Just when you thought the trade deadline was going to pass with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis doing nothing, he pulled off a pair of deals. The Canucks sent Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Chris Higgins. Gillis also acquired Maxim Lapierre and minor leaguer MacGregor Sharp (part of the all-name team) from the Anaheim Ducks for Joel Perreault and a 2013 3rd round pick.
We’re now less than 24 hours away from the NHL trade deadline (the deadline is at noon on Monday) and there are plenty of rumours going around. The latest has the Canucks interested in Marty Reasoner. I first brought up this idea 11 days ago, and it’s nice to see that it looks like Mike Gillis has listened. Matthew Sekeres reported that the Canucks have indeed inquired about Reasoner, but he and the Panthers are talking about a contract extension. Sekeres also offered up this tidbit, that the Canucks tried to acquire Reasoner at last year’s trade deadline, but the Thrashers (his team at the time) wanted a 2nd round draft pick for him.
One of the most exciting days on the NHL calendar is just around the corner. That day is trade deadline day, and it’s less than two weeks away. We have already gotten a taste of deadline day in recent days, with the Leafs and Senators beginning to offload players.
Ok ok before you freak out after reading the headline and trash me in the comments section, let me explain. Michael Grabner is not the second coming of Brett Hull. Far from it. So why bring it up? Let me explain… In case you haven’t noticed, former Canucks 1st round draft pick Michael Grabner is on quite a tear right now. After a slow start to the season, Grabner has 15 goals and 6 assists in his last 15 games. That’s brought his goal total up to 24 this year while playing on the Islanders third line. And that’s what makes this all the more impressive for Grabner. He hasn’t been given prime time minutes. He has received minimal power play time and is averaging only 14 minutes a game. Yesterday he netted a hat trick in only 15:06 of playing time. ‘Grabby’ is now on pace for 35 goals this year, imagine what that would look like playing 17-18 minutes a night? Imagine what he could do after he matures a little more. Somewhere Dave Nonis is saying “I told you so”.
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.
Ok, so Shane O’Brien wasn’t the best player or the smartest player, but he was one of the most entertaining. Even in the way out, he had some interesting comments about coach Alain Vigneault: I wish I got a little fairer shake in camp. I only played three exhibition games, all on the road, and we flew the day of the game on two of them. And – no disrespect to the players we had in those games – but the three games I played we were nowhere near an NHL-calibre roster. It was the icing on the cake for my career here in Vancouver.
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.
Am I the only one that had a little bit of trouble adjusting to life after Olympic hockey? What an amazing tournament with such speed, skill and intensity. Then two days later, we have to watch the Canucks take on the Blue Jackets? Tough transition, but I think I’m getting back into the swing of things. The Canucks are on a nice little post-Olympic roll, beating the Blue Jackets in a comeback and laying a surprising beat down on the Red Wings.
It looked pretty weird seeing Dion Phaneuf and J.S. Giguere in Leafs practice gear today. Once the faces of the Flames and Ducks respectively, both were traded to Toronto on Sunday. A day later, Calgary sent Olli Jokinen to the Rangers. For those of you that haven’t heard yet, here’s how the trades shook down:
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