Whomever Canucks’ fans fantasize about on their dream roster, Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News has concerns about GM Mike Gillis’s ability to spend that payload:
...if Gillis’ first moves as a GM are any indication, Vancouver fans are in for some wasabi-level gut burn come next season. [...]
The zeitgeist before the draft was that Gillis intended on trading the [#10] pick for a roster player and despite the fact many teams landed big names on the first day (Alex Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri, Olli Jokinen), he couldn’t find a dance partner.
It’s a legitimate concern to have about Gillis, the limitations he may face this offseason as he tries to improve the team. As Tom Benjamin notes, his lack of experience is a big question mark:
I get the feeling that Mike Gillis figured that being a general manager in the NHL was pretty much as easy as being the general manager of a team in a hockey pool. He could make this trade, draft that guy and sign a couple of free agents - and shazzam! - a winner!
Reality bites. I’ve been reduced to hoping Gillis is a fast learner.
Indeed. But as the saying goes, the situation “is what it is” and I’m not sure anyone else has the answers, either. In the previously mentioned THN article, Kennedy’s advice was…
Give Hossa five or six years at $7 million and convince Demitra to take $4 million per season for the next two. That gives you 12 forwards under contract and about $9 million in cap space for your backup goalie, seventh and eighth defensemen and a couple more forwards should the AHLers on the cusp not get over said cusp.
Hmmm… First off, reports are that Hossa has already turned down a multi-year, $7 million per year contract from Pittsburgh. Is he seriously going to pass up the opportunity to play with a proven Stanley Cup contender in order to sign with Vancouver for that same amount?
Don’t be daft. Besides, I doubt Hossa could even afford to live on $7 million per these days…
As for Demitra, is he worth $4 million? That’s a tough one (note: consider that each of the Sedins make less than that with significantly higher point totals; Daniel, for instance, had 40 more points than Demitra over the last two seasons), but setting aside the salary arguments, he’s a solid free agent choice. (But also one liable to incite a minor bidding war, if you consider Pierre LeBrun’s short assessment).
I do think it’s notable that Demitra is an offensive player who appears to genuinely want to play in Vancouver. The importance of that fact these days just cannot be overlooked. I can’t imagine too many NHLers (those with options, anyway) are scrambling to play for a team that’s appears to be in as much disorder as the Canucks are right now.
Kennedy’s breakdown of where the money goes in general is probably pretty accurate, though. But one thing I’d sure like to see is Brendan Morrison back in the mix for about $3 million. Other than a bad slate of injuries this past year, the former Iron Man of the NHL has always been a consistent player who’s good at many aspects of the game. (As for defensemen, Waiting for Stanley had some thoughts on that the other day.)
The breakdown of money-per-position (charted below) is roughly: 1 goalie ($7 million), 5 d-men ($16 million), and 7 forwards ($13 million). Another 3 forwards and 1 d-man is signed through 08/09, but their contracts are two-way.
Click here or on the image to enlarge.
Update 11:35am PT: Earlier today, Ryan Malone (along with Gary Roberts) had his rights shipped over to Tampa Bay. There have been piles of Malone-to-Vancouver rumors, including some discussion from Elliott Pap at the Vancouver Sun yesterday.
Not really relevant, but also included in that article was this photo of Gillis:
*Hossa photo found at straightouttajohnstown.blogspot.com (text added to the photo by me)
*visit nhlnumbers.com for updated salary cap numbers
*visit Sportsnet.ca for a list of available UFA’s