Sunday, July 02, 2006



Yeah, so you know how on Friday, I pointed out that Dave Nonis had about $5M to upgrade 13 roster spots from Minimum Salary Players? Signing Willie Mitchell for $14M/4yrs means that number is now $2M for 12 roster spots... notes on the figures:


You figure something else is going to happen with the canucks. You just can't field a team with that much money left. I'm looking for the obvious Cloutier trade, but maybe a morrison trade as well.

It's either got to be Cloutier/Morrison or Cloutier/Naslund. The Canucks have 5 guys on the list making between 3 and 3.5 million. If those are your top salaries save one (Iginla, Pronger last year), you can do business. With two guys at 6 million plus, it looks very tight. You'd think that after last year's Manitoba Shuttle fiasco, Nonis would learn to leave a bit of room, and spread the wealth. Without a move, it's a team even thinner than last year.

Let's think about this more carefully though. Nonis--whether you like him or the Canucks--is not flying by the seat of his pants. He has maintained all along he has a clear plan he is trying to implement.

He is certainly going to jettison Cloutier and his contract, one way or another. The option on Linden will not be picked up; he will either re-sign at a significant salary reduction or will go elsewhere. Beyond that, I imagine that Nonis will trade either one of Naslund or Morrison--the latter being more likely given Naslund's no trade clause. Beyond that, look for the Canucks to sign a lot of cheap young players with potential or veterans similarly priced that can do a job.

At any rate, there is a long summer ahead of us for these things to get taken care of. You don't rebuild the core of your team in the span of a week...

A no trade clause makes trading Naslund harder, but not impossible. He can always waive it, and now that his playmate Bert has moved on, who knows? I still think that Vancouver can only carry one big ticket (Luongo) with all the other mid-priced players to make the numbers work. Moving a Morrison helps, but Naslund frees up two to three decent salaries. Three of the four finalists this past year had one player over 5 million and no one else over 4 million. Buffalo had none of those types at all. The only way Vancouver gets deeper is moving Naslund. Top heavy teams, like Vancouver last year, or the current array of the Maple Leafs, are swimming against the tide until the cap gets around 50 million or so.

Linden will not be moved, but I can see him taking a severe pay cut just to stick around.

I think Matt Cooke is going to be dealt. He's a decent player, but has a huge question mark because he seems to be injury prone. And his $1.5 million would certainly come in handy.

I don't understand why Cooke would be a target to dump. He only makes $1.05MM more than the league minimum so he's not going to buy much room and my understanding is that he gives a great deal of value to the Canucks at that salary. Certainly his ESP/hr numbers are very nice and he's had some good years by +/-. My suspicion is that his icetime hasn't been all that easy either.

Even the injury front is a little misleading. Sure he's missed time the last two seasons but he played four full seasons in a row before that.

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