1. Right now the Canucks are a very good team and when Kesler and Booth come back they will probably be as good as any team in the NHL.
2. The key to the Stanley Cup is often having a hot goaltender (think of the last two Cups and the role of Quick and Thomas). If the Canucks keeps both Luongo and Schneider they double their chances of having a top flight goalie who gets hot at the right time. I think that what Gillis is doing makes sense. Unless he gets a great deal for Luongo (or Schneider) having them both available for the playoffs probably gives the Canucks their best shot a Cup.
3. We all know about the age-related issues. The core of the Canucks for the last several years has been the Sedins. Without their scoring (and high performance to cap-hit ratio) the Canucks would just be a good team, not a genuine cup contender. And they are about the age where you expect an age-related decline to start. We should not see a big drop-off in performance, and they will still be good players for a few years yet, but they will not be as dominant.
4. The cap reduction of about 6 million will hurt the Canucks as much as it hurts any team next year. The Canucks will not be able to have over 9 million devoted to goaltenders or pay 4.2 million for Ballard. Ballard and one goaltender will have to go and even then there will not be room to add anyone at a significant cap hit. Even re-signing Raymond, Malhotra, Higgins, and Lapierre is in doubt for cap-related reasons.
5. The only really good young player who should improve enough to be a core contributor over the next few years is Kassian. Most of the core players are veterans. Tanev is young and good but I see him levelling off where he is now -- a solid defensive D who can play shutdown but without much offensive contribution and without a physical game -- a great guy to have a low cap hit. And the recent draft picks are a few years away.
Bottom Line: This year is probably going to be the best shot for a while.
Edited by JamesB, 08 February 2013 - 11:27 AM.