Free Agency 2008

The first day of Free Agent Frenzy is over, and the results for Canucks is zip.

Well, except for PR purposes. Mike Gillis desperately want to make Hockey Headlines, offered 37-yrs old Swedish Centerman Mats Sundin a stupendous 20 Million dollars 2 year deal for him to play in Vancouver. I guess the bigger surprise is that Sundin didn’t accept the offer which would have made him the highest payroll player in the entire NHL. Sundin’s agent J.P. Barry apparently said that Sundin has still not decided whether he will return to NHL next year.

What do I think about this offer? I think that Mike Gillis didn’t want to repeat what happened to Dave Nonis on the previous trading deadline, he didn’t want to come out and say that he’s tried to make various offers, but none make sense for the benefits of the hockey club. How would that look as a rookie GM of a hockey-crazied town. So, just to make sure that everybody knows he tried, he offered the most ridiculous offer to an aged superstar who is comtemplating retirement.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that Sundin is a great player, and he is in good shape, probably better than a lot of the younger guys out there (not pointing my finger at Kyle Wellwood, if you are asking). He can still contribute a lot to our team if he wants to play. But according to Gillis, his intention as GM is to build our team for years to come, and is Sundin really our star player to build around? I think you know the answer to that one.

Again, I seriously don’t think Sundin will end up here, but it does show one more thing, our chances to land Hossa and Demitra just got slimmer and slimmer. Pavol Demitra has made it clear today that he will not sign with any team until he knows where Hossa is signing. Does this means that he will only want to sign with the team that Hossa is signing with? Maybe, but of course it doesn’t mean that the team will have the cap-space or the willingness to sign him and Hossa. Since the Canucks have announced our interest in signing Sundin to 10M per year, which we will be waiting to hear from, do you think Mike Gillis are still in talks with the Hossa camp? I don’t think so.

So what does that leave us, at the end of the first day of free agency? Slim hope of any significant improvement in terms of starpower. We did, however, made one signing today, and it is to tough guy Darcy Hordichuk, perviously of the Nashville Predators. On top of our failed attempt in offer sheet to David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, whom they immediately matched, I’d say we made some headlines out of nothing today.

What about those we missed out on during our pursuit of Sundin and Hordichuk?? Brian Campbell signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, Wade Redden signed with the New York Rangers, Brian Rolston signed with the New Jersey Devils, Micharel Ryder to Boston Bruins, Radim Vrbata to Tampa (again!!! well done Mr. Feaster), Andrew Brunette to Minnesota Wild.

Furthermore, we missed out our chance on trades as well, as the Edmonton Oilers pulled a couple of trades landing Erik Cole from the Carolina Hurricanes and Gilbert Brule from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Two very good forwards which would’ve fit in nicely with the Canucks.

Am I disappointed? Not really, it turned out similar to what I expected. No, we won’t sign any of the big names now, not even Pavol Demitra. We probably will lose Naslund and Morrison soon as well. My guess is that we will end up with Kyle Wellwood and Darcy Hordichuk as our only additions up until next season starts. Again, hopefully this will mean more chances for players from our farm team.

That’s it here, this is Saint Pako of the Hockey News, and I will return in the next few days if something happens, if not, I will see you all again next season.

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