ok, everyone seems to be taking a deep breath after a rollicking first couple days. the big headlines are behind us and the signings will get smaller and more niche from here. so what are gillis' options from this point to improve the team? one thing i think he will try again is taking a run at an RFA or 2. he tried it last year with david backes (would have been a great move if it worked) and given the lack of high quality canucks RFAs i don't think retaliatory offers are going to be much of a deterrent. so who's available and/or likely? well i'll tell you who i'd like him to go for.
first, i think if you're going to make a predatory offer for a restricted free agent i think you should really choose your targets well. pick players that will make a difference, are worth the pick(s) you'll give up and would come from teams who would have difficulty matching your salary. there are 2 aspects to RFA offers: they are a poker showdown, and they are potentially sabotage. in the first aspect the predatory gm has to weigh the value of the player and the compensation that entails when making the offer, as well as guessing at the math the opposing gm goes through when weighing the choice to match the offer or take the compensation and walk away. that is an interesting financial, scouting and psychological puzzle. the second aspect comes into effect if the opposing gm is forced to match a predatory offer that can screw his team's salary structure and make life for that gm very difficult in subsequent years, potentially crippling that franchise. i'll get back to that aspect later.
second, the holes in vancouver's roster are a) a big body forward, perferrably with good hands, and b) a defenseman with some wheels. (yeah, both those kinds of players grow on trees, should be easy to find, right?)
that said, the RFA that interests me is cam barker. barker is a good young dman, a good skater with a fairly poor shot who has the potential to be a very good dman. i'm not sure who he knocks out of the top 2 pairs on the canucks but i'm willing to let training camp decide that, at least until salo gets injured then it's a moot point.
the beauty of going after barker is that he plays for chicago who currently have 17 players under contract leaving less than 9M under the cap to spend on 6 RFAs and whatever else. more importantly, they have a tsunami of players coming up for contract next year - kane, toews, ladd and keith will be commanding big big bucks. this is where sabotage comes into play. forcing another elite team in the conference to spend more than they want to this year can have a knock on effect into next year and make dale tallon's life miserable as he tries to carve out enough cap room for his young studs when the cap itself is collapsing like the trash compactor on the death star.
so, am i crazy? dreaming? targeting the wrong guy?