Nucks at a crossroad
While this season they are forced to start young players in the bottom six and on defence to get under a shrunken salary cap, in 2014 the Canucks will have some serious decisions to make about what direction the team takes.
Let’s take a look at three very different approaches the Canucks could take at this year’s trade deadline or 2014 free agency.
The “blow it up” method
It’s difficult to get a feel for whether they will be re-signed. They will turn 34 at the start of the 2014 season, and their playoff performance has been underwhelming to say the least.
There are several big names who could replace the Sedins.
Veteran scoring winger Thomas Vanek is a very intriguing player who plays a more complete game than many scorers. He is a veteran but not past his prime.
Jason Pominville could be a replacement for Daniel Sedin, and would seem to be a good fit for a Tortorella team. Another interesting player and potential Henrik Sedin replacement would be Paul Stastny.
Stastny will be 28 when he becomes a free agent, and has the type of two-way game that Torts could be looking for.
An interesting name is Ryan Callahan, although that would depend on whether he would play for Tortorella again.
The Canucks are about as likely to sign Marion Gaborik as they are to sign me. Two words: John Tortorella.
He agreed to waive his no trade clause to go to Columbus to get away from Tortorella! Let that sink in for a minute.
Potential signings: Paul Stastny – 4 years, 26 million (6.5 mil. cap hit). Jason Pominville – 3 years, 15 million (5 mil. cap hit)
The sandpaper method
There are several players who will become free agents in the summer of 2014 who fit the “love to play with them, hate to play against them” category.
First on this list is Steve Ott.
The Canucks were reported to be interested in Ott at the 2013 trade deadline, but opted for another ex-Star in Derek Roy instead.
Ott is not merely a pest, but also a penalty killer who can play centre or wing. He’s the type of player that coach Tortorella would love, as he has just enough offensive output to throw on the top two lines when the star players aren’t producing.
Another pest that will become available is Dan Carcillo. I highly doubt the LA Kings will allow him to become available at the trade deadline, but he could be a perfect free agent target in 2014.
Dave Bolland is also a free agent in 2014 but it’s highly unlikely Toronto lets him go.
Potential Signings: Steve Ott – 2 years, 6.2 million (3.1 mil. cap hit), Dan Carcillo – 2 years, 2.5 million (1.25 million cap hit)
The damage control scenario
This is the one scenario that we hope does not happen.
Imagine if you will: The Canucks have a middling season, finish 5th in the West, and several players want out due to Tortorella’s coaching.
The Sedins decide they would like to go to a team that will play them in a more offensive system where they have a better chance to win. Roberto Luongo has a solid season and then demands to be traded. Other players become unhappy.
What could be done?
Fortunately there are free agent goaltenders in the class of 2014, but a desperate team sometimes overpays for free agent remedies. They may overpay for scoring to replace the Sedins.
Trade: Roberto Luongo to New York Islanders for draft picks or prospects.
Potential signings: Jaroslav Halak – 4 years, 19 million (4.75 cap hit), Thomas Vanek – 4 years, 28 million (7 mil. cap hit), David Legwand – 1 year, 4.75 million
Let me know what you think or would like to see in the comments.