Looks like there's no way to keep Ballard and still fit under the new cap. Hopefully they can get something of value for him.
Raymond is going to walk. Malhotra and Alberts will follow IMO.
The forward corps there is pretty realistic. The D corps probably won't give Connauten that spot. It's going to be about bargain basement shopping in FA to fill out the remaining depth roles for the 3m~ left.
I expect only one of Raymond, Higgins, or Lappy to be here next year. Maybe none of them. There is no reason for them to give Vancouver a significant discount.
Classic "What have you done lately" Just because Higgins has had a slow start to the season doesn't mean the team won't sign him. Both him and Lapierre are both very effective players, I would re-sign both along with Weise. Obviously Schroeder and Tanev will also be main priorities to sign. Raymond is a wildcard, if he continues to play the way he's been playing, he may be to expensive to re-sign.
It's kind of unrealistic that the team finds a way to unload Ballard and Luongo, or even Booth without thinking of getting any roster players in return. Cap is going to be a lot tighter than you think. It's about giving players roles and pay them for where they should play.
Getting a big 3rd line center to replace, the once was, Malholtra is key. IMO, team would be crazy to have Schroeder and Lappiere as the 3rd and 4th centers.
I think many have established that Hank, Dank, Kassian, Kesler, Burrows make up 5/6 of the top six.
There are other possibilities though - anyone remember how well Burrows and Lapierre played together?
There is a bit more versatility in the lineup this year. I think Schroeder is good playmaker, I think the team could try something along these lines
Sedin - Sedin - Kassian
Booth / Raymond - Kesler - Schroeder
Burrows - Lapierre - Hansen
Weise - 4th line C - Volpatti
If the team really wanted to you could try Raymond as the 3rd line LW, Burrows as the 3rd line RW and then drop Hansen down to the 4th line.
If Schroeder actually plays well enough to deserve a roster spot, and provides some playmaking the above lineup spreads the scoring out better and could be crucial in a playoff run.
I don't think Jensen makes the team next year as a 20 year-old. That rarely happens with the Canucks. He might be asked to spend a year in the AHL, and will be invited to camp.
In the above scenario Raymond leaves (I don't think we can keep both Booth and Raymond). We could also resign Raymond for the 2nd line, and trade Booth. The difference could be spent on the 6th defenceman and/or extra cap room.
Connauton is bad. He's not that good offensively outside of his shot and he's bad defensively. I don't care what tale Gillis is spinning, Connauton will not be making the NHL full-time.[/QUOTE]
I remember the hype for Connauton before i went to the prospect camp in Penticton. It was obvious from the camp that Tanev was far superior and that Connauton could not even defend against so-so prospects. Nothing has changed. When i see someone mention Connauton in the Canucks lineup i discount the rest of their opinion. He has no real hope he lacks mobility to stay with AHL forwards.
My opinion of Schoeder also has been coloured by these prospect camps. He was not impressive. You could see the speed and skill but not the drive to dominate. However you have said he has made great strides in Chicago and it is showing in his play in Vancouver.
Hope Jensen is as advertised he looked very good in Propect Camp and is a one shot scorer. However you keep Higgins if reasonable. He is a good two way player. Lapierre you keep as the 4th line center. You keep all the RFA's of course. The others all depend on what is available and relative costs. Love Volpatti, but if there is a bigger guy who plays the same role at a similar cost, you have to think about it. Manny as assitant coach perhaps. Raymond is a good two way player as well, but he is not made for close checking hockey and rarely if ever scores an important goal. I would include him in a trade this year if he gets rollling with Luongo is order to get better return. Next year lineup should be younger but not worse.