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03-15-2011, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LeftCoast View Post
I don't make the suggestion to trade Samuelsson lightly. He's a proven playoff performer, and an experienced veteran who fits very well on the team (and a refreshingly honest interview to boot).

However, when I look at the cap decisions in the off-season, it will be very difficult to re-sign both Ehrhoff and Bieksa with Hansen also being due an RFA raise (also keep in mind, we likely won't be starting the year with $3.5M on LTIR, so we are going to need some cap space for injuries). In the grand scheme of things, I think it would be preferable to keep our veteran depth on defense and try to replace Samuelsson's production internally.

When I look at replacing a player or role, I see a number of forwards who can replace Samuelsson's productions. Hansen, Higgins or even Tambellini could slide up onto the 2nd line. One of Hodgson, Sweatt, Schroeder or Shirokov (if re-signed) is likely to make the team next year on the 3rd line. I also expect Raymond to have a bounce back season. I also expect a full year out of Burrows, so his production will likely increase.

But on defense, only Keith Ballard is really in a position to take a much bigger role than he has this year. I'm impressed with what I have seen from Chris Tanev, and Yann Sauve and Ryan Parent are probably close to NHL ready. But none of our young defenders are ready to play the tough minutes that Bieksa does and none are able to move the puck the way Ehrhoff does.
A little OT, but man I wish Gillis has signed Hansen to two year contract last summer. He was willing and it would have kept him dirt cheap for next years cap. I realize he hadn't technically played a full season with Canucks, but he was clearly NHL material. Ah well, probably the only 'mistake' Gillis made and pretty small at that.

I agree that signing both Bieksa and Ehrhoff is likely impossible (unless they move Ballard, although doesn't he have a NMC? Highly doubt Gillis would ever ask him to waive it if so). Ehrhoff I want Gillis to keep at almost all costs. Powerplay QB's are at a premium in this league and you need to pay big dollars to keep them. Ehrhoff has a good record of staying healthy and seems to still be improving. I'm hoping for something around $5 million but it may take a little more than that. If Ehrhoff wants to maximize his payday though, he'll be gone. I don't think the Canucks can afford to pay Ehrhoff $6 million plus, but some teams with Cap space can.

I don't think Bieksa's any more or less likely to sign for a discount than Ehrhoff to be honest. Many seem to think he'll accept $4 million to stay but his PPG numbers are better than Hamhuis in his career, he's a RHS and will be coming off an excellent season. Bieksa would likely be looking at $5 million plus as a UFA considering how weak the crop on D is and the demand for quality vet D-men around the league. Even if he was willing to accept 'just' Hamhuis money, that would be too much for me considering how awful he was the previous three seasons.

I just think going into next season with Raymond as the only established scoring option for the second line wing is an extremely poor idea. Higgins needs to show he can be a contributing member for a team that doesn't suck again before anyone should expect offense from him. Hansen should not be on the second line unless there are injuries. Tambellini had his chance this season. I like the guy's game but he cannot be pencilled in anywhere. Hodgson is not a winger and should be eased into a prominent role on the team, not gifted one. Schroeder clearly needs AHL seasoning and while I like Shirokov, I don't think AV does. Sweatt? He looks like a decent find but it seems like a bit of a leap to be replacing Samuelsson.

I think you are severely overestimating the ability of the forwards you listed to replace Samuelsson. And while downgrading from Bieksa to a Montador-type would hurt, I think it would hurt less than downgrading a 50 point Samuelsson to the options listed.

I do think playoff performances will tell the final story, especially with Bieksa.

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