While not being the busiest club so far after the free agent deadline following the signing of Jason Garrison, the Vancouver Canucks have made some minor depth moves, most notably on the blue-line where the team has so far lost veteran Sami Salo (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Aaron Rome (Dallas Stars).
The club has recently re-signed,
- Cory Schneider-G- 3 year, $4 million deal.
- Aaron Volpatti-LW- 1 year, $600,000 deal.
- Andrew Ebbett-C- 1 year, $600,000 deal.
- Steve Pinizzotto-RW- 1 year, $600,000 deal.
From free agency the club has acquired,
- Jason Garrison-D- 6 year, $4.6 million deal.
- Derek Joslin-D- 1 year, $700,000 deal.
- Patrick Mullen-D- 1 year, $600,000 deal.
Being seen as depth signings who will likely play for the AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves to start the season, Derek Joslin and Patrick Mullen will provide the Canucks with options on defence. Joslin has played 114 NHL games, registering 16 points and 63 penalty minutes, most recently playing for the Carolina Hurricanes. The 26 year-old Mullen registered a career high 41 points in 69 games playing for the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL last season.
The re-signing of Cory Schneider for 3 years is an important step for the Canucks. It points to a changing of the guard in the net with Schneider taking the reigns as the true number one, a spot he earned late last season. With Schneider signing a new deal in Vancouver, it puts Olympic gold-medal winning Roberto Luongo in a difficult position, having signed a 12 year, $5.3 million deal only 2 summers ago. In a recent interview on the Jeff O’Neil show, Luongo conceded that:
“I would never say never (to stay in Vancouver next season), but we all know what’s going on and we’ve all seen what’s developed. At the end of the day I think it’s time to move on and I’m ok with that. I’ve had a great 6 years in Vancouver. I think it’s a wonderful city. I really enjoyed my time there.”
Luongo also admitted he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if asked, saying:
“Florida is definitely one of the spots I’d be willing to go to… To be honest, I haven’t had much communication with Mike. He keeps me updated once in a while. I’m sure when something is close to happening, that’s when I’ll have to make a decision.”
The entire interview can he heard below;
Florida and Toronto, the clubs who have the most interest in Luongo, have good young goaltender prospects in the system with a need for veteran leadership between the pipes. Mike Gillis has shown he is in no hurry to move the goaltender, willing to wait for a deal that suits his team, especially as the current pool of free agent goaltenders continues to dry up.
Talks are circulating that the Canucks and Panthers are ready to make a deal, the only hitch being the no-trade clause in Jose Theodore’s contract. He may not be willing to waive to play in Vancouver as backup. If a deal was made with Florida, a good prospect as well as a forward to replace the injured Ryan Kesler at the start of the season will likely be involved while the current asking price for the Maple Leafs is expected to include talented young defenceman Jake Gardiner.
The Canucks have signed only one major free agent so far, but personnel changes are not over. Expect the club to make a big play for Shane Doan, if the Coyotes forward becomes available in the next few days while the biggest acquisitions will most likely come from the Luongo trade which now seems an almost certainty.