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.
One of the great things about this year’s Canucks has been the way the players have absorbed each other’s best qualities. Malhotra’s faceoff skill, Ballard’s hip checks, Sedin body positioning, and Bieksa’s tenacious yet positionally sound defence have been picked up by the entire team. The stud in the shared skills stable though is certainly Kesler’s sizzling every-inch-matters brand of intense puck pursuit. Even twinkle toed Mason Raymond has turned into a fore checking menace!