G.M. Mike Gillis likes to keep his cards close to the chest. I always thought he was innovative and helped change the culture of this franchise. He did inherit, what turned out to be, a fairly talented team. He added a few pieces and we saw the team reach new heights and another Cup final. Now, the roster isn't as talented, the core is older and we're up against the salary cap. What does Gillis do next?
I know what I'd like to see happen and I'm curious what others would like to see. I'll throw down my game plan and would love to hear yours. I think Gillis is far too loyal to his core and can't see him making any significant moves (other than dealing Luongo). So, if I was given the GM job, here's what I'd do.
Luongo would need to be dealt and for whatever we can get. Recent rumors involving the Islanders make sense. I have no idea what teams will give up for Luongo but it can't be much. Sadly, the goalie market will be flooded this summer and the Canucks may not get much. The best option may involve dealing Lu for DiPietro and a prized prospect or two. The Canucks would have to get some serious assets to take that horrific contract and then exercise a compliance buy out on it. The Luongo contract does "suck" and I hated it from day 1 but he can still play at an elite level. The Canucks are going to have to suffer for giving out such a ridiculous contract by way of eating the DiPietro contract.
Alex Edler. He needs to go. Not because I dislike him. Quite the contrary. I still think he's one of the top D men we have and an asset. He can bring us back some value and a top prospect. I'd look at the Panthers and deal for Bjugstad and a pick or another blue chip prospect. I'm also not a fan of another player on the roster who has a no trade clause.
Alex Burrows. Yup. He's my favorite Canuck but he is older (32) and may get us something in return. This is another move to get younger and give us cap room. Oh, yes, that's right... yet another player that will have a no trade clause kicking in. A playoff team may love to add him but his new contract may turn off some teams. He is a solid player and has remained healthy. Very durable and shows up in the playoffs. Not sure what the return would be but I'd be happy with a high end prospect. It would be great to work out a deal for Washington's Kuznetsov.
It seems we have to keep Booth. it's not ALL bad. He does have some ability and potential left...I hope. Anyway, the Canucks will need to buy out DiPietro and Ballard.
I'd sign Bryan Bickell as a free agent if the price was right. I may also look at Doug Murray. Possibly Raffi Torres if Bickell is too expensive.
I'd re-sign Andrew Alberts,
My 2013/2014 Canucks may look like this:
Schneider (Lack to back-up)
I'd let Gaunce and any other blue chip players 'cook' in the minors and be ready for next year and possibly displace the Sedins. Any prospects obtained for Luongo and Burrows could also develop in the minors (and hopefully contribute in the near future). Lots of versatility in this roster. If Bjugstad isn't ready then he could also develop in the AHL and we could look at a vet to fill the line 3 spot via free agency or another team's compliance buy out.
If the team does not show well in 2013/2014 then I do not keep the Sedins. Kesler moves to top centre and Bjugstad may turn into a line 2 centre. If Bjugstad doesn't develop then we may have to look at re-signing the Sedins but to much smaller contracts.
I'll be honest, I was on board the Gillis bandwagon. I was drinking the kool-aid. Not anymore. The Luongo contract is a disaster. We may have NINE players with no trade clauses. The Booth and Ballard deals turned out to be busts. Gillis seems to be far too loyal to the players so I can't see him making any moves as significant as the ones noted above.
I'm concerned about the team's future. Lots of question marks. Will Kassian's development continue? I'm not sold on Schroeder - I don't think he's ready yet. Anyway, let the rosterbation commence!