Mike Gillis hired Laurence Gilman last year as the team's official capologist. He was adamant about playing safe with his money last year (until Sundin bellowed). He didn't budge on accepting new contracts at the trade deadline. He played hard ball with the Sedins down to the final hour before free agency about the length of their respective deals and they caved. He dismissed Gaborik's new contract quickly. Many believe he's going to take Wellwood to the cleaners at arbitration.
He's Mr. Moneyball and falls over himself about stressing leadership and character in players he drafts and keeps core to the team.
...so what the hell happened yesterday?
Start with SOB. By inking a one year deal with a cap hit of $1.6 million, he agreed to a 35% salary increase. This after a season where he twice ended up fighting with management in public and more often than not put his team in a hole due to his infatuation of senseless obstruction calls. This deserves a raise? We should all have such problems.
Then there's Raycroft. Skip the stats, that's too depressing. All you need to know is he signed for the league minimum of $500,000 or, rather, the real life equivalent of making minimum wage cleaning puke out of the Arby's toilet. With Labarbera bolting for Phoenix and maybe Vigneault not wanting Sanford back, Raycroft screams of having no other option but the cheapest. Is the bargin-bin goalie signing one of the ways Luongo inks an extension?
With close to five million dollars left in cap space, Vancouver isn't out of the woods. No one has replaced Ohlund (unless we're looking at Nycholat or Rome). There's no third line center (unless that's Hodgson or Wellwood). Hansen is still in limbo. No announced extension for Luongo (is there even one?). And, looking forward, there's precious little money for any more UFAs, injury insurance or even extensions for Kesler and Mitchell before the next off season.
It suggests Gillis was possibly laughed out of negotiations with the UFA defensemen from the Niedermayers to the Beauchemins. Similarly, maybe up front Samuelsson was all they could do. Gillis may have some irons still in the fire, but it's possible the SOB signing really does signal that the team is going into next season with a weakened defensive unit and Samuelsson is this year's lone offensive addition.
And kiss that whole Sundin repeat concept goodbye.
As it stands now, is this team better than last year? Would this team have beaten Chicago in the second round? Not sure how a weakened defense, a subtle change on offense and an substantially weakened back-up goalie were the missing pieces. All of this and so close to the cap?
Something doesn't pass the smell test.
As was suggested yesterday, it seems to point to a trade coming. Just a hunch, but this doesn't seem like a team that Gillis ready to wipe his hands with and pass off to the coaching staff. And the trade would almost have to include a roster piece so money is leaving the fold before accepting more.