One day after the Dallas Stars inexplicably had their poorest showing of season, a 7-1 loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, and one day before Mr Roxy himself, Shane O’Brien returns to town, it seems appropriate to look in-depth at the “Roxy Flu”.
My eyebrow was raised a little bit with the news this morning that Sergei Shirokov has been re-called by the Vancouver Canucks. Remember him? Shirokov had some good seasons in Russia since being drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round back in 2006. He made the move to North America last year, dazzled everyone in preseason and earned a spot on opening night.
Sami Salo is back, well, almost. He’s been skating for a long time now, and has been practicing and traveling with the team for a couple of weeks also. So when is he set to return? The Canucks are keeping this somewhat secretive, but it looks to be soon. The reason is of course the salary cap. The Canucks are very close to the cap right now and will be over it when Salo returns. According to CapGeek, the Canucks would need to get rid of $1.8 million of annual salary if Salo returned today.
Let me immediately state that this is not a trade rumour. Nobody has suggested that the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are talking trade or that Mike Gillis is shopping Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard or Cory Schneider. Even new Flames general manager Jay Feaster has said that he is not interested in trading the face of the franchise, Jarome Iginla. While we can choose to believe or not believe Jay Feaster, it’s still unlikely that he would trade Iginla to Vancouver given that they are a division rival. The point of asking this question centres around a bigger question. When (if ever) is the time to load up, trade for a player to put your team over the hump, while sacrificing some of your future? I think this year might be the year and a Raymond/Ballard/Schneider for Iginla deal is at least worth a thought.
I don’t know it for sure, but I believe the Canucks sellout streak is over at Rogers Arena. Now, the Canucks aren’t admitting this, and the game notes on Canucks.com for tonight’s game claim that they have 322 consecutive sellouts. But over the last little while I’ve noticed a few things that make me doubt the current sellout streak.
With the regular season mere days away, the NHL is conducting it’s annual fourth line/seventh defenceman/AHLer shuffle. The Canucks, who are tight against the cap are doing about as much shuffling as anyone at the moment, trying to finalize their roster. The Canucks traded Shane O’Brien and his $1.6 million cap hit along with prospect Dan Gendur (he’s more suspect than prospect) to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent ($925,000 cap hit) and Jonas Andersson. The Canucks immediately placed Parent on waivers with the intent to put him in the minors.
The Vancouver Canucks placed Shane O’Brien and Darcy Hordichuk on waivers today. I found the news surprising but I guess when you think about it, the writing was on the wall for both of them. Both players were healthy scratches a number of times last season and both players have big contracts given their place on the team.
Believe it or not, the Canucks are now 75% complete their preseason schedule. That means some tough decisions need to be made by Alain Vigneault and the Canucks coaching staff, and they need to be made soon. There are only two games left before a long list of players on the bubble will find out where they will start the 2010-11 season. That list includes most notably Cody Hodgson, Brendan Morrison and Jeff Tambellini.
The Canucks announced yesterday that former Canuck Brendan Morrison will be trying out for the team in training camp (related: Peter Schaefer is also on a tryout). This is interesting on a number of fronts. To start, Morrison will play in the preseason in a Canucks jersey and could make the team, be cut or sign with any other team before the start of the regular season. So quite clearly, nothing is guaranteed.
Roberto Luongo did what a lot of people anticipated on Monday and relinquished captaincy for the Vancouver Canucks. I think this is a positive move and it was done in such a way that everyone saves face. Gillis hinted that he wouldn’t mind Luongo giving up the C, but ultimately allowed Luongo to make the decision. Getting rid of the C should help Luongo focus on stopping the puck, although pressure on him will still be high. But by giving the C to someone else, that will deflect some of the pressure.