June 11 2013 04:13PM
How do you solve a problem like Keith Ballard?
Image via wikimedia commons.
To put it kindly, Keith Ballard's Canucks tenure has been forgettable.
The likable defenceman with speed to burn made sense as an acquisition at the time, but he never really earned the trust of Vancouver's coaches, and was rarely able to keep a spot as high sixth on the blue-line depth-chart. In the 2013 postseason Ballard didn't dress in a single postseason game, with raw rookie Frank Corrado and lumbering Andew Alberts playing on the team's third pairing instead...
Keith Ballard will turn thirty-one in late November. He has two years and according to capgeek.com 8.4 million dollars in actual salary and salary cap-hit commitments remaining on his contract. With the Canucks pressed up against the cap this offseason and deep along the blue-line, a 4.2 million dollar depth defenceman is not a luxury item the team can afford for another year. With that, let's look at several ways the Canucks could potentially remedy their situation as it pertains to Mr. Ballard.
Read past the jump.
June 11 2013 11:59AM
Screencap via Jason Botchford.
When Mike Gillis fired his coaching staff in late May, goaltending coach Rollie Melanson was retained. And why not? Cory Schneider has improved enormously under Melanson's tutelage, Roberto Luongo has made some tweaks to his game under Melanson that have paid off, and the Canucks have been right at the top of the league in save percentage in two of Melanson's three seasons with Vancouver.
Yesterday, Melanson gave a very candid interview to L'Acadie Nouvelle, a french language newspaper in New Brunswick, which was picked up by RDS. In the interview, Melanson discussed on the record his ultimate desire to return to Montreal as a coach, the easy to avoid Vancouver press, and the "deterioration" of Carey Price's game in Melanson's absence. We'll unpack Rollie's comments after the jump.
June 11 2013 10:27AM
Unless you're a fan of one of the two teams set to compete for the 2013 Stanley Cup, you're probably spending your time these days trying to figure out ways in which your team can improve their chances of competing for the title next season. This is probably most true for fans of the Vancouver Canucks, whose past run-ins with this year's finalists have them hoping that there's some scenario in which both teams lose and the Cup gets rolled over to next season.
At this point, most of the contrived schemes for improving the Canucks are just harmless speculation and banter, since this period serves as the calm before the storm. While there has been the odd noteworthy move here and there - i.e. Sergei Gonchar being traded to the Stars, Roman Josi receiving an extension from the Predators - things will really only begin to heat up once a champion has been crowned.
When that happens, though, expect all hell to break loose. In case you had forgotten, everything about this NHL season was thrown out of whack due to the lockout; a condensed 48-game scheduled, followed by an entry draft on June 30th (with all 7 rounds taking place during one hectic day), and a free agency period which has been pushed back to July 5th.
Beyond the draft and free-agency, one way to improve a team is on the trade market. It's easy (and quite fun) to sit at home and concoct outlandish trades that would only ever really happen in a fantasy league. But we'll leave that sort of stuff to the message boards. For a deal to actually happen, there usually needs to be at least two willing parties that benefit from said trade (if only in their minds). Sometimes it can be rather difficult to find a natural fit between two teams, but for the Canucks, there might just be a suitable trade partner in the Philadelphia Flyers.
Read on Past the Jump for More.
June 10 2013 05:54PM
Canucks coaching front runner John Stevens really likes to help save Kittens.
Sticktap SA2 for the tip.
Today at Canucks Army we reacted to the Dallas Eakins hire, looked at the upcoming deadline for the Canucks to figure out where to park their AHL affiliate, and plotted ways to fill Vancouver's need in the middle of their fourth line. Also, there's only one week remaining to enter the CanucksArmy Gear T-Shirt Design Contest, check out the rules and the submissions we've recieved so far!
Click past the jump for Canucks news, links and more!
June 10 2013 03:10PM
Max Lapierre - Wikicommons Media
Last week, we looked at some internal and external options for the Canucks to use for the fourth line wings. On the left side, there isn't much organizatonal depth, and my suggestion was to find a proven NHL player (Blake Comeau, for example). On the right side, though, it makes sense to bring Restricted Free Agent Dale Weise back, as he has proven to be an effective player at times and he is still fairly young. Zack Kassian is also an option, but the club is likely hoping that he steps into a top nine spot and stays there.
How about up the middle? Once a strong suit of the Canucks, the center ice position has been in disarray in recent years, due to the freak eye injury to Manny Malhotra and the spate of injuries to Ryan Kesler. Maxim Lapierre likely won't be back (all indications point to the club wanting to go a different direction), and he served the team well during his two years here. However, he isn't an irreplaceable player, and there are several intriguing options for the spot both within and outside the organization.
Let's look at a few of them.