Here is the five step plan.
1. Re-Sign Bieksa because he seems willing to re-sign at a reasonable price and he has great chemistry with Hamhuis.
2. Try to re-sign Ehrhoff but also be prepared to let him go. He is a good offensive DMan but I also think he was the beneficiary of inflated numbers because of his massive amount of PP time with the Sedins and Kesler. Don't pay $5.0 Million per for him because he is not worth it. But if he does go you need to replace him with another free agent because you can't expect a guy like Tanev or an aging Salo to effectively replace Ehrhoff's offense. If Anton Babchuk could be had for less money than Ehrhoff I think he would be a good fit. Babchuk could easily slide into Ehrhoff's role and he might be had for $1.5 million cheaper per year. I like Babchuk at $3.5 per better than Ehrhoff at $5.0 per.
3. Trade/Buyout or Send Ballard to the minors. The Canucks can not have him start the season on the roster with AV as the coach. Even if there is a different coach Ballard isn't worth $4.2 Million a year anyways. He now is coming off two subpar seasons in a row because his last year in Florida was a disappointment too. The Canucks simply cannot going into next season with his $4.2 Million cap hit on the books.
Sending him to the minors may be the best of the options. If someone claims him on waivers so be it. If he clears waivers then the Canucks can see if he plays well down there and if someone gets hurt perhaps they can recall him.
4. Sign Someone to play with Kesler. He needs real help. The Canucks need a gritty guy to play with Kesler who can actually score. Won't be easy to get but they need to find a guy and the money saved on Ballard could be used here. Might I suggest Scott Hartnell via trade?
It seems the Flyers are looking to shed some cap space to make room to sign Bryzgalov so they might be willing to trade a guy like Scott Hartnell as a pure salary dump. Btw, his cap hit is actually the same as Ballards. $4.2 Million. He would provide some of the grit the Canucks lack while still providing the ability to score goals.
5. Keep Schneider and make it a real open competition between him and Luongo for the starting job. If Schneider wins then be prepared to sign him at the end of the year to a new contract and do something drastic with Lou. It is not the Canucks job, as Gillis seems to have suggested today, to make Luongo a championship goalie. It is his job to prove he is one.
Edited by gradin123, 18 June 2011 - 09:02 AM.