Saturday, July 15, 2006


Canucks Off-Season Update

Yesterday, Canucks GM Dave Nonis continued to acquire warm bodies as he traded for the Buffalo Sabres' Taylor Pyatt, the 8th overall pick in 1999.

Pyatt has never put up any worthy offensive numbers at the NHL level, and had just 12 points in 41 games last season. His career high is just 28, which he got 4 years ago.

Still, Pyatt is a big specimen (6'4" 220"), still only 24 years old (we saw how long it took Grumpy Bear Bertuzzi to bust out), and still a useful part that won't hurt the Canucks at his expected salary.

He'll take the place of Jarkko Ruutu as the team's 'pest' of sorts, only with far fewer bad penalties. Pyatt is incredibly disciplined, taking just 170 PIMS in 308 games. He should make a solid addition to the 3rd line, as I expect that's where he'll be.

According to his SPORTSNET profile:

Assets: Boasts a tremendous combination of size and skating ability. Has sound body-checking skills, and is both defensively aware and an emerging offensive talent.

Flaws: The jury is still out on his offensive upside. Tends to struggle in the hockey sense department.

Since salary data can be very hard to come by, here is my best estimate to date of the Canucks roster and salary commitments. Obviously, the RFA figures aren't 100% accurate and I based them mainly on their previous salaries. I would expect Lukas Krajicek to get a raise, and the others not so much.


The Canucks look set in goal and on defense, if Luc Bourdon makes the leap, leaving the Canucks just a few million under the cap with a lot of work to do up front. Matt Cooke is nobody's answer to the question of "Who's out first line RW?", and I don't know if Jason King is in the Canucks' plans to play with the Sedins like he once did. Jozef Balej, the Slovak sniper, may get a shot at that 2nd line spot as well.

If anyone can help me fill out this chart, any information would be gladly appreciated.

Jesse Schultz, he of the 37 ahl goals is probably going to get the first crack at a top two line position.
the knock on Schultz is that he is a slow skater. Trevor Linden is probably done and gone as well. The longer Anson Carter remains unsigned the lower his asking price will go, hopefully he realizes his best and most consistent season was with the Sedins, because I think a lot of NHL GM's have come to that conclusion already.
I could actually see Pyatt making the move to the right side and getting some time with either the Sedins or (more likely) Naslund and Morrison. It is an experiment that could work out quite well for a guy that may have some offensive upside.

Besides he could possible be as useless as Bertuzzi was in that spot last year. His lack of finish will be more then made up for the fact that Morrison would actually be able to attempt offensive forays instead of hanging back being the defensive consience of the line, that job would fall to Pyatt. And Naslund will stop looking to make impossible passes to Bertuzzi and actually start making decent offensive decisions.

Sven Butenschon has signed to play in Europe this season so he will not be in Manitoba for the 7-8 defense spot, so look for the Canucks to pick up one more depth defenceman to fill Sven's role.

I also think it may be in the Canucks best interest to give Bourdon one more season of Junior/AHL development time. It would allow the Canucks to hold on to him for one more season once he has developed more of a NHL game and would allow them to pick up a UFA defenceman for that $1 million. Of course that depends on the type of minutes he proves he can play during the pre-season. If he can handle the 4 spot minutes and not look out of place then the Canucks might as well have him in the NHL developing, and hope to sign him to a long term deal that would keep him here for more then seven years. If he is going to play in the 5-6-7 spot then it is better having him play 1st spot minutes in a lesser league.

Of course I would also like the Canucks to get Peter Bondra (if he is up for it) for about 1.5 million to play with the twins.
Hey Jes. It's Big Dan.

I think they picked up Tommi Santala from Atlanta to be the 4th line center.

Also, why is Richard Park not being re-signed? He wouldn't be expensive and I thought he fit in quite well last year.

He certainly fits the mold of Vigneault favorites (Chouinard, Pyatt). Fast, physical, hard working, defensively conscious.

Would Kiril Koltsov take Butenschon's spot? I am sure you are heartbroken he left for Europe to dazzle them with his ability.
Schultz - I saw him a bit in juniors and his skating looked good. Of course, he was an overager at the time IIRC, so that would explain his physical advantage.

I expect Naslund will be traded and we won't have to worry about those impossible passes :)

Butenschon - OK. no big loss.

Bourdon - I believe he, like The Butcher and Phaneuf, can come into the NHL from juniors and do quite well. If a player can make a positive impact on the roster, than you bring him aboard. He'll be UFA at 27 anyway, so what's a year? If Bourdon really struggles in the early part of the season, than can send him down and it won't count as an accrued season/

Koltsov - I don't even see him as an option. He doesn't seem at all interested in the NHL and he's not proven a thing other than his head is as shaky as always.

Bondra - He's stated...well his agent did, that he's retiring. I don't think he'll play anywhere but Washington due to family reasons.

Park - He's useful, but has no offensive talent whatsoever. He's an easily replaceable guy so it's not as if Nonis NEEDS to replace him. I think it's more about Park looking elsewhere to see if another team will give him a better contract than Nonis not wanting to bring him back.

Santala - I'll have to look more into him. The best case scenario is for Artem Chubarov to return from Siberia.

Linden - They won't pick up his $1.5mil option, but I think they'd be open to bringing him back as a 4th liner at a low salary. With the NHLPA stuff off of his shoulders, Linden can still be a useful 4th liner and provide some badly needed leadership to a team without any other CAPTAIN options.
Nucks Salary Committments:
Hmm.. so the 'Nuck le-heads haven't signed anyone significant to trade for "Creme" Brule, yet?

Oh well... keep trying.
Yeah, a really LOW salary for Linden, otherwise it's time for him to hang 'em up.

The return of Chubarov would definitely be good IMO.
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