All Quiet on the Western Front
After letting Raffi Torres and Christian Ehrhoff, two guys the Canucks wanted back, walk to other teams because of salary disputes, the Vancouver Canucks haven't exactly added significant pieces to replace them. You could argue that Marco Sturm, a vetern banger and crasher who has had nine career 20 goal seasons is the replacement for Torres, but with braces on both knees going into next season, is he really dependable for 82 games?
As for Ehrhoff there has been nada to replace him so far. Sami Salo reupped with the nucks for one year, but same deal as Sturm; Salo is made of glass. Can we expect 82 games from him, plus the long playoff run this team is hoping for?
Essentially, the team has been dismissed as too european, not tough enough, and throughout the first couple days of free agency, GM Mike Gillis has done nothing to address this. He's even let some of his tough guys walk, as Rick Rypien and Tanner Glass both signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
However, this may be a good thing, depending on how Gillis plays his cards. Gillis historically hates signing players to inflated contracts (if you can forget Luongo and Mats Sundin), so he is obviously not going to be making any major splashes in the free agency pool. He'll be looking for his upgrades via the trade route.
The Canucks don't need too many players coming back, just a good, strong, dependable winger to play with Ryan Kesler, and a strong offensive defenceman to fill the void left by the 50 point Ehrhoff. Who knows? Maybe the talent is already in the wings. Could, say, a Keith Ballard step in and help on the PP? It's possible. Kevin Bieksa could score a few more points as well in the absence of Ehrhoff. That second line winger, though, that's the key acquisition. The Canucks need a guy that can help Ryan Kesler stay consistent game to game. They need a line as a whole that can pick up the slack if the Sedin Twins go cold.
It's a long summer, and GM of the year Mike Gillis won't make any foolish, knee jerk decisions. But the clock is ticking, and he has perhaps the most valuable trade bait of any team in his back pocket; Cory Schneider.
Let's see how it all plays out.