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***Canucks Must Make "Bold Moves" This Off-Season*** (Tony Gallagher)


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Bold Moves Needed to stop Canucks From Aging into Oblivion

mikegillis.jpeg

"BOLD MOVES"

http://www.theprovince.com/sports/hockey/canucks-hockey/Gallagher+Bold+moves+needed+stop+Canucks+from/8345133/story.html

When next season begins, the Vancouver Canucks will once again be a strong contender to make the playoffs — and if things go well, perhaps even challenge for the lead at times in their newly realigned environment.

They'll still have outstanding goaltending, and a decent back end, and general manager Mike Gillis will have done something, anything, to improve this popgun offence which has literally choked the life out of what was once a promising shortened 2013 season.

They'll still have Ryan Kesler — although who knows in what condition — the deteriorating Sedins, David Booth, Alex Burrows, etc., which is fine for the regular season, and perhaps it might even be refreshing for next year's team to be free of the weighty illusion that they are Cup contenders.

But really, for management, next year is not the issue.

What they should be trying to do is position this team such that in the very near future it doesn't become the equivalent of the Calgary Flames. We mention this because on the surface — to us unwashed in the media — it doesn't appear as though the farm team is bursting with blue chip prospects.

Everyone can agree that there are a couple of young guys who will one day fit in quite nicely with any team, but when you're trying to replace aging front-line talent up front, you're stuck for names, looking at the Vancouver organizational depth chart.

So what to do?

Vancouver fans should take heart knowing there are almost certainly better ways than those outlined below, but herein are a number of possible considerations, some perhaps considered radical given the conservative guidance this team has experienced recently.

One would be to trade Alex Edler to a team like Philadelphia, for instance, a squad desperate for help on the back end to help them get back into the mix in the East. They have some outstanding frontline offensive talent they might be persuaded to part with for a player like Edler — who, upon hearing a different coach's voice giving different directions, might develop into that great defenceman he looked like he could become in the Stanley Cup playoffs two years ago.

That might also happen here, assuming Coach Hunch and his assistants depart, so there's no doubt this move would have some risk, but something has to be done. Thinking of four more seasons watching Chris Higgins do what he's doing now can drive you to consider anything — even moving Ryan Kesler, or trading Dan Hamhuis as a pure act of mercy to the Smithers warrior. Sorry, lost it there for a moment as both those guys have no-trade contracts, but remember this organization seems to develop defencemen. Forwards, not so much. And here, we might also add the Sedins could perk up with a new coach too, but not to digress.

Perhaps Burrows could bring a young prospect and Zack Kassian could play with the Sedin twins. His no-trade doesn't kick in until July.

Then there is the goaltending. On the surface, that's decided: Cory Schneider is the man, end of story, offload Roberto Luongo for whatever you can, however you can. But the Canucks have already found out that there's no significant return to be had for Luongo, whereas you could definitely get a significant player or players for Schneider, if you changed your mind and could live with Luongo long enough to draft the best goalie possible this year and wait while he develops.

This is a profound longshot, because it always makes the most sense to keep the best, youngest goaltender, and goalies age quickly. Most of Luongo's contemporaries are at or near the end and management has already pretty much made its intentions clear. But something bold and creative might be best to prevent this team from simply aging into oblivion.

Perhaps a team might be looking at adding a whack of secondary scoring to its lineup, as the playoffs approach next season, and perhaps the Sedins might be looking to try to win a Cup before their careers are history. Maybe they would agree to a deal sending them somewhere together for a solid prospect or two, this type of deal only (remotely) possible at the deadline, when the last year of their $6.1-million-US contracts has ticked down to something manageable.

Keeping the Sedins here beyond next year is possible, but only after a severe financial haircut. And the possibility of letting them become free agents — in order to do something with the liberated $12.2-million cap space on the open market — will have to be considered, although that will be tough because so few quality young players are reaching the open market under this new CBA. Consider the poor team getting Derek Roy next season, for example.

Fortunately, these calls will be made by brighter minds than this one.

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Must dos:

- Remove bad contracts - Booth, Ballard, One of the goaltenders.

- Acquire puck moving defense man to give Twins extra step into offensive zone, allows them more options with the puck.

- Acquire 3rd line center who can be effective that can provide secondary scoring. Going into playoffs with two lines is suicide.

Should do be unlikely:

- Move one defense man on the core, so Corrodo and Tanev can be regulars. Bye Bieksa? I think Edler can rebound.

- Get character/intimidating players on the bottom six like Torres, so they can make impacts in match up scenarios.

- Acquire a goal scorer to play top six.

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I agree about trading Edler to Philly. Pick up someone like Couturier for our third line center.

Then trade Kassian, Schroeder, and a 1st for Shea Weber.

We need a real number 1 D-man. Not a number 2 or 3.

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Must dos:

- Remove bad contracts - Booth, Ballard, One of the goaltenders.

- Acquire puck moving defense man to give Twins extra step into offensive zone, allows them more options with the puck.

- Acquire 3rd line center who can be effective that can provide secondary scoring. Going into playoffs with two lines is suicide.

Should do be unlikely:

- Move one defense man on the core, so Corrodo and Tanev can be regulars. Bye Bieksa? I think Edler can rebound.

- Get character/intimidating players on the bottom six like Torres, so they can make impacts in match up scenarios.

- Acquire a goal scorer to play top six.

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Sedins are staying but at 4 mill each for another 3 years. NTC.

Edler could be traded if we can get a top line forward for him. Otherwise give him the offseason to condition his back and see what happens. So glad we have Tanev and Corrado. If someone will overpay for Burrows id look at it even though I love the guy.

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Quite frankly, I don't trust Gillis to make a 'bold' move. I hope he's gone ASAP so the new manager can analyse this team as opposed to MG going crazy to save his job and getting some random players and giving them NTCs.

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Pierre LeBrun's Take:

http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=nhl&id=24087&src=desktop

It was always going to be the "window" series, two of the Western Conference's long-standing contenders facing off in the first round, with the losers having to face questions about their immediate future.

The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks have been kicking at the contender can for a long time, and folks in both cities this year began to wonder if things were getting a little stale.

Heck, the Sharks even retooled on the fly this season, trading away pending UFAs Ryane Clowe, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus (while adding Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan) as GM Doug Wilson publicly acknowledged the need to begin the "reset" of his roster.

So a first-round loss to Vancouver would have spurred more moves -- no doubt toward youth -- for the Sharks, who have played the second-most playoff games in the NHL since 2004, behind only the Detroit Red Wings.

Instead, the re-energized Sharks are very much alive, thinking once again about their title hopes, after a four-game dismantling of the Canucks. It's Vancouver that has to answer very difficult questions after a debacle of a series.

The Canucks' window appears to be closing. Back-to-back first-round playoff losses since their run to the Cup finals in 2011 suggest the recipe isn't right anymore.

And getting rid of the cook may not be the only solution.

Everyone who has an opinion seems to think coach Alain Vigneault will pay the price. Certainly, it's a bullet GM Mike Gillis has kept in the chamber ever since he took over the club in April 2008, having inherited "AV" as coach.

Gillis has to shoulder some blame here, too, as all GMs whose teams have higher expectations must after being swept in the first round.

In retrospect, he should have taken whatever the Toronto Maple Leafs’ best offer was last summer and divested himself of Roberto Luongo, as the goalie drama did not serve the team well at all, even if both netminders stayed on good terms with each other.

Of more concern is that Luongo was the better goalie in the series than Cory Schneider, whose confidence has to be rattled after the way things worked out.

But the problems here run deeper.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin deserve some scrutiny here as well. Neither scored a goal in the four-game sweep. They looked tired and head into the final years of their contracts next season ($6.1 million per year). The Canucks will have an interesting decision to make -- one would think as soon as this summer, so as not to have the twins' pending UFA status hang over the team next season.

The defense is set, which is either a good thing if you like this group or a bad thing if you're a Canucks fan who wants change. But Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler all have contracts that run at least through 2015-16. Unless they trade some of these big contracts, that's the Canucks' core blue line for a while.

The Canucks also have the highest payroll in the league, and the salary cap is going down to $64.3 million next season. Obviously divesting themselves of Luongo's $5.33 million cap hit via a trade or a compliance buyout will help in that regard, with Keith Ballard ($4.2 million a year for two more seasons) another buyout candidate as well.

And because of the years of contending and going for it, there isn't a deep pool of prospects in the pipeline, either.

So, to recap:

• Do the Canucks have a bona fide No. 1 goalie in Schneider moving forward?

• Should this team still be built around the Sedins?

• Will Ryan Kesler ever be injury-free?

• Does this team have the right supporting cast to still contend?

• Is it time to retool, rebuild or be patient for one more run with this core?

Many questions at this point, but very few answers.

The only thing for certain is that it won't be dull in Vancouver this offseason.

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I had posted this to another thread a few months back and this is what I'd like to see. Given that it seems like Corrado is ready (albeit only a couple of games but he can manage a bottom pairing as he's better than most of our bottom right now)...some minor tweaks to my original proposal

As we have seen and I said earlier, we are still lacking the hands/size combination, aggressiveness/hitting, and hunger we need to win a cup. As such here are my thoughts (albeit challenging to do all of them) that could really turn us into a TOUGH team to play against, and one that's built for the playoff grind, and that can play any style.

Right now our 2014 cap is 60 million, it is expected to be 64 million so here are my views.

First things first

1. Lou, Bieksa, Schroeder, and our first to Philly for Coutourier and #11 overall. Philly gets their goalie, a decent dman, a potential center and still keep a first rounder.

2. Then take that number 11 pick plus Jensen and move it to FLA for #2 overall. FLA has depth at center, they dont NEED McKinnon, they could use a winger with hands and Jensen is more ready than any pick will be. Morover they still have a 11th overall...a great deal for them.

3. Draft McKinnon

4. Sign David Clarkson for 4.25 ml and Raffi Torres for 3.0 (yes slight overpayment but given his playoff performance there will be a battle for him, SJ will likely have the upper hand here as he seems to have found a nice spot).

4. Trade Ballard, Higgins, and Tostito to the Islanders for Matt Martin and a 2nd round pick. Islanders will be in desparate need of a top 4 dman given the UFA and aging status of most of their D. An experienced Dman will do wonders for that team going forward as they are showing they are ready to take the next step. Higgins is from NY and brings a veteran presence to a team that will need one. Tostito helps them replace Martin (at least a bit). Martin gives us what we're missing on the 4th line, the best hitter in the NHL.

5. Sign Boyd Gordon or Steckel for the fourth line and let Roy go as well as MayRay

6. Resign Lappy for 2.0 ml

7. Booth traded for a pick

This team will have size on every line. Someone who can score and hit with the Sedins (and take some pressure off Kassian and let him develop properly).Clarkson has size, uses it, can fight and will drop em, protect the Sedins and can score, has very good hands, good cycler and around the net/tough areas.

In addition, we solved our issues down the middle for the next 12 years. With Coutourier and McKinnon we have a real number 1 and real number 2, at the most important position, next to goalie, in hockey. We also have Gaunce ready to be a superstar number 3 with 2nd line capability - what we've been lacking for so many seasons, real strengths long term at 1c 2c and 3c.

Burrows moves back with Kesler Mckinnon plays the other wing until he’s ready to play center. Offensive instincts suggest he can jump in. He can play the playmaker on this line until he's ready to take over at center. He's more offensively gifted then Coutourier so Couts goes to #3 as till the Sedins move on and also more experienced so a better bet to be in a 'responsible' position right now.

The team below wins the Stanley Cup next year.

Line up.

Daniel Henrik Clarkson

6.1 / 6.1/ 4.25 = 16

Burrows Kesler Mckinnon

4.5 / 5/ .875 = 10.4

Kassian Coutourier Torres

.875 / 1.35 / 3.0 = 5.25

Martin / Lappy / Hansen

1 / 2.0 / 1.35= 4.35

Forwards = 36.

Hamhuis Garrison

4.5 / 4.6 = 9.1

Edler Tanev

5 / 2 = 7

Find a number 5/6 (Fistric) + / Corrado

3 /1 = 4

Defense = 20.1

Schnieds

4

Lack

.875

Total = 61.1 Mil

Add in Steckel as your depth Center for 2 ml

You’re at 63 ml.

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With these stories, it's always 'trade this guy, trade that guy' and never 'THIS IS WHO WE'LL GET BACK.'

It's the second part that is FAR more important, imho.

Can't wait for the 'Why did we trade Cody if we weren't sold on the Sedins' angle to pop up. Omg Cody!

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