Well now that the Canucks playoff hopes have been dashed, we’ll start hyper-analyzing the Canucks, their coaching, their management, their front office, the GM Place vending staff, the Sportsnet crew and anyone who is even remotely connected to the team.
So I’ll start. Here’s five ways I think the Canucks need to address their roster this off-season.
1. Time for young kids to play now – Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner, and Cory Schneider. All three of these players seem NHL ready now. Schneider and Grabner proved they could play very well at the AHL level, so it’s now the time for them to take the leap to the big leagues. Cody Hodgson, by all accounts, is ready to go. In fact, it sounds like he was close to making the team last season. He’s a calm, cool and collected player who looks like a future NHL captain.
2. Add/trade for a young, puck-moving defenseman that isn’t Jay Bouwmeester. Bouwmeester is going to be far too expensive on the open market, come July 1st. It would not be fiscally prudent to try to sign Jay Bouwmeester, because it would not benefit the team. It would take too much money away from the line-up, and Gillis looks like he’s intent on playing hockey’s version of Moneyball. Tomorrow, I’ll write on who I think the Canucks should target for this position. They will also have to likely pick up another depth defenseman in free agency, with Ohlund likely leaving and having to trade to bring in a puck-moving defenseman.
3. What about Team Sweden? Re-sign the Sedins. The twins proved their worth. For the Sedins, I would offer 5.75-6m per season for 4 years, in hopes that they will want to stay in Vancouver, where they clearly enjoy playing. As for Sundin and Ohlund – let them go. The Canucks need to get younger and faster and neither of those two players serve that need any longer. Mats Sundin was not a difference maker for the Canucks, not in the regular season or the playoffs.
4. Re-sign Bernier and Wellwood, and let Pyatt go. Pyatt and Bernier are similar players in stature and skill but Bernier is younger and much faster. I feel incredibly bad for Taylor Pyatt and his plight recently, but he’s broken now. He is a broken player emotionally and he simply did not play well this season. It does not do the team any good to keep a player out of pity. Wellwood proved he is worth $1m per season, and played his role very well late in the season and into the playoffs.
5.Extend Roberto Luongo – if he’s willing to come back. Roberto Luongo has all the characteristics you want in your top player. Heart, determination, character, winning attitude, game-changing ability. I would extend him if he is willing to stay and prove he can win a Cup here. I would suggest to Luongo that he makes the same cash as the Sedins. If he wants to win here in Vancouver, he would hopefully be willing to re-sign for slightly less money to help better the team in the long-run. This will improve his chances of winning a cup if we can get better talent here. An offer of 6m per season for 4-5 years is really only 500K less than what he is currently making now, on average. I know that this is a bit of a wish, but I think that Luongo is the type of player who only wants to win a Stanley Cup, and he would be willing to take slightly less cash if he knew it would make his team better.
Here is what my projected lines would be, focusing on the forwards:
The defense would look like this:
Salo, **PMD, Mitchell, Bieksa, Edler, O’Brien, Vaananen, Davison
Now I will assume that since I am suggesting that the Canucks trade for a puck-moving defenseman (**PMD) that they will have to trade away an existing defenseman. I will suggest that this trade would involve Salo, Mitchell or Bieksa. I say this because the Canucks will want to keep Edler, and the other defenseman wouldn’t be worth the trade coming the other way. Tomorrow, I will specifically address the conundrum of the Puck-Moving Defenseman.
Time to get younger and faster, boys! Time for Gillis to officially put his stamp on this team and prove why he was hired.