This Friday is one of the most exciting days of the year for hockey fans, July 1st, the start of free agent season! Only trade deadline day and the draft (especially this year with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards getting traded) can come close to matching the intrigue of July 1st. Last year Mike Gillis signed Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra and Jeff Tambellini on the first day of free agency. The previous year Gillis re-signed Daniel and Henrik Sedin, just hours before July 1st.
Due to the Canucks long playoff run, the team is in for a very short offseason. The NHL entry draft is in four days and free agency begins in only eleven days. Mike Gillis has some work to do, as all GMs do. Luckily for the Canucks, most of their core is locked up long term, but there are a few key players that will become restricted free agents. Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Sami Salo, Andrew Alberts, Raffi Torres, Chris Higgins, Tanner Glass and Jeff Tambellini are all unrestricted free agents on July 1st. Maxim Lapierre, Jannik Hansen, Victor Oreskovich and Alex Bolduc are all restricted free agents.
Well, we’ve all had a chance to take a deep breath, sit back and really think about the year that was for our beloved Vancouver Canucks. Gone is the emotion/heartbreak/disappointment/anger from their second straight second round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. What’s left is a better chance for impartial analysis as to what they did, what they have and what they should do.
The Canucks looked like a team still pissed off about their series loss last year, storming the Blackhawks right off the hop, while the Blackhawks looked a bit surprised by the push and never really seemed to recover. They’ve earned at least a split in Chicago, which is huge for a team like the Canucks who are so much better at home than on the road.
This image (along with this song) has haunted Canucks fans for almost an entire calendar year. Patrick Kane, mouth guard dangling and all, scoring the insurance goal late in game 6, his third goal of the night. The Canucks insist that they should have won that series, to which I disagree (they had fewer points than Chicago, and were beaten in six!). The Hawks were the better team last year, and throughout the regular season have been the better team this year. No doubt, they are the favourites. With that said, this series should be a close one and could go either way, depending on a few keys of the series:
With 15 games left in the regular season and the nightmare record road trip behind them, one thing is still not clear. Are the Canucks contenders or pretenders? It’s a question that doesn’t elicit a unanimous response. I think that we as Canucks fans underrate this edition of the Canucks (just as we overrated the Naslund-Bertuzzi era Canucks).
Yesterday we looked at Team Canada’s roster, but there were also a few other countries that announced their rosters for the 2010 Olympics that flew under the radar. Lets take a look:
It’s finally here. Game 1 of the 2009-10 season and I’m going to say it. The Canucks are overrated. Not that I don’t think they have a good team, but this is getting ridiculous.
Mike Gillis had a busy day on Friday, signing Mathieu Schneider and acquiring Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich in exchange for Daniel Rahimi and Canuckz.com favourite, Patrick White (that was sarcasm by the way).