Vancouver Canucks Sign Restricted Free Agent Mason Raymond

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2010

It was announced today that the Canucks have re-signed forward Mason Raymond to a two-year deal thus avoiding arbitration. In keeping with club policy, terms were not disclosed.

However stated that several media reports (including local radio station TEAM 1040) that Raymond will make $2.5 million this season and $2.6 million in 2011-12.

That seems like a reasonable amount when you compare Alex Burrows $2 million and Mikael Samuelsson’s $2.5 million contracts.

Well now that the easy part is out of the way, time to get down to the hard part which is the salary cap issue.

This now puts the ‘Nucks $2,658,333 million OVER the cap limit and even with the LITR break they will get with Sami Salo’s injury of $3.5 million (will make it $800,000 approx. under the cap), they will still have a problem if (a big IF here) Salo returns to the lineup.

There is another LITR break that may surface if Burrows is not ready due to his offseason shoulder surgery which was to repair a torn labrum.

In all of this lies the problem.

Most teams will have gotten to their operating cap by the time the season starts so waiting until around the Christmas point in the season (Salo’s expected return) is a gamble to try and shed that $2.6 million and still have a bit left over to operate (at least $1 to 1.5 million).

Of the total numbers of forwards that the Canucks have signed, 12 are roster players and eight non-roster.

Some of these non-roster types like Cody Hodgson, Victor Oreskovich, Sergei Shirokov, Jordan Schroeder, and Anton Rodin just to name a few, would bump up the cap some more if they were to make the team.

Let’s say any two of the three names like Hodgson ($1.7 million – rounded up), Oreskovich ($575,000), or Alex Bolduc ($500,000) make the team.

That would mean the Canucks would have to shed about $2.2 million plus another $1 to 1.5 million buffer to operate.

This leads the Canucks back to someone or a combination of players that total about $4.1 million.

So with that being said, will the Canucks still try to trade or shed outright Kevin Bieksa and his $3.75 million contract?

The other question that begs to be answered is, should the ‘Nucks risk playing with just seven defensemen—Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Alex Edler, Christian Ehrhoff, Shane O’Brien, Aaron Rome, and Andrew Alberts?

What I don’t see is anyone that is ready in Manitoba that could come up in an emergency situation and play many minutes for an extended period of time if needed.

If today’s NHL has shown us anything, it’s that you need nine defensemen to not only get through the regular season but the playoffs as well.

I still do not feel that the 'Nucks have that tough scoring third line that they were trying to rebuild. Nor do they have the cap space to go out and sign some of those UFA players still on the market.

So that means they are trying to make do with what they have.

And except for Manny Malhotra, please don't tell me that Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen will be the other portions to the line.

Hodgson has no NHL experience and Hansen has 16 goals in 109 games. These are not the type of players nor numbers the Canucks need for a productive third line.

Oh to be a capologist in today’s NHL!


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