Monday, December 17, 2007

Mo Recovery Time Needed

From Iain MacIntyre (via National Post):
It took nearly eight years for Brendan Morrison's consecutive-games streak to end, and it could be two months or longer before he gets to start another after recovering from wrist surgery.

Vancouver Canuck general manager Dave Nonis said Wednesday the tendon surgery, though not complex, requires "significant" recovery time and the National Hockey League club has no expectations for Morrison's return beyond the 32-year-old being available before the playoffs.

"It's significant," Nonis said. "From what we've been told, it's not a difficult (operation), nothing that we need to worry about. But he will spend significant time in a cast. And after that, there's rehab.

"We knew of this possibility weeks ago. We didn't know if his injury would deteriorate but it wasn't going to get better with rest, so we were hoping he could get through the season with it. But of late, it was getting progressively worse."

While some Canucks fans probably rejoiced at this news - I'm talking specifically about those who have wanted Mo traded for a couple of years now - this is not a small loss. Mo is about as versatile a player as they come these days. He sits fourth in team scoring with 20 points (8G-12A) in 30 points. He plays a regular shift, he plays on the powerplay (as a forward and on the point), and he plays on the penalty kill. Really, it seems the only position he hasn't played this year is in goal.

The good news is, the Canucks have so far been able to cover Mo's absence by committee. Jaffray and Raymond have been decent, and also, the likes of Ritchie and Linden have been able to take on some extra minutes. As long as they can continue to do that, I don't expect Nonis to make a move just yet.

Contrary to popular belief, the Canucks actually don't get salary cap relief for Morrison's injury. If anything, it makes their cap situation worse. His salary will still count towards the cap, as will the salary of whoever it is that replaces him on the roster. (Right now, that's Jaffray.) The only thing the CBA allows the Canucks to do is to go over the cap to replace him; however, as soon as Morrison is healthy, they'll have to shed salary to get back under it.

As it stands, the Canucks have $2.37 million in cap space (as per nhlnumbers.com). With approximately 60% of the season remaining, they can take in almost $4 million worth of salary. But while they certainly have the room to replace him if they want to, doing so would then cut into the amount of salary they can take in at the trade deadline. If the Canucks choose to ride it out with Jaffray, Raymond and maybe Rypien, that $2.37 million in cap space equals to more than $9 million in salary at the trade deadline.

Trade now or trade later? The obvious preference is the latter. First off, I'd love to see more of the Moose kids succeed at the NHL level. But also, salary cap-speaking, a Michael Ryder now may cost them a Marian Hossa later.

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, 10:49 PM


At December 18, 2007 12:31 AM, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Good point on how the cap numbers change over time. I certainly agree that it's a better idea to wait a while before adding more offence: Jaffray and Raymond have impressed so far, and there's some other good forwards down on the farm, so I'd like to see how they do before the Canucks go grab someone else.

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