The Case For Paul Kariya

I hinted at this a few times in various comment threads recently, but after FTR went and profiled him, I thought it was time for a fanpost.

Paul Kariya, a native son to our Vancouver Canucks, is coming off a reasonable year with the Blues - far from his glory days, but few Blues played well last year.  He tallied 43 points (including 18 goals) in 75 games last year, in a secondary role with the Blues.  In 2008-2009 he only managed 11 games due to surgery on both hips, so a 75 game season seems like a reasonable bounce-back campaign.  Prior to that, he played every game in the 3 years following the lockout.  His injury history, while not great, has not been that bad since the lockout, and a healthy year last year suggests he could still provide value.

So why Kariya?  Aren't the Canucks short a 3rd line player, not a guy who will really only have value in the top 6?

Several thoughts:

1) Alex Burrows.  He's questionable to start the year, which means we could be going into the season with a hole in the top 6 already, and that's assuming that Mason Raymond is resigned.  Accordingly, there might already be a hole in the top 6, at least to start the year.

2) Alex Burrows.  At $2 million a year, he's probably the best possible player we could find for the 3rd line role that Mike Gillis says he is looking for.  A 3rd line that included Manny Malhotra and Burrows seems like a good start for both defensive responsibility and adequate offensive production.  It also seems like a good place to have Cody Hodgson start learning the ropes.

3) Cost.  At this point, Kariya can probably be had fairly cheaply (and, for what it's worth, should only be considered if he'd come cheap).  A one or two year deal at $2 million a year seems like a reasonable proposal for an aging veteran in a market where he's not the top name available, and in a market where the lower tier players seem likely to have to take significant pay cuts.

4) Lineup construction.  If Kariya is signed, he'd need to play in a scoring role, which would either mean playing with the Sedins or Kesler and Raymond.  Hypothetically, then:



Henrik Sedin ($6.100m) / Daniel Sedin ($6.100m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($2.500m)
Mason Raymond ($3.000m) / Ryan Kesler ($5.000m) / Paul Kariya ($2.000m)
Manny Malhotra ($2.500m) / Cody Hodgson ($1.666m) / Alexandre Burrows ($2.000m)
Jannik Hansen ($0.825m) / Rick Rypien ($0.550m) / Victor Oreskovich ($0.575m)
Tanner Glass ($0.625m)

Dan Hamhuis ($4.500m) / Keith Ballard ($4.200m)
Alexander Edler ($3.250m) / Sami Salo ($3.500m)
Christian Ehrhoff ($3.100m) / Andrew Alberts ($1.050m)
Aaron Rome ($0.750m)

Roberto Luongo ($5.333m) /Cory Schneider ($0.900m)


CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,115,000; BONUSES: $850,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $135,000

Very tight to the cap?  Yes.  But that includes Salo, who apparently might be gone for a while now.  If Salo is temporarily replaced, even for a while, by a cheaper option on the 3rd pairing there's possibilities.


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