Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To Make a Move or Not to Make a Move

With their acquisitions of Craig Conroy and Brad Stuart, the Calgary Flames have put their stamp on the playoff race. They gave up a bit of their organizational depth to do so, but they came out of the last couple of weeks with a first-line center for Jarome Iginla and a top-four defenseman.

I'm not surprised that the Flames made these moves. At the end of next season, Jarome Iginla, Mikka Kiprusoff, Robyn Regehr, Daymond Langkow, as well as Craig Conroy all become unrestricted free agents; that same summer, Dion Phaneuf's entry-level contract runs out. Their window of opportunity is closing and they want to win now.

The Vancouver Canucks are not in the same situation. As much as I would love for Dave Nonis to acquire a Peter Forsberg, I don't want him to give up a high-level prospect and a couple of high draft picks to do so. And from the sounds of things, that might be what it takes.

"If there's a deal there that makes sense and make us better, regardless of who it is, we would do it," Nonis said. "If it's a deal that decimates our reserve list, takes all our top prospects [and] requires players off our team, it's highly unlikely that we would do that for any rental player."
As a Canucks fan, and especially as a Canucks fan of a Canucks team that is very much and very surprisingly contending for the division title, I'm naturally torn between having a "go-for-it-all" mentality or perhaps a more patient one as the team restocks its farm system. Right now, I'm leaning more towards that latter than the former.

Some point to the Edmonton Oilers unexpected run to the Stanley Cup finals last season as proof that once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. Fair point so why not load up to better the chances for an extended run? Especially with Roberto Luongo in goal, anything can happen.

But instead of giving up the next few years for one (non-guaranteed) extended run this season, I'd much rather that the Canucks make the playoffs each of the four years Luongo is under contract for. To do so in a salary cap system, however, will be extremely hard if the team has no prospects that can make the jump and play with the big team each season.

This season, the Canucks are operating periliously close to the cap. Thankfully, guys like Taylor Pyatt, Kevin Bieksa, Josh Green and Lukas Krajicek have all been able to step in and play big roles for (relatively-)small bucks. Note that Bieksa is the only Canucks draft pick of that group.

Next season, when the Canucks already have more than half the projected cap committed to eight players and Sami Salo potentially leaving, it is important that other guys are able to step up and Nonis is best not to leave the cupboard bare.

That said, if Nonis can swing a deal or two that doesn't mortgage the team's future, then great. In fact, I'm not averse to him swinging a deal like Dallas did when they acquired Ladislav Nagy for a spare forward and a low first-rounder.

It should be an interesting two weeks.

More trade-related talk:

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 7:01 AM


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