"So Danny. Where do you think I’ll end up in October?"
After a recent appearance on TSN’s "Off The Record", it seems even Kevin Bieksa knows the writing is on the wall, and he’s probably on his way out of town.
What are some of his possible destinations? Let’s look at the top 5 teams with defensive needs who could be a willing dance partner with the Canucks.
Ironic, no? Canucks sign Dan Hamhuis as a UFA away from Nashville and now they desperately need a top 4 D, with only four defensemen listed on their active payroll. They have tons of cap space, so taking Bieksa’s contract is not an issue. In return, the Canucks could request Joel Ward to fill out their 3rd line with minimal cap hit, or a 2nd or 3rd round pick next year. Another option may be to request a prospect in return. On my wish list – former Vancouver Giant D Jonathan Blum.
Almost identical situation to Nashville, as they have only 4 defensemen on payroll and huge cap space. However, there isn’t really a roster forward that would fit in the Canucks’ lineup right now. Therefore the Canucks would likely ask for draft picks, or possibly Luca Sbisa as a prospect return, although I doubt the Ducks would be willing to part with Sbisa.
3. St. Louis
The Blues have a lot of cap space and need a top 4 D to fill out their defensive roster. A deal with St. Louis could be interesting, because this would depend entirely upon with whom the Blues would be willing to part. I would love to see Patrick Berglund come to the Canucks. Otherwise, the Canucks might go after prospect and former Calgary Hitman Brett Sonne, who also happens to be a native of Maple Ridge.
The Stars have a lot of cap room and a lot of questions on defense. While they have 6 defensemen on the roster, their bottom 3 defensemen are Mark Fistric, rookie Philip Larsen and Jeff Woywitka. One word about their overall defense – SHAKY. The Stars don’t have much in the way of prospects that would interest the Canucks, but one target on their current roster could be Jamie Benn, a Victoria native and former Kelowna Rocket.
The Capitals are in a similar situation to the Blues, in that they have a need for top 4 D to complete or improve their defensive lineup. The Canucks might try to pry Jason Chimera away to round out their 3rd line, or just go for a 2nd or 3rd pick.
So which lucky lady will choose to dance with the Canucks, to try to win the affection of the beloved Juice? My guess would be on either Anaheim or St. Louis at this point, because I don’t think the Predators will want to deal with Vancouver, although Nashville is probably the most in need of Bieksa’s services.