I sometimes feel like a prophet. If I said this, no one would believe me, but I was going to write about the possibility of signing the Niedermayer brothers today, even before the news of the BC boys expressing interests in playing for their hometown.
I was watching TSN on the web, and a video about the Staal brothers going against each other brought the memories of how Scott and Rob faced off during the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. TSN interviewed Scott, and he said that shaking the hands of brother Rob at the end of the game was perhaps the worst feeling one can imagine on the night of such a victory.
Of course what happened next was even more dramatic when Scott, then an Unrestricted Free Agent, decided to join the Ducks with the purpose of winning the cup together with his brother. It didn’t take long before Scott achieved that goal, by winning the first ever Stanley Cup in his second season in Anaheim.
Looking at the incredible resume of Scott, the only active player to have won it all at every levels: a Memorial Cup, Gold Medal at the World Junior Championship, Gold Medal at the World Championship, Gold Medal at the World Cup of Hockey, Gold Medal at the Olympics and four Stanley Cups, one with his Brother by his side, you couldn’t stop wonder, are there any other goals for him near the end of his acclaimed career?
Maybe winning the Cup for his home town?? Bring the Holy Grail of Hockey to Vancouver after 37 years of waiting would make the Niedermayers Hometown Heroes forever.
If this will ever happen, now is perhaps the closest it will ever get. Since both Rob and Scott will become Unrestricted Free Agents by this July, and according to their agent Kevin Epp, the BC Brothers are considering “…very much playing in Canada for the Canucks or Calgary or somewhere near his off-season home and staying out West.”
Although Scott was actually born in Edmonton, Alberta, he grew up in B.C. and most of his family and friends are in Vancouver. So I think it’s very natural that the brothers would love to play for their hometown.
But does it make sense for the Canucks??
Let’s look at the numbers. Scott was making $6.75-million per season and Rob was making $2-million per season.
If any deal is to come through, Scott will have to take a huge hometown discount, and at 34 (it’s hard to believe he’s only 34!!!), I think $5-million per season is fair.
As for Rob, he averages 20 points per season, and as a third-line LW, the Canucks won’t be very eager to sign him at $2-million. However if he is willing to take a pay-cut to about $1.5-million, with a heightened incentive in playing for his hometown, maybe he can improve his game to another level.
Of course, Scott still has a lot of gas in his tank, assuming he still wants to play, which he does if it’s for his hometown. The Canucks shouldn’t hesitate to sign him, even at $6-million per season. The leadership and experience he brings to the team will be invaluable, and this may prove to be a huge move in re-signing Luongo as well. This is especially the case with Ohlund opting for free agency, and Salo continues to battle with injuries.
However, at the end of the day, Mike Gillis won’t be able to do anything until he signs or gives up signing the Sedins. A positive note is that this news of Scott showing interest in joining the Canucks actually already benefited the team, because with Niedermayer in the line-up, the team has a much better chance of winning the Cup next season, this will draw the interests of other free agents to Vancouver. In doing so, the bargainning power of the Sedins will decrease, since Gillis knows that he can still fill the roster with top players, even if the Sedins don’t return.