A mere two days of bemoaning others and Nonis gets in the swing of things by doing almost exactly what we knew he would: take the frugal road to some projects and keep this team lean and "mean".
In no specific order:
>> Blue chipper Schneider gives the finger to beantown and comes West
>> Welcome new project players Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister
>> In Manitoba news, Brad Moran is going no where anytime soon
>> Manitoba leading scorer Jason Jaffray is sticking around
>> Nonis goes German in Tremblay-esque fashion and finds Greg Classen quite fetching
Ritchie is an interesting pick and yours truly prematurely scratched Isbister off the list. Ritchie is going to do his damndest to crack the opening roster; at best he was a reserve forward for the Flames so while I put him on the list, it certainly doesn’t mean he’s nailed the spot down. If nothing else, his colorful slang will be welcome on the Canuck’s rather gentlemanly squad.
Isbister I have seen multiple times masquerading as an Islander, an Oiler and most recently as a filthy Ranger (getting some prime postseason minutes at the expense of Shanny). His downside (in case his flipping between teams isn’t telling you) is that he is yet another large guy who hasn’t found the mini-Bertuzzi within us all. Naturally, the hope is that - like Pyatt - Vigneault can tap into this confusion and spring forth a guy who can crash and bang and…(deep inhale)…score? If you fancy charted assets of players, look no further.
Arguably, the biggest news here is that Schneider went from possible trade asset to
possible back up goalie. While it’s incredibly unlikely that he’s not Manitoba bound (at the ripe old age of 21), he is flatly right up there with Bourdon as the few solid farm guys this franchise has. I’ll go ahead and suggest the obvious that it’s extremely odd that after years of Cloutier-dom, this team has more then one solid option in net.
Jaffray had a stellar year in Manitoba and I’m sure will give it his all to make the team in the preseason. As for Classen, he has three years NHL experience, all with the team from Nashville/Hamilton/Kansas City/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up. He spent all of last year playing for the Hamburg Freezers (a team that has a psychotic mascot) and I would guess he’s coming in to help stock up the Manitoba cupboard. It would take a bevy of injuries for this guy to line up at GM Place I would guess.
So…yeah, the making of the Canucks into a Bad News Bears clone is taking place. At the end of the day (as I keep telling myself), this team is built around Lui and guys like Ritchie, Isbister and Jaffray are all useful, financially astute offensive pieces to the 2007-08 puzzle. I’m curious where Bulis/any other UFA winger falls into play now, but good to see Nonis sticking to his guns.
Of course, if the Canucks are 10-30 by the time January rolls around, I will take all of this back. Naturally.
Update 6:49 PM ET: Ugh, ok, now Nonis won't stop as I see Curtis Sanford is now the official potential Luongo groin injury/bathroom situation insurance policy for the Canucks. On the plus side, this guy actually has some NHL experience under his belt that Sabourin never did. On the negative side, don't expect to see him too much. And if we do see him too much, then something has gone horribly wrong in Canuckville. Here's a positive take on his play with a terrible team in front of him; also here's Matt Cooke hitting him and Sanford making a nice save against an evil team.
So for the fourth time today, let's update the roster: