Canucks re-sign four restricted free agents to completely fair and therefore unexciting new contracts

For some reason, Canucks fans have been exceedingly worried about Chris Tanev this off-season. The number of tweets and e-mails that I’ve received asking about Tanev is mind-boggling, particularly considering he has only played one full season with the Canucks and it happened to be one shortened by a lockout. Tanev is certainly a good young player, but he’s not worth all the fuss and bother that has been raised over the past month.

The concern is particularly overblown when you consider that Tanev doesn’t have arbitration rights and therefore has minimal leverage in contract negotiations. The Canucks will re-sign the cool, calm, and collected defenceman eventually — it’ll just take time to sort out the particulars.

Meanwhile, as Canucks fans eagerly await a new contract for Tanev, Mike Gillis has quietly gone about re-signing a quartet of other restricted free agents to new deals.

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Five years later: evaluating the Canucks’ 2008 draft

The 2013 NHL entry draft is less than three weeks away, which means that Mike Gillis and his crew will be doubly busy as they continue their search for a new head coach and prepare for the drafting table — the drafting table being where they will draft their list of potential draft picks prior to the draft. It’s a lot easier on the back than a desk.

Gillis has been criticized — quite fairly — for his struggles at the draft. Not a single Gillis pick played the full season with the Canucks in 2013. While Jordan Schroeder reached 31 games as a rookie, he was back in the AHL by the end of the season and didn’t play for the Canucks in the playoffs.

It’s worth noting, however, that Frank Corrado, drafted in the fifth round in 2011, played all four playoff games for the Canucks and looks set to make the team as a 20-year-old next season. Corrado’s success would seem to indicate that Gillis has improved at drafting in recent years, with prospects like Nicklas Jensen, Brendan Gaunce, and Patrick McNally bolstering that claim.

Meanwhile, he’s been able to add free agent prospects like Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, and Kellan Lain. With that said, Gillis’s first couple years of drafting look rough in retrospect and the Canucks’ prospect pool is painfully shallow.

It’s been five years since Gillis’s first draft as Canucks’ GM in 2008, which gives us a fair span of time to judge a player’s development. Prospects drafted in 2008 are now 23 or so; at this point, if they haven’t already cracked an NHL lineup, they’re starting to reach their sell-by date. For the ones that have, after five years is when we can start to judge what kind of NHL player they have become.

So, just how bad was the 2008 draft for the Canucks? Was it as lacklustre as people think or has it been exaggerated?

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Canucks to add 6 or 7 more Wolves for training camp: who will they be?

When the lockout ended, the Canucks immediately called up five players from the Chicago Wolves: Andrew Ebbett, Zack Kassian, Chris Tanev, Jordan Schroeder, and Kevin Connauton. That combination certainly makes sense. Four of the five are likely to start the season with the Canucks and Connauton has a chance to make the team out of camp as well.

The move left a large number of Canucks prospects on the Wolves, but it was assumed that with an abbreviated training camp, the team didn’t want to call up prospects when they had such a short time to give them a long look. Instead, it turns out the Canucks were just biding their time. Alain Vigneault announced today that he expects to call up 6 or 7 more players after the Wolves have completed their two-game series against the Abbotsford Heat this weekend.

The timing does make sense: after all, with the Wolves playing in Abbotsford Friday and Saturday, it’s a quick drive down Highway 1 to report to Canucks training camp on Sunday, which is when camp is assumed to be starting. As long as the Port Mann Bridge doesn’t become sentient and try to kill them along the way (which has been happening), it shouldn’t be much of a hassle. The Wolves don’t play again until Wednesday, so these new call-ups will have three days to impress at camp without having to miss a game.

So who might the Canucks call up from the Wolves? Here are the 7 that I think are most likely to make the trip.

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Hungry like the Wolves: Up the river with the Rivermen and Admirals

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.

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Hungry like the Wolves: Beating the Heat

Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Chicago Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time. When the Canucks’ AHL affiliate flies [...]

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The Canucks made another round of cuts this afternoon, sending Mike Duco, Eddie Lack, Yann Sauve, and Jordan Schroeder to Chicago, Nicklas Jensen to his junior club in Oshawa, and releasing Todd Fedoruk and Anders Eriksson outright. While there is still one final round of trimming to go, as a number of players that will need to clear waivers remain with the team (Mancari, Parent and/or Sulzer), today’s cuts were, in effect, the final round, giving us a fairly clear indication as to who will be in the lineup on opening night.

As we have been throughout this process, PITB is here to break down the moves.

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In what’s turning out to be a very busy day, the Canucks have pared another five guys from the training camp roster. Along with the already-discussed cuts of Kevin Connauton and Steve Begin, Steven Anthony, Darren Archibald, Sebastian Erixon, Yann Sauve and Bill Sweatt have all been assigned to Chicago. What did these guys do wrong?

Not much, really. All have plenty of raw talent and — with the exception of Steven Anthony — could potentially be callups for the Canucks this year. But on a team this deep, it was going to take truly terrific performances to give the Canucks’ coaching staff pause, and at this point, none of these guys had it in them.

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