By virtue of being the last player to re-sign, Jannik Hansen has attracted a lot of attention from Canucks fans eager to find something to yell about. The yelling has died down somewhat with news of his signing, mostly because he signed for so little. Before he signed, there was much arguing around the Canucks.com forums, with some folks claiming he was worth 2 million, and others arguing he wasn’t worth a penny more than 1.6 million. By signing below what his most stubborn critics insisted he was worth, Hansen managed to quiet the fighting for a bit.
Still, it’s not like there’s much else to talk about, right? Let’s take another look.
Few would argue that he’s not worth the 1.35 million. Many expected a big payday for him. Most Canucks fans seem to agree that it’s a good deal, and won’t start another fight until they think of arguing about how good a deal it is. Is Hansen the next Alex Burrows? Seriously, is he?
Insofar as he’s the next shrewdly-negotiated Gillis contract that smacks of hometown discount and keeps important cap room free for a few years, yes. As far as his ability to jump into the top six, that remains to be seen, but there have been some good signs.
The softness of Hansen’s hands has been the main question for many Canucks fans. For a player that spent most of the season buzzing around the net and creating scoring chances, nine goals doesn’t seem like much. It isn’t much. Seems easy to argue Hansen doesn’t have the finish to play top-six minutes.
The problem with that argument is that both Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows used to be accused of having stone hands, as well. In 2008, the Burrows-Kesler-Hansen line was celebrated as an excellent checking line, but no one would anticipate that Burrows or Kesler was capable of 35 or 40 goal seasons. They got over it. Hansen likely can, as well.
The Canucks are in need of a winger who can go to the net consistently in hopes of finding the back of it, and Hansen’s goals (as some folks have pointed out) tend to come from the front of the net. That’s a good sign, and likely means he’ll get a shot playing with Kesler next season. As for a lack of finish, he can’t do much worse than last season — his .080 shooting percentage last season was his worst ever since his first NHL goal.
It’s possible that Hansen could work on his shot and become a real consistent scoring threat, but if not, he’s still a gifted defensive forward with the occasional offensive upside. The energy he brings to the team alone is worth his salary. Anything else would be gravy.
I Can Dream, Can’t I?
Despite what Harrison suggested, I don’t think the Canucks are done. Gillis likes to be patient, and if he can wait till August 28th to trade for Christian Ehrhoff, he can probably wait just as long to replace him. Speculating who will wind up in a Canucks jersey is the eternal guilty pleasure of the off-season, so forgive my indulgence. Omitting the obvious big names that have been tossed around, there are a couple young guys who could be within the Canucks’ price range and could dazzle in Ehrhoff’s old role. Two names that have intrigued me:
He’s Swedish, he’s talented, and he shoots right. He put up 52 points for the Blue Jackets in the last two seasons — 32 of those points came on thepower play. Stralman’s a free agent, and because of the injuries that shortened his last season, he could fall within the Canucks’ price range. He’d likely be a great fit with Edler.
The Jets aren’t about to be forced into a trade by their cap situation, so trading away a prized young prospect seems unlikely, except that Bogosian hasn’t impressed after being in the NHL for three seasons. The Jets management didn’t draft him, so they aren’t married to him. They already have seven defensemen signed — it’s possible that Bogosian doesn’t figure into their plans for the future, and if that’s the case, perhaps playing for a good team would help him discover the player he projected to be when he was drafted 3rd overall. Also, like Stralman, he shoots right.
Bet on the Canucks
Actually, don’t bet on the Canucks. You won’t get good odds. The Canucks are currently the Vegas frontrunners to win the Cup next season, with the bet paying out only 6 to 1. The Canucks’ only significant roster change since Game 7 is the loss of Christian Ehrhoff — apparently Las Vegas doesn’t think that’s so big a deal.
Interestingly, the best bet on the list may be the New York Rangers, at 40 to 1 odds. The Rangers may have been ousted in the first round last season, but they have a strong team including some promising young players that are only going to get better, and they just added Brad Richards to set up Marian Gaborik. I still think the Canucks can take them, but the Rangers are a bigger threat than Vegas gives them credit for.
How on earth is it that Parise, Doughty and Weber still aren’t signed? You’d think at this point someone would have signed an offer sheet, right?
I suspect not. Offer sheets tendered to high-end RFA players like Parise and the two Norris names are going to cost several first-round picks. Plenty of teams would take the risk, but the team would likely match any offer sheet anyway, leaving the team that signed the offer sheet with nothing but a bit of bad will. When it comes to guys who stand to make more than 4 million a year, it’s best to sit and wait.
In the unlikely event that a team was willing to let its big name RFA superstar go, that team would probably walk away from the extravagant arbitration award the player would get. Then the player becomes a UFA and no one needs to worry about draft picks. An offer sheet, then, doesn’t do any good.
Still, it’s hard to see these players winding up with anyone other than the team that drafted them.
Tags: featured, Hansen, Off-Season Blues, Speculative Nonsense, Third Man In