Crystal Balling the Canucks’ Reconstruction

At the end of any team’s season, there are the inevitable questions around who will stay and who will go. However, when you have an aging core, a nasty cap situation, and a GM who both loves draft picks and isn’t afraid to make moves, there is really only one guarantee going into the offseason: change is coming (again). 

There has been a lot of speculation in the Vancouver media over the course of the last couple days, probably best summed up by Jason Botchford in The Provies, who suggested the Canucks move a number of players this offseason, including the rights to Shawn Matthias and Yannick Weber, as well as Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, and potentially Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen. 

Given the Canucks cap situation, it seems likely that Benning will be looking to move core players in exchange for draft picks, rather than taking players back in return, so I thought I’d look at trades made over the past few years for players similar to who the Canucks have to offer. 

The Rights to Shawn Matthias

Shawn Matthias is big and he can score goals. In fact, he was in the top 40 in the league for both even-strength goals and goals per 60 minutes at even strength. It’s a weak UFA crop this year, and at 27 year old, this is his opportunity for a David Clarkson contract. Given Vancouver’s cap situation, the Canucks really aren’t in a position to re-sign him, so it makes sense for Benning to try to move his rights for a pick. Here is a list of trades made for pending UFAs over the past three seasons: 

Date Player Acquiring Team Compensation Team
June 28, 2011 Christian Ehrhoff NYI 4th round pick VCR
June 29, 2011 James Wisniewski CBY 5th  round pick MTL
June 29, 2011 Christian Ehrhoff BUF 4th round pick NYI
June 29, 2011 Steve Montador CHI 7th round pick BUF
June 23, 2012 Jonas Gustavsson WPG 7th round pick TOR
June 27, 2012 Dennis Wideman CGY 5th  round pick+ b prospect WSH
June 6, 2013 Sergei Gonchar DAL 6th round pick OTT
June 12, 2013 Mark Streit PHI 4th  round pick + b prospect NYI
June 5, 2014 Dan Boyle NYI 5th round pick SJS
June 14, 2014 Louis Leblanc ANA 5th round pick MTL
June 25, 2014 Nikita Nikitin EDM 5th round pick CBJ

Market Value: As we can see, most deals for UFAs of comparable pedigree to Matthias were 5th round picks. Anything better than that would be a really nice win for Jim Benning. 

Kevin Bieksa

To look at comps for a Bieksa trade, I looked at defensemen traded since 2011 over the age of 30, who were playing at least third pairing minutes (17 min/gm) with similar cap hits and remaining contract terms to Bieksa:

Age as of Trade Transaction Date Acquiring Team Player Team Compensation
31 2011-06-24 TOR John-Michael Liles COL 2nd round pick
33 2013-03-25 PIT Douglas Murray SJ 2 x 2nd round picks
34 2011-07-05 BOS Joe Corvo CAR 4th round pick
37 2012-02-17 NSH Hal Gill + 5th round pick MTL 2nd round pick + two low grade prospects
35 2012-02-24 NJ Marek Zidlicky MIN Kurt Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux, 2nd, 3rd
30 2012-02-27 CHI Johnny Oduya WPG 2nd & 3rd round picks
36 2012-06-22 NYI Lubomir Visnovsky ANA 2nd round pick
34 2013-04-03 SJ Scott Hannan NSH 6th or 7th round picks
35 2014-07-01 COL Brad Stuart SJ 2nd & 6th round picks

Market value: There’s a bit more fluctuation on this list, with Minnesota and San Jose receiving big hauls for Zidlicky and Murray, both of which were deals made close to the trade deadline. On the other end of the spectrum, Carolina and Nashville didn’t receive much in the way of compensation at all for Joe Corvo and Scott Hannan. When you strip out the outliers on either side, the market value seems to be a 2nd round pick plus either a lower pick or a low grade prospect. 

Now, there is a bit of variability to consider here in the case of Bieksa. On the one hand, he still has a good reputation in the league as both a leader and a physical player, potentially increasing his value somewhat. On the other, he does have a no-trade clause which could either limit the list of potential trade partners (as it did in the Kesler scenario), or put a kibosh on a trade altogether. 

If Bieksa does go, which wouldn’t surprise me at all given the need the Canucks have for his cap space, Benning will likely get a 2nd in return, plus either a late round pick or a second grade prospect. If he can improve from that, then all the better. 

Jannik Hansen and/or Chris Higgins 

Similar to the process above for Bieksa, I looked at players similar to Hansen and Higgins, in terms of age, production, and ice time: 

Age as of Trade Transaction Date Acquiring Team Player Team Compensation DOB GP G A PTS TOI
32 2012-01-20 NJ Alexei Ponikarovsky CAR 4th + b prospect 09-Apr-80 82 14 19 33 15
32 2012-02-16 SJ Dominic Moore + 7th TB 2nd 03-Aug-80 79 4 21 25 16
27 2012-02-27 NSH Andrei Kostitsyn MTL 2nd + 5th 03-Feb-85 72 16 20 36 15
34 2012-02-27 VCR Samuel Pahlsson CBG 2 x 4th + b prospect 17-Dec-77 80 4 13 17 15
30 2012-02-27 NSH Paul Gaustad + 4th BUF 1st 03-Feb-82 70 7 14 21 15
30 2013-04-02 VCR Derek Roy DAL 2nd + a prospect 04-May-83 42 7 21 28 19
31 2013-04-02 NYR Ryane Clowe SJ 2 x 2nds, + 3rd 30-Sep-82 40 3 16 19 17
27 2013-07-05 WPG Devin Setoguchi MIN 2nd 01-Jan-87 48 13 14 27 15
31 2014-03-05 PIT Lee Stempniak CGY 3rd 04-Feb-83 73 12 22 34 19
30 2015-02-25 PIT Daniel Winnik TOR 2nd, 4th, prospect 06-Mar-85 79 9 25 34 17
27 2015-02-25 WPG Jiri Tlusty CAR 3rd, 6th 16-Mar-88 72 14 17 31 16
33 2015-02-28 CHI Antoine Vermette ARI 1st, prospect 20-Jul-82 82 13 25 38 18
32 2015-03-01 WSH Curtis Glencross CGY 2nd, 3rd 28-Dec-82 71 13 22 35 16
27 2015-03-02 MIN Chris Stewart BUF 2nd 30-Oct-87 81 14 22 36 16
 

Market Value: In terms of outliers, we see Carolina show up twice more in terms of teams that didn’t seem to get market value for their assets (Ponikarovsky in 2012, and Tlusty this year), while on the other end of the spectrum New York, Nashville and Chicago paid hefty prices for the services of Ryane Clowe, Paul Gaustad and Antoine Vermette, although the later is probably justified given Chicago’s cup ambitions.

When you filter out these deals, it again looks like the consensus for a player like Higgins or Hansen would likely fall around a 2nd round pick.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As reported this past weekend, the salary cap is currently projected to be $71.5M next year, which by my math eaves the Canucks with only $4.86M in space to fill the remaining 6 roster spots. We can assume some those spots will go to RFAs like Linden Vey, Yannick Weber, Sven Baertschi, Frank Corrado, Adam Clendening, and Ronalds Kenins, but at an average of only $0.8M per open roster spot, the Canucks don’t have a ton of latitude when re-signing these guys. Using Jake Virtanen and/or Hunter Shinkaruk doesn’t make their situation any easier, as their cap hits with bonuses are $1.775M and $1.1M, respectively. 

Any way you slice it, something has to give. Benning will need to clear cap space, and the assets he has to trade will likely net him a handful of mid-round draft picks. Maybe the Canucks should scout for players available in the second round after all. 

  • argoleas

    Luckily Benning didn’t use up cap space on a useless #7 defenseman or a glorified fourth liner. It’s not like we could have used that $5.25 million.

    Matthias I think we should get what we can for him — other than for about twenty games this season when he started really bulling to the net, he looked like he always has: decent hands, great speed, but not able to really put it all together. That ludicrous hit to the head he took in TO really derailed what was a strong positive step before that. I’d be happy if we got a 4th rounder.

    I would be astounded if we could get anywhere near a 2nd rounder for any of Bieksa, Higgins or Hansen. Of those three I think most other teams would be dumb to pay more than a 3rd. Higgins offers overall strong two-way play without necessarily the scoring anymore but he’s an elite PK. Hansen remains inconsistent but probably has a bit more upside. If we can get Bieksa to waive the NTC and the ghost of his reputation remains intact let’s get that walking corpse out of here.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Also what happens with Markstrom? He’s an RFA but I am assuming he won’t want to deal with this situation anymore. Since Vancouver has so little faith in actually playing him could we get anything more than a 3rd?

  • Steampuck

    Buy out/move Miller. I’ve seen nothing this year that says he can recapture the high level of play he enjoyed five/six years ago. And he’s done nothing to persuade me he’s worth $6 million. This contract makes the Sbisa/Dorsett contracts seem almost reasonable. I won’t pin Game 6 on him, but you don’t go up three goals…

    • wojohowitz

      I’m on the fence about it, but just suggesting from a business point of view, assuming the ownership doesn’t mind the dollars (which if they were running a Stanley Cup oriented business, they shouldn’t),,,

      If there’s anyone to buyout, it would be the Sedins. They need to get Brad Richards-‘d…

      I’m sure their agent won’t be as good as Vinny’s and find them a spanking new huge contract like that, but Flames look in good shape, a year late from not moving Iginla sooner.

      • Larionov18

        Buying out the Sedins is a ridiculous statement. They were top 10 in scoring. Buy out Bieksa or ship him to the minors if he refuses to waive his ntc. Somebody would claim him most likely. He does not have a no move.

        • DeL

          No buying out the Sedins if it was even possible (remember chidren two buyouts are all you are allowed) is not ridiculous it’s moronic. Eighth and twelfth in scoring and the best players on the ice for the Canucks in the playoffs. Playing them under 5 min. in the third period of game 1, a game they were dominating not playing them first up after the two min. TV timeouts during the whole series and playing them with Hansen that goal scoring machine (not!!). That rests with the coach and upper management for allowing him to do so. Higgins and Hansen are very good……….third line players they have proven it for years but successive coaches have tried to get them to perform out of their element. That lies with the coaches. Sbiza-Miller-Vey Bonino all lay at the feet of JB. Hopefully he can make it up at the draft table which after all is supposed to be his forte.

  • orcasfan

    Nice compilation. The reality is that the quicker they offload, the better set up in the future one would hope the team will be.

    2nd Round is a stretch for Hansen/Higgins who are past their prime and Higgins slightly older, although with more proven past. Without special attributes other than trying hard, it’s too bad. They are a 3rd at best. He’ll have to eat it and move on to save the cap space.

    It’s too bad we’ve not found the linemates for higgins to get him back to the 20+ goal mark instead of just having him throw pucks at chest pads.

    I think a key point is the Canucks are no longer going to be a highly sought out UFA spot either. So within the next 3 years, without cap space, we can’t sign an impact player, and those experienced role players looking for sunset stanley cup action won’t be interested this corner of the NHL world. I think this actually will be a huge impact for our team. It will re-inforce the need to grow organically.

    From that point of view, I think the Sedins true competitive nature may show here. Iginla is still looking for his cup, someway, somehow. He lost a Game 7 as well. Who’s in a better spot? Will the Sedins want to find that spot? As a hockey fan, I would not hate on the Sedins if they found a new home. I think their dual contract nature makes it nearly impossible, but that’s besides the point.

    We’ve had it good for a long time (not counting past few years), I don’t mind a little bit of a struggle, so long as the end goal is in mind and in view. But ongoing middling mediocre, that’s a huge trap.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Benning won’t buy out Miller, or move him. That’s admitting defeat on his most prestigious signing.

    And we already saw that he doesn’t like to admit mistakes, hence the resigning of Pizza man. Not only is it infuriating because why resign a poor player like Sbisa, but no, here have a raise after such a poor season! However, even more worrisome long term is the kind of signal it sends to the young talent within the organisation. In Utica they have to perform to make the team, but up at the Canucks, if you’re a GM favourite, or a coach favourite (preferably from Medicine Hat), you’ll play, no matter how bad you are.

    Like Bothcford pointed out, Burrows and Hansen bring a blue collar work mentality to the team that the Canucks don’t have a lot of. So I would favour keeping them.

    It’s just a mess with the cap space and to be honest, with the talent evaluation of players like Sbisa and Vey, I find it hard to trust the GM’s and coach’s judgement of talent…

    • Fred-65

      Your comment of JB is getting close to the truth. Every one who watches Sbisa and think why is this guy playing. You almost close your eyes when he gets the puck and who knows maybe Sbisa does too ! But to listen to JB at the season end chat tells me Jimmy doesn’t like to admit to errors.

      I also listen to Linden with a straight face basiaclly tell the assembeld that Calgary is wrong by playing youngsters and Vcr is correct in delaying the introduction of our prospects.

      Hey Trev who progressed in the play-offs ?

    • orcasfan

      one thing I am not hearing anywhere is that Sbisa is now signed to a 3 year deal with NO NTC at a “manageable $3.5MM per ….translation TRADEABLE.

      He is definitely NOT a polished Dman but has size, speed and hands…..just seems to lack instincts with the puck.

      If the Nux gave up a 2nd for an unproven former #1 draft pick in Baertschi, is it unreasonable to think that a team would not give us a second for Sbisa, also a former #1 pick. Or a lower pick and a player?

      Dmen with size and hands are hard to come by and take much longer to mature….a team who could wait a year or two on a signed Dman with no NTC would be further to an ice-ready player on Sbisa than to draft an 18 yr old and wait and hope.

      IMO, he is closer to NHL ready than Baertschi and a few teams might be willing to give up a 2nd for him…..and a 2nd would allow Benning to save face for not only trading for Sbisa but re-signing him.

      And, let’s not overlook that this may have been the strategy all along–sign and trade him

  • Mantastic

    your comparisons for a Beiska and Hansen/Higgins trade are off.

    Most of those trades were at the trade deadline, where rentals are at the highest price, while draft picks and prospects are lowest. if you were to restrict your comparisons to date, you will see the value of a Beiska and Hansen/Higgins type player much lower this time of year than at the trade deadline.

    • yvr_guy

      The value is affected further because other GMs know that the Canucks need to free up space.

      Threatening competent players with minors if they don’t waive no trade clauses will definitely enhance the team’s reputation among free agents. And then there’s the fact that vets in the minors still get paid, and the Aquilinis still haven’t covered the termination / trade expenses for Gillis, Torts and Luongo, while attendance revenues are declining.

  • Dirty30

    So basically we trade KB3 to get back what we paid for Vey and list a slam who still happens to be playing and scoring goals.

    I’m not saying KB3 shouldn’t go but if you could get a s cond pick back for Vey then I’d take that deal and start a rookie in his place.

    Yes to Higgins out the door for almost anything

    I’m hoping JB pulls a miracle package and finds something to salvage.

  • Dirty30

    That’s the most expeditious way to clear up cap space and get better. I really hope Benning isn’t a stubborn tool about it. Bad signing, get what you can for him and move on.

    • yvr_guy

      Trade Miller? To whom and for what? Here’s what a “for sale” ad might look like:

      Need a goalie nearing the end of his career for your Stanley Cup run? Have we got the guy for you! Looking to join his 4th team in 3 seasons, this recently injured, highly-rated, former star is just your guy. And he can be yours for $6M for 2 more years…

  • wojohowitz

    Keep in mind the first priority is to make the playoffs and that means you don`t blow up the team. Last off-season Lord Jim did it just about right by bringing in six new players. This off-season I would think maybe four or five new players. On top of that is the fact that ten players on the roster are over thirty – or will be next season.

    But what do the Canucks have and what do they need. Players like Higgins, Burrows and Hansen offer a mistake-free game (competence) being veterans. What they need is to be younger, meaner and bigger.

    Bieksa`s cap hit is the same as Higgins – $2.5m so moving him to save cap hit space doesn`t make sense.

    • argoleas

      Bieksa’s AAV is $4.6m I believe, with a real-dollar salary of 2.5m for the 15/16 season. So moving Bieksa clears more cap space than Higgins. If Bieksa were to waive his NTC to some less desirable teams, his AAV and real dollar salary could be attractive to teams looking for veteran presence and looking to hit the salary cap floor.

      Seems unlikely Bieksa would be willing to leave, let alone go to a bottom team, but ya never know…

  • Fred-65

    Keep in mind that there are a lot of teams that are right up against the cap. That does make trades difficult. But it also means that GMs aren’t saying “The Canucks need to get rid of so-and-so to make room” because how on earth will they find the money.

    Generally speaking, the teams with the most cap space are the youngest and most terrible (except for Calgary). Edmonton, oddly, is right up against the cap and McSaviour can help them little with that (or stop pucks or play defence).

  • Fred-65

    If Matt O’Connor signs with the Canucks this weekend, you can pretty much guarantee that Markstrom and Lack will be traded in the off-season for draft picks. That’ll free up about $1.6M, once you factor in an ELC for O’Connor.

  • wojohowitz

    So, like I said in a previous thread, the Sbisa/Dorsett contracts are a complete disaster, handcuffing our ability to fill out the roster – unless we trade Kevin Bieksa for a pick.

    Not exactly a five alarm emergency then? So we dump a couple of veterans for picks (Bieksa/Higgins), promote a couple of worthy prospects and call it a day. Next summer we get a couple more expiring contracts and probably another small bump in the cap. Cap room isn’t an issue if you are promoting from within. You can still have a couple of vets on poor value contracts and make it all work. It’s not like we’re attempting to load up for a Cup run.

  • orcasfan

    Split the players up into three tiers. Those who help the team win, those who don’t help but don’t hurt either, and those who hurt the team.

    To re-build on the fly and not tank the guys in the middle are the ones that keep the team afloat and need to be kept at all costs. Guys like Matthias, Hansen, Higgins, Richardson, Weber, Kassian, Lack, and Miller; guys who would otherwise be traded for not producing at a high level if the team was trying to contend but are good enough to keep the team from tanking.

    The idea is to turn weaknesses into strengths until their are no weaknesses. Common sense says that the players that hurt the team the most should be moved first. Bieksa, Sbisa, Dorsett, Vey, McMillan.

    But instead of moving those tier 3 players the Canucks have re-signed and grossly overpaid two of them and have one more with an NTC! Now the Canucks will likely lose two-four players from tier 2 (Matthias walks, Higgins/Hansen/Kassian get traded) Weber doesn’t get a qualifying offer.

    The Canucks have enough players in the top two tiers to keep this team afloat while they search for replacements for the bottom tier. If they had just focused on moving the players that hurt the most they would be in a decent spot.

    Bad business and hockey decisions on the Dorsett and Sbisa signings.

  • Steampuck

    I’d prefer not to move Higgins or Hansen. Both play good, error-free minutes. The problem is they’re playing much too high up the lineup to be useful. These are excellent third/fourth line guys who bring good energy and smart hockey each and every night. If you look at the success Detroit enjoyed during the 1990s and 2000s, it wasn’t just because they had some excellent top-tier players, it was also because the McCartys, Lapointes, and Drapers knew their role and played it perfectly. I can’t help thinking that Higgins and Hansen are still in that mold. But it’s impossible to like them in first/second-line roles.

    If you want Higgins to score 20 goals (at a salary less than Dorsett’s), then you’re going to be disappointed. But if you want a guy who can snipe 10, while playing big PK and forechecking minutes—and can swing up the lineup in a pinch if necessary, then I think he’s worth keeping around. Hansen, too.

    And not to call out elephants in the room, but man did Matthias fall off a cliff after Kassian went down…

    • argoleas

      >> Lack for a 2015 1st

      Once again, we would trade the favored younger goaltender. If we could only get the same return.

      But since we can’t keep Markstrom and Lack, the latter has more trade value. Where would he go to get that 1st rounder?

      • BrudnySeaby

        Niemi, Crawford….two goalies with a cup on their resume will be available this off-season. Not a good year to be looking for a great return on Lack. Keep the 1-2 Tandem and hope someone bites on Miller next year.

        • BrudnySeaby

          Those two goalies are paid pretty high already though, Crawford has a $6M cap hit, Niemi will probably want a similar salary to his current one of $4M per, plus they are both nearing old age in NHL terms of 30yrs.

          Whereas Lack is making a paltry $1M and is entering prime age of 26 years old…that’s a tad more attractive to a rebuilding club like the Sabres/Oilers.

          • BrudnySeaby

            Oilers have capspace, what they don’t have is a solid, proven Goaltender. Oilers already tried going down the ‘solid back up route’ with Scrivens and Fasth and its been a monumental failure. They will jump at the chance to get Niemi, or Crawford to tend their nets, while their own prospects develop.

            Sabres might be a better fit for Lack as they are not likely to be looking to turnaround their fortunes just yet but given the fact that there will be lots of other goalies available, they are not likely to part with assets to grab what may be the 3rd or 4th best option available.

            Canucks will not get fair value for Lack, not right now. Their best bet is to keep them both (or try to sell Miller now but that’s not gonna happen)

      • BrudnySeaby

        Miller is the man right now and we may end up getting O’Connor, plus we got Eriksson, Markstrom ready for NHL backup roles.

        Demko is a couple years away to mentor.

        Sabres, Oilers have multiple 1st rounders and want to get better ASAP and need a goalie to grow with them.

        So Lack will probably end up with one of these teams at the draft.

  • orcasfan

    Obviously, the “change” is going to take a couple of more years. We need to be more realistic about possible player movement this off-season. All those aging vets are not going to disappear this year. Given that, here’s what I see happening in the next few months:

    The UFA’s, Matthias, and Richardson, get moved for late round picks. The RFA, McMillan gets moved or, more likely, not given an offer. Markstrom, another RFA, probably gets moved (again, for a mid round pick). The other RFA’s – Vey, Weber and Stanton, get retained, at least till October. Vey is more likely to stay after that. Both Weber and Stanton need to up their game (and their strength!), otherwise, they might be shipped out in favor of Corrado, Clendenning,Pedan or Hutton.

    Then there are the actual trades. I think Higgins will be traded – probably for a 3rd. Possibly Bieksa or Hamhuis, though I doubt, given that they only have one more tear on their contracts. Beyond that, there may be more trades coming from the Comets roster.

    So, that makes for somewhere between 5 and 7 moves from the current roster. That is a significant overhaul for any team in one off-season!

  • wojohowitz

    I think the Sbisa signing was meant to facilitate a trade of KB3. They are similar players and fill the same niche, they should not be playing together. You’d like to keep KB3 in the room but with the cap that low he had to go (he’s older too)

    Optimistically you could atleast hope that Sbisa improves, hell who knows how well he’ll do when he isn’t playing with KB3. Whereas you know what you’re getting with Bieksa. Keeping the younger player who can still develop at a younger cap hit than the older player whom you’ll trade for a pick is good asset management.

  • orcasfan

    No Play off day to celebrate
    No chocolate covered Canuck pucks to give away
    No se-cond round
    No cheering sound
    In fact here’s just another sucky Canuck day

    No cup parade
    No champange stain
    No bonus Saturday within the month of June
    But what it is, is something true
    Made up of these three words that I must say to you

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!
    I just called to say how much I laughed
    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!
    And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

    No draft pick high
    No parade ride
    No Canuck shirts to light one tender riot night
    No his-tor-ry
    No win-ning please
    Not even time for nerds to die in Can-uck ties

    No taser sun
    No riot hun
    No giving thanks to all the green men nuts you bring
    But what it is, though old so cruel
    To fill your heart like no two twins could ever do

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!
    I just called to say how much you’re stale, I do
    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!
    And I mean it from the bottom of my heart
    Of-my-heart
    Of my heeeeeaaaaaaaarrrrrrrtttttt.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Sing along folks!

    No Play off day to celebrate

    No chocolate covered Canuck pucks to give away

    No se-cond round

    No cheering sound

    In fact here’s just another sucky Canuck day

    No cup parade

    No champange stain

    No bonus Saturday within the month of June

    But what it is, is something true

    Made up of these three words that I must say to you

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!

    I just called to say how much I laughed

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!

    And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

    No draft pick high

    No parade ride

    No Canuck shirts to light one tender riot night

    No his-tor-ry

    No win-ning please

    Not even time for nerds to die in Can-uck ties

    No taser gun

    No riot hun

    No giving thanks to all the green men nuts you bring

    But what it is, though old so cruel

    To fill your heart like no two twins could ever do

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!

    I just called to say how much you’re stale, I do

    I just called to say I TOLD YOU!

    And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

    Of-my-heart Of my heeeeeaaaaaaaarrrrrrrtttttt.

  • orcasfan

    I look at a number of Benning’s acquisitions this year (Sbisa, Bonino, Vey, Clandenning, McMillan, Pedan, Sven B etc.) and I see a bunch of smallish players (except Pedan and Sbisa) with very little grit/skill and nobody in that list has a better than 50/50 chance of having an impact on the Canucks’ future. I’d move Higgins (no finish), Mathias (inconsistent and too soft for a big man), Vey (nothing there but Willie’s love), Richardson (meh) and Burrows (love the guy but years of being an agitator has taken it’s toll) for picks because I think Benning is better at drafting than trading. I’d then give Virtanen, McCaan, Cassells and Shink a legitimate shot at making the team. They bring speed, skill and grit (except Shinkaruk on the grit). Also, Cassells and McCaan are very good at faceoffs. Seeing how exciting Bo’s line was with 2 rookies, why not have another line like that next year. Yes, there will be some mistakes but they could be our third line by the end of the year.

  • orcasfan

    This cap crunch is interesting in that Benning et al. are going to see the effects of their mistakes (over-paying for Miller, Sbisa, and Dorsett) immediately instead of 2-3 years down the line. What astounds me is that after negotiating quite a canny extension for Tanev, they go and sign Sbisa to that deal.

    Dorsett can still make his contract worthwhile, but he would need to start playing like a third/borderline-second line winger for that to happen, since his cap hit is similar to Hansen and Higgins, and that’s what those two are.

    Between Miller, Sbisa, and Dorsett, that’s $12.25 million of commitments for two more years. I really hope they didn’t sign that extension on Sbisa just because he was part of the return on the Kesler trade. I’m really wishing Anaheim hadn’t bothered to include him on that deal.

    • orcasfan

      I doubt any Canuck fan likes Sbisa, but as posited here earlier, the plan all along may have been to sign him for 3 years at a manageable cap hit to make him attractive to trade. We can hope. Or is it dream?