The Canucks and the Final Push

While I was on vacation, I was surprised to see that TSN TradeCentre was featured on the big screen at the Flamingo Las Vegas sports book facility on April 3. Instead of relying on data with U.S. roaming on the good ol’ iPhone, the trade deadline coverage was strongly present on the big screens. There wasn’t any particular trade that really made a significant splash this time. Most of the trades involved the unloading of unrestricted free agents (Jarome Iginla) or unwanted (Marian Gaborik) players. Perhaps Jaromir Jagr’s trade from Dallas to the Boston Bruins was something to sneeze at – an insurance policy for the Bruins to make a long final push.

The Vancouver Canucks didn’t make a splash themselves, only acquiring Derek Roy from the same Dallas Stars. The move temporarily fulfilled their need for strength at centre. And there was no movement with regards to Roberto Luongo. He even admitted that his contract “sucks”, scaring away the potential for a trade to a team that could use some goaltending help. Since that didn’t happen, this will be the Canucks final roster heading into the postseason. This is about as good as the Canucks are going to get this year.

How Far Will The Canucks Go?

Unlike the Calgary Flames who unloaded on Jarome Iginla & Jay Bouwmeester and got nothing from those deals, the Canucks have kept their existing insurance policies through Luongo and Derek Roy. Cory Schneider hasn’t been perfect, but Coach Alain Vigneault has given him all the confidence in him that he has been able to bounce back when the odds are against him. The success of the minor league player call-ups such as Jordan Schroeder and Andrew Ebbett from the Chicago Wolves have been having a positive impact on the top club. With injuries still being a constant problem, the Canucks will need all the help they can get, with the roster they have assembled. With convincing victories against Edmonton and Calgary in the last two games, the Canucks are making the final push to the postseason.

(Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames in action on April 6 (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

To ask for a prediction in the 2013 Playoffs is still a moot point at this time. Vancouver is back atop the Northwest Division, but even so there are no guarantees of success. As it stands right now, they would be playing against the Minnesota Wild, a team that has frustrated the Canucks before. Come to think of it, the Canucks have been embarrassed by losses to Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis or Detroit. So there again, there’s no sure thing after the first round. However, they’ve beaten Chicago in tight games, so dropping to the final playoff spot and playing against a heavily-favored Stanley Cup contender might not be a bad thing…

What Will Happen After the Playoffs?

One thing is for sure, there’s going to be movement with the goaltending situation. Schneider has been collecting win after win, but doing so convincingly in the process. Where does that leave Luongo? Well, he can go to any team that needs an experienced goaltender. Just have to check their wallets. With what remains on his 12-year, $64 million contract, many teams may have to walk way because of the weight of that salary.

Turco just didn't seem as menacing as usual last season
Luongo in the final year of his contract

He could be stuck being the backup in Vancouver for a very long time. Meanwhile Schneider, Eddie Lack and other goaltending prospects will go through the roster system while Bobbie Lou plants himself on the bench until 2021-22. Wow, imagine if you would if he’s still there. Reminds you of Mr. Belvedere, Tony Danza or Alf, doesn’t he? Luongo might never leave Vancouver.

And what about the Twins, Daniel and Henrik Sedin? They’re five-year contracts will be done after the 2013-14 season. This could prove to be an unbearable situation x 2 for GM Mike Gillis, something that has been seen through the Jarome Iginla trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Like Iginla, the Sedin Twins have played for the same team for 14 seasons. They’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency unless the Canucks look to sign them quickly or use them as valuable trade bait.

Gillis will certainly have his hands full for the next two seasons.