July 05 2012 01:09PM
Dan Hamhuis is pretty much the least sexy player in the entire NHL. He has an under-stated two-way game, and he puts up points, but he does so as quietly as a mouse on Christmas Eve. Still, he gives your average Canucks fan a raging hard sea-to-sky boner.
Quebec has their goaltenders, Ontario produces elite forwards seemingly off of an assembly line, and while the West may not be an "enforcer factory," British Columbia does have a nice history or producing elite NHL defenseman.
Scott Niedermayer is actually from Alberta, but British Columbian hockey fans are convinced he's a "BC boy." Counting him, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber - you have more than half of Canada's 2010 Gold Medal winning Olympic blueline hailing from the country's westernmost Province.
For hockey fans from the west coast, there's a pride and a mystique that surrounds the "BC-born defenseman." Over the last decade that mystique has co-mingled with a sense of frustration and resentment borne out of the fact that a truly elite 1A d-man has never played for the Canucks franchise.
"We produce so many great defenseman in our own backyard, why can't we get them on the team I root for?" Asks Joe Canucksfan from Vernon, British Columbia - speaking for the whole damn Province. As a result of this popular notion, even relatively unproven commodities like West Kelowna's Justin Schultz, or White Rock's Jason Garrison will drive Canucks fans into paroxysms of hysteria. So, imagine how Vancouver's hockey fans react to the notion of Shea Weber - arguably the most dominant single defenseman in the league - wearing the blue, green and white?
On Wednesday, the Predators lost Ryan Suter, a blue-chip defenseman in his own right, to unrestricted free-agency and the Minnesota Wild. They'd kept Suter on the team past the trade-deadline, and they didn't trade his rights at the draft, all in a desperate effort to re-sign Shea Weber's long-time defensive partner. Now, Predators General Manager David Poile is left at the altar, down one elite defenseman, paying a goaltender 7 million dollars for the long-term, and uncertain about the future of captain, and franchise cornerstone Shea Weber, who is reportedly distraught about Suter's departure.
Does Suter's departure open the door for the Canucks to take a serious run at Shea Weber? Maybe, but do the Canucks really have the assets to make a deal happen? Should they try a predatory offer-sheet? It's a tantalizing mixture to think about, but the prospect of Shea Weber in a Canucks uniform remains an extremely farfetched pipe dream. Let's get into why.
July 05 2012 11:31AM
Derek Joslin and Ryan Kesler have... a dance off?
According to Carolina Hurricanes beat-writers, and the News1130Sports Twitter account, the Canucks have signed depth defenseman Derek Joslin to a one year, two-way deal. Derek Joslin became an unrestricted free-agent a few weeks ago when Carolina bought out his deal. Oddly enough Twitter first heard the news from Derek Joslin's sister:
Here's the press release announcing the signing - along with the signing of Patrick Mullen - from canucks.nhl.com.
Click past the jump for some analysis!
July 03 2012 01:43PM
Newly minted Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison was, like many of Mike Gillis' recent draft picks, a "late bloomer." Garrison went undrafted and didn't even break into the NHL until he was 24. At 27 (he'll turn 28 before the beginning of the 2012/13 season) he's only played two and a half seasons of NHL hockey, and needless to say that isn't the deepest track record for a guy who was just signed to a six year deal...
In his first half season in the NHL (2009/10), Garrison was a sheltered third pairing defenseman who got his teeth kicked in by NHL competition. In his first full season (2010/11) he played extremely tough minutes in a shutdown role with Mike Weaver, one of the most under-rated players in the league, and fared extraordinarily well against top-level competition. Then last season (2011/12), Garrison received the gift of playing full-time with Brian Campbell, an extraordinary offensive talent, in a contract year. His offensive production exploded.
So how will Garrison fare in Vancouver without Brian Campbell on his left-side? Was his 16 goal season a mirage? Also, how responsible were Weaver and Campbell for Garrison's success over the past two seasons?
These questions are pertinent - the Canucks just made a significant commitment to Garrison (six years and a full no-trade clause). In the minds of many Canucks fans, and observers around the league: Jason Garrison, the White Rock native with the staggeringly powerful point shot still has a lot to prove. So let's wade into the data and see what the numbers can tell us about Garrison's play the past two seasons, and his offensive breakout last year.
July 02 2012 09:36AM
After allowing Vernon born forward Andrew Ebbett to hit the open market yesterday, today Mike Gillis and the Canucks reeled the journeyman back in with a one year, two-way contract worth 600k in the show, and 300k in the American Hockey League. As per Darren Dreger:
Andrew Ebbett signs with Vancouver - 2 way deal 600/300.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2012
Andrew Ebbett is a depth forward, but he's a particular type of depth forward in that he can legitimately handle a top-six role over the short-term. While he's not a world beater, or a point-per game player in your top-six, he can help your second line outshoot their opponents and be reasonably productive in that spot. Last season he contributed five goals in eighteen games (something of a mirage, seeing as how he shot 18.5%) but in 2008/09 he played 48 games on Anaheim's second line (mostly with Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne) and chipped in 32 points.
Read past the jump for more.
July 01 2012 06:20PM
Garrison is indeed a Canuck.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
Despite reports from earlier in the day that the Canucks had been "priced out" of the Jason Garrison bidding, it appears that the Mike Gillis has landed the highly coveted former Panther. Jason Garrison, a native of White Rock British Columbia, will help satisfy both the team's need for a top-four defenseman, and placate those among us who possess raging Sea-to-Sky boners for any B.C. born defenseman. Here's the official media release from Canucks.nhl.com.
Not only did Mike Gillis get one of the best defenseman on the market under contract, but he also managed to do so with a perfectly reasonable cap-hit, as per Darren Dreger:
6 years, $4.6 aav for Garrison in Van.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2012
The contract is worth 27.6 million over the next 6 seasons, for an average hit of 4.6 million. Consider that Sami Salo, who is 38 years old, scored 9 fewer goals than Garrison did last season, and has a medical record the length of the Nile will carry a cap-hit only 850k below Garrison's that's a big win for Mike Gillis. Or consider that Dennis Wideman will make well over 500k more than Garrison next season. Hilarious.
Click past the jump for more analysis.