Some random Friday musings as we eagerly await the NHL Entry Draft:
- There’s a lot of chatter leading into tonight’s NHL Entry Draft. The Canucks are said to be entertaining offers for their first-round pick (29th overall) and goaltender Cory Schneider to either move up the draft or to acquire a player that can help them win now.
- If they keep their pick, the Canucks have shown interest in top-ranked goaltender, John Gibson, and Vancouver Giants defenseman, David Musil.
- There were rumors yesterday linking the Peter Stastny to the Canucks. Here’s the thing: Stastny has a $6.6 million cap hit. While Stastny would give the Canucks a much-needed top-six player, he would also become the team’s highest-paid player. Mike Gillis has done a good job of managing their cap hierarchy and this move would go against this. From Colorado’s perspective, they’re a team already $20 million under the salary cap floor (after trading John-Michael Liles to the Leafs this afternoon) and 13 players signed. It’s hard to see them letting Stastny go without taking on additional salary. Keith Ballard, perhaps?
- The Avs aren’t the only team under the cap floor. Florida is $30 million under with 11 players signed. Carolina is $17 million under with 12 players signed. Phoenix is $17 million with 15 players signed. There aren’t a lot of quality UFA’s. Performance bonuses will help these teams get to the cap, but I think there will be some crappy players who are going to get paid good.
- As good as Eddie Lack was in the AHL last season, is anyone else uncomfortable with a Luongo-Lack goaltending combo should the Canucks trade Cory Schneider?
- How do you describe the Flyers’ roster overhaul from yesterday? If Paul Holmgren didn’t think Mike Richards and Jeff Carter could help lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup, why did he sign them to 12 and 11-year contracts, respectively? At least Holmgren did good to at least get Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, the no. 8 overall pick and a couple of other mid-round picks in return.
- Some somewhat good news for Canucks fans: Mike Gillis announced today that Dan Hamhuis had successful surgery today, and there is a possibility he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
- Gillis also said the Canucks wouldn’t be making any announcement about their new AHL affiliate until next week, but the TEAM 1040 is reporting that it will be with the Chicago Wolves. If true, this is interesting in a couple of ways. First – and this is obvious – Blackhawks fans hate the Canucks so it’s unclear if the Canucks prospects will get any attention in enemy territory. Similarly, the Abbotsford Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, located in Canucks country are costing Abbotsford taxpayers half-a-million dollars a year. But also, the Canucks’ success with the Manitoba Moose was largely due to the excellent relationship they had with each other. That sort of relationship doesn’t build overnight. The Wolves are an independently-owned AHL franchise, much like the Moose were. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Canucks’ long-term preference is to own their AHL affiliate. It’ll be interesting to see how the relationship between the two moves forward.
- Andy Strickland mentioned in a recent post that the Canucks may place Keith Ballard on waivers and eat his contract in the minors if they can’t move him. It’s hard to believe that Ballard is that bad, but if Canucks brass think he is, know that Acquilini is more than willing to stash salaries in the minors if it means fielding a better roster in the bigs.