Press Round-Up: APR.22.08
Not surprisingly, his list starts with Vancouver’s crop of talented defencemen, which includes Mattias Ohlund, Willie Mitchell, Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa. Luc Bourdon and Nathan McIver are mentioned as players that are almost ready to make a permanent jump to the NHL, leaving rookie standout Alex Edler as the most tempting player other teams may be looking to acquire.
“Alex Edler, who played in the YoungStars game at All-Star Weekend and could be named to the NHL's all-rookie team, is the best blue-line prospect the Canucks have produced since Mattias Ohlund. Like Ohlund, Edler's a guy you'd like for 10 years, someone to build around.
“But he's easily the most marketable player on the roster and, given the Canucks' blue-line depth, could be seen as expendable if the new GM thinks his team can win a Stanley Cup before goalie Roberto Luongo's contract expires in two years. Edler would fetch a young, impact forward in return.”
Up front, Mason Raymond looks to be the biggest target to get shopped around, not to mention Vancouver’s 10th overall pick at the upcoming draft, as the Canucks won’t likely want to part ways with the Sedins or Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.
As far as trade targets are concerned, Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter are two names that have sprung some interest on the West Coast.
“Carter and Perry seem ideal targets for predatory free-agent offers on July 1, which is why it would be more prudent for any GM wanting either to make a trade before then and work out a new contract. Either way, it won't be cheap. Count on $5-6 million per season -- and for a lot of seasons.
“The types of players the Canucks could target in trade -- guys who have both skill and grit, and could be available -- include Carolina Hurricane Erik Cole, Nashville Predator Jason Arnott, the Flyers' Scott Hartnell (if Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren decides he absolutely must keep Carter) and even Phoenix Coyote Daniel Carcillo. Cheaper trade alternatives include New York Islander Bill Guerin, Toronto Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker and St. Louis Blue Jamal Mayers.”
The list of “not so free agents” is also appealing, but in some cases it could mean picking up make or break players – guys who could make a difference if they play well, yet could sink the ship if their play becomes erratic.
“There is a pile of high-risk, high-reward players that other teams will be willing to move for the salary savings. These include Chicago's Martin Havlat ($5 million/one year remaining), Minnesota's Mark Parrish ($8.4 million/three years), Florida's Stephen Weiss ($16.9 million/five years) and San Jose's Patrick Marleau ($14.6 million/two years).”
Since Dave Nonis was relieved as general manager last week, rumors have been circulating that Odjick was being consulted in the search for a new GM, but he told Pap that this simply isn’t the case.
"It's just a bad rumour," said Odjick, whose name was bandied about on national TV as a member of Aquilini's advisory committee. "I'm not involved at all. Yes, we're friends, just friends, but he hasn't called me to ask what he should do.
"I don't know what they're thinking," continued Odjick, a Canuck from 1990-98. "In my opinion, I think they should get somebody already involved in hockey management, for sure. That's not to say a player agent can't come in and do a great job. It all depends on who he surrounds himself with.”
One of the top choices for the job is allegedly ex-Dallas GM Doug Armstrong, who confirmed with Pap that he has been contacted by the Canucks.
"I was contacted last Friday and I was very pleased to get the phone call," Armstrong said. "We had a brief conversation and it was basically left at that. I'd like to get back in and manage.
"Certainly I understand there is a process they're going through and I respect that and, if they deem I am someone they'd like to talk to again, that would be great from my point of view."
Former player agent Brian Lawton have been mentioned as a prominent candidate as well, and Lawton believes that his lack of GM experience will not be an issue.
"Some people say, well, geez, you haven't worked for a team, and I'm very quick to correct them," Lawton said Monday, chuckling. "I have certainly worked for quite a few teams, more than I'd like to state, as a player over 10 years.
"I've been involved in the league for 24 years in all facets," Lawton said. "I've negotiated contracts. I've run development camps. I've had to go out and find players. I've built an organization and we really operated it like a team."
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