For the first time in a long time, the sense of anticipation for this year’s NHL entry draft is palpable. There’s the question of who will be selected first overall by the Islanders: High scoring forward John Tavares or once-in-a-decade blue chip defenseman Victor Hedman.
There’s the possibility of Toronto GM Brian Burke making yet another splash at the draft. And then there’s the Dany Heatley trade demand situation and a possible battle to acquire the negotiating rights of one Jay Bouwmeester.
Even Canuck fans are wondering whether general manager Mike Gillis will trade up for a chance to select a long-coveted puck moving defenseman in Ryan Ellis or trade down to build depth in the organization.
But in all honesty, the front burner issue in Vancouver has to be the future of Daniel & Henrik Sedin. 7 days is what separate the twins from free agency and if you are to believe some of the theories being put forth by the local media recently, a new era of Canucks hockey is on the horizon.
And I’m starting to buy into that train of thought.
Rumour has it Robert Luongo has agreed to a contract extension that will be announced on July 1. One has to believe the cap hit will be at least $7 to $7.5 million. Now if the Sedins are holding out for a similar amount, I’m not sure the Canucks are willing to commit over $21 million to just 3 players when there is still a need to fill holes and to re-sign Ryan Kesler.
The negotiations have gone on for over a year and if the Canucks and the Sedins are serious about getting a deal done, it would have been done by now. That leads me to believe both sides are prepared to part ways on July 1. Maybe I’m wrong on this but all signs seem to be pointing that direction.
So here’s what I think may happen after July 1:
1, Marian Gabork didn’t buy a house in West Vancouver just so he can rent it out during the Olympics. He’s going to sign a short term deal here to re-unite with his best buddy Pavol Demitra. With his injury history, I’d like to think he’ll be willing to sign a 1 or 2 year deal for $4.5 – $5 million per to prove himself. When healthy, he’s a dynamic, point-per-game player and I, for one, will pay to watch him since he reminds me so much of Pavel Bure.
2,Say hello to Mike Cammalleri. Calgary has no cap room to re-sign him. He’s a former Mike Gillis client. The connection is obvious. And like Gaborik, Cammalleri would instantly upgrade the Canucks power play.
3, Scott Niedermayer to leave Anaheim and sign a 1 year deal here. He’s won everything there is to win but the opportunity to play club and Olympic hockey in his home province might be the ideal scenario to cap off his impressive career.
As much as I’d like to see Jay Bouwmeester in a Canuck jersey, that’s a pipe dream at best. In this salary cap era, you just can’t have everything.
So there you have it, Fong Bao’s fearless predictions, for what it’s worth. Chances are I’ve already jinxed them all simply by putting my thoughts into words. But make no mistake, the next 7 days could be the pivotal period that will shape the future of the Canuck franchise.
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