Ladies and gentlemen please, will you bring your attention to me!
Yeah, it’s the IceMan returning after a fantastic summer here in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
There has really been nothing to write about as far as the Canucks go and from what I see, nothing much has changed about the needs the Nucks were lacking from last year.
Hey Mr. Gillis, what’s going on here?
We need size, toughness, more scoring and what do you draft, Jordan Schroeder – a small, but shifty, playmaker from the University of Minnesota. The Canucks followed that selection by taking Anton Rodin from Brynas in the Swedish Junior League.
Don’t we have enough Swedes on this team?
Yes the Sedins re-signed, they added Mikael Samuelsson and re-upped some other notables, as in Kyle Wellwood, Rick Rypien and Jannick Hansen (two way deal), who will spend most of his time with the Moose, as in no hands Hansen.
They extended Steve Bernier's contract and the one I wrote about over a month ago, Roberto Luongo, is still a work in progress.
If you remember, I told you this contract would take a while in getting done, while Louie waits to see what kind of team he will be playing on next year, and by the looks of it, not a huge difference, so far.
I also said that if Bobby Lou does not think this team is going in the right direction, he would play out his contract. We shall see.
Back to the needs I have been writing about for the last two years. Speed, toughness, size and a legitimate second line.
This is the softest bunch I have see, on a Nucks roster, in the last 10 years. Except for the fourth line bangers, Hordichuk and Rypien, both small, one a light heavy and the other a middleweight, who is going to be supplying the toughness.
Surely not Bernier, Raymond, Demitra, the Sedins, Wellwood or Johnson. If you think Kesler or Burrows puts fear in anyone, than guess again.
They’re what I call gritty, agitating but not tough.
Except for O’Brien and Bieksa, the defense is two Europeans (Salo & Edler), a good Canadian gamer in Mitchell, and two American league retreads in Nycholat and smaller yet, Baumgartner.
The new signing for the “D” was another American leaguer, Aaron Rome, tough but not really NHL caliber.
Does this lineup look pathetic or what?
If you were Luongo, would you want to have this group in front of you, as every team runs you at every opportunity, to get you off your game?
Anyone thinking Cody Hodgson or Yann Sauve is going to come in and make a splash, should come in out of the sun.
Number one, Hodgson, lacks speed and size, and Sauve, although 6’3” and 220, has yet to play in the NHL and is not your aspiring quarterback, the power play is lacking.
Now, there are several RFA’s (restricted free agents) who are available, but depending on their salary, might not work.
These are the following and their compensation: Phil Kessel (Bos) - third round pick, Drew Stafford (Buf) - third rounder and Kris Versteeg (Chi) - salary $660K or below - none.
The one I think the Nucks should take a hard run at, what with their $4.5 cap space, is Versteeg (22G,33A) who is only 23 years old.
The Hawks are $4.5 over the cap space, and since Versteeg’s salary was under $600K last year, the Nucks would not have to compensate Chicago.
All’s it would take is an offer sheet, and since the Hawks are already over the cap, they would most likely not match the offer.
The other RFA is Nikolai Zherdev (23G,35A), who the Rangers walked away from, because of the $3.9M arbitration award and he is now unrestricted.
The quarterback D-man I wrote about after the playoffs, one Marc-Andre Bergeron, is an UFA (last yrs. salary $1.7), that could help this 17th place power play.
Let’s see, if the astute Nucks management, is really as good as they posses to be.