The Vancouver Canucks, having avoided salary arbitration last week with winger Jannik Hansen by re-signing him to a three-year deal, appear to have their roster set for 2011-12, but they might not be finished tweaking their lineup.
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman recently told the Vancouver Province’s Jason Botchford they’re “still looking at areas to improve the hockey team,” adding there is “money to be spent.”
CapGeek.com indicates the Canucks currently have just more than $2.56 million in available cap space. Botchford observed that gives them some flexibility and with “a glut of borderline second-liners and a backup goalie (Corey Schneider) who is ready to be a starter for another team,” other moves could be possible, perhaps in late-August or early-September as training camp draws near.
Schneider would obviously be the Canucks’ most enticing trade bait, but there’s no indication management intends to move him. If he were shopped, they’d seek something substantial in return.
Right now, there aren’t a lot of teams in the market for goaltenders, even one as promising as Schneider. Of course, that could change during pre-season as teams evaluate their needs.
The Canucks biggest need is an experienced scoring winger for Ryan Kesler’s line. The length of time it takes right wing Mason Raymond to make a full recovery from a fractured vertebrae could also prove a factor in any potential moves.
Gilman hinted they were looking at “a number of players” who might be available through other teams and were still looking at available free agents.
Given the lack of quality depth remaining in this year’s UFA pool, they’re unlikely to find what they’re looking for in that market.
WILL THE DEVILS DUMP?
The Devils avoided arbitration with left wing Zach Parise on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $6 million contract.
New Jersey now has a 48-hour window, from August 1 to 3, to decide if they’ll free up further cap space via contract buyouts.
GM Lou Lamoriello told the New York Post he didn’t have to go that route, but admitted it was an option they’d consider.
The Devils currently have $2.53 million in available cap space and have 24 players under contract for next season, so there’s no real urgency to dump salary.
JETS STILL LOOKING FOR SCORING
Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press observed the Jets have taken a conservative approach to this summer’s UFA market, avoiding big signings in favor of affordable veteran depth like Randy Jones, Derek Meech, Tanner Glass and Rick Rypien.
Management, however, reportedly remains interested in adding more scoring punch, leading Tait to ask his readers to vote on a list seven free agents to determine if they’re worth signing or passing over.
Those listed were Nikolay Zherdev, Chris Drury, Teemu Selanne, Cory Stillman, J-P Dumont, Sergei Samsonov and Chris Clark.
Zherdev recently said he’d have no qualms about joining the Jets, dismissing the notion Winnipeg’s weather is off-putting, but there’s no indication so far Jets management has interest in him.
Jets fans are sure to vote overwhelmingly for Selanne, who began his NHL career in Winnipeg and set a record for rookie goal-scoring in 1992-93 with 76. It’s common knowledge, however, “The Finnish Flash” will either return with the Anaheim, where he’s played nearly 12 of his 18 NHL seasons, or retire.
Given that age and/or injury has resulted in significant declines in the performances of Drury, Stillman, Dumont, Samsonov and Clark, the 26-year-old Zherdev might be their best option, though his one-dimensional game is the main reason he remains unsigned this summer.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey News.