Monday, July 06, 2009

Canucks Re-Sign O'Brien and Sign Andrew Raycroft

The Canucks took care of some business today re-signing defenseman Shane O'Brien and replacing Jason Labarbera with Andrew Raycroft.

Shane O'Brien and the Canucks agreed to a 1 year $1.6m contract, avoiding salary arbitration. O'Brien had an up and down season last year, the low point being the whole mess or "misunderstanding" over management wanting him to drop the gloves more. O'Brien is only 25 and certainly has some untapped potential. He kinda reminds me of Jovanovski in a way. By no means does he have Jovo's wheels or offensive skills, but he does have confidence in carrying the puck. Unfortunately he also share's Jovo's propensity to make mental mistakes. It will be interesting to see how he develops, he will never be a top pairing guy, but I think he has the potential to be a solid #4 defenseman.

Considering the increase in pay it is likely the Canucks will also hope to increase O'Brien's role. With the loss of Ohlund, O'Brien currently sits fifth on the depth chart.

As for Andrew Raycroft, this has "depth move" written all over it. Raycroft has (reportedly) signed for the minimum $500k and will have to beat out Cory Schneider for the backup job. You could do a lot worse and spend a lot more money filling the backup goaltender position. Raycroft's chances of playing a game for the Canucks likely ride on whether Cory Schneider is traded or not.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Canucks Sign Mikael Samuelsson to Three Year Deal

The Vancouver Canucks have signed RW Mikael Samuelsson to a three year $7.5m contract.

I'm not sure about this one yet. Considering how little cap room the Canucks will have over the next few years (assuming Luongo is re-signed) $2.5m seems like a big chunk of cap space for a 40 point player who will be 35 at the end of the deal. Of course there are also some positives, Samuelsson is a versatile two-way forward who will bring some much needed playoff experience to the Canucks.

The main question mark about Samuelsson is weather his offense (19g 21a) was a product of playing with talented players in Detroit's system, or is he capable of producing more given more opportunity, specifically more even strength ice-time. Samuelsson picked up half his points on the power play last season (I believe he played the point fairly often so that should help the Canucks) while he was limited to only 12:37 per game at even strength. It's likely he will play more for the Canucks, maybe even with the Sedins, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that his point totals could increase to the 50+ range.

The Canucks are either going to get a solid 3rd line player who will contribute 30-40 points, or if things work out they could get a guy who gels with the Sedins or Kesler and puts up 50-60 pts. A solid addition at a questionable price.

It will also be interesting to see how this affects some of the other forwards like Raymond and Hansen...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Vancouver Signs D Aaron Rome

The Canucks have made a big splash, signing household name Aaron Rome to a 1 year, one way, $525k deal.

All kidding a side, this is a minor signing to add depth on the blueline. Rome will likely be battling it out for the #7-8 slot on defense. Rome is a fairly big guy (6'1", 225lbs) who is willing to drop the gloves. He has shown some ability to put up points at the AHL level, scoring .58 pts per game in Syracuse over the past two seasons, but has been limited to only 26 games at the NHL level.

From Hockey's Future's Aaron Rome Profile:

Rome is a self-described stay at home defenseman who can add a little offense. He is a strong skater with great positioning and solid puck-handling and passing skills. With his exceptional vision and awareness he can anticipate the play. His offensive game and shot from the point has improved as he has seen increased powerplay time. He can be physical when necessary and plays with a bit of an edge.

Rome is only 25 so there is certainly still plenty of time for him to develop into an NHL defenseman.

Mattias Ohlund Signs with Tampa Bay

Not surprisingly Mattias Ohlund is no longer a Vancouver Canuck. Ohlund has signed an eyebrow raising 7 year contract for $24.5m. Congrats to Mattias, he got a boatload of cash and way more than he ever would have found in Vancouver. He should also enjoy the anonymity of playing in Tampa (not to mention the weather).

Interesting deal for Tampa. I would be pretty surprised if Ohlund plays out all seven years of the deal. The cap hit is reasonable and I suppose they have the option of buying him out, but I don't see Ohlund as a very good defenseman at ages 37-39. His game has fallen rapidly over the past few seasons to the point where he is pretty much a #4 guy on a good team. He's still a very solid blueliner, but the clock is ticking...

Canucks Re-Sign the Sedins for Five Years

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed Daniel and Henrik Sedin to 5 year contracts worth a reported $6.1m per year. The deals also include no-movement clauses.

Throughout the year it seemed logical that a deal would get done at somewhere between 5 and 6 million over 3 to 5 years, I just didn't expect talks to go down to the last minute. First thoughts on the deal are that it's is for slightly more money than I would like, but not much. The no movement clause is a little disappointing, but if that's what it took to bring the cap hit down... you gotta do what you gotta do.

More to come as the day progresses...