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Well were hearing a rumor about Toronto trading with Canucks? Who might they get?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well were hearing a rumor about Toronto trading with Canucks? Who might they get?
I dont know anything about that yet,but there is a possibility that Gillis might sign a few players or make trades.

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks have shown the talent and skill to become one of the elite teams during the NHL's regular season.

What general manager Mike Gillis thinks the team needs now is players with playoff experience who can push the Canucks to the next level and challenge for a Stanley Cup.

"We are at the point where we have shown we can win the division two years in a row," Gillis said Friday. "We've had a huge up tick in performance during the regular season by a number of players.

"We know they can perform at the highest levels. Now we need to get them the support they need to perform in the Stanley Cup playoffs."

Gillis spoke to the media for the first time since Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that eliminated Vancouver from the Western Conference semifinal in six games. It was the third time in four years the Canucks had won the Northwest Division but failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

The loss to the Hawks exposed Vancouver's need for a shutdown defenceman plus more speed and size on the forward lines. Instead of saying who he'd like to get, Gillis talked about the kind of player he wants.

"Experience is a major factor," he said. "We have very few guys that have gone far into the playoffs.

"You need experienced players who have been there, who don't deviate from the game plan when the pressure is on, and who continue to be patient and play."

Gillis was at a loss to explain why a team that had 103 points during the regular season, and was second in the league in goal scoring, became so unravelled against Chicago.

"We clearly didn't compete the same way during the playoffs as we did in the regular season," said the former player agent who became the Canucks' 10th GM in April 2008. 'We have to take some time and evaluate why that happened.

"It's a little too close to it, I think, to start assessing what went wrong. We had players that had career regular seasons and we didn't get the same performance in the playoffs. We have to figure out why."

Coach Alain Vigneault said the Canucks need to get bigger and stronger.

"In the Chicago series, they won the battle in front of both nets," Vigneault said. "Those are issues we are going to analyze in the next couple of weeks."

Vancouver has proven talent.

Henrik Sedin became the first Canuck to win the NHL scoring race with 112 points and has been nominated as a league MVP. Goaltender Roberto Luongo helped Canada win a gold medal at the Olympics. Forward Ryan Kesler is a Selke Trophy finalist for the second consecutive year.

Overall, seven Canucks had career seasons.

But in the playoffs Vancouver lost to Chicago for the second consecutive season, and looked bad doing it.

Gillis said the series turned when the Hawks scored a short-handed goal late in Game 2. Chicago went on to win that game and never looked back.

"We didn't match their emotional level," said Gillis. "I can't sit here today and say we were the better team.

"Our team lost its focus, lost its discipline. We have to get to the bottom of why those things occurred. We need to definitely improve in certain areas with the personnel."

Vancouver's core, players like Luongo, Kesler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows are all signed, mostly to long-term deals.

Looking to next year, Vancouver has US$46 million committed to 15 players. If the NHL salary cap is $57 million, that leaves Gillis with around $11 million.

Gillis can either add players through free agency or trades.

"If we have an opportunity to improve on July 1, we are absolutely going to take it," said Gillis. "If that opportunity isn't there, we are going to have to develop it."

Gillis also stressed the need for the young players in the Canucks organization to start reaching their potential.

"We need to have young players step up here and push to make this hockey team, play games for us and contribute," he said.

Gillis refused to apologize for is not making a major deal at the trade deadline when the team knew defenceman Willie Mitchell was done for the season due to a concussion.

Gillis said he received "the most preposterous" offers, mostly asking him to give away young talent for players that would become free agents this summer.

"I wasn't trading our good young players," he said.

One thing Gillis would like to see next year is a reduction in the games Luongo plays. The Canucks goaltender played 68 regular season games, plus at the Olympics.

"If playing less games is the answer, so Roberto is the freshest he can possibly be for the playoffs, of course we are going to look at it," he said. "That's the logical thing to do."

That mean's Cory Schneider could get the job as Luongo's backup.

On whether Luongo will remain the team captain, Gillis said it's an issue that will be discussed over the summer.

"We will see how he feels about it and tell him how we feel about it," Gillis said.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Vancouver Canucks drew criticism when they made Roberto Luongo an unusual choice for captain in September, 2008, and now the goaltender is questioning his anointed role after another playoff disappointment.

Luongo says he will review his captaincy later this summer as calls heighten for the NHL team to strip the “C” off its goalie.

“I love being captain,” Luongo said Thursday as the Canucks cleaned out their lockers. “I’ve enjoyed it, and I haven’t had any problems with it. That being said, right now is not the time, after an emotional loss like that, to be thinking about decisions like that.”

Luongo’s captaincy touched a nerve with Vancouver fans this week after a second successive loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It will no doubt be raised Friday when general manager Mike Gillis and head coach Alain Vigneault take the stage – in the Captains Room at GM Place no less – to explain what went wrong, and how they propose to fix a team that has failed to advance beyond the second round in three of the past four postseasons.

“There are other things around it [the captaincy], obviously, that are extra things I’m going to have to make sure I can handle,” Luongo said, citing media requests to be the team spokesman and be available before and after every game. “I’m going to think about a lot of things.”

The Canucks became the first NHL organization in 60 years to appoint a goaltender as team captain. League rules forbid goalies from wearing a letter, and being the designated communicator with on-ice officials, so Luongo is a captain in name only.

It was the brainchild of Vigneault, and backed by Gillis. The team wanted a player who was accomplished, inspirational, respected and an example of the organization’s core values.

But as Luongo’s play sagged this season, especially after the February Olympic break and into the playoffs, his critics grew louder. This week, Don Cherry joined a Vancouver radio station and crowed that Luongo’s captaincy was a stupid idea because the solitary nature of the position does not give goalies the credibility to lead a group.

Clearly, there are elements of Luongo that fit the captaincy neatly.

He is one of the biggest rink rats on the team, religiously working on his craft.

He commands respect from his teammates. When Alex Burrows was going too far in his famous rant against referee Stéphane Auger earlier this season, the goaltender shushed him with a stern word.

By most accounts, Luongo’s off-ice vices can be reduced to fantasy sports and poker. While some of his teammates celebrated Canada’s gold-medal victory in private hospitality suites, sheltered from the public glare, Luongo took his family to dinner, posing for pictures with admirers.

Last year, a source said that Luongo was so touched by the captaincy, that it prompted his Floridian wife, Gina, to become more active with the Canucks, organizing events for wives and girlfriends. Gillis is trying to foster an environment where families feel welcome at GM Place, and the Luongo’s participation is viewed as an important endorsement.

But there is another side of Luongo that rankles Vancouver fans.

He will say that he is his harshest critic, but somewhere along the way, he only began acknowledging his most blatant gaffes, the indefensible goals and performances. That hesitancy to take full responsibility each and every time hurts Luongo’s credibility on two fronts: when he’s telling the plain truth about poor play in front of him and when he feigns humility.

There were two examples Tuesday, after a 5-1 loss to Chicago that ended Vancouver’s season.

He pointed out turnovers, but not soft goals.

He joked that “improvement was made” because he didn’t allow seven goals, a reference to a 7-5 playoff knockout last spring. The sarcasm came off as disingenuous because confidence is Luongo’s defining characteristic.

Canucks management has much invested in Luongo, including a 12-year, $64-million U.S. contract extension that triggers next autumn. If a change is made, it is less likely to be a top-down directive, and more likely because Luongo surrenders the “C.”
If Luongo does surrender his C,who in your opinion should be the new Vancouver Canucks captain?

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have signed 2008 draft pick Yann Sauve and free agents Lee Sweatt and Chris Tanev. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sauve, 20, appeared in 61 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2009-10, recording 36 points (7-29-36), +42 and 65 penalty minutes. During the 2009-10 campaign, he was named the QMJHL Scholastic Player of the Month in November 2009, the defensive player of the week (Oct. 19-25) and was a member of the QMJHL Team in the 2009 Subway Super Series between Canada and Russia. Sauve now holds the franchise record for most games played in a career with the Sea Dogs, appearing in 251 over the span of four seasons. Sauve also appeared in 21 playoff games in 2010, collecting 15 points (5-10-15) and 36 penalty minutes
Sweatt, 24, split the 2009-10 season between Riga Dynamo (KHL) and TPS Turku (FNL). With the Dynamo, the Elburn, Illinois native recorded seven points (2-5-7) and 18 penalty minutes in 37 games. He also collected 16 points (9-7-16) and eight penalty minutes in 21 games with TPS Turku.
Tanev, 20, spent the 2009-10 season with the Rochester Institute of Technology, notching 28 points (10-18-28) and four penalty minutes in 41 games. He also led his team in plus/minus (+34)

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Now that the Stanley Cup has been hoisted, it’s time the Vancouver Canucks moved onward and upward. This off-season promises to be hectic with players coming and going as Mike Gillis shuffles the deck in hopes of building a royal flush, but this year’s team deserves to be remembered. The diverse, character group was no different than a high school class in that everyone had a role and played it to perfection.*
Here now is volume I of the Canucks class of 2009-10.
Remembered as: The new guy. After coming to Vancouver at the trade deadline, Alberts did his best to work his way into the line-up appearing in 24 games, including playoffs. A man’s man always there for a teammate in need, like when Brent Seabrook took a run at Mason Raymond on March 5, Alberts used his massive size and weight to intimidate. That rhymed.
Best moment: There isn’t one Alberts moment that shines above the rest, the culmination of all the body checking pain he inflicted on the NHL was his best work. AA had 63 hits with the Canucks and finished the year 13th in the league with 222, seven more than Dustin Byfuglien. Jeeeealous?

Remembered as: The hardworker. Bernier shed a few pounds before this season; he was lighter, faster and ready to bully his way to the front of the net and make life hell for opposing goalies. His plan came a little unraveled because of injury, but Bernier still collected 22 points.
Best moment: His two-goal outburst in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings. Bernier was brilliant in beating Jonathan Quick twice from in close; it was the Bernier fans were hoping to see all season long. With his commitment to the game, Bernier could be that player next season.

Remembered as: The playoff performer. KB3 had the latter part of his season derailed by injury, yet he reclaimed the spotlight on the backend with a furious playoff performance that included a career-best eight points in 12 games to lead Vancouver's defence in scoring. SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!
Best moment: A commanding performance in Game 5 versus Chicago when he lit the lamp for a pair of goals and an assist. His first goal was splendorific as he jumped up in the rush out of nowhere and stumped Niemi. It spawned a “What If?” NHL commercial. It was that pretty.*

Remembered as: The goals. He shoots, he scores, was a common call for Burrows this season as he tickled the twine 35 times, the most since Daniel Sedin scored 36 goals in 2006-07, back before Facebook was the cat’s meow and stalking was still creepy. Now it’s all the rage and so is Burrows, Vancouver’s Most Exciting Player for 2009-10.
Best moment: Scoring back-to-back hat tricks against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes to become the third player in franchise history to do the deed. Burrows defied the odds and got’er done with pizzazz, much to the delight of his swarms of fans at GM Place.

Remembered as: The Olympian. Because of injury Demitra missed a whack of games to start the year and he struggled to find his game upon his return. That all changed during the 2010 Winter Olympics as Demo went off for 10 points in seven games to lead the tournament in scoring and continued with the Canucks with 12 points in 17 games to end the year.
Best moment: Almost spoiling Canada’s 3-2 semifinal win over Slovakia. In the finale of a mad minute to end the game, Demitra's tricky shot was all but a goal before Roberto Luongo just barely managed to get a glove on it. Had the frenzied sequence ended with a goal, Demitra would have simultaneously kick started millions of heart attacks across our home and native land.

Remembered as: The guts. Although Ryan Johnson routinely gets credited as the bravest Canucks player, Edler staked his claim at the title this year by leading the team in blocked shots with 115, 30 more than Johnson. Edler has steadily climbed the courage ladder with 22 more blocks this season than last and 39 more than two-years ago.
Best moment: Despite setting career-highs in assists, points and overall awesomeness, Edler’s crown achievement was a monster hit on Drew Doughty in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Kings. As Doughty cut in on goal, Edler lowered left shoulder and lowered the boom. More please!

Remembered as: The Hoff. The German gladiator came to the Canucks as a steady defenceman, ready to answer the call when needed. He exited his first season as Vancouver’s best blueliner, oozing with highlights at both ends of the ice. With a personal best 44 points, Ehrhoff tied Uwe Krupp’s record for most by a German-born defenceman and he left the bar low enough that he could surpass it again and again. Das ist good.
Best moment: Ehrhoff’s coming out party was in late November in a two-goal, three-point outing against Colorado. Teammates raved about him afterward with Roberto Luongo dubbing him Bobby Hoff after hockey legend Bobby Orr. Now that's a nickname.

Remembered as: The hair. The man with the mega mullet came out of left field to make Vancouver’s opening day roster out of training camp and he fit in well with effort and grit in spades. Glass became a fan favourite playing like steel with an unwavering commitment to physical play that helped him tally 165 hits.
Best moment: Either taking a pie in the face at Canucks Superskills and laughing it off like a champ or dropping the gloves in true Rick Rypien style – anytime, anywhere with anyone. He fought Cam Janssen, Brandon Prust, Dane Byers, Vernon Fiddler, Chris Thorburn, Shane Hnidy, Cody McLeoud, Sheldon Brookbank, your dad, my dad and Chuck Norris. At once.

Remembered as: The kid. Everyone longing to see Grabner hit his stride in the NHL got a taste of what Canucks fans are in for in the coming years. After nearly being remembered for a fluke soccer accident, Grabner played 20 games to close out the season, including nine in the playoffs. He showed speed, he showed poise, he showed skill.
Best moment: Grabner had two goals in six games before a soccer ball got the best of him and it took him seven games to get back on the horse after recovering, but he sure made it buck when he was ready. The Austrian forward torched Anaheim for three goals in early April for his first career hat trick and had one score in the playoffs.

Remembered as: The assassin. Like a ninja, Hansen is a silent killer, often past opponents with the puck in their net before they even had a chance to back peddle. In his first year solely in Vancouver, Hansen had a career-high nine goals alongside three points in 12 post-season games. That and 38 people Like him on Facebook are proof he rules.
Best moment: Back-to-back game-winners made Hansen the stuff of legends in early March. He does have a way with winning games though as four of his 15 career scores, or 26 per cent of his goals, have won Vancouver games. That’s impressive. Like peeling an orange in one peel impressive.

Remembered as: The mouth. Not only is Hordichuk the toughest guy in the Canucks dressing room, he’s also the biggest prankster. Some of Hordi’s antics from this season include giving numerous leaners (bucket of water leaned against the door), but rumour has it he went as far as putting a wee alligator outside Roberto Luongo’s door in Florida.
Best moment: With all the pranks Hordichuk pulled on his teammates, it was only a matter of time before they ganged up on him and returned the favour. Tomfoolery came in bunches with the Canucks drawing a tie on one of Hordi’s uglier shirts and nailing his shoes down to the floor in the dressing room in Colorado. Give the big guy credit, he can dish it out but he can also take it.

Remembered as: The heart. Injuries limited Johnson’s games played to 58, his lowest number in eight seasons, but when he was in the lineup, it was blood, sweat and tears, as expected. Despite being overtaken by Edler as the shot blocking king, Johnson will get in front of a puck at any moment and after taking a crushing blow, will get down and do it again. Warrior.
Best moment: Johnson traded his stick for a pen earlier this year when he wrote a column for The Province, which was also run on Hockey and family ties that bind was Johnson sharing life lessons from his late father and hockey; it was deep, it was moving, it was brilliant, it was the off-ice equivalent to what he does every game.

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Canucks are sick up front but need to seriously upgrade their D-corps if they want to go anywhere.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Back-to-back second-round playoff exits leave the Vancouver Canucks hungry for more postseason success.

Off-Season Game Plan looks at a well-stocked Canucks roster and what they might be able to do to get over the hump.

The Canucks topped 100 points for the fifth time in the last five seasons, so there is little solace to take from regular-season success; the measure of this team is going to be what happens in the playoffs.

"It's a little too close to it, I think, to start assessing what went wrong," GM Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun at season's end. "But we had players who had career regular seasons and we didn't get the same performance in the playoffs and we have to figure out why. I think before we get to changes that need to be made we have to go through that evaluation."

There's little doubt that the Canucks have the talent, as the team with the second-most goals scored and fourth-best differential last season, to rank among the best teams in the league. But the team needs to be able to elevate its performance in the playoffs, when the games get tighter and disciplined play is more important.

For his part, Gillis thinks the Canucks could use some more playoff-tested experience in the lineup.

"We have very few guys who have gone far into the playoffs. We have a fairly young team," Gillis told the Sun. "You need experienced players who have been there, who don't deviate from the game plan when the pressure is on, they continue to be patient and play."

That gives the Canucks something to target in free agency, but that won't be the only way to make this team better for next season. Young forwards Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner ought to have a very good chance of making the team and making a difference to the attack. Cory Schneider has earned his opportunity to spell Roberto Luongo in net.

Vancouver has the talent to be right back among the contenders next season and they're likely to have another strong regular season, only it won't really matter. A first-round win won't satisfy the desires of the team or its fan-base.

For all the talent the Canucks have, with more on the way to refresh the lineup, they ultimately need to play better when the games are the most difficult.

"We've made significant strides in the way I want us to play and have exceeded some expectations," Gillis told the Vancouver Provice. "But we clearly have work to do."

To paraprase a line from A League Of Their Own, it's not easy, but it's not supposed to be easy. If winning in the NHL playoffs was easy, everyone would do it.

Mike Gillis/Alain Vigneault

Returning Forwards
Player Rating Cap Hit
Henrik Sedin 96.85 $6.1M
Daniel Sedin 95.95 $6.1M
Alex Burrows 87.99 $2.0M
Ryan Kesler 85.25 $5.0M
Mikael Samuelsson 81.00 $2.5M
Steve Bernier 65.58 $2.0M
Rick Rypien 59.12 $550K
Darcy Hordichuk 56.41 $775K

Free Agent Forwards
Player Rating Class '09-'10 Cap Hit
Mason Raymond 76.03 RFA $883K
Pavol Demitra 69.87 UFA $4.0M
Kyle Wellwood 67.09 UFA $1.2M
Jannik Hansen 63.96 RFA $550K
Tanner Glass 63.32 RFA $500K
Ryan Johnson 57.89 UFA $1.15M

After the Sedin Twins signed long-term contracts with the Canucks last July 1, Henrik Sedin responded with the best season of his career, leading the league with 112 points, 30 more than his previous career high and set a career best with a plus-35 rating.

Henrik also took more initiative to shoot the puck, setting career bests in shots (168) and goals (29) as he played in all 82 regular season games for the fifth straight season.

Henrik's season was all the more impressive because Daniel Sedin missed 19 games, 18 of them due to a broken foot suffered early in the season. Despite missing that much time, Daniel tallied a career-high 85 points.

The brothers also combined for 28 points in 12 playoff games but, as team leaders, they will take criticism for the Canucks' back-to-back second-round playoff exits.

Riding shotgun with the twins, Alex Burrows had a career year with 35 goals, 67 points and a plus-34 rating. The agitating winger could stand to be more disciplined, yet he needs to play on the edge in order to remain effective and he's undeniably effective.

Ryan Kesler has improved steadily throughout his career and the 25-year-old scored a career-high 75 points last season, including 26 on the power play. Kesler's value, however, is tied to his ability as a relentless checker who can match up against opponents' top lines.

There was a prevailing thought that Mikael Sameulsson would be hard-pressed to make a difference when he left the security of Detroit, but all Samuelsson did in his first year with the Canucks was set career highs with 30 goals and 53 points (to say nothing of eight goals and 15 points in a dozen playoff games).

Even if expecting another 30-goal season is optimistic, Samuelsson does offer solid complementary offence as well as reliable two-way play.

Now 25, it appears unlikely that Steve Bernier is going to emerge as the scorer that had been expected when he was drafted 16th overall in 2005 and scored 14 goals in 39 games as a rookie, but he is a big, physical presence and, while he hasn't scored 20 goals in a season yet, that's still a possibility with the right linemates.

Injuries have slowed the development of energy forward Rick Rypien, but he got into 69 games last season and the 26-year-old made an impact as one of the game's most dangerous fighters, winning the majority of his 16 bouts. He still needs to improve his overall game, but Rypien has an opportunity to keep a regular spot in the lineup.

Rypien's development does reduce the need for Darcy Hordichuk in the enforcer role, though the 29-year-old is more apt to tangle with the heavyweights of the league and more than hold his own.

Mason Raymond's game is all about speed and he used it to create a lot of chances on his way to a career-best 25 goals and 53 points last season. To take the next step, the 24-year-old needs to play with more determination and consistency, but 2009-2010 was a breakthrough campaign.

Danish winger Jannik Hansen wasn't as effective as he'd been the previous season, getting off to a slow start after breaking a finger in a preseason fight with the Oilers' Gilbert Brule. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has potential as a checking winger, with some offensive upside, because of his speed.

After spending most of 2008-2009 in the AHL, Tanner Glass made the most of his opportunity in Vancouver, dropping the gloves 15 times in 67 games and playing a relatively effective fourth-line role. It would seem that, on any given night, the Canucks wouldn't need all three of Glass, Rypien and Hordichuk in the lineup, but the trio does provide some depth and toughness.

Pavol Demitra and Kyle Wellwood are notable free agents who may look for opportunities elsewhere, which means the Canucks at least need a third-line centre to bolster the lineup. Since Kesler is the second-line centre and responsible for primary checking duties, the Canucks can target a third-line centre with more of an offensive game.

If the Canucks don't feel that Cody Hodgson is ready, and that's possible since his back injury caused him to miss so much of last season, then veteran free agents like Matt Cullen, Mike Comrie or even ex-Canuck Brendan Morrison may be worthy replacements.

Returning Defencemen
Player Rating Cap Hit
Christian Ehrhoff 83.64 $3.1M
Alexander Edler 73.89 $3.25M
Sami Salo 73.73 $3.5M
Kevin Bieksa 70.29 $3.75M
Andrew Alberts 64.57 $1.05M

Free Agent Defencemen
Player Rating Class '09-'10 Cap Hit
Willie Mitchell 66.73 UFA $3.5M
Shane O'Brien 62.73 RFA $1.6M
Aaron Rome 57.28 UFA $525K

The Canucks couldn't have asked for anything more than what they received from Christian Ehrhoff, whose first season in Vancouver resulted in career-highs of 14 goals, 44 points and a plus-36 rating. He's an integral part of the power play and led the team with 22:47 of ice time per game.

24-year-old Alexander Edler has improved steadily and can be especially effective when he uses his size to his advantage which is, admitteldy, not often enough. Edler's combination of size, speed and puck-moving skills is rare, making him a strong building block for the defensive unit.

While Sami Salo has the ability to be a top-four defenceman -- another blueliner with good size, puck skills and a rocket shot -- but his most consistent feature may be that he will miss time due to injuries, playing more than 70 games just twice in 11 seasons, making his presence in the lineup almost a bonus.

At his best, Kevin Bieksa can also be an impact defenceman, providing a mix of skill and toughness, though his aggressiveness can get the best of him. Bieksa's also had the misfortune of having his his leg lacerated twice in the last three seasons, resulting in a lot of time missed, hindering his development.

Andrew Alberts struggled after coming over from Carolina at the trade deadline, but he's big and has generally been useful as part of a third pairing when he's not asked to do too much. He'll have to rebound next season.

Though he finished a career-best plus-15, Shane O'Brien struggled at times and his commitment has been questioned; a problem for a 26-year-old who relies on his ability to play on the edge if he's going to maximize his effectiveness.

Vancouver's defence clearly missed Willie Mitchell once he suffered a concussion in January, which means that, if he leaves, his spot must be filled if the Canucks are going to have a defence capable of challenging for a championship.

While a trade is certainly a possibility, free agents like Dan Hamhuis, Anton Volchenkov, Zbynek Michalek or Henrik Tallinder may be options for the defensive shutdown role.

Returning Goaltenders
Player Rating Cap Hit
Roberto Luongo 79.10 $5.333M

Even though he won a gold medal with Canada at the Olympics, Roberto Luongo's crunch-time reputation took another hit after his second straight disappointing playoff performance.

The Canucks are committed (seemingly forever) to the 31-year-old goaltender, as he's signed through 2022, so he's going to be crucial to whether this team is going to ever achieve postseason success.

Expected to have a stronger backup next season, Luongo may face a lighter workload, in the hopes that he'll remain fresher for the playoffs.

Free Agent Goaltender
Player Rating Class '09-'10 Cap Hit
Andrew Raycroft 73.63 UFA $500K

Though Andrew Raycroft has been much-maligned since winning the Calder Trophy in 2003-2004, he was effective in a limited role as Luongo's backup last season, to the point that he should be able to land a backup job elsewhere next season.

Top Prospects
Player Position Team/League Stats
Cory Schneider G Manitoba (AHL) 35-23-2, 2.51 GAA, .919 SVPCT, 60 GP
Cody Hodgson C Brampton (OHL) 8-12-20,+9, 13 GP
Michael Grabner RW Manitoba (AHL) 15-11-26,-2, 38 GP
Jordan Schroeder C Minnesota (WCHA) 9-19-28,-6, 37 GP
Anton Rodin RW Brynas (SEL) 1-4-5,even, 36 GP
Yann Sauve D Saint John (QMJHL) 7-29-36,+42, 61 GP
Kevin Connauton D Vancouver (WHL) 24-48-72,+4, 69 GP
Evan Oberg D Manitoba (AHL) 3-23-26,-13, 70 GP
Sergei Shirokov LW Manitoba (AHL) 22-23-45,-1, 76 GP
Eddie Lack G Brynas (SEL) 2.67 GAA, .911 SVPCT, 14 GP

After three years in the AHL, Cory Schneider is ready for a real chance in the NHL. He's struggled at times in his ten career NHL games, but he's excelled in the minors and is ready for a regular role as Luongo's backup.

Cody Hodgson was expected to make the Canucks last season, but struggled through a back injury that eventually sidelined him for most of the season, playing just 24 OHL games in the regular season and playoffs.

If Hodgson is fit for NHL duty, he'll bring some youthful energy and offensive skill to the Canucks.

Austrian winger Michael Grabner has scored 45 goals in 104 AHL games over the last two seasons and put up 11 points in 20 games with the Canucks, suggesting that he's ready for a regular spot in the lineup as well. A third line that includes both Hodgson and Grabner could be productive while not facing a great deal of pressure.

An unimpressive sophomore season at the University of Minnesota didn't seem to hamper Jordan Schroeder much as he managed 15 points in 17 AHL games at the end of the season and into the playoffs. Last year's first-round pick could probably use a year of development in Manitoba, but should be a scoring forward when he's ready to join the Canucks.

Skilled winger Anton Rodin has potential that belies his numbers in the Swedish Elite League. The 19-year-old has better showcased his offensive prowess in tournament play against those in his age group, so there is hope for the talented winger to develop into a scorer before he's ready for an NHL job.

Yann Sauve has good size and could be an effective defensive defenceman with some time in the minors. Consistency hasn't been Sauve's strong suit, but he does have the physical package to be an NHLer.

Kevin Connauton made a smooth transition to the Western Hockey League after his freshman season at Western Michigan, and his offensive numbers show that he knows what to do with the puck on his stick. Further development on his defensive game will improve his chances of reaching the NHL.

Signed following his sophomore season at Minnesota-Duluth, Evan Oberg is a mobile, puck-moving defenceman who led the Moose with 26 points last season. Unfortunately, his minus-13 rating also ranked last among defencemen on the AHL squad, so 22-year-old Oberg could still use some time to fill out and improve his play without the puck.

The star of last year's preseason, Sergei Shirokov finished second in scoring for Manitoba, but with only 45 points, he's not exactly breaking down the door to land a spot on a scoring line in Vancouver. The 24-year-old has finishing ability, but may need injuries to open up a spot in the lineup for him.

Though he only started 14 games as the backup to Panthers top prospect Jacob Markstrom, Eddie Lack has shown promise and the 22-year-old may have a real opportunity to show his stuff in Manitoba next season.

25th - Tyler Pitlick, Beau Bennett, Riley Sheahan.

According to, the Canucks have approximately $45.9 M committed to the 2010-2011 salary cap for 15 players.

Needs: Two top nine forwards, depth forwards, one top-four defenceman.

What I said the Canucks needed last year: Three top six forwards, one top nine forward, two defencemen, backup goaltender.

Who did they add? Mikael Samuelsson, Tanner Glass, Christian Ehrhoff, Mathieu Schneider, Andrew Raycroft.

TRADE MARKET Steve Bernier, Jannik Hansen, Andrew Alberts, Shane O'Brien.

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The 'Nucks should use a couple of those prospects to get some help on the Blueline. They have some great depth up front and with Luongo in net, a solidified backend could be enough to put them in the finals. They are definitly in the "window" to challenge for the cup.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The 'Nucks should use a couple of those prospects to get some help on the Blueline. They have some great depth up front and with Luongo in net, a solidified backend could be enough to put them in the finals. They are definitly in the "window" to challenge for the cup.
Yes,they are blessed with the front being strong,although Luongo can be inconsistent at important times(the reason why he is labelled by his critics as "can't win the big one"). To be fair his play at the olympics wasn't ultimately great but enough for the gold medal,he still lacks consistency in the NHL. If I'm not mistaken I think the Canucks have $9,575,000 cap space,they can sign one quality defencemen if needed(which I think we do need).After that the team is set for the upcoming season and will be a better playoff contender for the Cup.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Vancouver Canucks Contract Salary Cap Hits Salary Cap Space​
For the upcoming season:

  1. Daniel Sedin 6,100,000
  2. Henrik Sedin 6,100,000
  3. Ryan Kesler 5,000,000
  4. Mikael Samuelsson 2,500,000
  5. Alexandre Burrows 2,000,000
  6. Steve Bernier 2,000,000
  7. Cody Hodgson 1,725,000
  8. Michael Grabner 850,000
  9. Darcy Hordichuk 775,000
  10. Rick Rypien 550,000

  1. Kevin Bieksa 3,750,000
  2. Sami Salo 3,500,000
  3. Alexander Edler 3,250,000
  4. Christian Ehrhoff 3,100,000
  5. Andrew Alberts 1,050,000
  6. Aaron Rome 750,000
  1. Roberto Luongo 5,325,000
  2. Cory Scheider 900,000

Totals 49,225,000
NHL Salary Cap 58,800,000
Cap Space 9,575,000

If we can attain Dan Hamhuis it would do wonders for the Canucks blueline,

And rumors are out:

Dan Hamhuis certainly gets recognized when he walks down the street in his northern B.C. hometown of Smithers, where he and his family spend their summers.

Whether the Nashville Predators defenceman is wild about the idea of the same experience in downtown Vancouver is a another question.

But more on that later.

Hamhuis, 27, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and the two-way blueliner is unlikely to be resigned by the Predators for budgetary reasons. They have pending restricted free agents Patric Hornquist and Denis Grebeshkov to resign and are committed to No. 1 defence pair Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

As a result, the always financially strapped Preds likely can't afford to offer Hamhuis the $4-million-plus he'll command on the free-agent market.

The Canucks expressed an interest in Hamhuis at the trade deadline, but the reported price tag of Cody Hodgson and a first-round pick was far too high. Hamhuis is a very solid defensive player who could be a replacement for Willie Mitchell on a back end that is in need of retooling.

Hamhuis, who was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, along with former NHL player Georges Laraque visiting the earthquake-ravaged country on behalf of the NHL Players' Association to announce funding to help rebuild a children's hospital there, said he was preparing himself for the open market on July 1.

He hasn't closed the door on Nashville, though, and his agent Wade Arnott will speak with Preds GM David Poile next week for a last-ditch attempt at re-signing the six-year vet.

"It's pretty vague," the well-spoken Hamhuis said over the phone from Haiti. "We talked to Poile at the end of the season and he wanted some time to meet with his ownership group to figure out the budget and what kind of money he has to work with."

Poile's comments in the Tennessean newspaper this week regarding Hamhuis didn't sound optimistic and suggested the only way a deal gets done is if the D-man agrees to a hometown discount.

Don't count on that, and Hamhuis says he's preparing himself for free agency.

Certainly, he would be one of the most sought after UFA blueliners on July 1, so there will be plenty of competition for the Canucks -- who are expected to renew their interest.

Would he consider signing in Vancouver if the opportunity arose? The Canucks fishbowl would be polar opposites from anonymous Nashville.

"Vancouver is one of those cities that you look at," said Hamhuis, who's finishing a three-year deal that paid him $2.5 million last season with a $2-million cap hit. "There's certainly pluses and minuses in playing in a market like that -- especially after playing in one like Nashville where you do remain quite anonymous and that's a nice way to live, too. So that's one thing we'll miss about Nashville, but at the same time it's exciting to play in front of a crowd that lives for hockey and in a sold-out building every night.

"There's benefits and negatives to everything and if we go to free agency we'll have to weigh those things out."

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Vancouver Canucks released their 2010-11 regular season schedule on Tuesday. The team will open their 40th season on Saturday, October 9 at home versus the Los Angeles Kings.

The game takes place 40 years to the day the Canucks played their first NHL game against the Kings.

In celebration of the franchises anniversary 2010-11 will see a host signature nights at General Motors place in honour of Canucks history.

"This season promises to be very special for our fans and our organization," said Mike Gillis, Canucks President and General Manager.

The first signature night is at the home opener against the Los Angeles. It will be a 2010 NHL playoff first round rematch between the two clubs.

The Canucks beat the Kings four games to two. The Canucks then lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.

The schedule also sees Vancouver play each NHL team at least once and six games against each of the Northwest Division clubs.

Vancouver will play a home and a road game versus Eastern Conference Canadian rivals, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

November 20, 2010 is a date to star on calendars. The Chicago Blackhawks fly into GM Place for the first time since knocking the Canucks out of the playoffs [in] front of a home crowd.

The Canucks, Flames rivalry is showcased on Hockey Day in Canada February 12, 2011.

The two rivals go face-to-face again in the 2010-11 season finale in Calgary on April 9, 2011.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
VANCOUVER -- Roland Melanson's track record of developing young netminders and his ability to work full-time factored in the Vancouver Canucks decision to hire him as the NHL team's goaltending coach.

"We feel we have one of the top goaltender tandems in the NHL," Laurence Gilman, Vancouver's assistant general manager, said Tuesday. "We felt it was important at this junction to have a goaltending coach who was with us full-time."

Melanson will replace Ian Clark, who spent the last eight years working as a part-time consultant for the Canucks.

Clark, who lives in Dallas, was unable to relocate full-time to Vancouver for personal reasons, Gilman said.

The Canucks signed former first-round draft pick Cory*Schneider to a two-year, US$1.8 million contract earlier this month. The plan is to play Schneider in 20 or more games this year, reducing the workload of starting goaltender Roberto*Luongo.

"We feel Cory is the best goaltender currently not playing in the NHL," said Gilman. "Roland will work with him on his game and bring him along up to the pro level.

"At the same time he will work with Roberto. He (Melanson) has worked with some extremely skilled goaltenders during his tenure. We think Roberto will benefit from his tutelage as well."

Melanson, 49, served as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens from 1997 to 2009. During that time he helped with the development of goaltenders like Joe Theodore, Jocelyn*Thibault, Jaroslav*Halak, Cristobal*Huet and Carey*Price.

Bringing Melanson to Vancouver also reunites him with Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault, who coached the Canadiens from 1997 to 2000.

Luongo, who begins a 12-year, US$64-million contract this season, had a good working relationship with Clark.

Gilman said Vigneault has talked to Luongo about hiring Melanson.

"He knows the decision was made and understands why the decision was made," Gilman said.

Melanson was an assistant coach and goaltending coach with the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats from 1995 to 1997.

The native of Moncton, N.B., spent 11 seasons playing in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils and Montreal. He won three Stanley Cups with the Islanders between 1981 and 1983.

Along with Billy Smith, Melanson won the William M. Jennings Trophy in the 1982--83 season. The trophy is awarded to the goaltenders playing for the team with the fewest goals against.

In 291 regular season games he had a record of 129-106-33, six shutouts and a goals-against average of 3.63.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
For 40 years, team success and individual accolades have escaped the Vancouver Canucks.

But Henrik Sedin changed one part of that saga on Wednesday, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player for the 2009-10 season.

Sedin vanquished his more decorated rivals, finalists Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, taking 46 first-place votes among the 133 ballots cast, and winning by a clear margin over the Washington Capitals superstar. Pittsburgh's Crosby finished third, capturing 20 first-place votes from the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

“When they called my name for the Hart, it was surreal,” Sedin said in Las Vegas after the league's awards gala. “I heard my name, but I thought it was a mistake.”

At age 29, Sedin transformed his game last season, becoming a more dangerous goal scorer and learning to play without twin brother Daniel, who missed 19 contests with a broken foot. Henrik Sedin set career-highs for goals (29), assists (83), points (112, which was 20 better than his previous mark), plus-minus (plus-35) and shots on goal (166).

He led the league in scoring and was also presented with the Art Ross Trophy on Wednesday, joining names like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux who pulled off Hart and Ross sweeps.

Sedin becomes just the second Swede, after Peter Forsberg, to be named NHL MVP, and from the podium, he thanked former Canucks such as Mattias Ohlund, Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden and Trent Klatt for helping him and his brother find their way in the NHL.

It took five years before the Sedins blossomed into front-line players and another five before they joined the league's elite.

“It wasn't like we came in when we were 19 and everything went extremely well from Day 1,” Henrik, also a first-team NHL all-star, said. “We came in with maybe as big of expectations that Sid and Alex had, but it didn't work out. We had some tough times, some struggles. We stayed strong.

“To work as hard as we did and to see the results, it makes it even more a greater feeling.”

The NHL awards show had been much anticipated in B.C., where Canucks are not generally up for major trophies. The franchise has never won the Stanley Cup and best-in-class award winners have been scarce.

Pavel Bure won the Calder Trophy, for rookie-of-the-year, in 1992, and Naslund won the Lester B. Pearson Award (MVP as voted by NHL players) in 2003. Two coaches – Pat Quinn in 1992 and Alain Vigneault in 2007 – have won the Jack Adams Award.

The Pearson is now called the Ted Lindsay Award, and went to Ovechkin on Wednesday, initially casting doubt on Sedin's chances of taking home the big prize before it was announced.

“I think it means more to [be] recognized by the players,” Ovechkin said.

While Canucks fans had their fingers crossed for Sedin, few believed the beloved centre would actually win. His Hart chances were debated for months on open-line radio shows, and many Vancouverites thought their guy would lose to his more celebrated co-finalists because most PHWA voters are based in the Eastern time zone, and don't often see the Canucks play late games on the West Coast.

But Sedin beat Ovechkin by 60 points – a comfortable margin – and took six more first-place votes than the two-time Hart winner.

“This puts the Canucks on the map in a way that they haven't been on the map before,” said Jason Kurylo, a 39-year-old teacher and Canucks fan who attended a team-sponsored party at a downtown restaurant. “To overcome the East Coast bias, Henrik had to be quite a bit better than guys like Sidney Crosby.

“We in Vancouver have known for a while that the Sedins are not the ‘Sedin Sisters.' This shows that around the league, they're not the sisters any more.”
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
LOS ANGELES — The Vancouver Canucks will come home from the National Hockey League entry draft without a first-round selection but with a player who can help them immediately.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis on Friday traded his only selection in the first three rounds, the 25th spot in the first round, to the Florida Panthers to get rugged defenceman Keith Ballard in a multi-component deal.

Solid Canucks prospect Michael Grabner and enigmatic winger Steve Bernier were also packaged to acquire Ballard and forward prospect Victor Oreskovich.

"What we liked was a puck-moving defenceman at the right age who's signed for (four) years," Gillis said of Ballard on TSN.

"We're not finished yet," he said of further possible changes. "We're going to look at every free agent who comes out."

News of the trade seeped out with the media as the draft started, but the deal wasn't announced until it was the Canucks' turn to pick because Vancouver had the option of using it for one of two pre-determined players, then sending their 2011 first-rounder to Florida.

When the two draft prospects the Canucks coveted were claimed by other teams within the preceding five picks, Gillis included his 2010 selection to conclude the deal.

In Ballard, the Canucks get a fierce, decently skilled competitor capable of playing against the other team's top line. He is probably the replacement for shutdown defenceman Willie Mitchell, who heads to free agency July 1 clouded by a head injury that caused him to miss the second half of the season.

Ballard, 27, always seemed to be prominent against the Canucks when he played in the Western Conference for the Phoenix Coyotes before a trade two years ago sent him to Florida.

But Ballard is a third or fourth defenceman, not a top two. And for him, Gillis is paying a steep price, in dollars and in assets.

Ballard with make $4.2 million US for each of the next four seasons, which is probably about where his value would be as a free agent. But he wasn't a free agent. The Canucks surrendered a first-round pick and one of their better prospects in Grabner, a first-round selection in 2006.

Friday's trade may prove to be good for the Canucks, but it looked devastating to the amateur scouting staff who put in thousands of hours to prepare for Friday's first round.

Still, Ballard fills a vital need on defence. Mitchell doesn't plan to skate until mid-July and is unlikely to return to the Canucks, and Vancouver defencemen Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff are eligible to leave as unrestricted free agents after next season.

Neither the Canucks nor their fans will miss Bernier, a frustrating power forward who managed only 26 goals in 140 games for Vancouver over two seasons. It was only two years ago that Gillis gave the Buffalo Sabres second- and third-round picks to get Bernier, a first-round pick of San Jose's in 2003.

The Sabres will use the Canucks' second round pick Saturday, when Rounds 2-7 of the draft will be conducted here. The Canucks have no pick until the fourth round.

Ballard, 5-11 and 208 pounds, had 28 points and 88 penalty minutes in 82 games last season, which he finished minus-seven. In five NHL seasons, his best offensive year was his rookie campaign, when he had 39 points.

Oreskovich, a 23-year-old former second-round pick, had six points in 50 games last season as a rookie in Florida and at this point appears to be little more than a warm body.

The 22-year-old Grabner, who was one of the fastest skaters in the Canuck organization, had 11 points in 20 NHL games last year and was finally showing signs he belonged in Vancouver. Bernier, 25, had 22 points in 59 games.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LOS ANGELES – The best night in Mike Gillis's tenure as Vancouver Canuck general manager was probably last Wednesday in Las Vegas when Henrik Sedin won the organization's first Hart Trophy.

It's an individual award, yes. But it is status, too, and reflects an important milestone in the evolution of the Canucks. The award means as much to the team as it does Sedin. And it came on Gillis' watch. It was a fantastic night for the Canucks.

At a post-victory dinner party, Gillis got talking to Sedin and Ryan Kesler, the two-way centre who was again a finalist for the Selke Trophy. They agreed the Canucks are on the cusp of something even greater – potentially just a couple of players away from a Stanley Cup.

The next day, Gillis crossed the state line determined to get one of those players in Los Angeles, which is why he returned to Vancouver Sunday from the National Hockey League draft with only five late-round prospects but a top-four defenceman in Keith Ballard.

“When we went out for dinner with Ryan and Henrik after the awards, we talked about our team,” Gillis explained after the draft ended Saturday. “I didn't think we'd be this close for an additional year. We knew we had to accelerate our program.

“I would have hated to have this group of players come to training camp in September and tell them we couldn't make any key improvements.”

So, to accelerate the plan to win the Stanley Cup, Gillis outbid everyone for Ballard in the Panthers' yard sale by trading his first-round pick, good prospect Michael Grabner and lineup ballast in Steve Bernier.

At the insistence of Canucks' pro scouting director Eric Crawford, the team demanded that intriguing Panther prospect Victor Oreskovich be included in the deal.

Ballard is a good, well-rounded, tough NHL defenceman, a second-pairing guy who played 22:24 last season on a lousy team and has been traded four times before his 28th birthday.

There is no doubt the Canucks were better on Saturday than they were Thursday for acquiring Ballard, who is eager to become the impact player he was projected to be – and is being paid to be at $21-million-US for the next five years – in a place where hockey is almost religion.

But it's no slamdunk he's actually an upgrade on steady shutdown king Willie Mitchell, whose place on the blueline Ballard will be taking if the soon-to-be-free-agent Mitchell is not re-signed due to concerns about his health or because he simply takes a better offer elsewhere.

“Absolutely, I feel I have another level,” Ballard said Saturday. “It's one of those things where I need to put everything together on a nightly basis. Not for 40 games or 50 games, but every night. Great players do it night in and night out.

“I've been in the league five years and I'm definitely a better player than when I started, especially in the defensive zone. I couldn't be more excited coming to one of the best teams in the league and going to a Canadian city where the organization expects to win. [The market] is completely opposite to where I've been. I'm thrilled about going into a pressure-packed environment. This is a great fit for me.”

Ballard, who is from Baudette, Minn., was traded twice before he broke into the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes as a impressive, combative rookie in 2005-06. Canuck assistant GM Laurence Gilman held that same post in Phoenix when Ballard was acquired. The Coyotes' assistant coach was Rick Bowness, now the Canucks' associate coach.

Bowness and Gilman vouch for Ballard. The Canucks are getting a good, honest player here.

But they paid a hefty price, although Gillis disputes my characterization of the tab as “severe,” arguing that Grabner didn't fit the Vancouver lineup.

By trading the 25th pick, when Gillis had already surrendered his second- and third-round selections, the Canucks risk making the 2010 draft a black hole, a draft without a player to show for it.

It also seems a betrayal of Gillis' sacrosanct ideals regarding the draft and player development.

Maybe “top pick” Patrick McNally, a dynamic high school defenceman from New York, will play for the Canucks in five years after he finishes an undergrad degree at Harvard. But odds are heavily against players drafted in the fourth round and beyond playing in the NHL.

“Our commitment to draft and development hasn't changed,” Gillis said. “We have the same plan [for building the team] but it has been accelerated by a year in our minds. We didn't think we'd be this close. And we feel like we're even closer now.”

Certainly, they will be very close if Mitchell's health and patience allow him to re-sign with the Canucks, who clearly want on-ice proof that the 33-year-old has overcome last season's concussion before they make him an offer.

What the Ballard deal does in the short-term is give the Canucks a safety net when they embark on free agency Thursday in search of another superior defenceman. Gillis won't have to go to training camp in September and tell Sedin and Kesler he came up empty-handed
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Not long ago, Chris Tanev wondered whether he had a future in hockey.
But today – having decided to turn pro after only one season in college – he is a proud member of the Vancouver Canucks.
“Chances like this don’t come around too often,” said Tanev, who took a month to ponder over his options before deciding to leave college for the professional ranks. “It’s something that I felt I needed to take advantage of so I just took it and ran with it.”
Four or five NHL teams, including the San Jose Sharks, the Ottawa Senators, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, showed interest in acquiring Tanev’s services, but the native of Toronto, Ont. ultimately settled on the Canucks.
“Vancouver’s a first-class organization,” said Tanev, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers alumnus. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the city and the organization and honestly, it just seemed like they wanted me the most.”
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And no one wanted him more than Canucks director of player development Dave Gagner. As it turns out, Gagner has known about Tanev since the young defenceman was 11 years old and playing against his son Sam Gagner in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL). Tanev was a member of the Toronto Red Wings, an elite minor hockey team in the region, which Gagner described as a “dynasty” at the time. Louie Caporusso, the Ottawa Senators third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was another member of the dominant squad, which Gagner says Tanev was a “big part of.”
Furthermore, Gagner coached Tanev’s spring inline hockey team – also based in the Greater Toronto Area – for two years. However, as years went on and everyone else in his age group started growing, Tanev was left behind – quite literally. As a result, he was forced to quit competitive hockey at the age of 15 after he and the Toronto Red Wings parted ways.
“Everyone said I was too small to play so I couldn’t really find a team to play on,” said Tanev, who was barely five foot and about 120 pounds at the time. “At that point, I was pretty iffy about what was going to happen with hockey and my future.”
For two straight years, aside from a few months of practicing with Gagner’s Toronto Marlies AAA minor midget team, Tanev ended up only playing high school hockey, which wasn’t much for competition.
“He’s always had the ability and he’s always had the same kind of head for the game, but he just stopped growing,” said Gagner, the Canucks’ prospects guru. “So he’s not really a late bloomer in terms of skill; he was just a late grower.”
As he started growing, Tanev started to excel once again, this time with the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League’s (OPJHL) Markham Waxers. In 2007-08, Tanev helped lead Markham to a Southeast championship and was named the team’s most improved player. The following year as an assistant captain, he led all defecemen with 41 points in 50 games and received honours as the team’s most outstanding defenceman. As a result of his strong play, the RIT Tigers of the NCAA’s Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) took notice and brought him into the fold for the 2009-10 season.
And he made an immediate impact. Tanev was named the AHA Rookie of the Year last season, after finishing third among all freshmen in scoring with nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points. Even more impressive, although he was scored against on his first shift with the Tigers, Tanev was only on the ice for nine even strength goals against, according to RIT co-director of sports information Joe Venniro, and only took two minor penalties during the regular season. This despite being paired up with Dan Ringwald against the opponents’ top scoring lines on a nightly basis. Tanev led the Tigers and the entire AHA with a +33 rating in 41 games played last season.
“When I saw that Chris was playing for RIT in the NCAA tournament, I was like ‘oh my gosh,” said Gagner.
As per Gagner’s recommendation, Canucks director of collegiate scouting Stan Smyl, along with amateur scout Jonathan Bates, professional scout Lucien Debois, and other members of the Canucks organization kept a close eye on Tanev at the recent NCAA Frozen Four tournament, in which his Tigers fell to Wisconsin in the semifinals. Although Mike Gillis was never able to watch Tanev play live, Gagner and co. put together a video package that illustrated the defender’s abilities for the general manager’s viewing.
“I’ve known Chris for a long time so I knew what his hockey make-up was,” said Gagner. “His hockey sense is very, very sound. But I mean, everybody’s got to be on board. Fortunately, everybody could see it right away.”
Gagner compared Tanev’s style of play to that of a current Canucks defenceman who turned many heads this past season: Christian Ehrhoff.
“He plays a complete game where he wants to be involved in all aspects of it,” said Gagner. “He kills penalties, he’ll block shots, he’ll join the rush five-on-five, he really closes his gaps well, and on the power play he’s creative so he knows how to make plays.”
Clearly, the Canucks believe they’ve found a gem.
“We think we’ve found a really smart hockey player and we didn’t have to draft him,” said Gagner. “It’s a great addition to our prospects pool and we’re pretty excited.”
He is, too.
“This is something I’ve looked forward to since I started playing hockey when I was four and it’s a dream come true.”
Although the Canucks prospects development camp isn’t slated to commence until the week of July 5, Tanev is already in Vancouver working out every day with Canucks strength and conditioning coach Roger Takahashi. And so far, the Canucks’ newest prized possession likes what he sees.
“I love it; it’s a beautiful city,” said Tanev, who admitted that his relationship with Gagner did play a role in his decision to choose Vancouver. “And the people seem great.”
Now standing six foot two and weighing in at 185 pounds, Tanev intends to bulk up even more this summer with the hope of cracking the Canucks lineup next season. And whether he starts the season in Vancouver or in Winnipeg with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, one thing’s for certain: he doesn’t have to worry about finding a team anymore.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As spectator events go, the Vancouver Canucks weekend at the National Hockey League Entry Draft in Los Angeles was a lot like watching that other sporting spectacle that has captured much of the globe’s attention – soccer’s World Cup.
There was a burst of action followed by long stretches without much of anything happening.
In the end, the Canucks will leave Tinseltown with one big name, big league defenceman, a young pro who still needs to prove himself, three blueline prospects, a point-a-game junior centre and a little more depth in goal.
Without question, the high point of excitement for the Canucks – and their loyal followers – was Friday’s acquisition of defenseman Keith Ballard from the Florida Panthers. Ballard was certainly saying all the right things in the moments after learning he was heading back to the Western Conference after breaking into the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes.

"I'm excited to go to a great hockey team,” Ballard told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “They're one of the best teams in the NHL. Initially I didn't like the idea of getting traded, but in the last 24 hours after all these phone calls from everybody telling me, 'You're on your way out, you're on your way out,' I've kind of been prepared for it. It didn't shock me. To have it happen and end up with a city and team like Vancouver, it couldn't have worked out any better."
After trading away their first round pick as part of the deal to acquire Ballard and Victor Oreskovich and then sitting idle during the second and third rounds of Saturday’s second day at the draft, the Canucks finally got a chance to make a selection in the fourth round, 115th overall. With that pick, they took mobile defenseman Patrick McNally from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. The 6’2” 180-pound Long Island, NY native led his team in scoring with 35 points in 28 games last season.
“He created a lot of offense from the blue line and provided a lot of spark,” Milton’s head coach Paul Cannata said on the Milton Academy website. “He (McNally) is a great student, a good kid and a pleasure to coach. He loves to play hockey, carry the puck, skate, and make plays. There's a freshness to his game that is really enjoyable. You don't want to coach that out of him."
In the fifth round, the Canucks grabbed 6’3” defenceman Adam Polasek from Prince Edward Island in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s a Czech native who made the jump to North America to play junior hockey this past season and was named to the QMJHL’s all-rookie team after scoring 13 goals, recording 41 points and 91 penalty minutes in 66 games.
In the sixth round, the Canucks selected 19-year-old Niagara Ice Dogs centre Alex Friesen who had 23 goals and 60 points in 60 Ontario Hockey League games. Not the biggest player in the draft – listed at 5’10” and 189 pounds – Friesen has seen his point totals jump from 14 to 33 to 60 in three seasons in the OHL. The Canucks used their second pick in the sixth round to take goalie Jonathan Iilahti who spent last season in the Finnish junior league. Not listed by Central Scouting in the mid-term rankings, the 6-footer was slotted sixth among European goaltenders in the year-end CSB rankings.
And with their final pick in the draft – 205th overall in the 7th round – the Canucks stuck with the theme of the weekend and continued to bolster their back end selecting Sawyer Hannay from Halifax in the QMJHL. At 6’4” and 190 pounds, Hannay appears to have done most of his work with his gloves off rather than on – he had just one goal, but engaged in 18 fights and was fourth in the Q with 158 PIM in 54 games.
According to independent scouting service Red Line Report: ‘As assets go, huge and mean are a fine place to start.’
"I really like the rough stuff and, in my opinion, that’s the way to play the game,” Hannay told the Halifax Chronicle Herald in the days leading up to the draft. “You level with the game, you level with your opponents when you’re playing physical and it brings out the heart in a player.”
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I want to see Pavel Kubina, Kurtis Foster, Eric Nystrom and Colby Armstrong. Those are the guys on my UFA wish list. Any would be great. If they managed to pull off a Hamhuis or Volchenkov so much the better, possibility of resigning Mitchell is better since he was hurt. Throw in a few trade possibilities if they put Bieksa in play and there are many exciting possibilities. Gillis is by far the best GM they've ever had and I'm putting my feet up and enjoying every year of it right now.
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