Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The McCarthy Trial Begins in Vancouver

Dave "Rip Van" Nonis finally made a deal to get some real blueline help (Sorry, but Sven Butenschon does not help matters) by bringing home a BC boy, Steve McCarthy.
Sportsnet.ca link

The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenceman Steve McCarthy from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round draft pick in 2007


"My mom starting crying and my dad is ecstatic," McCarthy said on a conference call. "I'm going to be playing in their background with a lot of friends and family. Obviously growing up a good B.C. boy and a Canucks fan, it's a dream coming true, that's for sure."
It's always nice to have some local talent, and hopefully this will help McCarthy get inspired to do great things.

I am amazed that the Canucks were able to get McCarthy, a former first round pick (23rd overall in 1999) for such a cheap price... a 3rd round pick...in 2007!? I guess Hawks GM Dave Tallon has never heard of the concepts of 'Present Value' or 'Cost/Benefit'.

Looking further into it, McCarthy has certainly not lived up to expectations people had of him when he was taken back in 1999. McCarthy played for Canada in the 2000 and 2001 World Junior Championships and had a very successful career with the Edmonton/Kootenay Ice of the WHL. He also played for the Blackhawks in 2000-01 with the Hawks before being demoted to the AHL following his WJC stint. As a 19 year-old in the NHL, McCarthy didn't look too far out of place. I loved McCarthy's skating and passing ability, and thought he would have an Eric Weinrich type of career in the NHL.

Since the 00/01 season, McCarthy really has not developed very well and missed most of the 2003-04 season with a nasty groin injury (not a good thing if you rely on speed and skating). McCarthy has only put up 16 points in 134 NHL games, which is still not very good for a youngster. Steve didn't play last year at all, missing a key year of development.

Still, I'm very happy that the Canucks made this move. McCarthy is only 24, and we know NHL defensemen can take a few years to develop (see ex-Canucks Adrian Aucoin, Bryan McCabe, Marek Malik, and Brent Sopel as good examples). The Blackhawks were a mess during his tenure there, and the Canucks can offer him stability and guidance that he never received in ChiTown. McCarthy won't have to put up with being shuttled up and down from the AHL by a team with no clear plan in place. McCarthy's passing skills could be a boon for the Canucks in the new NHL where puck-moving will be a bit more valuable.

As for salary, McCarthy will be very well paid for someone who is still quite unproven to the tune of US$ 760,000. This salary was probably too much for the Hawks, seeing as they grossly overpaid for free agents Martin Lapointe and Nikolai Khabibulin. The Canucks were already in the danger zone, but McCarthy's salary is reasonable under their system.

Now, I'd like to see the Canucks get one more reliable defenseman. I'd really like to see Scott Lachance back as a Canuck. Although he's been derided over his career (mainly for his lack of offensive ability), Lachance is a good skater and has good size...and he was good with the Canucks. It's not Scott's fault that the Dinner Jackets overpaid and overplayed him as per their organizational policy. As a 3rd liner, Scott would be the perfect complement to McCarthy's rushing style and I'm sure Nonis could get him at a reasonable salary. We need to ensure that Sven Butenschon and Nolan Baumgartner play as little as possible.

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