The rumour mill is heating up with regards to Willie Mitchell and shockingly it appears the Canucks may still be in the race. It looks like the free agent d-man is now symptom free and will be ready to start the season. He has also reportedly narrowed his search to four teams: Washington, Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver. Mike Gillis didn’t do anything to curtail rumours, admitting to talking to Mitchell.
So this raises an interesting question: how on earth can the Canucks fit Mitchell under their cap? Well, if he’s willing to take a one-year deal worth $2-2.5 million, they could make room (trade Bieksa/O’Brien, etc). In my view, they ought to make room for Mitchell if he’s willing to sign for under $2.5 million (he may also be eligible for a performance bonus laden contract because of the amount of time he missed last season). He was perhaps their most important blueliner last season, which makes his concussion history worth the risk.
Brown in, Walter out
Ryan Walter has been let go by the team and replaced by former Ducks assistant coach Newell Brown. Walter was a guy brought-in by Gillis and it’s unsure as to why he was let go. Perhaps it’s that he never was on the same page as Alain Vigneault or that the team didn’t respond to his approach.
More Larscheid News
The drama continues around the dismissal of Canucks broadcasting legend Tom Larscheid. Ed Willes of the Province has theorized that he was let go at the request of Mike Gillis. The theory is that Gillis wanted a less critical broadcaster in place to call Canucks games and put pressure on the Team 1040 to dismiss him. Willes has reason to believe this according to his sources but it should be noted that Willes rips Gillis at every chance, so take it for what it’s worth. At the same time, I would find it very hard to believe that a respected journalist such as Willes would totally cook this up. Perhaps we’ll never know the real story.