made huge mistakes, and for once it wasn't the Canucks. It wasn't long ago, with money to spend, we were signing Sundin. This year Iggy got 6 mil????

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#45 NM00
July 06 2013, 11:26AM
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pheenster wrote:

That was an outstanding job of twisting the guy's point around to fit your narrative.

8.5/10

It would be more compelling if your 8.5/10 evaluation followed something with substance.

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#46 Mantastic
July 06 2013, 12:15PM
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@Thomas Drance

explain to me how he's projected to be elite when he can't put up a ppg in junior... on a stacked team? Horvat was a reach pick at that spot and was not projected to be a top 10 selection, you're just reaching that this point. and please read coppernblue's write up on horvat and the rankings

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#47 NM00
July 06 2013, 12:17PM
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@Thomas Drance

1. Canucks need Kesler insurance (i.e. Matt Cullen).

2. Canucks need a Manny replacement (i.e. Boyd Gordon).

3. Canucks should trade Lou for Dipietro + assets

4. Canucks should trade Lou for Bryzgalov + assets

5. Canucks should trade Edler for Eriksson/Ryan etc.

6. Gillis/Gilman are cap wizards (see Ballard, Lou as a backup and the 10/50/31 core)

7. Chris Tanev is cost controlled

8. Chris Tanev can be slotted in for Scandella money

9. Christ Tanev is a "signed" defenseman

10. Derek Roy is not value lost...even though it was a "good trade" at the time

I could go on but 10 is a nice number.

These unrealistic ideas and suggestions have been floating around for the last few weeks.

All along I've been saying 5 years of poor decisions will culminate in a "reset" that will be completely underwhelming.

While people on here were rosterbating about "upgrading" the team, I've been saying the reset will be replacing Lou, Ballard & Roy with inferior free agent replacements or prospects from one of the worst farm systems in hockey.

In retrospect, I was too optimistic. I figured Gillis would be able to give away Lou for a song.

Aside from giving Gillis too much credit in regards to the goalie situation, where exactly have I been wrong?

I've been pretty correct in what you call "pessimism" that the Canucks would ice an inferior roster in 2013-2014.

I've been correct that the Canucks would not be able to upgrade their NHL roster due to 5 years of the bad moves outweighing the good.

At the same time, you continue to push the "Canucks are cap wizards" narrative.

Which, at this point, is quite clearly wilful ignorance.

If you want some optimism, based on the info we have right now, the calibre of competition, recent history, the age of the roster and the state of the farm system, I suspect the Canucks will lose in the 1st round of the playoffs against either LA or SJ next season.

If Lou is the starter and performs reasonably close to his career average, that is. Which is a pretty big 'if'.

I don't consider continuing this trend a good thing. But perhaps you do.

And I still don't see a logical reason in your Mike Wilner-ish diatribe to expect the Canucks to beat SJ or LA in round 1 of the divisional playoffs.

Oh, and by the way. Taking the time to push unrealistic ideas, baseless claims and twisting my entirely legitimate criticisms into your neat and tidy "pessimism" narrative does not make your (misguided) optimism any more compelling.

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#48 NM00
July 06 2013, 12:21PM
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Thomas Drance wrote:

@Mantastic don't be daft. When you're picking in the top-10 you're buying a shot at an elite talent. I'm not saying that's what Horvat is, I'm saying that's what the Canucks need most and Horvat's got a shot. "Non-marginal chance of being a star player" as Dellow put it.

Ricky Romero or Deck McGuire.

You are correct that a top 10 selection in a deep draft is a shot at an elite talent.

But that is not how the Canucks utilized their pick.

As usual, Gillis' risk aversion gives the Canucks another theoretical low-medium ceiling, high floor player who will play in the middle of the roster if things go well.

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#49 pheenster
July 06 2013, 01:50PM
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NM00 wrote:

It would be more compelling if your 8.5/10 evaluation followed something with substance.

I debated that, but landed on "why bother?".

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#50 nanodummy
July 06 2013, 02:49PM
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@NM00

The team clearly doesn't die without kesler, what with winning the division without him last season. We had an unlucky 4 games in the playoffs. We can be better, and a healthy Kesler certainly helps, but we won the division, full of teams you think are better than the canucks, without him and booth. So that's wrong. We live and die with the Sedins.

And as for the Sedins, well, Chicago without Kane and Toews, Pitsburgh without Malkin and Crosby and Boston without Bergeron and Chara, how do they do? Are they contenders? Elite teams live and die by their elite players.

Kassian had a hot and cold season. Let's see how a full season does him, especially as he's a year younger than CoHo and last year was CoHo's breakout. It certainly looks like he's starting on the top line, so CoHo got us a top 6 winger... So what's your complaint?

And now we have Horvat in the pipeline too. Who could be Coture. So yeah, we are still a top 4 team in the conference with some young top 6 upside prospects in the cupboard for the next few years. So what's the problem with our drafting?

As for resigning the roster, only two top 9 players, Roy and Raymond, aren't returning. And only Tanev isn't resigned on defense. So we're signing a new 4th line, a 7th and 8th dman and one more top-9 player if Jensen, Corrado, Gaunce, Schroeder or Horvat can't make the team.

And hey, we signed two 4th liners and a 7th dman.

Holy crap, Gillis is addressing our needs, save for the third line centre. Youth in the pipeline, depth restructing, because we live and die by the Sedins and Kesler, so our 3rd and 4th lines need to be tinkered with and a blueline rivaled only by LA in the conference.

And Luck, hot streaks and low injuries, Health, fewer injuries and less serious ones, and Skill, puck possesion, goaltending and shot suppression, is how teams win cups. In that order. A better team with bad luck and bad injuries loses to a worse team with better health and a few lucky bounces. Show me where health and hot streaks are a replicable skill, because I can direct you to a body of work that says otherwise.

You're acting like a jerk with comments like "devoid of meaning". It's condescending and utterly unnecessary. You have some valid criticisms of Gillis, and I agree a Malholtra replacement and a defter touch with how he handles personnel decisions are needed: he's making a long list of people he's pissed off, starting with Samuelson and ending with Luongo and Schneider, for now.

But you're expectations seem unreasonable. Gillis and Gilman have avoided terrible long term contracts, save for Luongos, locked the core in for their prime years all at discounts compared to market value, and have found upside on many players who have been under valued, like Samuelson or Torres. The last two seasons lacked those value finds, but that's the crapshoot of the bargain bin. Perhaps some of our prospects that we now have might fix this in the years to come.

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