Everybody is wondering what is going on with the contract negotiations between the Canucks and Torres and Higgins. Mike Gillis is offering little-to-nothing on the matter and the players have said nothing. All we are left with is what each player's agent had to say on Wednesday (via The Province).
Torres' agent Eustace King:
"We've had preliminary discussions with Vancouver and they've been positive," said King. "At the end of the day, Raffi enjoyed his time in Vancouver. They run a first-class organization. It's too premature now to begin to discuss anything beyond that."
Higgins' agent Matt Keator:
"We've had some preliminary discussions and we'll see where it goes." He also told the Province that a deal was even close to being done.
When asked if he was feeling optimistic that a deal would get done Keator said:
"I hope so. He loves Vancouver. he was treated very well there."
UPDATE: News1130 tweeted today: Raffi Torres's agent says they'll keep plugging away with Canucks today and right up till tomorrow morning's deadline.
So basically, thanks for nothing. We are left with a guessing game as the July 1 deadline looms. Damn it, I hate the waiting. I like what both guys brought and want both of them back, mostly. You grow attached to guys that bled for your team in a deep playoff run. That way of thinking isn't always for the best...
Torres made $1 million last season as the Canucks signed him as a free agent on August 25th. Yeah, he was unwanted. He made $2.75 million the year before that. He averaged 30 points in his last 2 seasons so maybe he's looking for something in between this time around. I would be ok with giving him a 1-2 year deal at somewhere between $1.4 and 1.8 million. The guy played his heart out here and his physical presence was a brutal masterpiece.
Higgins was payed $1.6 million last season. The Canucks acquired him at the trade deadline in exchange for Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick in 2013. He scored 13 goals and 28 points in 62 games with Florida and Vancouver. His .47 points per game was his highest average since his 2007-08 season with Montreal. 3 of his 4 playoff goals were game-winners for Vancouver. Another guy who put up a gutsy performance in the playoffs. But is he worth more than $1.6 million? No, he's not.
MORE STATS (Playoffs)
-Higgins was 5th on the team with 70 hits and Torres was 6th with 54. That may sound surprising, but chuck in ice time as a factor, for starters. And keep in mind that time on ice plays a roll in all of the stats below.
-NHL.com credits Higgins with 9 giveaways and Torres with 3.
I'd get into more regular season stats but I'd be up all night. I'll save the CORSI and FENWICK for the ones that would like to provide them.
"We’re intent to try and keep this team together as best we can with the core assets that we have," Gillis said. "That’s what I’m going to try to do, and I think I can do it."
Does Gillis believe that Higgins and Torres are core assets? In our bottom 6 yes they are. Both can move into the top 6 if injuries occur. I think the biggest question in that regard is how much they can contribute if given top 6 minutes and if it is enough. Is there room for upgrades there? Yes. Higgins had his chance on Kesler's line for much of the playoffs and put up less points than I expected. I honestly believe he can be replaced with ease. But Torres' monstrous physical presence on the ice is something I think will be tougher to replace. That kind of aspect with some timely goals sprinkled in is a beautiful thing that I don't want to lose. That kind of beastie play is great for a playoff run.
We'll know more after today is done I'm sure. If the respective agents are saying the same thing after today's talks we can pretty much bank on both players hitting the free agent market. But really, I am not telling you something that you don't already know. But primarily I want Raffi Torres to be in a Canucks uniform next season.
We will be covering the Deadline closely and will give you all the updates come July 1st, or earlier. Get ready Canucks fans. For soon enough we dine in hell!