Everyone seems to want to dump on the Vancouver Canucks, but I would certainly call a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals a successful season. The main reason the Canucks lost is because of unfortunate injuries, a lack of depth up front and inconsistency from their goaltender. While 2 of those 3 can’t be cured with offseason moves, one of them will be the focal point starting July 1.
The Canucks have arguably one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL, and that will in all likelihood stay that way. Luongo was shaky in the playoffs, but when he is on his game, he is one of the best goalies in the world. The loss of Christian Ehrhoff will hurt, but Vancouver should be just fine on defense, especially with Bieksa re-signing to a cap friendly deal. Up front, the Canucks feature 2 scoring lines that are as good as it gets for a 1-2 punch. The problem is after that, where there is not much scoring.
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis has just under $11M to play with this summer, and 6 roster spots to fill. The first 2 will be the re-signing of RFAs Jannik Hansen and Victor Oreskovich. Gillis found out last year that there is no such thing as having too many defensemen, so he will try and bring back Sami Salo on a short-term deal. The remaining dollars will be spent on some quality top 9 forwards; ones who may not be the biggest names, but they’ll be capable of scoring 15-20 goals and will not shy away from playing physical. Keep in mind; if Gillis really wants to rock the boat, he has the assets to acquire an impact forward. All he has to do is drop the names Cody Hodgson and Cory Schneider, throw in a salary like Samuelsson’s or Ballard’s and he’ll have the makings of a blockbuster trade.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS 2011-12 ROSTER (using CAPGEEK CAP CALCULATOR)
Daniel Sedin ($6.100m) / Henrik Sedin ($6.100m) / Alexandre Burrows ($2.000m)
Mason Raymond ($2.550m) / Ryan Kesler ($5.000m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($2.500m)
TOP 9 LW ($0.000m) / Manny Malhotra ($2.500m) / TOP 9 RW ($0.000m)
4TH LINE LW ($0.000m) / Maxim Lapierre ($1.000m) / Jannik Hansen (RFA)
Victor Oreskovich (RFA)
Dan Hamhuis ($4.500m) / Kevin Bieksa ($4.600m)
Alexander Edler ($3.250m) / Keith Ballard ($4.200m)
Aaron Rome ($0.750m) / Chris Tanev ($0.900m)
Andrew Alberts ($1.225m)
Roberto Luongo ($5.333m) / Cory Schneider ($0.900m)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000
CAP PAYROLL: $53,408,333
CAP SPACE: $10,891,667
There will be some changes in Vancouver this summer, that’s inevitable, but don’t expect the core of the team to be drastically altered. This was, is and will be an elite NHL team for years to come, so you can expect the Canucks to once again be at or near the top of the Western Conference in 2011-12.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.