If there was such thing as a panic button in Vancouver it would be tromped on daily. People would be jumping, both knees touching their chin and landing both feet on to it alerting everyone that the Canucks are a mess and that it is in fact time to panic. This time last year the [...]
From time to time, I like to make up rumours. They never come to fruition, they completely lack any kind of insider knowledge, but they’re fun to talk about damn it! While watching the Winnipeg Jets get their first win in 16 years tonight, I couldn’t help but think that the Canucks could poach some [...]
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.
For the first time in the Canucks-Blackhawks Trilogy, we will have a game 7. And it will happen in the most improbable way. As you must know by now, the Canucks have squandered a 3-0 series lead and now face elimination on Tuesday night.
The Vancouver Canucks will play tonight’s game in Nashville without Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts and, as we found out this morning, Kevin Bieksa. That’s 5 of their top 7 defencemen out of the lineup. To make matters worse, minor leaguer Lee Sweatt broke his foot in practice. Even the Manitoba Moose have injury troubles on the blueline, with Nolan Baumgartner suffering an injury last week. He might have been one of the recent call-ups.
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.
The more and more I watch Canucks games this year, the more I find myself thinking “what does Keith Ballard got to do to get some playing time?” The guy blocks shots, hits (hip checks!) and fights. He does this while having a great upside given what he has accomplished in the league and the fact that he’s relatively young. Still, Alain Vigneault treats him like a Manitoba Moose call-up by giving him minimal ice time and even sitting him as a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. I don’t get it, and I haven’t gotten it all year long. Take last Sunday’s game versus St Louis for example. He received just over 13 minutes of ice time (fewest among Canuck d-men), was a +2 and was a goal short of the Gordie Howe hat trick. AV, give this man some ice time!
The biggest deal on draft day in 2010 once again involves the Vancouver Canucks. The same team that brought you Alex Mogilny (1995 draft), the Sedin twins (1999 draft) and Roberto Luongo (2006 draft) did it again. While not as big as the aforementioned trades, the acquisition of Keith Ballard is significant. The Canucks acquired Keith Ballard and prospect Victor Oreskovich in exchange for their first round draft pick, Michael Grabner and Steve Bernier.
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