Vancouver hits free agency already looking like a different team in many areas.
Former #1 goalie Cory Schneider is gone. Former doghouse occupant Keith Ballard has dashed off to Minnesota. Familiar faces of the old guard - Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre and Manny Malhotra - are hitting the road. Pet projects like Derek Roy, Steve Pinizzotto and Cam Barker (!) are following them out the door (though Pinizzotto and the Canucks are gone, so exhale). All of which leaves some big holes as the league enters the silly season:
D. Sedin / H. Sedin / Kassian
Booth / Kesler / Burrows
Higgins / ??? / Hansen
Sestito / ??? / Weise
Hamuis / Bieksa
Edler / Garrison
??? / ???
Luongo / ???
As many know a lot of these holes will be filled with prospects from Utica and potentially other leagues. Weise, for one, is still working on a new deal but chances are he's headed for the 4th line again. Frank Corrado can safely be penciled in to the third pairing and Chris Tanev is waiting on his new deal before he can be tossed in. Eddie Lack is the back-up unless he stumbles in camp. 3LC and 4LC could be reserved for Jordan Schroeder, Brendan Gaunce or Kellan Lain if Gillis gets blocked out from his targeted UFA's.
Right out of the gate Gillis needs to get Tanev wrapped up so (a) no one can swoop in and drop an offer sheet bomb and (b) the team can move forward with other needs. Alex Edler could still be moved, but his NMC makes it much harder.
$7,497,222 left in cap space won't leave Gillis much to work with up front. If he's looking for veteran help up front it may come in the form of plug and play guys like Matt Hendricks, Matt Cullen, Boyd Gordon or a number of other under-the-radar targets. Despite the temptation it's best not to get your hopes for the David Clarkson, Mikhail Grabovski or Valtteri Filppula's of the world. Instead, just hope they all end up out East.
List Of Free Agents
Canucks Free Agents
Unrestricted: Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker, Guillaume Desbiens, Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Gordon, Derek Joslin, Maxim Lapierre, Manny Malhotra, Steve Pinizzotto, Prab Rai, Mason Raymond, Derek Roy, Stefan Schneider, Jim Vandermeer.
Canucks Rumors, Links, Twitter Shit, And A Classic Luongo Video
Jeff Angus from Dobber Hockey gave Canucks.com a list of players that make sense for the Canucks. Here is one example:
Key Number: 57.3
Gordon is one of the best faceoff men in hockey (as evidenced by his 2013 success rate of 57.3%). He is a different player than Lapierre – less physical, not an agitator – but arguably a more effective one. The Canucks tried to trade for him at the trade deadline, and there will be several contending teams looking to acquire his services come July 5th.
Likelihood of Signing: High
Gordon would be an instant upgrade to Vancouver’s forward group. He would take a lot of defensive pressure away from Henrik and Kesler, and he would give the team an ace faceoff man, something they have really been missing after shutting down Manny Malhotra. A Gordon signing wouldn’t generate a ton of media attention or fanfare, but it would be exactly what the team needs.
From The Province:
Blum still loves the area, still comes back and trains here in the off-season. On Thursday, when asked about free agency, he talked about it being a "fresh start," and said that his agent, Edmonton-based Gerry Johannson, had heard from a "few" teams.
Blum admitted the Canucks were one of them, and he was openly keen on the idea of being based back in B.C. again.
"I would love it," Blum said. "It’s like my second home.
"It would be a good transition for me. There would be a lot of familiar faces around town."
From The Fourth Period:
Teams are still speaking to Vancouver about Edler, such as Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal and Carolina, but it's unclear if anything is imminent.
The Canucks want to add a young center to man their third line. If they deal Edler, they'd want a young defenseman as part of a package in return.
I still think that is a possibility.
On his ass, on the other side of a blue line. RT @SocialAssassin2: Where is Mason Raymond gonna land?— BrowntoBure (@BrowntoBure) July 5, 2013
The madness starts at 9:00 AM PST...or earlier.
Come for the depth signings, stay for the cursing. This is your opening day free agency thread.