Vancouver Canucks: Where Do We Go from Here?

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IMay 15, 2009

Well after a few days to cool down and regain my composure, I’ve accepted the fact that we got outplayed by a team who had more (and better) depth, talent, and at times the better goaltender.

We got ourselves into penalty trouble, which everyone knew was going to hurt us, and it did. We had some really bad turnovers and some bad bounces (off Edler's skate in game six).

But you know looking back on things this season was actually very good for this team. I mean we missed the playoffs the year before and came back to get our first-ever playoff sweep.

We were pegged to be one of the bottom-dweller teams this year with the loss of Linden, Morrison, Naslund and yet we finished first in our Conference.

We were said to have no scoring ability and yet we had five 20+ Goal scorers, six other 10+ goal scorers and our top two players were point per game players. So with everything said and done, I think we made a pretty decent finish, even though we never won the Cup.

So where do we go from here?

We have eight UFA’s on the Canuck roster, some who will probably retire others who will walk away for greener pastures, but I think a lot of them will be back next year. Here is how I see things working out; and I make no claim to be right; hell, I have a track record of being wrong, but this is my take on how things will probably work out.



Mats Sundin

A superstar player who took half a season to decide where he wanted to play, signed with the Canucks for 8.6M dollars.

In 41 regular-season games, he scored 9 goals had 19 assists with a -5 record. In eight playoff games, he had 3 goals and 5 assists with a -1 record.

Those are not exactly the numbers you want to see coming from your highest paid player. Don’t get me wrong there has been times where Sundin has excited me (remember that Toronto Maple Leaf game?) but those came too few and far apart.

Unless Sundin is going to take a major pay cut, somewhere around the 3 – 4M range, I don’t think you will see Sundin as a Canuck (he will most likely retire).


Daniel and Henrik Sedin

I’ m going to put these two together because lets face it we all know that these two are a package deal. In 82 games played both of these two players finished with 82 points, Daniel going 31G – 51A +24 and Henrik going 22G – 60A +22.

These guys also finished their 2008/2009 playoffs identically with 4 goals and 6 assist in 10 games a piece.

The twins made $3.575M apiece this season and there have been reports saying that their agent wants to get them to $6.5M apiece. I don’t think they will get 6.5a piece I do see them ending up with somewhere around $5–5.5 M a year for the next three years.

Although they have been criticized for passing to much, being too weak, not being a veteran presence, etc. I don’t see how the Canucks can pass on these guys.

With 82 points a piece this season, missing only one combined game between them over the past four season, these two are key pieces too the future. Besides they have already expressed their love to stay in Vancouver.


Taylor Pyatt

After playing on every line, Taylor seemed for find some chemistry on the third line before having to head out east for his fiancee's funeral. He finished this season with 10 goals and nine assists in 69 games played.

He made $1.57M this season, a bit of an overpay if you ask me, because he was inconsistent. He started out his season very slowly (earning the name Pylon) although at times has looked very good but not consistent enough.

Although before his family tragedy he looked like a much better player, adding a physical play to his game which fans wanted to see from the get-go.

I think our coach likes him, I think he will stay but look for him to take a bit of a pay cut if we do end up keeping him.


Mattias Ohlund

There is a lot of talk that Ohlund wants to much money for the Canucks to resign him. Currently making $3.5M, I think Ohlund will walk this season.

Statistically, this was one of his poorer seasons and I believe that the Canuck will go out and try to acquire one of the bigger FA defensemen that are going to be available (e.g., Jay Bouwmeester) or maybe a guy with some size (e.g., Christian Backman).

Although Ohlund is a fan favorite and someone who I would love to remain on our team if he isn’t willing to reasonable with his contract talk I can see us letting him walk (here is to hoping I’m wrong.)


Rob Davison

A big body who isn’t going to be on a top defensive pair, or power play any time soon but he is relatively cheap and gives some depth.

Unless we sign a few free agents I can see Davison remain with either the Canucks or the Moose.


Ossi Vaananen

Whether we claimed him from Philly for depth or because management thought he could bring something to the table, I don’t know.

But Ossi has yet to impress anyone. Another player who can stay or go, we will have to wait to find out.


Jason Labarbera

Look for this guy to stay with us. It was a battle between him and Curtis Sanford for awhile there in the season and it was Sanford that was dropped to the minors.

Whether he stays as backup for the Canucks or gets dropped to the minors so that Schneider gets his chance to play a few more games in the big leagues is still up in the air.

But I think that Labarbera has already expressed his love for Vancouver and will most likely will want to stay (unless he gets an offer to be a starter.)

We also have another four RFA’s that need to be resigned this year.


Steve Bernier

Depending on who you ask, you are bound to get a lot of mixed reactions from this guy. When he was signed to the team, he came with a “high potential” tag and everyone a lot of people thought that he would score 30 goals playing with the twins.

He finished the regular season with 15 goals, 17 assists (tying his career high in goals and setting a new high in assists.)

So everyone who thought that Bernier was going to be the Canucks saviour would more then likely be happy to see him walk.

For other people who were more hesitant and took a wait and see approach (like me) may want to see him remain in a Canucks jersey.

With his work ethic and physical play he gelled in really well on the third line. Of course there is still room for improvement but what people seem to forget is that he is only 24 and I believe given time he could be a solid third-line 20 goal scorer.

Don’t be surprised to see this guy resigned (although he won’t be making his 2.5M) but a 2 year 1.175 – 1.5M contract is a very real possibility.


Kyle Wellwood

I don’t think there has been any other player on this team this year who has been more criticized then Kyle Wellwood. From day one when he was labeled “fat” to being sent down to the minors, used as a scapegoat, etc.

Setting a career best in goals, pushing himself back into shape Wellwood is perhaps one of the most skilled players on this team and a great PP player. I feel very confident that this guy will be back with the Canucks next season (second line?)


Jannik Hansen

Jannik started off this season great playing with Kesler and Burrows on the third line. After being sidelined with an injury, roster moves, and other team issues Jannik really dropped off with his production.

But with all that said I think that the Canucks have no choice but to keep this guy. He has shown that at times he can hang with the guys in the big league and given more playing time he could be a quality starter someday in the future.


Shane O’Brien

I absolutely hated Shane O’Brien but after the All-Star break he really started to win me over.

There was a period of falling out between Shane and the club, which I’m not sure if that will hurt talk or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shane as a Canuck next year.


Trade Bait?

Roberto Luongo

Obviously, Luongo is an All-Star goalie and the Canucks will try to do everything in their power to keep him.

But with one year left on his contract and the fact that he doesn’t sound committed on remaining a Canuck the Canucks may decide to trade him away. Lets see how many starts Cory Schneider gets before the trade deadline.


Pavol Demitra

Depending on cap room the Canucks may decide to move Demitra and his 4M contract if they can.

There is no speculation that he i going to get traded but if Hodgson and Grabner get called up and another big name FA gets claimed but the Canucks I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pavol used as trade bait.

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