Some thoughts from Minnesota, à la Michael Russo at the Star Tribune:
Oh, and lastly, this is unconfirmed by me but being told to me by a Vancouver reporter, but apparently Pavol Demitra was in Vancouver over the weekend being given a tour of the area by Canucks captain Markus Naslund.
As I’ve intimated here, the chances of the Wild even attempting to bring Demitra back is slim to none, and there’s a question whether he’d even want to return.
Demitra signing with Vancouver makes sense. His agent — or now, I guess, former agent — is Mike Gillis, the now-GM of the Canucks. Naslund is also now a former client of Gillis.
Both are unrestricted free agents, and you can bet Gillis may very well take care of his former clients. In fact, maybe Pavel Bure comes out of retirement and returns to Vancouver.
[updated below - Demitra did indeed spend time in Vancouver in recent days.]
I’d take them both—Demitra and the current 37 year old Russian-playboy -businessman version of Bure.
But on a more serious note, Russo also comments on the obvious problem with those Demitra rumors:
“If Demitra thought Jacques Lemaire was defensive, wait til Alain Vigneault gets hold of him — if Vigneault is back.”
Indeed. Signing creative, offensive forwards in Vancouver is going to be a tough sell for Gillis if he’s keeping Viggy around.
At the very least, I wouldn’t be suggesting Naslund as tour guide… I can’t imagine he’s sharing happy stories about the experience.
P.S. One more quick note on defecting scorers. I overlooked mentioning the departure of the Manitoba Moose’s leading scorer Brad Moran last week. He was given a two year deal in Sweden.
“I got an offer over there that I just couldn’t turn down,” said Moran, who, with 22 goals and 77 points in 74 games, led the Moose in scoring this season.
Moran admitted that it’s tough to leave the Moose organization, but not getting a sniff from the parent Vancouver Canucks during his most productive season as a pro was a factor in his decision.
“For sure, it was disappointing. That’s why you’re in this league,” said Moran.
Update 9:45pm PT: Well, indeed Demitra did spend some time checking out Vancouver…
The Demitra visit was confirmed by new Canucks GM Mike Gillis during a radio interview on Vancouver’s Team 1040-AM. Gillis, Demitra’s agent until last month, called it “flattering” that an unrestricted free agent would take the initiative to check out Vancouver on his own.
Gillis would not officially be allowed to talk to Demitra until July 1, or it would be tampering.