Here is a list of players I think could benefit the Canucks (some more than others) going into the playoffs. The Canucks have about $1 million to spend on a player and it would be reasonable to give up a mid-round draft pick and/or a journeyman prospect (such as a Bolduc, L.Sweatt, Oreskovich) for most of these players. Of course, much of this depends on what the plan is for Hodgson. I think Hodgson would be a good fit if the Canucks could get a physical, experienced winger to play with him and Glass. Otherwise the Canucks need to address the centre position and some team toughness on the fourth line – God help that line if Alex Bolduc is leading the charge.
As a fan i’d like to see them address the fourth line, and only the fourth line. I think any rumours or talk about trading Mason Raymond are premature, but that’s a whole other blog entry.
Anyways, players I’d like to see acquired:
Marty Reasoner, C, Florida
Pros: Solid role player – experienced NHL vet (age 33) who plays on Florida’s third line. Can win face-offs (917 FO, 54%) Kills penalties (leads Florida forward in SH TOI). Can fight battles in dirty areas (boards, crease). Adds flexibility to lineup.
Cons: For someone who’s been in the league a decade he has very little playoff experience and has tended to float around on terrible teams.
Stats: 60 GP, 11 G, 14 A, 25 P, 20 PIM, 107 hits
Contract: 1.15 million, summer UFA
Cost + analysis: Reasoner would probably go for a No.3 pick or somewhere down those lines. Maybe a No.3 and Bolduc or L.Sweatt? Exactly how desperate are the Canucks? A No.2 pick for Reasoner? He would be a great fit for the Canucks fourth line but his offensive production could wane playing with Glass and ‘X’ player. Could Reasoner play wing but take key face-offs? Reasoner-Hodgson-Glass. Now we’re talking.
Mike Grier, RW, Buffalo
Pros: Veteran leadership with 94 playoff games (37 points). Grier is averaging 15 minutes a game with Buffalo as a third/fourth-line winger and go-to penalty killer. In fact, he leads all Sabres forwards with PK TOI. Is 6-1, 227 lbw and can hit.
Cons: Just turned 36 years old last month and is in the twilight of his career. Foot speed. Limited offensive skills. Could fatigue in a long playoff run.
Stats: 59 GP, 3 G, 10 A, 13 P, 10 PIM, 96 hits
Contract: 1.4 million, summer UFA
Cost + analysis: You have to give to get and Grier is a wanted man by teams. I would depart with a No.3 pick for Grier or a later pick packaged with a young defenseman with journeyman potential (Sauve, L.Sweatt). He can drive the net hard, hit, and can play third-line minutes if called upon. He would fit in nicely on the fourth line with Hodgson and relieve our PK team, if not be a part of it.
Ruslan Fedotenko, LW, New York Rangers
Pros: Lots of playoff experience. A sizeable player who’s hard to move from the crease. Hits. Scores big goals. Cheap salary.
Cons: Foot speed. Disappears from games / inconsistent scorer. Coming off an injury.
Stats: 48 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 P, 16 PIM, 106 hits
Contract: 1.0 million, summer UFA
Cost + analysis: I would love to have Fedotenko play with Hodgson and Glass on a fourth line. The guy can bury big goals and would bring a wealth of experience to the line, all the while bringing a crash and bang mentality. However the Rangers are likely to ask for a tangible asset in return. Like Grier, I would throw the Rangers a No.3 pick. It’s a bit steep but we have to go for it this year, right?
Cody McLeod, LW, Colorado
Pros: This is a character Canadian guy who will not stop skating in the playoffs. He can crash and bang and will stick up for his teammates. He can chip in the odd goal by crashing the net (15 goals in 08-09). He hits hard at 6-2, 210 lbw.
Cons: Just 16 career playoff games. Known as an enforcer can he contribute in the playoffs? Would the Avalanche deal him for a sane asking price, let alone to Vancouver?
Stats: 50 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 P, 135 PIM, 107 hits
Contract: 1.0 million, until 2012
Cost + analysis: What is all this talk about wanting Chris Neil at 2.0 million for the next three years? Cody McLeod costs half of that and clearly the Avalanche have shown signs they’re willing to deal. I would throw a No.4 pick and prospect for McLeod any day. McLeod would be a perfect fit alongside Glass on the fourth line. And I’m confident he can chip in during the playoffs and not be a liability.
Rod Pelley, C, New Jersey
Pros: Has Intangibles: A B.C. boy from Kitimat who played junior hockey in Prince George so logically he should be fired up to play in Vancouver. Can take and win face-offs (288 FO, 54%). Will crash and bang.
Cons: Lacks offensive skills. Three career playoff games. Plays limited minutes.
Stats: 60 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 P, 27 PIM, 97 hits
Contract: 0.55 million, until 2012
Cost + analysis: Who knows if New Jersey would even depart with Pelley given he’s been one of their best role players this year. So perhaps it would cost the Canucks too much (No.3 pick) to get Pelley? I’d realistically give up Bolduc and a No.4 pick for him, I like him that much. But if the Canucks were to acquire him would it be enough alone? He’s not a bonafide face-off specialist and has little offensive upside so throwing him on the wing with Hodgson doesn’t make much sense to help out Hodgson. Basically he’s an upgrade in skill and character on Bolduc if management sends Hodgson down to the Moose. But a big upgrade at that!
Zenon Konopka, C, New York Islanders
Pros: Big enforcer who is among the NHL leaders in face-off winning percentage (890 FO. 57%). Would be a physical presence on the ice.
Cons: Can’t score goals – at all. Has a goon mentality that would need to be checked in the playoffs. No playoff experience. Plays limited minutes (10) on the Islanders.
Stats: 61 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 P, 219 PIM, 90 hits
Contract: 0.6 million, summer UFA
Cost + analysis: I would depart with a mid-round pick or a journeyman prospect for Konopka. I imagine many teams are looking at him right now because of his face-off skills. The question is can he bring anything else to the table in the playoffs? His hit count indicates he doesn’t throw his body around that much. And is Konopka ready to play under playoff pressure? Sure he can win face-offs but I’d want to add another piece to the fourth line if he was at centre, especially if Hodgson was sent down.
Ryan Carter, C, Carolina
Pros: Carter, 27, is a bonafide No.4 centre in this league. With 170 career games and 20 playoff games he has more experience than Hodgson and has a sizeable frame. Wouldn’t cost us anything cap wise.
Cons: With one goal in 50 games he lacks the ability to put the puck in the net, obviously. He could use his size more. Perhaps I’m overestimating the value of his experience if he were to replace the more talented Hodgson at centre.
Stats: 50 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 P, 44 PIM, 66 hits
Contract: 0.63 million, summer UFA
Cost + analysis: Carter was traded this year to Carolina from Anaheim for some journeyman prospects so he would probably fetch for a No.7 pick or a younger prospect of our own such as Oreskovich or Bolduc – or even better, some “future considerations.” Carter could play centre or wing with Hodgson. he’d basically be an upgrade on Bolduc or Volpatti/Oreskovich – acquiring him alone wouldn’t push the Canucks to that next level so another trade would be needed.
Tags: Vancouver Canucks