June 30 2012 11:36AM
On Sunday at noon EST (9 am PST), unrestricted free agents will be free to talk to teams, and sign with them. This years free agent class has been described as one of the thinnest in history, and beyond the "big name" players like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the lack of quality if evident.
After Suter, the most highly regarded defenseman is probably Jason Garrison - he of two and a half seasons of NHL experience, and 34 points last year. Matt Carle will also be pursued heavily, and while he's an advanced stat darling, he's constantly grated on Philadelphia Flyers fans as a result of his penchant for turning the puck over. At forward, beyond Parise, the most heavily sought after guys will likely be either Shane Doan, who is old and has a penchant for cheap shots, or the younger P.A Parentheau - who is only a few seasons removed from being waiver fodder. Up the middle, the top available name is Olli Jokinen, and in goal, the best available free-agent is likely to be Martin Brodeur, who is ancient and struggled mightily this past season and then put together some solid performances in the playoffs. Yikes.
A shallow pool has been even further gutted over the past several days, as many of the tier-two free agents who were due to the hit the market, ultimately re-signed with their current teams. It's going to be slim picking on the open market this year, and teams looking to significantly improve their roster simply won't have as many options as they've had in previous years. Not that, that will stop teams from throwing mind-blowing amounts of money and term around in an effort to land those few difference makers who are available.
Let's look at what the Canucks "need" to find on the market, what free-agents the team should target, and take a quick glance at Gillis' history on July 1st in the past. Click past the jump!
June 29 2012 11:59AM
Now that the Cory Schneider extension is "super official," there's some disagreement about what impact that new contract - and other recent developments on the goaltending market - will have on Roberto Luongo's trade value. Mike Gillis has denied it on several occasions, but the Canucks have been in a "trade Roberto Luongo" posture since April. While they listened to buyers at they draft, a deal was never particularly close, and Gillis' asking price for the team's former captain and franchise goaler remained high. Gillis even admitted, while talking about the lack of bonafide NHL starters, that he's "the problem" on the Luongo trade front.
As Gillis waits, the market shifts beneath him. Over the course of the past six weeks, several exchanges have worked in his favour - in particular Tim Thomas' sabbatical and PIttsburgh trading for and signing Tomas Vokoun - while several others - Tampa trading for Lindback, and more recently the news that Martin Brodeur will test the market on Sunday - have arguably crimped it. Meanwhile with the ink still drying on Cory Schneider's spanking new three year, twelve million dollar deal, the question of what impact that will have on Luongo's value is still up in the air.
Let's get into it, after the jump!
June 29 2012 10:14AM
As Mike Gillis announced last night, Cory Schneider has agreed with the Canucks on a three year extension worth 12 million in total. Some in the Toronto media were in what can only be described as denial, a testament to the neat trick Gillis just pulled off.
Many had thought that, until Roberto Luongo was moved out of town, it would be night impossible to get Cory Schneider to agree to a pricey, but fair deal, that would buy out several of his UFA years. With Luongo's status hanging over the entire situation, that Gillis managed to get Schneider under contract at all is a win. That the deal is reasonable on top of that is gravy.
Read past the jump for a summary of reactions from the media and around the blogosphere...
June 28 2012 07:56AM
There are conflicting reports, but it appears as if Justin Schultz, with his representatives from Newport Sports in tow, will begins to hear pitches from individual teams hoping desperately to land the highly touted 21 year old defenseman on Thursday. That's per Bob Mckenzie:
The UFA defenceman and his agents will over the next two days meet in Toronto with a small group of teams he has on his shortlist.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 28, 2012
The Canucks, who continue to be seen as "front-runners" in the Schultz-derby, will likely be among the first to get a meeting with the West Kelowna product. McKenzie reports that the entire Canucks brain trust, including: General Manager Mike Gillis, Assistant General Manager and master negotiator Laurence Gilman, and head-coach Alain Vigneault are in Toronto at the moment, basically waiting around for their opportunity. I guess the team is interested.
Read past the jump for more.
June 27 2012 12:39PM
Yesterday, it was announced that Pavel Bure is to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this November. Since noon pacific time when the news broke, the "Russian Rocket's" murky history, complicated legacy and rocky relationship with the Vancouver Canucks organization has been an endless topic of discussion.
Whether you think the Canucks reaction time, which was delayed and sterile, was outrageous or much ado about nothing - it inarguably served to underline the often acrimonious relationship between the team, and their first true superstar. We touched on it last night, but Tony Gallagher, who is in encyclopedic index of history, conspiracy theories and historical conspiracy theories, wrote a banger on the topic this morning.
Here's the meat of what Tony wrote (though the article, somewhat absurdly, implies that Pavel believes Trevor Linden spread the infamous "holding out during the playoff" rumour during the 94 Stanley Cup Run...):
He was rookie of the year that first season in ’92 and played his guts out every night, yet the off-ice relationship between Bure and management seemed to get worse on a daily basis, even though he stayed quiet about everything until it was finally all over.
It was like Pat Quinn and George McPhee thought he was a flash in the pan and that at any moment he would suddenly lose all his ability and be useless.
He was never treated as a star here, even though he was worth the price of admission every night and worth far in excess of players who were treated much better by the team. Early on he asked for the first time to be traded and he asked virtually every year Quinn was here, finally firing Salcer and hiring Mike Gillis as his agent to get him out of Vancouver.
Hiring an agent, and giving him direct instructions to remove you from a bad situation in Vancouver? Where have I heard that one before...
Click past the jump for more.