Thursday, August 25, 2005

Payroll Updated

I have updated the Vancouver Canucks Payroll to reflect the Mattias Ohlund signing. I have also changed the format to show the salaries of those who will be on the active roster, the roster spots to fill and the players who are on the bubble/not guaranteed to make the team out of training camp.

Here are some articles from today's paper...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Canucks Re-sign Mattias Ohlund

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed defenseman Mattias Ohlund to a four year contract.

Well I'm still waiting to find out what the actual salary is, but I'm guessing it's between 3 and 3.75 million. It's great to have Ohlund locked up for four years especially with the possible/likely departure of Jovanovski. I'll update the payroll once this salary number is official.

Memo to Dave Nonis. It's hard to use a calculater when you still have the moronic policy of not disclosing player salaries.


TSN has updated their story and is now reporting that Ohlund's contract works out to $3.5m per season. Nice deal by Nonis, now he just got to get Cooke under contract and add one more veteran on the blueline.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blockbuster Trade: Hossa for Heatley

The Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers are set to announce a blockbuster trade involving Marian Hossa & a top 4 defenseman for Dany Heatley and a first round draft pick next year. The core of the deal is confirmed however the defenseman and draft pick are still unconfirmed.

Earlier today Ottawa re-signed Hossa to a three year $18m deal. Heatley is currently a restricted free agent.

More information as it comes...


It appears the defenseman heading out of Ottawa is Greg DeVries. DeVries was making too much for Ottawa and Atlanta picks up a very solid veteran. This is starting to look like a pretty good trade for both teams.

Heatley has signed a three year $13.5m deal.

There is no draft pick involved in the trade.

A Few Notes

First, I have added a new information section in the right hand column. As the season gets underway it will have a preview of the next matchup, including TV information. Also added are links to the team payroll, full schedule and coming soon: team depth chart and a list of transactions made throughout the season. I will also be adding a search function and possibly a few other things.

Now on to some Canuck notes...

There are two articles on the McCarthy signing, one from the Vancouver Sun and one from The Province.

Nonis on McCarthy:

"We think his ability to move the puck -- his strength -- is something that should be highly sought after in the new NHL and that's the biggest reason we brought him here."

Nonis on Butenschon:

"Sven is a big-body guy whose gotten better every year he's played," said Nonis. "We felt he's a guy who had a chance at making our team and at the very worst he adds tremendous depth for us."

McCarthy is a nice gamble by Nonis. If it works he will look like a genius, if it doesn't it's only a third round draft pick. McCarthy is on a one-way contract, so unless he blows it at camp he should be on the roster come opening night.

While I like the trade, I still have serious issues with the state of the blueline. Quite frankly this defense group is not good enough and unfortunately I don't see it improving any time soon. Nonis will likely bring in one more guy, possibly Murray Baron or Brad Bombardir. Whatever Nonis chooses to do there will be some strong competition at camp. Guys like Bieksa, Butenschon, Mr. Free Agent, Baumgartner, Mojzis, McCarthy and possibly Koltsov will all be battling it out for the final three slots on defense. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes down.

Also of note... Nonis confirmed the signing of Josh Green to a one-year, two-way contract worth $500k... Mattias Ohlund could be signed today... the Moose have lost Peter Sarno to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.

Back with more later... hopefully with news on the Ohlund situation.


There are reports that Vancouver's 2002 3rd round pick, Brett Skinner, is leaving the University of Denver to begin his professional career. Skinner is one of the Canucks top prospects and it's nice to see him signing a pro contract. Skinner will likely join the Moose, however he will have his shot to move up the depth chart at training camp. With so many open slots you never know...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Canucks Add Another Defenseman

According to radio reports the Vancouver Canucks have traded a third round pick(2007) to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Steve McCarthy. The former 1st round draft pick from Trail, BC, has yet to crack the NHL full time.

McCarthy has good offensive skills, but has been unable to employ them at the NHL level. At 24 years old there is still a lot of time for him to reach his 1st round potential and he should have a strong opportunity to make the team out of training camp.

Also of note, according to the NHLPA website the Canucks have re-signed LW Josh Green. Last season Green had 40 pts in 60 games for the Manitoba Moose.

According to the Team 1040 the Canucks have confirmed the signing of Sven Butenschon. There should be a lot of competition on the blueline at camp, as well as some depth for the Moose.

Expect the Canucks to sign at least one more blueliner... Murray Baron and Brad Bombardir have been mentioned. Todd Simpson was rumoured, but it appears he has signed with the Blackhawks.


TSN has confirmed the McCarthy trade and the Butenschon signing.

Canucks Training Camp Schedule

Rookie MedicalsSept. 5General Motors Place
Rookie CampSept. 5-8Burnaby 8-Rinks
Prospect MedicalsSept. 9General Motors Place
Prospect CampSept. 9-11Burnaby 8-Rinks
All Player TestingSept. 12General Motors Place
Training CampSept. 13General Motors Place
Training CampSept. 14-18Whistler, B.C (Meadow Park Sports Centre)
Prospects vs. UBCSept. 8Thunderbird Arena
Prospects IntrasquadSept. 11Bill Copeland Arena (Burnaby)
Blue vs. SilverSept. 18General Motors Place

More information at

If anyone attending the games, or training camp sessions, would like to offer their thoughts/impressions drop me an email at

Friday, August 19, 2005

Training Camp To Be Held in Van/Whistler

The Team 1040 is reporting the Vancouver Canucks training camp will be split between Vancouver and Whistler.

No surprise there. With the tightened time frame post-lockout, it was unlikely that the training camp would be held outside of the lower mainland.

I'll post more details as they become available.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dan is the Man - 2 Years $5 Million

Reports indicate that the Dan Cloutier contract is a two year deal for $5 million.

Upon hearing the dollar figure my first thought was why the second year? I'm of the opinion that the Canucks only option was to go with Cloutier for this season and then make the decision to move in another direction or not. There were simply no guaranteed upgrades available this off-season, period. Going with Cloutier for this season was the best option for Dave Nonis.

That said, Cloutier obviously has serious question marks when it comes to playoff hockey. Unfortunately for Cloutier, the questions were not answered in the Calgary series. Cloutier played very well right up until the injury, an injury which IMO had nothing to do with Cloutier's durability or "injury proneness". It was simply bad luck.

Due to Cloutier's playoff issues I have to question the wisdom of giving Cloutier a second year. While the money is not bad, the second year was not necessary in order to have Cloutier under contract for this season. The Canucks could have signed him for his qualifying offer of $2,340,000 and re-evaluated the situation next year.

So why the second year?

I can come up with a few reasons. The first is that if Dan Cloutier has another great regular season and adds a good run in the playoffs, say to the conference finals, Cloutier will be a bargain at $2.5m. The second is that Dan has continually been on one year contracts. It can't be easy playing year to year, especially under the scrutiny he finds in Vancouver. Perhaps the added security of an extra year will take some of the pressure off. Finally, another reason is that Alex Auld failed to demonstrate that he is close to being ready for an every day job in the NHL.

I'm sure the majority opinion of Vancouver fans is that they do not like this deal. I can see why they won't like it, but overall I don't have too much of a problem with it. The money is fine and while the second year is a risk, it's not going to cripple the franchise and it could turn out to be a bargain.

The Canucks have more goaltending depth than they have ever had. With Alex Auld, Cory Schneider, Julien Ellis and 2005 draft pick Alexander Vincent, there should be a number one goalie coming down the pipe. In the meantime Cloutier will have the chance to prove his critics wrong.

Canucks to Sign Sven Butenschon?

Sportsnet and Mojo radio are reporting that the Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Sven Butenschon. Butenschon is a big guy, 6'5" 215lbs, however he has a reputation as being a soft player. While being a solid skater for his size, he is pretty much a complete zero on the offensive side of the game.

Butenschon is basically a poor mans version of Marek Malik. He will likely be fighting for a job at training camp and is by no means guaranteed to make the team.

Canucks to Re-sign Cloutier to Multi Year Deal

Mojo radio is reporting that the Vancouver Canucks and Dan Cloutier have come to terms on a two year contract. Dave Nonis did confirm that the Cloutier contract will be resolved very soon. I am very interested to hear the dollar figure on this contract... I'll reserve my thougths until more information is available.

Other tidbits from Nonis...

He hopes and expects that Fedor Fedorov will be in training camp. Fedorov was also on the radio, although he didn't have a whole lot to say and did not confirm that he would be at camp.

He has not spoken to Ruutu or Cooke recently. Ruutu I can understand but I found it interesting that he has not been working on getting Cooke signed. Obviously Ohlund and Cloutier are priorities, but you have to wonder if Cooke is being shopped around, especially with Carter added to the mix.

Confirmed that Brad Bombardir is on his list of potential free agent defensemen. Also said that their are more players out there than you might think.

Payroll Update with Anson Carter

With the official announcement of the Anson Carter signing, I have updated the 2005-2006 payroll.

Carter has been added with the rumoured salary of $1,000,000.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Canuck Prospects at Junior Camp

By all reports, Canuck prospects had a good showing in yesterdays National Junior Intrasquad Game. First round draft pick Luc Bourdon had a very strong game while goaltending prospect Julien Ellis impressed despite allowing 2 goals.

For more on the game and the Olympic camp check out The Canucks Rant.

In Other News...

Florida Rumour

There is a rumour out of a Florida radio station that the Panthers and Canucks are in talks over a Jovanovski-Bouwmeester trade. Names mentioned in the rumour include Matt Cooke, Eric Cairns, Kristian Huselius and Ryan Kesler. There have been may rumours that Keenan has been looking to move Bouwmeester, and of course it's no secret that Jovanovski likes Florida. So it's not hard to put two and two together. That said, the deal doesn't really make sense at this point in time.

Florida is a young team looking towards the future. Dealing one of the top defensive prospects right now doesn't make much sense, especially when there is the potential to sign Jovo in the off-season should he become a free agent. On the Canucks end of things the timing of the trade makes little sense. While Bouwmeester is an excellent prospect, and the Canucks would love to have him, this is a team looking to win now and right now Jovo is the better defenseman. If this trade was going to happen it should have been two weeks ago when there were many free agents available. Trading Jovo for Bouwmeester and using the savings on a free agent defenseman would have been much more logical.

While it's an interesting rumour I highly doubt it will happen.

Sopel Signs Extension with Isles

Reports indicate that Brent Sopel and the Islanders have come to terms on a 2 year deal worth $2.4m.

Two things on this. First the Canucks will now receive a 2nd round draft pick from the Islanders. Second, if the salary of $1.2m is accurate, it now appears that this trade was not a cost cutting measure for the Canucks. This was more of a move to accommodate Sopel and his family, rather than a hockey decision.

Canucks to Sign Anson Carter

The Canadian press is reporting that the Canucks will sign forward Anson Carter to a one year deal worth $1 million dollars.

Carter is coming off of a disastrous season in which he was traded twice and registered just 28 points. This is probably why the Canucks could sign the former 60pt winger for just one million.

This is a low risk signing which has some very good upside. If Carter sticks with the Sedins he could easily put up 20 goals and 50 points. Of course, Anson Carter has been a disappointment throughout his career. Notorious for doggin it and floating, Carter has never lived up to the potential he showed with Boston.

That said, Carter has all the tools to be successful in the NHL. He skates well, has a good shot and good size. On a one year deal Carter will have plenty of incentive to rack up the points so he can get a big payday next season.

The signing does however raise some questions, especially in regards to the unsigned Matt Cooke. The Canucks have very little room in their payroll and signing Cooke could become a problem depending on what he is asking for. There are also a couple blueline slots to fill and not much money to go around. It should be interesting to see how Nonis fills out the rest of the roster.

Overall I like this signing, even though there are a few questions to be answered. Anytime you can add a top 6 forward for just a million bucks, to quote Martha Stewart, it's a good thing.

Once the signing becomes official I'll update the payroll.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Vancouver Canucks 2005-2006 Schedule

2008-2009 Schedule and Results

All times Pacific (pm).

Result column links to game recap and, when available, the Game Report from the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog.

G #DateH/AOpponentTimeTVResult
Ex 1Sep 21AEdmonton6:00NoneL 5-4 (SO)
Ex 2Sep 23HSan Jose7:00NoneL 4-3 (SO)
Ex 3Sep 24HAnaheim7:00NoneL 4-2
Ex 4Sep 26ACalgary6:00NoneL 3-2
Ex 5Sep 28AAnaheim7:30NoneW 3-1
Ex 6Sep 30HCalgary7:00NoneW 4-2
Ex 7Oct 1HEdmonton7:00PPVW 6-2
G #DateH/AOpponentTimeTVResult
1Wed 5HPhoenix7:00TSNW 3-2 - Report
2Sat 8AEdmonton7:00CBCL 4-3 (SO)
3Mon 10ADetroit4:30RSNW 4-2
4Wed 12AMinnesota5:00TSNL 6-0 - Report
5Fri 14AMinnesota5:00RSNW 5-3 - Report
6Sun 16HDallas7:00PPVW 5-2 - Report
7Tue 18HChicago7:00PPVW 6-2 - Report
8Thu 20HPhoenix7:00RSNW 3-2 - Report
9Sat 22HColorado7:00CBCW 6-4 - Report
10Tue 25AMinnesota5:00PPVW 3-1 - Report
11Thu 27AColorado6:00PPVL 6-2 - Report
12Sat 29AColorado7:00CBCL 4-3 (OT)
13Wed 2HMinnesota7:00RSNW 2-1
14Fri 4HColumbus7:00RSNW 5-3
15Sat 5ACalgary7:00CBCL 2-1
16Mon 7ACalgary6:00RSNL 4-3
17Thu 10HColorado7:00RSNL 5-3
18Sun 13HDetroit7:00RSNW 4-1
19Wed 16ASan Jose7:30PPVW 3-1 - Report
20Thu 17ALos Angeles7:30RSNL 5-4
21Sun 20AAnaheim1:00RSNW 3-2
22Tue 22HChicago7:00RSNW 3-1 - Report
23Thu 24HSan Jose7:00RSNW 3-2
24Sat 26APhoenix7:00CBCL 2-1
25Sun 27AColorado6:00RSNL 6-2
26Wed 30HColorado7:00TSNW 5-2 - Report
27Thu 1AEdmonton6:00RSNL 5-3
28Sun 4HBoston7:00RSNW 5-2
29Fri 9HOttawa7:00RSNW 3-2 (SO)
30Tue 13ANY Rangers4:00RSNW 3-2
31Thu 15APhiladelphia4:00RSNW 5-4
32Sat 17HEdmonton7:00CBCL 5-4 (OT)
33Mon 19HLos Angeles7:00RSNL 4-3 (SO)
34Wed 21HEdmonton7:00TSNL 7-6
35Fri 23HCalgary7:00CBCL 6-5 (SO)
36Mon 26HCalgary7:00RSNL 2-1
37Wed 28HNashville7:00TSNW 4-3
38Sat 31AMinnesota3:00PPVL 4-3
39Mon 2ASt. Louis5:00RSNL 4-1
40Wed 4ADallas5:30PPV 
41Thu 5AChicago5:30RSN 
42Sat 7HCalgary7:00CBC 
43Tue 10HToronto7:00PPV 
44Fri 13ANew Jersey4:30RSN 
45Sat 14ANY Islanders4:00PPV 
46Mon 16APittsburgh4:30RSN 
47Thu 19HBuffalo7:00RSN 
48Sat 21HMontreal7:00CBC 
49Mon 23ASt. Louis5:00RSN 
50Tue 24AColumbus4:00RSN 
51Thu 26ADetroit4:30RSN 
52Sat 28AColorado7:00CBC 
53Tue 31APhoenix6:00RSN 
54Fri 3ACalgary6:00RSN 
55Sat 4AEdmonton7:00CBC 
56Mon 6HColumbus7:00RSN 
57Wed 8HSt. Louis7:00PPV 
58Fri 10HAnaheim7:00RSN 
59Sun 12HMinnesota7:00RSN 
60Tue 28ACalgary6:00RSN 
61Thu 2ANashville5:00RSN 
62Fri 3AChicago5:30RSN 
63Sun 5HSt. Louis7:00PPV 
64Thu 9HNashville7:00RSN 
65Sat 11HDallas7:00CBC 
66Mon 13ADallas5:30RSN 
67Tue 14ANashville5:00RSN 
68Fri 17AColumbus4:00RSN 
69Sun 19HDetroit7:00PPV 
70Tue 21AEdmonton6:00RSN 
71Thu 23HEdmonton7:00PPV 
72Sat 25HEdmonton7:00CBC 
73Mon 27HLos Angeles7:00RSN 
74Wed 29HMinnesota7:00PPV 
75Fri 31HMinnesota7:00RSN 
76Sun 2AAnaheim1:00PPV 
77Mon 3ALos Angeles7:30PPV 
78Sat 8HCalgary7:00CBC 
79Mon 10HAnaheim7:00RSN 
80Wed 12HSan Jose7:00PPV 
81Thu 13ASan Jose7:30RSN 
82Sat 15HColorado7:00CBC 

Vancouver Canucks 2005-2006 Payroll

2008 Payroll Coming Soon

This is the Vancouver Canucks payroll based on published salaries from

Last Updated: October 4th

The Canucks roster currently sits at 22 players for a total payroll of $38,565,521*.

* Please note this is not an official payroll. Lee Goren's contract is not listed by the NHLPA, however his contract is surely to be the league minimum of $450k. Also, the NHLPA does not average the player salaries, they only use the actual compensation being payed for the current year. For NHL salary cap purposes the average salary over the life of a contract is used. As an example Dan Cloutier is listed at $2,450,000, but we know that the average of his two year contract is $2,500,000.

If you see any errors in this table please let me know.

Active Roster
Todd BertuzziF$5,269,080
Tyler BouckF$450,000
Wade BrookbankF/D$450,000
Anson CarterF$1,000,000
Matt CookeF$1,500,000
Lee GorenF$450,000*
Ryan KeslerF$722,000
Trevor LindenF$1,520,000
Brendan MorrisonF$3,200,000
Markus NaslundF$6,000,000
Richard ParkF$750,000
Jarkko RuutuF$600,000
Daniel SedinF$1,250,000
Henrik SedinF$1,250,000
Bryan AllenD$941,441
Nolan BaumgartnerD$450,000
Ed JovanovskiD$3,990,000
Steve McCarthyD$760,000
Mattias OhlundD$3,500,000
Sami SaloD$1,500,000
Alexander AuldG$513,000
Dan CloutierG$2,500,000
Active Roster Total(22)$38,565,521

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Canucks Re-sign Salo and Bouck

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed Sami Salo to a two year deal worth $1.5m per year(according to NHLPA).

They have also re-signed winger Tyler Bouck to a one year contract for the minimum.

The payroll is starting to take shape, and I'll have a post tommorow with details on what they have left to spend and what positions they need to fill...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Canucks Re-sign Daniel and Henrik Sedin

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed the Sedins to one year contracts.

Nice job of Nonis to avoid the uncertainty of arbitration. Next on the list is Mattias Ohlund and Dan Cloutier(who will not be heading to arbitration).

By the end of the week we should have a pretty good idea as to what the Canucks payroll will be and how much cap room is available to fill in the holes.

The deadline for players to file for arbitration is 2pm pst. There should be some more news shortly...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Chubarov Heading to Russia? Sedins, Ohlund go to Arbitration

There are rumours on the radio and around the net that Artem Chubarov is choosing to play back in his home country of Russia this season. Chubarov has reportedly had an offer which is significantly higher than what the Canucks can offer.

Can't blame Chubby for taking the money and opportunity to play back in his home country and in a more high profile role. This will be a blow to the Canucks depth down the middle, but at the same time it will free up some desperately needed cap room, which leads to the second story of the day...

The Sedin twins and Mattias Ohlund are likely heading to arbitration. No real surprise here, all three have excellent arbitration cases and have no reason to settle for their qualifying offers. The Canucks could possibly be in some real trouble should any unfavourable rulings emerge.

The Canucks are extremely tight on cap room without too many options for reducing the payroll. It is probably in Nonis' best interest to do whatever he can to reduce the risk of arbitration. There is also Matt Cooke who is due for a raise as well as Dan Cloutier to take care of...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gretzky to Coach the Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that The Great One will be behind the bench for the 2005-2006 season. Rumours of the move have been circulating for months so today's announcement is no surprise.

So is the greatest player in the game's history set to tarnish his legacy?

Gretzky doesn't think so, "It's kind of ironic when that when I broke in professional hockey at 17, that I was told I was too small and too slow and I wouldn't make the NHL. And now it's kind of flip-flopped and the sense is well you can't be a good coach because you were a great athlete. I wasn't naturally gifted with size or speed. Everything I did in hockey, I worked for. And that's the way I'll be as a coach."

Let's face it, Gretz has his work cut out for him. The Phoenix Coyotes are not a very good hockey team and while they have added some nice veterans like Brett Hull and Petr Nedved, they have their work cut out for them if they expect to make the playoffs in what should be a very competitive conference. There have been many other great players who made the move behind the bench with mixed success. Some, like Brian Trottier, had experience in assistant positions and still failed. Gretzky will be stepping behind the bench of a mediocre team and he will be doing so with no coaching experience.

Gretzky will have plenty of support behind the bench with coaches Rick Tocchet, Barry Smith and Rick Bowness. However, he will still be the man calling the shots and the one who will take the fall should the Coyotes not find success.

The other angle to this is of course the fact that Phoenix will be entering a new building coming off a year long absence. They need to sell tickets and they need to generate excitement. What better way than to have number 99 behind the bench?

Canuck fans will have the first opportunity to see Gretzky in his new role as the Coyotes open the season in Vancouver on opening night.

Bertuzzi Re-instated by NHL

Todd Bertuzzi has been re-instated by the NHL.

It's about time that the NHL ruled on this one way or the other. Good news for Canucks fans and I'm sure there are a lot of differing opinions on the issue. However this place will remain a "Bertuzzi/Moore Incident" free zone, as I am sick of the topic and at this point every one has their opinion on the issue and there is no point in arguing the matter one way or the other.

Good luck to Moore, hopefully he will be back on the ice soon and both parties can put this mess behind them.

Canucks Sign Richard Park

The Vancouver Canucks have reportedly signed winger Richard Park for $750k. Park will add some nice speed and depth to the forward group, and in the "new NHL" he could conceivably pop 15 goals.

The contract is a little on the pricey side and it does not add any toughness, however Park should be a useful player. You can never have too much speed.

More info as it comes...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

TSN is reporting that Paul Kariya has signed with Nashville for 2 years at $4.5 million per season.

That's quite a chunk of cash for someone coming off the season he had. I'm sure there will be plenty of Canucks fans whining about Nonis not signing Kariya, but the simple fact is the Canucks would have been hard pressed to sign Kariya at half that salary.

Interesting choice for Kariya, I guess the millions in the bank are not enough, as he is no closer to winning a Stanley Cup.

Now I wonder if Selanne will join him...

Canucks Re-sign Brendan Morrison

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed center Brendan Morrison to a three year contract, financial details have not been released, but I'm sure we'll find out some time today. I would expect his salary to be around the $3 million mark.

In other Canucks news, Nonis has had some interesting comments on the radio lately. He is still interested in Paul Kariya and he has made an offer, it all depends on whether they can make it work under the cap.

Also of note Chris Gratton's agent, Pat Morris, has said that his client is interested in playing for Vancouver. Gratton has been a dissapointment throughout his career but he does add some size and grit and he is very versatile. If he comes in at around $1m this could be a good pickup.

Update on B-Mo's Contract

Despite his agent saying that Morrison is taking $700k less than his qualifying offer, it now appears that Morrison's contract is in the neighborhood of 3 years for 9 million. The NHLPA has changed their salary report from $2.08 to $3.2m. Perhaps his contract his back-loaded, but since contracts are averaged for the purpose of the salary cap this should not matter. Regardless this should be sorted out in the next few days if not sooner.

Brad May an Avalanche

In a bizarre turn of events it appears that Brad May is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche. And if you doubt that report check the NHLPA. I would have been surprised to see May return to Vancouver, but signing with the Avs? That's shocking.

It is now 100% official.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

On to the Restricted Free Agents

Back in July I posted what I thought were the top five issues facing Dave Nonis. Well yesterday Nonis took care of issue #1 by signing Markus Naslund to a 3 year contract. Issue #2 was resolving the Todd Bertuzzi situation. Unfortunately the league is still dragging this thing out, but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and we should expect some kind of announcement this week. The answer is anyone's guess. However with Naslund back for three years, and positive comments from Naslund, all indications point to Bertuzzi wanting to remain in Vancouver so it is now up to the league to resolve this issue for Nonis. That brings us to issue #3...

The Restricted Free Agents

The Canucks list of restricted free agents begins with three key players, Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund and Dan Cloutier. Brendan Morrison has expressed a desire to sign a long term deal to stay in Vancouver, while Mattias Ohlund has no desire to leave. I would expect these two to sign for atleast 3 years, they should not be a problem. Dan Cloutier also want's to remain in Vancouver, however given the question marks surrounding him, it is likely that he will once again ink a one year extension.

Up front, Nonis must take care of the Sedins, Matt Cooke, Artem Chubarov, Jarkko Ruutu and Jason King. It would probably be in the Canucks best interest to sign the Sedins to long term deals, by doing this they can afford the uncertainty of arbitration. Chubarov and Ruutu should not be a problem, although with Kesler, King and Bouck ready for everyday jobs at some point they could start to become too expensive in this salary cap system. The most interesting RFA up front is Matt Cooke. Cooke is a guy who signed a 4 year deal for very cheap, and has since outperformed his salary. Cooke chose long term security over the risk of a short term deal with the possibility of playing well and getting a bigger payday. I believe Cooke was qualified somewhere around $600k. Obviously Cooke deserves more than that and Dave Nonis said so during his press conference yesterday. Cooke should get a raise and will likely get a long term deal in the neighborhood of 3 years. The final RFA is first round bust Nathan Smith. Smith was nearly out of the Canucks plans until his good play in the playoffs with Manitoba. Smith should be back with the Moose next year and could get a shot at the big club should there be injuries.

On the blueline Sami Salo and Bryan Allen will get deals, especially now that they are two of the four remaining NHL defensemen on the roster. I hate to 'toot my own horn' (ok so I probably do) but I predicted that "I think it's unlikely that Nonis will keep Malik around." and that Brent Sopel "is fairly expensive considering what he brings to the table. Nonis could save a few bucks by letting him go, but I think it's more likely that he will be re-signed and then traded if Nonis feels he can find an improvement." I was half right on Sopel, he was not re-signed but he was traded, of course the improvement has yet to come but I'm sure Nonis is on it.

So what's next? Back in July I said "How much Nonis has available under the cap will depend on how he deals with issues 1-4." Barring a trade Dan Cloutier(Issue #4) will be back between the pipes. So that takes us to issue #5, the free agent market.

Clearly the Canucks do not have much cap room so there will not be a star free agent signing, unless Paul Kariya signs at a significant discount. With the loss of Malik and Sopel there is now a gigantic hole on the blueline which must be addressed either via trade, or free agency, or both. The other hole is the second line right wing slot. Nonis must figure out a way to fill the defense out with some toughness and he must find a winger for the Sedins. These two problems have existed for several seasons with Brian Burke failing to find the fix. The Canucks cannot ignore these issues for yet another season. Something must be done.

Dave Nonis has opened up a big hole by trading Sopel, he has time to address the issue but he may have to make some tough decisions on some of the RFA's.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Brent Sopel Traded To Long Island

Breaking News: Brent Sopel has been traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for a conditional draft pick, a 2nd rounder in 2006 if he signs and extention with New York, or a 3rd rounder if he does not.

Since this is for a draft pick and not a player it is likely Nonis has a defenseman in his sights, however Sopel's ~1.5m will not be enough to help land Niedermayer.

More to come...

Markus Naslund Re-signs in Vancouver

It's safe to say Canuck fans are breathing a sigh of relief today with the announcement that Naslund has signed a 3 year $18 million dollar deal. Last night I was working on a post concerning the Naslund situation, the gist of it being that Nonis had to get the Naslund situation straightened out one way or the other. Sure enough in my last paragraph I stated that Nonis is probably working on that deal as I type this. So I was about to upload the post when my internet connection craps out... grrr. I then turn on the tube and soon hear that Naslund has been re-signed making my original post irrelevant.

Anyway, the re-signing news is great for Canuck fans. The return of Naslund should solidy the offence for the next few years. There were many free agent forwards available, but none up to par with Naslund.

Clearly Naslund did not enjoy his time playing back in Sweden. Perhaps the lockout was a blessing for the Canucks. If you had said that Naslund would be a Canuck through 2007-2008 most people would have laughed at you.

So where do the Canucks go from here? Well the next order of business, probably to be settled today, is to decide if they are still after Scott Niedermayer. With Naslund's $6 million on the payroll there is no way they can fit Niedermayer under the cap without first trading some salary. The most likely and logical candidate to trade is Ed Jovanovski and his $4 million. Jovanovski will be a free agent after this season and there are many rumblings that he fully intends to test the market, with many believing he is interested in returning to Florida. Niedermayer would be the perfect replacement and Jovo would be an excellent trade chip.

Today could be the day that Niedermayer makes his decision and it could also be the day that the Bertuzzi situation is finally resolved. Oh, and I bet there will be a bunch of signings today... stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Malik a Ranger

Amidst rumours of Malik going to the Rangers there is something interesting on the NHLPA website. Is Malik is a New York Ranger?

No confirmation at this time, however Malik was qualified by the Canucks but as a 10 year veteran making under the league minimum he was a Group V restricted free agent, meaning he could elect to become an unrestricted free agent.

More info as it comes...


It is now official, Marek Malik has signed a 3 year deal at $2.5m per. Yes that's right $2.5 million dollars a year. Malik is a solid defenseman but $2.5? I'll just say that I'm really glad the Canucks did not sign him to this deal. In fact I'm happy they didn't keep him at his qualified salary.

Signings as of Tuesday

Florida: Gary Roberts and Joe Niewendyk $4.5m over 2 years.
Great pickups by Florida. While the price tag seems a little high it's very affordable for Florida. For a team with little cap room I would consider this to be "overpaying" but Florida has the room and they have added two solid veterans.
Columbus: Adam Foote $13.5m over 3 years.
Did not see this one coming, would have liked to see Foote in Vancouver, but this is another case of a team with cap room paying a little more than what another team could. Great pickup for the Jackets, but the last year of this deal could be a tough one. $4.5m for an aging Foote would be an albatross for a team struggling to make cap room but the BJ's should be able to handle it.
Chicago: Adrian Aucoin $16m over 4 years.
Yet another good signing. This deal sets the bar for top pairing defenseman, don't expect to get anyone for under 4m.
Philadelphia: Derrian Hatcher(4yrs $14m), Mike Rathje(5 years $17.5m) and Chris Therien (1 year $??).
Philly has certainly beefed up their defense with these three big boys. Clarke lost out on Adam Foote and it appears the price on Niedermayer is also too high for his liking so he is making his move now. Nice deals moneywise, Philly should be in good shape on the blueline. These signings make sense for an Eastern team, would probably not be good for the free flowing West. These could however come back to haunt the Flyers in a few years. Hatcher will have probably slowed down by year 4 and Rathje will be 36 with a no-trade clause.... could be a burden unless the cap goes up.

More details and deals as they come stay tuned.

Meanwhile Vancouver is very much in the hunt for Niedermayer. Scott's agent was on the radio this morning and also added that, on a scale of 1 to 10, he rates the Canucks interest as an 8 to 10. No word on the Naslund front, but I would expect to find out very soon whether he will be back. Nonis has to make a move if Naslund does not return and I wouldn't expect him to wait on Naslund.

Updates as of 12:30pm

Atlanta: Bobby Holik $4.25 per year* for 3 years
It's official now, a little pricey but again, this is a team that can afford to overpay and they're getting a very good veteran player. * It's being reported that the first year is $4.25 with some media reports assuming the entire contract is $4.25 per year.
Detroit: Yzerman will finish his career as a Red Wing
No surprise here, nice to see Yzerman finish where he belongs.
Boston: Glen Murray(4yrs) and Sean McEachern(2yrs)
Bummer. Murray was the ideal winger for the Sedins so that's one big fish off the market. Great signing by Boston. McEachern should also add some scoring depth to the B's roster. No monetary terms have been announced.
Philadelphia has traded defenseman Danny Markov to the Nashville Predators for 3rd round pick in 2006.
Philly needed to make room for their incoming defensive giants and the Predators pick up a solid young defenseman.
Los Angelos: Pavol Demitra has signed in LA for 3 years at $13.5m
Demitra is one of the top FA forwards availalbe and would look good on any team.. . let's just hope LA doesn't also re-sign Palffy, that would be one deadly duo. Great deal for LA, only $4.5m per year.

Brian Burke on MOJO has said he has not spoken to Scott Niedermayer or Markus Naslund and that he does not have much room(one move) once they sign the players they have qualified. Also said that he considers Rob Niedermayer an important part of the team and he wants to sign him long term.

Updates as of 3:30pm

Florida: Martin Gelinas has signed a two year deal
This one is interesting, I seem to remember Gelinas and Keenan not exactly getting along in Vancouver. Another vet for Florida, would have been a nice signing for Vancouver.
Toronto: Jason Allison is likely to sign with Toronto once details on bonuses are worked out
Good player to take a chance on, especially with the allowed bonuses for players coming of injuries. The question is does Allison have anything left?

Update Round 3...

Carolina: Corey Stillman 3 years undisclosed dollars
Nice pickup for a team who desperately needs some offense. Stillman will have a hard time replicating his 80pts or Stanley Cup from 2004, but I'm sure he got some good coin thrown his way.
Calgary: Darren McCarty(2yrs $1.6m) and Tony Amonte(2yrs $3.7m)
Calgary has more than made up for the loss of Martin Gelinas. Amonte should give them a little more scoring depth and McCarty will add a solid, physical, veteran presense. McCarty at $800k should have been on the Canucks radar.
Islanders: Alexei Zhitnik 4 years $14m
Mad Mike is at it again. Zhitnik is a very good defenseman but at 32 years of age coming off a 4g 24a, 64 game season, a four year deal is a huge gamble. $3.5m is reasonable on a short term deal, but long term, this one is going to hurt the Islanders.
Rangers: Marek Malik(3yrs $7.5m), Martin Straka(1yr $3m) and Kevin Weeks(undisclosed)
Is Mad Mike giving Sather advice? The Malik deal borders on ridiculous, how does a player like Malik double his salary in this market? The Canucks would have had a hard time justifying the ~1.2m he would have earned in Vancouver. Martin Straka at $3m? Do Sather's stat sheets stop at the year 2001? Because that's the last time he played a full season. Straka scored a whopping 10 goals and 16 assists in 54 games in the last NHL season. That's half a point a game froma guy with a bad knee for 3 million bucks! Granted Straka had a good year in the Czech league but this is the NHL.
Boston: Dave Scatchard 4 years no monetary terms yet
The former Canuck is off to beantown. Scatchard had injury troubles last year but he should be a solid 3rd line center for Boston. Should be interesting to hear what the dollars are.