Not too long ago, in fact about 2 and a half weeks ago, in the ramp up to the “first deadline” before the roster freeze everyone had marked Demitra as on their trade block. Then came the Olympics and Canucks fans are already excited to have him back on the team. I knew from the beginning that Demitra was only going to get better during the Olympics and he showed that from game to game. Heck if Halak and the rest of the Slovak team hadn’t imploded in the 3rd period of their bronze medal game it would be Pavol not Sami coming home with the medal.
Demitra was playing some inspired hockey and it’s clear that he’s found his stride. I don’t doubt when he returns to the lineup tonight in the NHL he’s going to be better than he was before the Olympics but when playing with linemates like Wellwood and Bernier, I fully expect his level of play to regress a little. He’s slated to start on the 2nd line tonight but I doubt playing alongside silver medalist Ryan Kesler can spark him the way Hossa and Gaborik did.
Demitra’s play at the Olympics made his value spike, but that being said trading him isn’t going to give us all that much more cap room. While he has a 4 million salary cap hit over 82 games, it’s pro-rated over the games he’s played and the games he has remaining, so really his cap hit is more in the area of 1.2 million. Right now with a struggling set of bottom six forwards, Demitra’s play isn’t going to thrive. That being said the Canucks can never have too much scoring so it makes sense to keep him around. So what do you do?
The original rumours of Demitra to the Rangers look better than ever. Especially if he got to play with fellow Slovak Gaborik and re-spark what they had at the Olympics here in Vancouver. If that were the case the Canucks would likely have to throw a couple other players in and swing some sort of package deal but in moving a big name like Demitra, you’re going to want something back. The Canucks are not in the business of selling at this deadline.
Bottom line is while Demitra’s value has gone way up because of his play at the Olympics the Canucks aren’t likely to get what they need at this deadline in return for him. Right now they need a defenseman and the list of teams that would want Demitra aren’t the same list of teams that have a top 6 blue-liner capable of filling our needs. At the end of the day Demitra’s value to this team keeps interesting. Demitra gets to slot back into the PP taking that point shot away from Raymond/Samuelsson, and he has the potential to really ignite that 3rd line and give the Canucks another offensive weapon. With the playoffs coming up we’ll need a guy like Demitra on the team and unless Gillis gets offered some sort of no-brainer in return for Demitra I don’t see him moving at this deadline