I haven't had hockey to
comment bitch about for a whole four days and I'm already bored. Well, my boredom was alleviated briefly with chuckles by watching the Rangers get ousted and the Yankees tie up what amounts to 34 Kevin Bieksa's for a 45-year-old crotchety Hall of Famer because, well, they are the Yankees.
Anyway, back to the hockey world, the Canucks have disbanded for the normal summer of surgeries and sabbaticals. It’s a cruel business that can question Nonis for pulling off a what we now know as a massive steal in Luongo last year and, this summer, already start crucifying him (with good reason) for having a team that can’t score.
On the positive side, the core guys are locked for the next few years. So let’s take a look at his more immediate summer homework:
I’m going to wager that Kesler, Krajicek and Linden all return. I’m not sure what Nonis is going to do with Kes’ salary but he’s not a $1.9 million guy so Ryan will have to learn that the Bobby Clark wet dream was a one time thing until he has the numbers to prove it. Krajicek deserves a small bump but nothing major as he keeps developing. And Linden had way too positive a season to not give it another shot; I’m going to assume maybe a 650k to 750k single year.
If that’s true, that leaves a team with comically large holes up front:
For the second straight year, I can’t see how the deadline deals are going to hang around. Smoke didn’t gel with Naslund as was hoped and Sopel…ugh, I won’t even start with. Santala and Trembley should be gone. Bulis, sadly, should be walking too; I liked him as the season rolled along and his PK game was great, but like Kesler, he gets paid too much for a guy who isn’t going to score.
Fitzpatrick and Green are both decent mortals, but Green is the more valuable of the two for the right low price.
I’d presume Sabourin and Cowan would love to come back, but with Vigneault loving Rypien and MacIntyre/Flaherty hanging out there in Manitoba, who knows. I can see Cowan wanting to come back, but then some team with a bit more cap space snagging him (like Ruutu last year).
Then there's Pyatt. He could try and pull a Carter and demand a ton for one year’s work but he really can’t since at least Carter’s resume was far more impressive at the end of last year. The numbers will be manageable enough that I think he’ll come back for another year deal in the Bulis range, $1.3 - $1.4 million. Hopefully.
Nonis also has some decent prospects to play with. Bourdon, Edler, Hansen, Coulombe, Rypien, Smith, Schultz, Reid, Bouck and even Grabner may get a shot in the preseason to fill some of these holes or challenge fringe guys for some time.
So it would appear Nonis will have, depending on what the cap gets raised to, between $8 and $10 million to get the RFAs sorted out and any UFA scoring help. Check here or here for the entire list of UFA’s across the board.
A word of crushing reality for you: if you think the likes of Briere, Drury, Gomez, Forsberg etc could make their way here, please stop. Don’t even try Bertuzzi either, that ship has sailed (and promptly sank). Nonis will likely have to roll the dice on a Chouinard or Bulis type again and see if he can find value in the low hanging fruit of the league.
A final question: between the big three of Morrison, Naslund and Ohlund, who would you like to see Nonis try and move if he could get one or more quality guys in return? I don’t see anyone pouncing on Mo and Nazzy with their salaries; maybe at the deadline, but not over the summer. If he dangled Ohlund out there though? A big, mobile defenseman who can score the timely goal and shut down some of the best in the league? Hmmm…