(This post was created before the Canucks-Stars game)
Before you read any further I encourage you to check out this post at Canucks Corner by Philip Yoe to understand the Canucks' current cap situation, as it defines our team cap hit on a daily cap hit basis, which is the bottom line.
With the Canucks needing to clear about $3.5 million cap space when Sami Salo returns in either January or February, Kevin Bieksa and his $3.75 million salary is the ultimate choice to trade from a financial sense as it clears the cap problem with one
fowl fell swoop. Salo, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard are the defencemen that have no trade clauses in their contracts and I think it is fair to assume Mike Gillis will honor those, being a former player agent himself, plus I believe he mentioned something about honoring the NTC's in the past. So that leaves Alexander Edler ($3.25 million per season), Kevin Bieksa ($3.75), Christian Ehrhoff ($3.10), the primary money makers as the primary targets on defence to get traded to clear space for Salo's return.
Given Bieksa's terrific play over the past month and a half (at least), I think it's fair to say that he is no longer the whipping boy for the media and fans alike. He is no longer the guy that you pray is dealt. Not by me anyway. I am loving his play (more after the poll)
this year paired with Dan Hamhuis. He has accepted and succeeded at a role that is less offensive and more defensively responsible. It's a role that has him scoring less but at the same time saving me TV sets that I put my foot through. Geez, how I've changed my tone since September-October!
Honestly, I think the new whipping boy could/should be Christian Ehrhoff if there is one at all. He is starting to remind me of Tomas Kaberle. They put up a lot of points but make blunder after blunder to go along with their positives. Are you noticing the mistakes? I am watching closely. Ehrhoff has not been all that impressive in his own zone pre and post injury. Assuming Edler is not getting traded because 1. he kicks ass, 2. he is signed until the end of 2013, allow me to toss some stats your way.
-Bieksa has 3 goals and 9 points in 34 games this season. He is averaging 22:05 minutes per game.
-Ehrhoff has 6 goals and 17 points in 31 games. He is averaging 23:04 per game.
-Bieksa is currently a +11, a career best so far.
-Ehrhoff is currently a +6. He was a +36 with 44 points in 80 games last season.
-Salo scored 9 goals and 28 points and was a +14 in 68 games with the Canucks last season.
-Salo scored 1 goal and 6 points in 12 games and a +1 in the playoffs last season (Ehrhoff scored 3 goals and 7 points and was a -1, Bieksa scored 3 goals and 8 points and was a +2).
-Last season the Canucks were 9-5 without Salo in the lineup but were less stellar without Salo the season before.
-I don't understand who is calculating the stats below and HOW, but according to NHL.com Bieksa leads the team with 27 giveaways. Ehrhoff is tied for 2nd with 18. Geez, I saw 3 Ehrhoff giveaways against the Flyers. Oh wait, those would be turnovers? Whatever. These same stat collectors credit Bieksa with 21 takeaways (4th on the team) and Ehrhoff with 7 (15th on the team).
Those stats are cute, ladies and gentlemen, but what are you seeing happening on the ice? I'm seeing Bieksa score less points but being far more defensively responsible and Ehrhoff running and gunning, scoring points but getting caught pinching over and over again, not to mention getting blown away by speedy and tougher opposing forwards. Maybe he's being given that role, but he's not playing a solid 2-way game.
Unless Salo marches into Mike Gillis' office and demands a trade it's not happening. If Salo is ready to play he WILL PLAY. I think it's very clear that he wants to win with this team. I hate it, because at any moment he can attain a freak injury on any part of his body but too bad! I/we have to accept that. It could ultimately bugger our defensive depth in the spring but...suck it! It is what it is.
Barring some freaky injury to a big money player...
-If Bieksa gets dealt when Salo is ready to play that should be the end of it.
-If Ehrhoff gets dealt it won't just be Ehrhoff because his salary doesn't clear up enough space.
-Salo would replace the offence lost by the trading of Ehrhoff plus provide better defence.
So what do you do, armchair GM? You want to ice the best team with the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. Let's hear your thoughts! Yeah I know it''s kind of early to prognosticate but let's hug it out.