Mar 182014
 
Harrison, Marie, and Clay

Harrison, Marie, and Clay

A couple of weeks ago, CHB favourite Marie Hui and I put together a tribute song to Roberto Luongo when he was traded to the Florida Panthers.  We performed Boyz II Men’s smash hit “End of the Road“.

Well, it seems like I’m not the only blogger who likes to write songs about Bobby Lu.  Harrison Mooney of Pass it to Bulis penned a farewell song to Luongo to the tune of Adele’s mega-hit “Someone Like You.”  Harrison contacted me to help him with the music and within 5 seconds we had agreed to invite Marie to join us.

The result is a powerful and emotional song, courtesy of Pass it to Canucks Hockey Blog.

Oct 242011
 

In this episode of the CHB TV video podcast, Matt Lee, J.J. Guerrero and Richard Loat discuss the trade that brought David Booth, Steven Reinprecht and a 2013 3rd round draft pick from the Florida Panthers to the Canucks in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.

Oct 062010
 

I’ll say this about Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman, they know their way around the CBA and the salary cap.

If you remember, they signed Joel Perrault and Jeff Tambellini as free agents this summer and then placed on waivers earlier this week. Both cleared waivers – Perrault yesterday and Tambellini this morning. (New Canuck Ryan Parent cleared too.) Perrault has since been assigned to the Manitoba Moose.

Because both are considered veteran minor leaguers according to section 50.9(g) of the CBA – meaning they’ve played in 320 or more games in North America (NHL, AHL and ECHL), and not played in more than 40 games in the NHL in the previous season – they are exempt from re-entry waivers. (That is, assuming Tambellini gets assigned to the Moose too.)

And according to section 13.2(b) of the CBA, because no team placed a waiver claim on either player, they don’t have to go through waivers again as long as they don’t play in 10 or more NHL games or spend more than 30 days on the Canucks’ roster.

This may seem like a minor point, but what it does it give the Canucks additional options in case they need to call someone up from the farm.

The same sections of the CBA apply to Andrew Peters. As you know, the Canucks traded Darcy Hordichuk to the Florida Panthers this morning and received tough guy Peters in return.

First, a couple of things on Peters: 1) he’s not a very good hockey player, but 2) he’s as big and scary a loose cannon as you’ll ever see in the NHL.

Now there’s been considerable debate on whether or not teams still need an enforcer in their lineup. My personal opinion is that teams don’t need to dress a Hordichuk or a Peters every game, but for certain games, they should probably dress one to deter opposing teams from taking cheap runs at, say, the Sedins and Roberto Luongo.

And that’s the beauty of the Hordichuk-for-Peters trade. Peters already cleared waivers earlier so the Canucks don’t need to place him on waivers again to send him to Manitoba. But also, he’s considered a veteran minor leaguer – he has 402 career NHL and AHL games played and played in only 29 NHL games last season (57 in the last two seasons) – and is thus exempt from re-entry waivers. His two-way contract also helps; the Canucks will pay Peters $75K to play in Manitoba and would have had to pay Hordichuk $800K to do the same.

From Hordichuk’s perspective, this trade allows him to stay in the NHL and return to the Sunshine State where he played from 2002 to 2004.

It’s a win-win trade.

(Note: I’ve been thinking about these sections of the CBA the last couple of days. If any CBA experts are reading this, please feel free to chime in in case I’ve misunderstood any of it.)

Oct 052010
 

Cue Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”.

The Canucks have traded Shane O’Brien and Dan Gendur to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson. The Canucks have placed Parent on waivers.

I realize it’s odd to have traded for Parent and then immediately placing him on waivers so there may be more to this transaction than meets the eye. But for now, let’s assume that this is a pure hockey trade, plain and simple.

Assuming Parent doesn’t get claimed on waivers, this is some shrewd asset management by Mike Gillis. SOB cleared waivers yesterday and seemed destined to spend the season in Manitoba. Because he would’ve had to pass through re-entry waivers – and the Canucks would’ve been on the hook for half of his cap hit ($800K) if claimed – it was unlikely he would have seen NHL ice this season.

In Parent, the Canucks get a former 1st round draft pick and a player perhaps known more for his leadership qualities than anything else. (In other words, he’s the anti-O’Brien.) Nashville drafted him 18th overall in 2005, the same draft class as the late Luc Bourdon. In fact, Parent was on Team Canada with Bourdon in 2006 and 2007 when they won gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

But the kicker in this trade is that Parent is only 23 years old. While he hasn’t been able to translate his success in junior into an NHL career yet, he’ll at least get a good opportunity to develop under Gillis’ program. IMHO, he vaults to the top of the Canucks’ defensive prospects depth chart. Unlike SOB, who’s scheduled to be a UFA at the end of this season, Parent is signed until the 2011/2012 season at a cap hit of $925K and is still an RFA after that. In a couple of years when Alex Edler’s contract comes up, we could very well see guys like Parent, Lee Sweatt, Kevin Connauton and Chris Tanev pushing for a roster spot as well.

Jun 262010
 

It’s no secret that the Canucks’ biggest need this off-season was to beef up their defense. UFA-to-be Willie Mitchell’s return was uncertain and defensive prospects Kevin Connauton and Yann Sauve were at least one, maybe two or more, years away from making the big club. So yesterday, on NHL Draft Day, GM Mike Gillis sent the Canucks’ 1st round (25th overall) draft pick, Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner to the Florida Panthers and acquired Keith Ballard and prospect Victor Oreskovich.

Keith Ballard hip checks Patrick Kane

The Canucks filled a need by acquiring Ballard. He is a legitimate top-4 defenseman with the ability to play big minutes. Among all NHL defensemen in 2009/2010, he ranked 55th in average TOI , 30th in total ES TOI and 32nd in total SH TOI. Those weren’t easy minutes either; according to Behind The Net, he had the 8th highest “quality of competition” among all defensemen who played at least 60 games.

Ballard adds a physical component in the Canucks’ back end. He finished last season with 201 blocked shots – 3rd among all NHL players – and 156 hits – 26th among NHL defensemen and 44 more hits than Canucks team leader Shane O’Brien.

He also has history with Canucks assistant coach, Rick Bowness (assuming he is re-signed), from their Phoenix days and should fit in nicely with a defensive core that already includes Alex Edler, Christian Ehrhoff and Sami Salo. (Yes, I know Kevin Bieksa is still a Canuck.)

In a nutshell, Ballard is the kind of defenseman the Canucks were looking to add to their lineup. He is the kind of defenseman Jarred Tinordi and Dylan McIlrath, if the Canucks had selected them with their 25th pick, could be, and the kind of defenseman potential free agent targets, Dan Hamhuis and Anton Volchenkov, are. But as highly-touted Tinordi and McIlrath are, it would’ve been a stretch to expect either one to step into the lineup and help the team immediately. And of course, there’s no guarantee that Gillis would’ve been able to sign Hamuis, Volchenkov or any other top-4 defenseman in the open market.

In fact, Ballard may be quite comparable to Hamhuis – both are 27 years old and both are good skaters who play a solid two-way game – though Ballard probably plays a bit more physically and has historically averaged more points. At last report Hamhuis was looking at a multi-year contract in the $4.5 million per year range and his rights have been traded twice in the last week; on the other hand, Ballard is signed for 5 more years at $4.2 million per year.

There will be Canucks fans out there who won’t like this trade because of who Mike Gillis gave up. Some feel that Gillis could’ve simply waited a week and then signed a top-4 defenseman without giving up Bernier, Grabner and a first-round pick who could turn out to be a real player. Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province) has a good analysis of this trade in response to that perspective:

Let’s look at what the Canucks gave up for Ballard — their 2010 first-round pick, Bernier and Michael Grabner.

The easiest decision was unloading Bernier. Despite a career of opportunity, including chances to play with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and the Sedin twins, he hasn’t made it work with any of them. Maybe if he was healthy, which he wasn’t last year, he could have found a home on the Canucks’ third line. But he doesn’t have the speed to be an impact player. He’s a tweener who doesn’t fit on a decent team. Dumping his $2 million is a benefit for the Canucks. A big one.

Next is the first-round pick. Gillis said his scouts were disappointed when they learned he was sending his only pick in the first three rounds to Florida. It must have felt like the scouts wasted a season of pavement pounding, number crunching and skill analysis. But, if they did their job, it makes this trade much, much better.

Heading into the draft, Gillis revealed he wasn’t bullish on this draft class, especially at defence.

(skip)

The key component of the deal is Grabner, a flashy prospect who has speed, scoring touch and promise. But let’s be real. He’s a defensive mess, can’t kill penalties and is consistently reluctant to go to the net. He’s soft. He wasn’t going to play this year. The Canucks didn’t want him on their third line and had no room for him in their top six.

So there you have it. To acquire Ballard, the Canucks gave up some forward depth, one they can afford with Cody Hodgson, Jordan Schroeder and Anton Rodin ready to move their way up the depth chart, and a late first round pick which (most likely) wasn’t going to help them win the Stanley Cup next year. They may have paid a steep price to address a need, but you know, you have to give to get.

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