Aug 222009
 

Gillis made clear upon his arrival to the franchise that he was a mover and a shaker, while I got the impression some of the things he said were almost a show for the media, other things he said, he’s stuck by.

Gillis has struggled to put his mark on the team, to make that one move that marks the Canucks as Gillis’ Canucks – yet. After suggesting to the media and the fans that he was coming in with a revolving door policy, he’s stayed quiet relative to what we’d come to expect, and now facing the restructuring of contracts, and architecture of the team round a salary cap, he’s handcuffing himself by trying to build a franchise around too many pieces.

In the salary cap era, the team’s that succeed are built around one super star. Gillis is trying to build a Canucks team around Luongo and the Sedins, something that financially is a stepping stone in the road to disappointment and disaster. While the Sedins are not labeled as superstars, they are amongst the league’s top tier of players, and well Luongo has a 30 foot posterization of himself at the NHL store, so I think that speaks for his superstar status.

Gillis has locked up the Sedins for 13 million dollars, and Luongo commands 7.5 in the last year of his contract, their total combined salary is 36% of the Canucks cap space. Gillis needs to pick who he want’s to build the franchise around. There’s no way he can build a contending team with 64% of the cap to spend on 20 players. He’s trying, and it’s left us in a situation that doesn’t have a bright side. We’re lacking a top 6 forward, and a top 4 defenseman, something you can’t do with only ~1.5 million dollars of cap space, after locking up 3 players to over a third of your allotted spending money.

If the Burrows experiment continues to be a success, Kesler picks up where he left off last year, Demitra actually earns his 4 million dollars, and Hodgson steps up like he’s expected to, and so do the rest of the bottom 6, the Canucks could have a shot at this. Oh yeah, and it also banks on Luongo not letting in 7 goals in the most important game of his career. There are a lot of intangibles going into this season that could, can and will define this year’s edition of the Vancouver Canucks. Gillis has one year to make this “work”. If it does “work”, then next year he’s in deep. If Hodgson pans out, Hodgson’s rookie bonuses will count towards a larger cap hit and with 3 players chewing up nearly 40% of the salary, Gillis better hope for a miracle if he wants to keep Ryan Kesler and Willie Mitchell around.

You can’t build a franchise around more than one star. When it comes down to the money it’s not possible to bring in a solid supporting cast on the budget he’s left himself. Gillis now has his hands tied because the Sedins have been inked for 5 years, and if he gives Luongo what Luongo wants he’s likely to command as much as he’s making this year if not more. He deserves it, he’s the best goalie in the league, but in a salary cap era, there’s no way you can afford the right supplementary and complementary players when you blow the bank on 3 guys. Gillis is banking on Luongo being a rock and playing year round, and in the playoffs the way he did against Dallas in his first playoff run, and he’s banking on the Sedins and Burrows to be godsend. I’m not buying it yet. I’ll believe it when I see it, but Gillis’ lack of action around signing Free Agents because he’s invested too much money in too many players has hindered the team in the long run. Gillis is is taking a gamble by banking on a young team built on a lot of ‘ifs’.

  • Mr B

    Interesting take but I disagree. Both the Penguins and the Wings, the stanley cup contending teams, were built around more than one star player. I can think of others as well. I do agree that success depends on the second tier players stepping up.

  • Mr B

    Interesting take but I disagree. Both the Penguins and the Wings, the stanley cup contending teams, were built around more than one star player. I can think of others as well. I do agree that success depends on the second tier players stepping up.

  • Jared

    That’s true. But players are willing to take a salary-hit for a couple of years to play on the same teams as Crosby and Malkin, or Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Lidstrom.

    Luongo and the Sedins hardly have that pulling power.

  • Jared

    That’s true. But players are willing to take a salary-hit for a couple of years to play on the same teams as Crosby and Malkin, or Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Lidstrom.

    Luongo and the Sedins hardly have that pulling power.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com Richard Loat

    You can hardly compare the Sedins and Luongo to Malkin and Crosby, or the Wings duos.

    Luongo in my eyes has yet to prove to me that he can play again the way he did in his first year with Vancouver. If he played like that I’d have no qualms whatsoever. The Sedins while consistant top tier players, are at the bottom of that top tier. They aren’t game changers the way Ovechkin, Crosby or Malkin are. Were the Canucks to have a Malkin or a Crosby, and a Luongo I’d be okay. But the fact that twins need each other to produce the way they are make them something to build upon unto themselves, but to build around all three, I feel the cap hit is going to prove detrimental down the stretch and at times like the trade deadline.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com Richard Loat

    You can hardly compare the Sedins and Luongo to Malkin and Crosby, or the Wings duos.

    Luongo in my eyes has yet to prove to me that he can play again the way he did in his first year with Vancouver. If he played like that I’d have no qualms whatsoever. The Sedins while consistant top tier players, are at the bottom of that top tier. They aren’t game changers the way Ovechkin, Crosby or Malkin are. Were the Canucks to have a Malkin or a Crosby, and a Luongo I’d be okay. But the fact that twins need each other to produce the way they are make them something to build upon unto themselves, but to build around all three, I feel the cap hit is going to prove detrimental down the stretch and at times like the trade deadline.

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  • John Smith

    I too disagree, Crosby, Malkin, Fleury. Toews, Kane, Sharp. Lecavilier, st. louis, stamkos. the list goes on and on….???

  • John Smith

    I too disagree, Crosby, Malkin, Fleury. Toews, Kane, Sharp. Lecavilier, st. louis, stamkos. the list goes on and on….???

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