Friday, July 1, 2011

Canucks sign Marco Sturm

The Vancouver Canucks have signed Marco Sturm.   The native of Germany has bounced around recently between Los Angeles and Washington after spending lengthy periods with Boston and San Jose.

Sturm has been a gritty speedster throughout his career, but he can also score goals.  Sturm has seven 20-goal seasons in his last 9 years, his highest being 29.  The only two seasons he did not score 20 were injury shortened seasons.

Sturm stands a good chance at starting the year on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson while Mason Raymond rehabs.  He is a versatile forward with strong defensive awareness.

As it stands, the Canucks Line-up will likely appear as follows:

Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Sturm - Kesler - Samuelsson
Higgins - Malhotra - Hansen
Mancari - Lapierre - Oreskovich

Hansen and perhaps Oreskovich will be signed up front, but that leaves Cody Hodgson back in the AHL. 

Hamhuis - Bieksa
Edler - Salo
Rome - Ballard

The defence appears set as well, with Chris Tanev and Andrew Alberts waiting in the wings.

As it stands, the Canucks have $59,500,000 spread across 11 forwards, 7 defence, and 2 goalies.  Assuming Hansen takes $1.75-2 million, the Canucks may have as much as $3-4 million in cap space to make a trade or sign a remaining UFA.

Might the Canucks be after anyone else?

Anthony Stewart might be a strong addition.  The 6'3" 230lbs 26 year old left winger had a breakout year, recording 14 goals and 39 points for Atlanta, despite spending a lot of time on the team's 3rd or 4th line.

Stewart would bring size and toughness to a Canucks line up that seemed to lack tenacity up front due to injuries, and style of play depending on who you ask.

In years past, the Sturm signing would have been all the Canucks did, but with GM Mike Gillis at the helm, Vancouver has been an active player every year.  Whether it's signing Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin, or trading for Keith Ballard and signing Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres, the Canucks GM is usually quite active, and odds are he's not done yet.

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