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.
June 10 2013 01:00PM
You may have missed it last week, but we're launching CanucksArmy Gear with a T-Shirt Design contest and you still have time to submit a design and win! The winner will receive five free t-shirts with the winning design,
Once again here are the contest rules: Please avoid using any official NHL or team logos. Also no player names or likenesses. Finally, by submitting a design and accepting a prize in this contest, you agree that CanucksArmy and the Nation Network owns the rights to that design in perpetuity going forward. Submit your designs to Thom.Drance@gmail.com.
Read past the jump for a gallery of t-shirt designs that have already been submitted from our readers!
June 10 2013 11:37AM
The Canucks are facing a deadline this week. Basically the organization needs to have their ducks in a row regarding a location for their recently purchased AHL team by Wednesday, so that any agreement can be voted on and approved by the AHL's Board of Governors on Thursday. If the club can't secure a deal with the "specific city" that they were getting close to a deal with - that "specific city" has been rumoured to be Utica, New York by the way - then the Peoria Rivermen franchise could go dormant for the season.
If the Canucks shutter their AHL affiliate for the year, the organization's thin crop of prospect talent will be loaned across the league, which would be a bit of a nightmare scenario for the club. Alternatively, if the Canucks can complete a deal that's acceptable to the AHL's Board of Governors this week with the city of Utica, they'll operate a franchise in the Mohawk Valley. That would be an outcome which, while significantly more attractive than the alternative, would still represent a less than ideal situation.
We'll summarize the latest AHL-related Canucks gossip after the jump.