Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Contracts, Arbitration and Speculation!


When you look at the Canucks payroll right now, one thing is clear: something has to give. If Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson are ready for the NHL this season, then Mike Gillis currently has 15 potential NHL forwards. When you consider that most teams carry 14 or fewer forwards, then yes, something has to give. Here’s a list of where they’re at:

Top 9 forwards under contract (one-way contract):

  • Daniel Sedin
  • Henrik Sedin
  • Pavol Demitra
  • Ryan Kesler
  • Alex Burrows
  • Mikael Samuelsson
  • Mason Raymond
  • Steve Bernier

Top 9 forwards under contract (two-way contract):

  • Cody Hodgson
  • Michael Grabner

Top 9 forwards not under contract (restricted free agent)

  • Kyle Wellwood
  • Jannik Hansen

Fourth liners under contract:

  • Ryan Johnson
  • Darcy Hordichuk
  • Rick Rypien

Assuming they play with 14 forwards, then someone is on the trade block if both Grabner (he is not a certainty) and Hodgson (he is) make the team. Now assuming that the 4th liners stay in the line-up on a regular basis and that they re-sign their restricted free agents, they will have some players in the press box that they don’t want there. If Hodgson and Grabner make the team, they will want them playing often, most likely on their top 3 lines. That means that Wellwood, Raymond and Hansen will be in the press box (or traded) unless Gillis makes a move. With Ohlund gone, their need is clear on defence.


So who is on the move? I think that Wellwood and/or Demitra will be on the move. Wellwood’s probably in line for a raise and is also probably penciled in to be in the press box with Hodgson and Samuelsson on their way. Demitra makes $4 million, and is the most expensive of their forwards not named Daniel or Henrik. Look for them to find a defenceman from a team without depth up front and good depth on defence.


A team like Toronto would make some sense, if not for the grudge that Brian Burke has with the Aquilinis/Canucks. A team like Philadelphia might work. They’ve just acquired Chris Pronger, and probably no longer need a guy like Matt Carle, who would surely help the Canucks power play. He’s young and only has a cap hit of $3.438, which fits him into the Canucks payroll structure nicely. Philly has just lost Mike Knuble to free agency and Joffrey Lupul via trade. They’re deep at centre, but could use wingers like Demitra or Hansen. They could also use a goaltender of the future like Kevin Weekes Cory Schneider.

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