The last time I updated anything about the Canucks, it was about the contract with Luongo. Lots have happened since then. Let’s see if I can sum up who else has come and gone from the organization.
Vancouver Canucks – Acquired right wing Tommi Santala and a 2007 fifth-round pick from the Atlanta Thrashers for a 2007 fourth-round pick; signed center Brandon Reid, who had been in Switzerland; signed center Brad Moran, who had been in Switzerland; acquired goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a 2006 sixth-round pick from the Florida Panthers for right wing Todd Bertuzzi, defenseman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld; signed defenseman Willie Mitchell, who had been with the Dallas Stars, to a four-year contract; acquired a 2007 second-round pick and a 2009 conditional pick from the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Dan Cloutier. [allsports]
Other changes to note, Ed Jovonoski found a new home in Phoenix with Gretzky and Roenick. Baumgartner headed east with the Flyers, and Keith Carney found a multi-year deal with the Minnesota Wild. Jarkko Ruutu (sadly) grabbed a nice deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For the most part, that brings us up to date. If it seems like a core of the team is no longer with the Canucks, then you’re not alone in feeling that way. One name that hasn’t been mentioned, and is still, as of this post, a free agent, is Anson Carter. The salary cap says that there is no room in the inn for him, and we most likely won’t see him return. It’s a damn shame, too. Not only is he my favorite player on the team, but he was the key to, what I like to refer to as, “The Brother Line.”
A 33 goal season just didn’t happen for Carter. He fit the mold. After trying so many combinations with the Sedin twins, those three clicked. That type of teamwork led to a great season for that line. For the most part, everyone expects Carter to take a deal somewhere else.
After that, it’s really unknown as to what to expect this coming season. The guys coming in have promise, we’re already in love with Luongo (or so it seems), and the kids coming up through the ranks are starting to make some noise. Some of the Canuck’s top prospects were in town recently to strut their stuff, but nothing to really be said of them until the pre-season gets going. Once again, there is promise, but I’m still scratching my head over what’s up at top to work with.
GM Nonis says he isn’t done shaking up the team, but I could have swore that we just got a new head coach. Not a lot has been said by the new guy, and I have yet to really discover a whole lot about what to expect. Vigneault had some success down in Manitoba, and if you are coaching a team that had Ouellet in goal, that means you must be something good. I was never impressed with that guy protecting the net instead of Auld.
Speaking of goalies, with Auld gone, that puts our trade from Buffalo, Mika Noronen, in at back-up for Luongo. This sounds great, but Noronen wants to be a starter in the NHL. As much as they are paying for Mr. Roberto, it’s not likely to happen. We only got the very best of Mika Noronen in the final game of last season. I’ve heard lots of good things about him, so it makes sense. Dude’s in a really tough spot though.
So, even though we are in the off-season, there is a crap load of stuff going on that is exciting to keep tabs on. I’m keeping close track of my RSS feeds, but if you really wanna know what’s going on with the Canucks, check out Vancouver Canucks Op Ed and HockeyNW.com. I love this stuff, but these folks live, eat, and breathe it.
I can’t fail to mention that Rebecca can talk the talk a hell of a lot better than I can.