Mike Gillis was a busy guy on Friday.
First, Gillis and the Canucks announced that they traded Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi to the San Jose Sharks for Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich. Minutes later, the club announced the official signing of UFA Mathieu Schneider.
So what was previously a perceived weakness this coming season, the Canucks now have a very solid defence corps, and a need to move a couple of defencemen to make room in the roster and the salary cap.
My first take at the SJ trade is that Gillis did a great job getting two valuable assets for essentially nothing. Patrick White was vilified by Canucks fans as a bust prospect, and Rahimi hasn’t made any noticeable strides in the Canucks system to make his up the depth charts. In return, the Canucks get a solid power play quarterback and a legitimate top 6 D. Plus they did the Sharks a bit of a favour because they cleared some much needed cap space.
Then… Literally minutes later, Gillis and the Canucks announced the official signing of Mathieu Schneider. The deal is for one year at $1.55 million, which is a solid deal for the Canucks.
Gillis finally made a trade, and a great one at that. After many months of supposed silence on the trade front, Mike Gillis traded two expiring assets in his minor system for two solid and experienced blueliners.
The Canucks made some excellent improvements to the club’s back-end in very short order. Right now the Canucks have eight VERY solid defencemen on their roster. The blue-line now boasts Salo, Bieksa, Mitchell, Edler, Schneider, Ehrhoff, Lukowich, and O’Brien. They also have decent depth in the minors with Nycholat, Baumgartner, Rome and more.
The team will need to move two defencemen before the start of the season, in order make space on the roster and to clear enough cap space.
The biggest downside to the signings today for the Canucks is that they are now over the cap by a considerable margin. The Canucks will have to move players. The question is “Who should the Canucks trade?”.
I would love for the Canucks to trade Sami Salo away, given his age and contract size. However, it is unlikely as Salo has a No-Trade Clause and is not likely to waive his NTC at this point in his career. Willie Mitchell also has a NTC so he is unlikely to move as well. Kevin Bieksa has great trade value and does not have a No-Trade Clause, so he is certainly going to be on the block. Also, the Canucks may have acquired Ehrhoff simply to flip him to another club to get prospects. Given Ehrhoff’s prowess on the power-play, I would be more willing to trade Bieksa than Ehrhoff. I’m not a huge Bieksa fan. I like him as a player, but he has already been hurt a couple of times and tends to get way too hot-headed at times. I do love his grit, but given his trade value, the Canucks could get something decent in return.
I’ll more tomorrow on who the Canucks should be talking to for a trade of a couple of their defencemen.