[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.]
After another second round playoff exit to the Chicago Blackhawks, Mike Gillis to-do list included a few things. He wanted to make the Canucks tougher to play against. He wanted to add size to the bottom-six. He wanted to improve the Canucks’ 18th-ranked penalty-kill. He wanted to add players with playoff experience.
Enter Manny Malhotra.
At 6’2″ and 220 lbs., Malhotra is a big upgrade on the third line over Kyle Wellwood. He kills penalties and plays on the powerplay. (He’ll probably do little of the latter, but still, the option is there.) He won 62.5% of his faceoffs. He was a key part of the San Jose Sharks team which made the Western Conference Finals last year.
But all this came at a cost. Malhotra’s contract is worth $7.5 million over 3 years and includes a limited no-trade clause. He most certainly fills a need, but did the Canucks overpay to get him?
Cam from Canucks Army: Canucks fans won’t really know if he’s overpaid until the quarter-pole of the season. That said, then other 3rd line centres like Colby Armstrong went for $3m and more this free-agency season, it’s hard to really complain about getting Malhotra for less than that.
Richard: (Uncle) Manny is going to be great for the Canucks. He has the potential to influence not only the younger players on the team, but guys like Kesler and Henrik. Do I think he was worth his millions? The Sharks were going to offer him a similar amount of money. If that’s the going rate for him these days, so be it. Money aside, he was an excellent pick up by Gillis.
Chris: I’m down with Manny’s expected contribution, but I’m not sold that the money needed to get him couldn’t have been better spent elsewhere. The Canucks will be pressing the upper limits of the cap for most of the season and you have to consider that every dollar more that goes to the third line centre is one less dollar that can be spent on the rest of his line, the fourth line, and the bottom two blueliners. Call me a fence-sitter if you must, but I’m thinking the jury is still out.
J.J.: There’s always concern when GMs shell out big money for role players, but like Cam and Richard said, it sounds like Manny simply signed for his market value. It’s obviously too early to say if he’ll live up to that contact, but I like that Gillis identified a gap, targeted a player he liked, and signed him. Manny’s good at what he does, and what he does is what the Canucks need.