Monday, July 09, 2007

A Quick Study

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Dave Nonis as he worked hard to shore up the Canucks roster for the '07-'08 season. Last week, he added some goaltending depth, signing Curtis Sanford to a one-year deal and top prospect Cory Schneider to his first pro contract (Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun).

Sanford, 27, signed for one year at $600,000 and will take Dany Sabourin's place on the end of the bench for all but a handful of games (all figures are in U.S. dollars).

Schneider, 21, agreed to a three-year entry level contract that will see him earn $924,200 at the NHL level and $70,000 in Manitoba, where he will be the go-to guy for the American Hockey League's Moose.
Then in separate deals, he signed Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister to one-year contracts (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province).

In Isbister, the Canucks get a 6-foot-4, 227-pound left-winger who doesn't always play to his size and takes too many nights off. In Ritchie, the Canucks get an undersized centre who has often irritated the opposition, but hasn't put up the offensive numbers.

What does this all mean?

A big gamble that Isbister ($525,000 US) and Ritchie ($675,000) will give coach Alain Vigneault some needed fourth-line muscle and grit for anticipated physical encounters against Calgary, Anaheim and San Jose.
Finally, he solidified the defense core and rewarded Lukas Krajicek with a new two-year deal, extended Kevin Bieksa's contract for another three years, and added veteran Aaron Miller to the mix.

Especially compared to the recent follies in Edmonton and Buffalo, Dave Nonis continues to impress me. He obviously learned from the Ryan Kesler fiasco last year, and hence, the Krajicek and Bieksa deals. Combine that with the earlier Pyatt and Kesler re-signings (and how much they were for) and I can't help but gain an appreciation for how good Nonis has managed the team within the cap system.

Think of it this way, barring any movement, the Canucks' top-six defensemen, which in my opinion is as good a group as any in the league, will make a combined $13.625 million this season. And they're signed for just slightly more money for next season as well.

Except for a Trevor Linden re-signing or perhaps a rookie making the team out of training camp, the roster is pretty much set. In fact, the only other glaring need on the team is another scoring winger and Nonis still has a couple of months to find one.

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, 11:05 PM


At July 10, 2007 5:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a rumour that Nonis was eyeballing either Elias or Gionta , along with Colin White, in NJ, in exchange for Ohlund and Morrison... That may explain the Nucks recent acquisition of depth on the blueline?

At July 12, 2007 7:40 PM, Blogger Justin said...

I just saw on your salary cap chart that Chouinard was bought out! Say it ain't so!

At July 12, 2007 8:30 PM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

Admit it. You're gonna miss him.

anon - I'm not a big fan of Elias. Well, I am but not at $6 mil per year until he's 37. Gionta would be okay though he's yet another small forward. Colin White I like.

Personally, I think DN is just stacking the D. Not much more than that unless another offer blows him away.

At July 16, 2007 7:11 PM, Blogger Magicpie said...

my problem with any trades that involve morison for another forward is that you're not really improving anything. You're losing your 4th best forward to get a guy who's probably gonna be your 4th best forward instead. Doesn't make any sense. Any trade for scoring probably isn't gonna involve morrison.

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