With Keith Ballard clearing waivers and heading towards a buy-out, it's still murky how the Canucks will sign seven players with close to $8 million in remaining cap space. Ballard's departure solves one problem on the blueline (and an obvious one financially); Chris Tanev's new deal is the next (he received a QO earlier today). Tanev has a some leverage and I can imagine Gilman is hoping the negotiations - if nothing else - play into the "take less for the greater good" mentality that has benefited Vancouver at times in the past. Regardless the youngster is en route to a new deal, perhaps as low as 2.5 per but probably closer to $3.5-4 per. Of course July 5th could roll around and someone could toss him an offer sheet that puts an entirely different spin on this.
On the same day the Ballard era ended, Vancouver qualified Dale Weise at $676,500 and are close to a new deal as well. Despite my best wishes to the contrary and any training camp standouts, it appears Weise will join Tom Sestito as the fourth line wingers heading into camp. With the cap crunch, this isn't surprising. Neither are the rumblings that Mason Raymond and Maxim Lapierre are almost surely gone as well. The trend up front is tilting towards trimming the fat on vets and let rookies battle for the slots. Besides trying to move David Booth is pointless and third-liner Jannik Hansen - as one of the paltry few forwards without a NTC - likely won't fetch a considerable return. On a related note: Hansen is a God and not allowed to leave anyway. I read that somewhere, don't question it.
If you accept the assumption above that a rookie is likely heading towards the 4LC if not the 3LC as well, that leaves some holes on offensive depth as well as defense (Ballard and Andrew Alberts notably, though it's generally assumed Frank Corrado is ready for prime-time on the third pairing). Tanev's deal could torpedo much of the financial flexibility the team has. On the one hand that means Gillis stays on course, spends to the cap, flushes out the ranks with rookies and low-level signings and prays no significant injuries lay ahead for his core players because that never, ever happens. It also introduces a horrific alternative: moving Alexander Edler.
(It should be noted here the Twitter machine kicked around the idea of keeping Edler and moving Kevin Bieksa instead. Losing Juice stings a bit less than Edler, but we'd still be looking at losing a guy with the third most TOI for blueliners, one of two right-handed shots - three if you count Corrado - and another guy who can be plug-and-played in almost any situation. Plus that's a hell of a loss in the "stiffer" department. I digress....)
Trading Edler isn't a novel idea, it was the worst kept secret on Sunday for very similar reasons that Cory Schneider is calling Newark home now: you're strapped for cash and rather than lose an asset for nothing, make a move which yields the most significant return to upgrade your team. Edler drives the bus on defense, gobbles up tough assignments, receives ample special teams assignments and - at 27 years old - is widely agreed to be their best defenseman. Sedins aside (and hey, they're old now) Edler is the most valuable player on the team if you get him on the block; his return should be considerable, certainly enough to grab an equally talented asset or two in return. This explains Sunday's rumors of Edler on the move: just as with Schneider, Gillis had to listen. Now that Edler's NTC has kicked in, it's even harder if indeed Gillis elects to go this route.
I hate the idea of losing a 20+ minute guy in the prime of his career who sniffed at 50 points a year ago. I hate the idea that by moving him we run the risk (albeit small, but it's there) of getting hosed on the deal. I hate the idea losing Edler and Schneider may be tossed under the excuse of "the reality of the new CBA" when what it really signals - besides turning a blind eye at mistakes from Gillis and his band of merry men - is that Vancouver is in much more of a rebuild mode than we thought. But if Edler and Schneider deals now - combined with promising draft days like we saw this weekend - pave the road for consistently strong seasons ahead with the Vancouver Canucks 2.0, is that a price worth paying? Hope for the best and pray for a better tomorrow? That's a horribly tough sell in a market not known for its patience.
Then there's the worst case scenario of all: they move Edler and the piece(s) in return - for whatever reason - don't pan out. Every team runs this risk once you gamble with core assets, but you'll excuse Vancouver fans who are a bit more weary of those pesky dark clouds which seemingly never leave our horizon. Tin foil hates = on!
This is why being an blogging armchair GM rules since I have no answer. I certainly have my preference - which is keeping Edler, focus on a reasonable deal for Tanev and adjust - if need be - later into the season - but I rarely get what I want.