Thursday, June 30, 2011

Canucks UFA Rumours & Targets

As the 2011 Free Agent Season officially opens on July 1st, questions are abound in Vancouver as to how they can improve their roster to make another run at the Stanley Cup.

Let's take a quick look at what freedom the Canucks have to spend, what areas could use some help, and who is available.

As it stands, the Canucks have $52,508,000 locked up for the year, with approximately $12,000,000 remaining in salary cap space.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ehrhoff Rights to Islanders, Canucks Move Forward

With Christian Ehrhoff's rights being traded to the New York Islanders today for a 4th round draft pick, the Isles have exclusive negotiating rights for the next few days before the July 1st deadline.  At which point, Christian Ehrhoff is free to return to Vancouver, but don't count on it.

This move by the Canucks signifies one of two things.  Either Ehrhoff wanted more money than the Canucks could offer, or the Canucks did not care to offer much money.  Rumour has it that Ehrhoff was offered Kevin Bieksa's contract, at $4.6 million a year for 5 years.  If that's true, Ehrhoff perhaps wants more.  His stats over the past two years suggest he could command around $6million on the open market.  But with the Sedins, Luongo, Kesler, Burrows and Bieksa all taking a hometown discount to remain together and press for a Stanley Cup, why would Christian Ehrhoff be any different?

Well, consider the Canucks' circumstances heading into next season.  As CapGeek.com illustrates, the Canucks have roughly $51 million locked up in eight forwards, five defensemen, and two goalies.  That leaves the Canucks with $13.3 million in cap room to obtain at least one more defender, and four forwards.  Chris Tanev is a likely candidate to nab that number six spot, leaving the club with roughly $12 million for four forwards.

Indeed, whether Ehrhoff declined tangible offers, or if the Canucks strategized and wished to cut him loose, it may not be a bad thing.  With the Sedins, Kesler and Burrows locked up long term, along with Mason Raymond, Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, and Mikael Samuelsson, the Canucks have four forward spots open for next season.  Expect Cody Hodgson, Jannik Hansen and Viktor Oreskovich to return, leaving one spot open depending on when Raymond returns.  The good news here is with so much of the Canucks high-end talent locked up, it is mostly bottom six positions left to fill: players that will be earning around $1 million each.  The Canucks will therefore have some cap space to play with for the first time in a couple of years.

Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Raymond - Kesler - Samuelsson
Hansen - Malhotra - ?
? - Lapierre - Oreskovich

Bieksa - Hamhuis
Edler - Salo?
Rome - Tanev/Ballard

Luongo
Schneider


In fact, Canucks' fans could have reason for optimism.  The Canucks could have used some scoring depth in the post-season, perhaps a consistent scorer to play with Ryan Kesler.  This development may allow the Canucks to do just that.  With Raymond injured, Chris Higgins unlikely to return (according to various reports), the Canucks may have as much as $8-10 million in cap space to sign a free agent, or make a trade to nab a scoring winger and beef up their top six forwards.

The Canucks also can survive without Ehrhoff.  He had a strong season with 50 points, but was a team worst -13 in the playoffs.  Aside from statistics, the Canucks played without Sami Salo, Dan Hamhuis, and Alexander Edler for prolonged periods last year, so the loss of one defender should not strike fear in fans' hearts.

This could free up significant cap space to improve the roster elsewhere.  If you want further justification for letting Ehrhoff go, consider the salary structure of the team.  With 20 roster spots being allocated to $64.3 million in payroll, you'd want 12 forwards at $38.58 million, six defence at $19.29 million, and two goalies at about $6.5 million.

The Canucks already have $17.3 million locked up in five defenders, not including Chris Tanev, or the possibility of bringing back Sami Salo.  Meanwhile, they only have $27 million of $38-39 spent on forwards.  With the aforementioned four bottom six roster spots to fill, common sense would indicate that if the Canucks wanted to spend to the cap, there is much justification to spend that on a quality forward.

Time will tell...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canucks Draft Jensen, Honzik, Westerholm, Grenier among others

Canucks' 1st round pick #29 overall: Nicklas Jensen
The Vancouver Canucks have completed their draft picks for the 2011 NHL Draft in Minnesota.  The Canucks haven't taken a WHL boy since Morgan Clark in 2008, but they did take a wide range of players this time around.  Of their 8 picks in 2011, the Canucks took Three Swedes, two Canadians, one Czech, one Dane and one American.  They picked five forwards, two defence, and one goaltender.

Here's a look at their picks...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Complete Anarchy: My Vancouver Riot Rant

Fan of Anarchism... Or Anakin Skywalker?
Despite being a hockey blog, I wanted to take some time to write a long post about the riot in Vancouver after the Canucks Game Seven loss to the Boston Bruins.

The sadness and disappointment I felt as a 20 year die-hard fan (and season ticket holder) in watching my hometown Canucks lose the way they did after being so close to becoming legends in the city, and getting the championship monkey of Vancouver's back was quickly overshadowed and put in immediate perspective by the pathetic spectacle that took place in the streets afterwards.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Riot, Not Canucks, Shame Vancouver

As if 40 years of franchise futility was not enough, Canucks' faithful had to endure an embarrassing spectacle on the league's greatest stage - and no, I'm not talking about the game on the ice.  The riot that took place after the game was a bunch of complete crap from morons who normally patrol Granville on a Saturday night.  Morons who traded in their Ed Hardy douchebag wear for a Canucks jersey, as an excuse to blend in with real fans and make a mockery of our city, our neighbours, and Canucks fans everywhere.  No wonder the team changes logos so often.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Letter

Dear 2010-2011 Vancouver Canucks,

I write you on the eve of Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, I write you on the verge of greatness, and on the verge of becoming instant heroes in the city of Vancouver, and in the hearts of Canucks fans everywhere.

Before we get to the task at hand, let's take a trip down memory lane from a die-hard Canucks fan for 20 years.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Luongo must outduel Thomas at Rogers

Canucks' goaltender Roberto Luongo has been up and down this post-season.  After beginning with great numbers against the Blackhawks in round one, he melted down over two games, but rebounded in Game 7 to get an emotional overtime win.  He cruised largely through Nashville and San Jose with some very solid numbers over that 13 game stretch, even doing very well in games one and two of the Boston series.

Canucks seek answers versus Bruins

Two big stories from tonight's game in Boston, at least from this blog, will be how the Vancouver Canucks completely vanished, and how the NHL continues to mystify all players with their officiating.

Let's make no excuses for the Canucks, they played like crap.  Much like Chicago series' of years gone by, Vancouver is unraveling and melting down at the worst time.  Taking undisciplined penalties, and getting away from the style of play that made them so successful.  Drifting away so much in fact that their powerplay looks useless, their mobile defense is standing still, and their potent counter-attack couldn't gain entry to the Boston zone.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rome hits Horton, Bruins beat Canucks

The Boston Bruins finally entered the series with a tremendous effort in an 8-1 rout of Vancouver.  The Bruins seemingly took over the game in the final 40 minutes, but let's not get carried away with ourselves here Canucks fans, it was one game, and it wasn't as lopsided as the score indicates.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Burrows, Canucks bite Bruins in Opener

When Raffi Torres scored with 19 seconds left in regulation breaking a scoreless tie, Rogers Arena lit up with excitement.  The Canucks wrapped up the victory to stake themselves to a 1-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins.  The goal was the result of a terrific second effort by Ryan Kesler, who fed the puck to Jannik Hansen, who found Raffi Torres driving to the net for a tap in.