I think I've waited long enough. The kitten I punted after Kane's hat trick has to have landed by now.
And If not, well...surprise unsuspecting citizen!
Some names are causing all kinds of problems in Canuck land right now so I think we should address them and start the conspiracy theories of what Gillis will do with them.
Part II will look at some of the role player guys and rest of the relevant UFAs/RFAs. Part III we can debate what Gillis's priorities should be from now until training camp.
As the first offseason day comes to a close, here are the names creating some agita with fans and curious onlookers alike:
#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 04, 1979
|2008 - Roberto Luongo||54||3181||33||13||7||5||124||2.34||1542||1418||.920||9|
A guy who was integral to any level of success this team has had (or wants to think they had) in the past three years is now being bantered around as trade bait and they were only eliminated 24 hours ago. What's that about eugenics?
Don't forget Luongo took a team that couldn't score to his first playoffs two years ago, tried to will the Brad Isbister version in there last year and his paramount failure this year (besides a groin injury and a poor second round) was not being able to score when the five guys in front of him couldn't either.
My man crush aside, Luongo has earned his criticism and that's probably what pisses him off the most. He did have more soft games this year than in his previous two. Plenty of goals (both regular and post season) ended up in the back of his net on suspect wrap arounds or blasts where he had a clear view of the lane. His regular season numbers are fantastic, his post season numbers not so much. And presumably he's here to excel at both.
If the time comes for Luongo and the team to part, I have no problem giving the nod to Schneider (or maybe a platoon with Jonas Gustavsson? Hey, let's get stupid!). But Gillis purposely made Luongo the front and center of this team and I doubt that means he's willing to move him because of this season's results. If Luongo himself wants out, cross that when it happens, not before. Luongo's drive is to silence those critics and we should be happy to go along for plenty more seasons of him trying.
#22 / Left Wing / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 26, 1980
|2008 - Daniel Sedin||82||31||51||82||24||36||9||0||7||1||285||10.9|
#33 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 26, 1980
|2008 - Henrik Sedin||82||22||60||82||22||48||4||0||8||0||143||15.4|
The ongoing debate with "are the Sedins worth it?" will continue until they sign a dotted line somewhere. But my hunch is that, like Lui, Gillis knows he needs them. He can't honestly think he can replace them via free agency or trades (do you?). The twins don't strike me as money-first types of guys either (every contract they have signed with Vancouver has shown that). Like Luongo, they didn't have the strongest series but I'll let the master and commander explain why players the caliber of the twins don't come along too often. My bet (and hope) is they don't go anywhere and take another season of lessons learned to push themselves to the next level.
And then, when they're locked up for a few years, we can then talk about the increase in hooking calls this year...
#2 / Defenseman / Vancouver Canucks
Sep 09, 1976
|2008 - Mattias Ohlund||82||6||19||25||14||105||3||0||1||0||131||4.6|
Alix may kill me, but I just don't see Ohlund returning. He played a decent first round but not the best second. Like a lot of Canucks in the second round, he seemed too inconsistent and, at his worst, looked slow and not confident with the puck. His long tenure in Vancouver has cemented him in many of the team records (including the highest scoring defensemen in history) but this is his payday year and he can (should?) cash in. Big strong defenseman who can do everything from score to fight will get a lot of attention from the other GM's. Can't fault him for wanting a change in scenery at the midway career point. If he does leave, it opens the door for Edler to step up and play a greater role on the backend.
#13 / Center / Vancouver Canucks
Feb 13, 1971
|2008 - Mats Sundin||41||9||19||28||-5||28||5||0||2||0||84||10.7|
Mats, Mats, Mats. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride eh? I wasn't a fan of him on this team from the second TSN told me he was. But I learned to accept the things the scoresheet doesn't always show: the faceoffs he won, his role behind the net and - best of all - the influence on the guys around him, Kesler especially.
But it seems his legs can't follow his heart; if he played the majority of his Canuck days like he did the last two playoff games I'd be writing something different. He had three multiple point games against Chicago, not bad for a guy who was nursing some sort of injury.
Don't expect him back and for good reason; he should really retire or do a final stint in Burke land (but I doubt that even more then him returning to Vancouver). His time as a Canuck isn't a failure, but it wasn't a success either.
But remember this: last summer everyone considered Sundin the NHL's Favre. When he signed in Vancouver the comparison was framed and continued. And now, at the end, I think we can agree it was better to be a Canucks fan with Sundin then a Jets fan with Favre. One delivered when it mattered, one didn't.
For that, we should be grateful.