February 21 2017 11:00AM
Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports
Whether the Canucks want to move on from Ryan Miller or not, his contract and age take the decision mostly out of their hands.
Miller is 36-years-old and in the final year of his contract. Even if the Canucks wanted to carry on with Miller in either a tandem starter's role or the starter's feast they've apportioned him this season, the contract extension they signed Jacob Markstrom to in advance of this season might keep them from investing enough coin to keep him in tow.
With the added caveat that it doesn't appear even remotely likely the Canucks have a playoff push in them, and this is a player that they should, probably, try to monetize for futures. That could be easier said than done. Miller has a limited no-trade clause, wherein he can submit a list of five teams with which the Canucks can try and facilitate a trade.
There's a fair amount of guesswork, but working within those bounds, I've found three such locations that make sense as a possible Miller destination for the home stretch.
February 21 2017 09:00AM
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks have played 60 games. Some have been better than others, but there haven't been nearly enough good ones, which goes a long way towards explaining why they're four points below the playoff bar in the Western Conference as the roll into their league-mandated week off.
While the players take their break, the 60 games the Canucks have played is a natural time to pause and crunch some numbers. This is not a deep dive on why the Canucks are where they are in the standings. We've already written much to that effect in this space, and much more will undoubtedly be devoted to the many issues plaguing this hockey club.
The following are numbers that jump off the page at me when examining the Canucks season to this point. Some of this is trivial, others item are a little more telling. You may know some of these facts and figures already, while you may discover a few new things along the way.
February 21 2017 07:00AM
This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner.
The Atlantic Division is complete wide open. Every day, depending on who happens to have a game, the standings shuffle up and down, as only a whopping twelve points separates first from last in the division. The Canadiens have a closing window that their general manager will surely try to capitalize on, while the Red Wings, Sabres, and Lightning, have had disappointing seasons and could sell. In the middle are the Senators, who nobody expected to be playing so well, the Leafs who still have their eyes on the future, the Panthers who are finally playing at a high level, and the Bruins who, uh, who knows!
February 20 2017 05:12PM
If you're every bit as fascinated with the composition of your favourite team's roster as you are their on-ice performance, then it's the most wonderful time of the year. We're just nine days out from the NHL trade deadline. It's about to get real.
Were I writing this a month ago, this is where I imagine I'd set the bar for an inactive deadline not entirely dissimilar from last year's. What a difference a couple of weeks can make. The Canucks have moved, if ever so slightly, from their unshakeable position of unwillingness to ask players to waive no-trade protection. They seem, at the very least, open to it as a possibility; the players themselves, too.
Regardless of how much the Canucks accomplish at this year's deadline, it's shaping up to be every bit as compelling as last season's. Is Vancouver a seller? Perhaps a buyer? Do they do nothing at all? Let's dive in and see where the Canucks stand going into this most crucial period.
February 20 2017 01:54PM
Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports
I've been having an internal debate over these last few weeks over why the Canucks have held at 46 salaried player contracts for the season.
At a glance, flexibility seems the most obvious reason. With 46 contracts, the Canucks can add players without too much handwringing. There's value in peace of mind, and by not overextending themselves it's likely the Canucks granted themselves just that.
However, another angle has come to the forefront. It's one I'd given consideration to but never credence, without definitive information to reaffirm it. What if the Canucks are saving contract spots for their NCAA prospects so that they might use games this season as an ace in hand and entice them to sign? With the possibility of burning a year of their ELC as a carrot to dangle?