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10-09-2003, 09:57 AM
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In an interview last night Bertuzzi said he was not looking to be the highest paid player in the NHL. Speculation is that he will end up in the $5 to $7.5 million/ yr range with a 2 to 3 year deal. Also brought up was the fact that if Bertuzzi does not sign before the end of the year, his qualifying offer (minimum of $3.7 million) will still be made under the present collective agreement & any filing for arbitration by Bertuzzi also has to be made under the present agreement. Any new CBA will likely recognize the previous qualifying offers of the old agreement (as they did in the past) so Bertuzzi would still be an RFA even under a new agreement.

It is also unlikely Bertuzzi, now 28, would become a UFA before age 30 even under a new agreement, should that agreement lower the present minimum age to become a UFA. Any lowering of UFA ages were phased in a year at a time in the past agreement & likely it will be similar in any new agreement. Add that to the fact that Bertuzzi's qualifying offer & any filling for aribitration falls under the present agreement & so Vancouver is likely assured of at least 1 year after this contract runs out. The earliest an arbitrated contract would run out would leave Bertuzzi at age 30 anyway.

Should Vancouver wish to trade Bertuzzi, it would be because they can't afford his salary. Many of the trade suggestions above are suggesting to send players back to Vancouver with a combined salary greater than the expected salary that would cause the Canucks to trade Bertuzzi. Obviously such trades would be unrealistic becuse of that. Add to the fact that Vancouver is a well balanced, young team with a similar well stocked farm team & it is just as unrealistic to think Vancouver would trade quality for quantity. Vancouver would likely have to place most of the above suggested lessor players on waivers just to get them to the Moose so they could play. Most would be immediately lost to other teams. The most likely trade for Bertuzzi that Vancouver would entertain would be for a single, quality younger player, one that has star potential, but hasn't reached that potential yet though still could immediately play on their top 6 forwards or top 4 D, together with a top 5 first round draft choice. The Yashin-Spezza trade is likely the closest recent example, but Bertuzzi should garner a bit more than what Yashin brought. In return, the teams that will trade for Bertuzzi will be looking at him as a power forward who can dominate now, who they don't have to suffer through the years it takes for a prospect to reach his potential & who is still young enough that Bertuzzi will still be likely playing for another 5 to 6 years minimum.

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