Mar 042009

For most of the day, the Vancouver Canucks were rumored to be one of the front-runners to acquire Jay Bouwmeester from the Florida Panthers. They were also apparently after a 3rd line center. By the end of the day, Mike Gillis determined the price tags were too high and decided to pass on the action.

Gillis is obviously happy with his team’s current make up and why wouldn’t he be? The Canucks sit in 5th place in the Western Conference, having won 11 of their last 13 games. They have 19 games left in the regular season and only 3 of those games are against teams that sit on top of them in the standings; and in fact, 12 of their remaining games are against teams that won’t make the playoffs and were in seller mode today. Barring a complete collapse – knock on wood – they should return to the postseason.

Whether or not the Canucks are good enough to make some serious noise in the playoffs is a different question. At the very least, I think they are good enough to be competitive in the postseason. Assuming they stay healthy, they’ll have 2 scoring lines, a not-so-bad bottom 2 lines, 8 NHL defensemen, and of course, Luongo.

It was tough to watch as other teams loaded up – Calgary added a top-6 forward (Olli Jokinen) and a top-4 defenseman (Jordan Leopold), San Jose added Travis Moen and Kent Huskins, and Chicago added Sammy Pahlsson – but the Canucks would’ve mortgaged their future to keep up. To acquire Bouwmeester, the cost was Kevin Bieksa, Mason Raymond and a 1st round draft pick. To acquire a 3rd line center, the cost was a 2nd round draft pick. If they had a bit more organizational depth, maybe the Canucks actually pull off these deals; unfortunately, they don’t.

For now, Gillis has chosen the more prudent path, simply keeping together a team that’s not perfect but can be competitive. The hope is that they can stay healthy, continue their very good play of late and carry it into the playoffs where anything can happen.

Mar 042009

Good morning boys and girls. It’s 5:19 AM and I just rolled out of bed and wife’s annoyed. We go through this same routine every trade deadline day. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM, I wake up, and she wonders why the heck I do this. No worries. I know she follows along at work. I hope you will too.

But first, coffee.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:23 AM]

From Bruce Garrioch via Hosea Cheung:

League sources say the Canucks are offering D Kevin Bieksa, LW Mason Raymond and a No. 1 pick for Bouwmeester.

That package is about what I figured would be the starting point for Bouwmeester. To be honest though, I’m not sure it’s enough to get it done. But then again, I never would have thought Florida would trade Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:38 AM]

The TSN panel just mentioned that Tim Connolly, a UFA in the summer and one of the guys rumored Mike Gillis is after, is close to a contract extension with the Sabres.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:44 AM]

I’m curious. Who would win a fight between two pugilists turned panelists? Matthew Barnaby or Nick Kypreos?

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:20 AM]

Sportsnet is talking about whether or not the Canucks should pick up Miroslav Satan to play with the Sedins.

It’s like 2006 all over again.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:33 AM] is getting in on the trade deadline day action with a dedicated page for today, complete with a picture of a dreamy Scott Rintoul.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:55 AM]

Sportsnet is reporting that the Bruins are after Mattias Ohlund. TSN is saying that Ohlund is not available.

[update: 03/04/2009, 6:59 AM]

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our 1st trade of the day.

Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick goes to Ottawa; Antoine Vermette goes to Columbus.

Did Leclaire’s stock drop that much or did Vermette’s go up?

[update: 03/04/2009, 7:40 AM]

Just reading Jay Onrait’s blog on TSN. Funny stuff, like this entry:

9:42 – Chris Finlay writes in to ask:

“Are you going to keep blogging past 3 p.m to ensure you don’t miss any trades?”

Sure. Rub in the fact that a few years ago I stopped blogging at 3 p.m due to exaustion, only to miss the Ryan Smyth trade, the biggest one of the day. I took a lot of heat for that, but at least I didn’t read about the Ryan Smyth trade on New York Newsday’s website and try to pass it off as my own. Or worse, report that Smyth had signed with the Oilers, only to have Edmonton trade him hours later.

[update: 03/04/2009, 7:57 AM]

Lost in all this trade deadline talk is the waiver deadline for all those players waived yesterday. In an hour, we should find out who goes where.

I’m on the fence on whether or not the Canucks should put in a claim for Brendan Morrison. I love the guy, and if he’s healthy, he’d suit the 3rd line center role more than Kyle Wellwood. I’m not sure he’s completely recovered from all his injuries in the last couple of seasons though.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:15 AM]

Via Jason Botchford’s Twitter feed, the Canucks aren’t interested in Brendan Morrison. There goes that.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:24 AM]

Bob Mackenzie is reporting that the Flames and the Coyotes are working on a deal that will send Olli Jokinen to Calgary. As a Canucks fan, that’s scary.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:31 AM]

Is it just me or does a $1.6 million per season raise for two seasons for Tim Connolly seem high? Yeah, he’s almost a point-per-game guy, but he makes Sami Salo look like an iron man and has only played 79 games in the last 2.75 seasons.

[update: 03/04/2009, 8:50 AM]

Calgary just acquired Jordan Leopold for Lawrence Nycholat, prospect Ryan Wilson and a 2nd round draft pick 2010. Basically, they got a top-4 defenseman without giving up anything from their roster.

I hate to admit it… but nicely done.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:05 AM]

The waiver wire list:

Martin Gerber to Toronto
Brendan Morrison to Dallas
Craig Adams to Pittsburgh

I echo TSN’s sentiments on Gerber. Why?

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:19 AM]

A couple of minor deals: Buffalo acquires Mikhail Tellqvist from Phoenix for a 4th round draft pick, Blues trade Andy Wozniewski to Pittsburgh to Danny Richmond.

Lots of chatter, not a lot of action. I wonder if I have time to run out and get another coffee.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:39 AM]

Per TSN, Calgary acquires Olli Jokinen for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a 1st round draft pick. That’s a steep price to pay but the Flames just got a lot deeper.

The salaries don’t work – the Flames are about $3 million over the cap at this point – so Sutter must have something else brewing.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:54 AM]

Vesa Toskala’s going on injured reserve, which explains the Gerber pickup.

I suppose that means TO is still very much in the Tavares/Hedman sweepstakes.

[update: 03/04/2009, 9:58 AM]

A quick hit on the Canucks seeing that I haven’t really talked about them in this post.

Jason Botchford and Hosea Cheung are both reporting that Mike Gillis is chasing hard after Jay Bouwmeester. I think this is significant because it underscores Gillis’ philosophy in managing this team.

With Sundin’s signing and Burrows’ re-signing, it shows he’s willing to chase and pay big bucks for players who are very good at what they do. If they’re going to get paid, they damn well have a significant impact on the team. On the flip side, he won’t spend much time on average players who only make his team marginally better.

Look at the makeup of this team right now. It’s tough to point to a player who is considered “overpaid”. Gillis has gotten bang for his buck. It’s the moneyball philosophy.

So I’m not surprised to hear the Canucks are still in the Bouwmeester sweepstakes. He’s the kind of guy who will make this team much, much better. He’s the kind of guy who could take this team over the hump. The only question left really is whether the Canucks have the assets to pull it off.

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:25 AM]

More on Bouwmeester.

Apparently, Florida want Cody Hodgson as well.

Not saying it’s gonna happen, and actually, if I was Gillis I’d probably just hang up. But if it does and Hodgson goes the other way, then the Canucks best well win the Stanley Cup this year.

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:42 AM]

I’m trying hard to keep up on the Twitter updates and I also have a Skype chat going on with other Canucks bloggers.

The rumor of the moment is that the Canucks and the Panthers have agreed on Raymond and a 1st for Bouwmeester, but the Panthers also want Kevin Bieksa. (Incidentally, this was the rumored package from earlier today.)

Keeping in mind Gillis’ moneyball approach, is adding an unsigned Bouwmeester and removing a signed Bieksa worth it? Is it a significant improvement on the Canucks’ ‘D’?

[update: 03/04/2009, 10:57 AM]

Boston’s been busy:

  • Boston acquires Mark Recchi and a 2nd round pick in 2010 from Tampa Bay for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums
  • Boston acquires Steve Montador from Anaheim for Petteri Nokelainen

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:03 AM]

Bill Guerin’s on his way to Pittsburgh for a conditional draft pick.

Per TSN, the return is a 5th round pick. If the Penguins make the playoffs, it becomes a 4th round pick. If they win a round, it becomes a 3rd round pick.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:40 AM]

20 minutes left and only 8 trades so far.

A lot of names haven’t moved yet – Jay Bouwmeester, Derek Morris, Nik Antropov – and I’m wondering now if they would be.

Big finish boys. Big finish.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:47 AM]

Phoenix acquires Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round draft pick; Daniel Carcillo goes to Philadelphia.

Damn. Upshall would have looked good on the Canucks’ 3rd line.

[update: 03/04/2009, 11:52 AM]

Nik Antropov is Broadway-bound; the Leafs receive a 2nd round draft pick and a conditional draft pick.

So much for Burke’s asking price of a prospect and a 1st round draft pick.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:00 PM]

Derek Morris is on his way to the Rangers as well. The Coyotes get Nigel Dawes, Dmitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha in return. Not a bad return, I might add.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:07 PM]

Buffalo acquires Dominic Moore from Toronto for a 2nd round draft pick.

A 2nd round draft pick? Wow.

[update: 03/04/2009, 12:12 PM]

Hosea Cheung just let us know that it’s official and that the Canucks are standing pat. Mike Gillis has a press conference scheduled at 12:45 PM.

I’ll gather my thoughts on today and post again later tonight. Remember that I’m also on Jacked In With Jessica (Kelowna AM 1150) at 4:20 PM.

Mar 032009

For the 4th year in a row, I’ll be liveblogging trade deadline day. Check back tomorrow morning – I hope to start bright and early (after I grab some good coffee) – and join me in the festivities. I’ll also be puttering around on Twitter, and then at 4:20 PM, I’ll be on Jacked In With Jessica (Kelowna 1150 AM) to wrap up the day.

Here are some sites I’ll be following.

The Canucks-centric blogs:

The big blogs:

And the MSM:

See y’all in the morning.

[update: 03/04/2009, 5:37 AM]

I don’t know how I forgot to mention The Fourth Period. I visit the site everyday.

Feb 282009

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know too much about Ossi Vaananen, but the more I read about the guy, the more I like the pick-up.

A fair number of Philadelphia fans on HFBoards don’t like the fact that Vaananen was waived in the first place. IMHO, that says a lot. Up until about a month ago, Vaananen was playing with Kimmo Timonen as the Flyers’ top-pairing and logging an average of close to 20 minutes per game. He was also popular in the team’s dressing room. For whatever reason however, he found himself lower on the depth chart and in the press box.

From Brad Ziemer (Vancouver Sun):

Vaananen, a 28-year-old native of Finland, has played nearly 500 NHL games and is a former second-round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes.

“He’s a sixth-seventh defenceman on a good team, so he gives us depth in that area,” Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said Friday. “He’s a big stay-at-home D.”

The six-foot, four-inch Vaananen is on a one-year contract worth $1 million US. He becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Canuck defenceman Sami Salo has played with Vaananen on Finnish national teams in the past.

“He’s a good guy and a really solid defensive defenceman,” Salo said. “He doesn’t back off any physical play and plays hard every game. I think he going to fit pretty good in this locker room.”

The Kurtenbloggers have this to add:

Here’s what we know about Vaananen – he’s big (6-foot-4, 215lbs), cheap ($1 million) and, based on his career numbers, can play around 18 minutes per night. He’s a physical defenceman (led all rookies in hits in 2000-01 with 190) who’s not much of an offensive threat (career-high 16 points), but a career plus-25 mark is indicative of his responsiblity in his own zone. Apparently, he’s also quite injury prone, which is another reason he should get along with Salo.

Regardless, it certainly sounds like Vaananen is quite a serviceable defenseman. He gives the Canucks some much-needed depth on the blueline. Assuming the Canucks’ d-men all stay healthy, he would be their number 6/7 guy with Shane O’Brien and behind Ohlund, Salo, Mitchell, Bieksa and Edler. If any of them get injured, he would be able to play more than the 10 minutes per game Rob Davison plays.

More importantly, Vaananen’s acquisition cost the Canucks nothing more than a roster spot. Considering what the team had given up for depth defensemen in previous years – i.e. 2nd and 4th round draft picks for Brent Sopel, Brent Skinner and a 2nd round pick for Keith Carney (and Juha Alen), Tomas Mozjis and a 3rd round draft pick for Eric Weinrich, a 4th round draft pick for Sean Brown, and a 7th round draft pick for Marc Bergevin – getting Vaananen without giving up an asset is a treat.

Feb 232009

There were a couple of trade rumors involving the Canucks going around this weekend. One involved Nik Antropov of the Toronto Maple Leafs; the other involved Tim Connolly of the Buffalo Sabres. Both names are intriguing but both rumors also came from everyone’s favorite (hah!) rumor-monger so you can judge them for credibility for yourself.

The first rumor had the Canucks giving up a prospect and a 1st round draft pick for Antropov. Now that may be what Burkie is asking for, but I can guarantee you that Mike Gillis hung up the phone right after that. As we all know, the Canucks prospect pool isn’t that deep (that’s another post for another day) so if Gillis is willing to dangle the team’s first-rounder – contrary to what he’s previously said – I doubt it’s for a 29-year old UFA-to-be.

That’s not to say that Antropov is a bad pickup. Far from it. He’s a 6’6″ RW who is on pace for career highs in goals, assists and points this season. It’s a tantalizing prospect having him line up next to the Sedins. Heck, imagine him lining up next to Sundin. The one caveat is that he hasn’t had played in a playoff game in 5 years, and when did, he didn’t have much success.

Connolly is a different story. I’m not quite sure why Buffalo would be trading him. With Ryan Miller injured, maybe the Sabres have become sellers. Connolly is a UFA at the end of the season, but they’re not that deep at center so I figured they would try to re-sign him. Or maybe Mike Milbury knows something we don’t know. Anyway, when he’s healthy, Connolly is a point-per-game player. I can see him between Pyatt and Bernier and forming a big and defensively-responsible third scoring line. The question marks of course are his health. Because of concussions and a rib injury, he’s only appeared in 76 games in the last 3 seasons.

Both would look good in a Canucks jersey, though personally, I’d steer clear of Connolly’s injuries. The obvious question is what they would give up to get them. With limited assets, I wouldn’t want to give up too much for either. Maybe a prospect and a middle-round draft pick, but definitely not a first-rounder.

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