Off-Season Proposal Time!

Been a while since I've been on here! I've been taking a bit of a break from hockey but the draft has gotten me back into the thick of it again. What better way to start then with a rosterbation proposal? I came up with this little proposal earlier and posted it on the CDC forums, but of course people there aren't always the brightest around so I figured I'd see what you all think about this. So here goes:

Alright, well with the Ballard trade it looks like Gillis is going to try and totally revamp the Canucks' defence, seeing as he said he "wasn't done" retooling the defence after the Ballard trade. So obviously some more moves are in store, and I think it makes sense that way. So here's a sensible series of moves that I think the Canucks should carry out to complete the roster for opening night.

1. Trade Kevin Bieksa to the New Jersey Devils for the rights to David Clarkson

This trade makes sense for both teams I think. Bieksa has become a liability on the Canucks back-end and was one of the big problems for the Canucks throughout the playoffs. New Jersey is looking for a puck-moving, sizable defenseman to replace soon-to-be UFA Paul Martin, and Bieksa would fit the bill nicely. Despite having an off-year, he is still capable of QBing a PP if given the chance. On the other hand, Clarkson is a soon-to-be RFA buried on a deep Devils forward core, and brings size, skill and feistiness to the Canucks forward group. He would slot in on the third line and replace Bernier beautifully. He would be a perfect fit.

2. Promptly sign David Clarkson to a 2-year, $4.4 million contract ($2.2 million per season)

3. Trade the rights to Shane O'Brien and a 2011 6th round pick to the Philedalphia Flyers in exchange for a 2011 2nd round pick

O'Brien has developed into a solid, responsible defenseman over the past season and that is something the Flyers could definitely use on their back-end on the third pairing. Seeing as the Canucks don't really have the cap space or desire to re-sign O'Brien, in trading him they acquire a pretty decent pick that can be used in the 2011 draft that Gillis calls "deeper then this year's draft". The Flyers lost their #5/6 guy in Parent via the Hamhuis trade and would love to replace him with a more responsible, physical guy like O'Brien.

4. Re-sign RFA Mason Raymond to a 3-year, $7.8 million contract ($2.6 million per season)

Raymond truly broke out this past season and showed why the Canucks risked a 2nd round pick on him years ago. His game-breaking speed has finally translated into production, and he has shown surprisingly solid two-way play on both the PK and PP. He's solidified a spot in the Canucks' top-6 and is very deserving of a raise. I believe $2.6 million is a fair price and 3 years is a reasonable term for both sides. It's pretty clear the Canucks are going to re-sign Raymond - the question is how much and for how long, and I think this is a pretty reasonable deal.

4. On July 1st, sign UFA Paul Martin to a 4-year, $17 million contract ($4.25 million per season)

Kind of cruel to New Jersey to trade with them to fill the hole Martin creates only to go out and sign him, but Martin would be a fantastic fit on the Canucks blueline. Defensively responsible but also offensively skilled and capable of QBing a PP, Martin is a puck-moving defenseman that would complement a top-4 including Ehrhoff, Ballard and Edler very nicely. He is still in the prime of his career and is actually friends with new Canuck Keith Balard, so the fit is almost perfect. While he may not be the shutdown defenseman the Canucks are supposedly looking for, it is almost better that he is a more offensive defenseman as it fits the Canucks' offense-first style perfectly. A guy like Volchenkov would not be a good fit here because he is practically incapable of making an outlet pass, essential for an offense-first team. Martin can, and he can also kill penalties if necessary.

5. Sign UFA John Madden to a 1-year, $1.4 million contract

Who better then a 3-time Cup winning, two-way veteran centre to slot in on the fourth line in place of Ryan Johnson? Madden was fantastic on the PK for the Hawks last season and was especially important during the playoffs, and despite the fact that he is aging, he is still a very capable defensive forward. And the numbers don't lie - if you win 3 Stanley Cups in your career, you know you're doing something right. Madden would fill out the Canucks bottom-six perfectly and bring stability to their PK (which is absolutely essential, as we saw these past playoffs).

6. Re-sign RFA Jannik Hansen to a 1-year, $650,000 contract

Hansen may have hands of stone, but that can change and he's displayed solid two-way play over the past season when he's been given a chance. Why he's in Vigneault's doghouse is beyond me, but I think he can still contribute on the third or fourth line and on the PK. This deal gives him a modest raise and the motivation to compete for a roster spot and to succeed for a decent pay raise. If he doesn't succeed, he's easily replaceable in the lineup with one of Schroeder, Shirokov or Glass.

Now, assuming Hodgson earns the third-line centre role out of camp (and he should), and we allow competition for those 3 remaining roster spots, the final lineup should look something like this:

Daniel - Henrik - Burrows
Raymond - Kesler - Samuelsson
Clarkson - Hodgson - Hansen/Schoeder/Shirokov
Hansen/Glass - Madden - Rypien

Martin - Ehrhoff
Ballard - Edler
Alberts - Salo


(bold are new additions to the lineup from the final 2009-10 roster)

With this lineup, our top-4 on D are all puck-moving defensemen who are also defensively responsible, which is absolutely fantastic for our offense-first style of play. Our top 3 lines are all scoring lines (though the third line is adaptable) which is again suiting for the team's style of play, and the fourth line is much more defense-oriented. The good thing is we have some big bodies as well in Clarkson, Alberts, Ballard and Glass, and some fight as well with Rypien and Glass (and maybe Hordichuk if he ever plays). This is a very balanced lineup to me and is flexible to suit many styles of play, though it is primarily suited to offense.

And according to CapGeek, with this roster we would still have just under $1 million in cap space - and this is including 14 forwards and 7 defensemen. If, say, neither of Schroeder or Shirokov make the team, we'd have over $2 million to work with. Or if we send Rome and Glass down as well, over $3 million. Not bad at all for a roster that looks pretty stacked to me.

So what are your thoughts on this? Does this look like a suitable lineup? A reasonable proposal? I think it makes a ton of sense but I'm interested to hear other opinions as well. 

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