Busy summer for Moose GM
Boss driven to bring Calder Cup to 'Peg
By KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media
While roster turnover is a way of life in the American Hockey League, Manitoba Moose general manager Craig Heisinger is going to be a busy man this off-season.
Much of what the Moose 2007-08 roster looks like will be determined by the moves of the parent Vancouver Canucks, but Heisinger is committed to putting an exciting product on the ice and is driven to bring a Calder Cup to Winnipeg sooner than later.
With that in mind, here is our look at who might be back next year and who may be headed elsewhere:
1 Drew MacIntyre G -- The pride of P.E.I. put up outstanding numbers in his first year in Manitoba and though his playoffs were a bit up and down, he gained valuable experience by coming up big in a Game 7 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins. We'll be shocked if the Canucks don't extend a qualifying offer to the soon-to-be 24-year-old.
30 Dov Grumet-Morris G -- The Harvard graduate showed he had what it takes to play in the AHL with four shutouts (including two with the Moose) in 17 starts, but a crowded crease means he'll be looking for work elsewhere.
31 Wade Flaherty G -- The cagey veteran returned from two knee injuries this season and had a solid campaign. The 39-year-old will play and would like to come back to Manitoba but a lot will depend on what happens with Canucks 2004 first round pick Cory Schneider.
34 Julien Ellis G -- Playing in the ECHL proved to be good for Ellis' development but more seasoning at that level may be required.
2 Alex Edler D -- The Swedish rookie made greater strides than any of the prospects at this level and should be ready to play full-time in the NHL next season, though it's possible he could spend some time down here.
4 Luc Bourdon D -- The 2005 first-rounder appeared in five playoff games and showcased his strong skating ability and ability to deliver a big body check. Rather than play eight minutes a game in the NHL, Bourdon could benefit from playing 20-plus minutes and in all situations in the AHL next season.
5 Daniel Rahimi D -- The young Swede played in five games with the Moose and will be a regular next season, providing a physical presence as a stay-at-home blue-liner.
6 Prestin Ryan D -- Despite dealing with a concussion, the Arcola, Sask. product proved to be one of the top blue-liners on the squad. He's an unrestricted free agent and might look for a fresh start after appearing in only one game with the Canucks the past two seasons.
7 Mason Raymond LW -- The 2005 second-rounder is fleet footed and should be a key offensive contributor as a rookie next season as he plays the first year of his entry-level contract.
8 Nathan McIver D -- The physical blue-liner battled the injury bug this season and should be counted on next season as he plays the third year of his entry-level deal.
10 Brandon Reid C -- There were flashes of brilliance but the speedster is likely headed back to Europe after a disheartening second go-around with the Moose.
12 Mike Keane RW -- The captain continues to prove his worth and shows no signs of slowing down. He doesn't want to retire and the Moose should find room for him as a perfect role model for their young prospects.
13 Mike Brown RW -- He can bang bodies, provide energy and be dangerous on the penalty kill but needs to provide a little more offensively. He'll be back for season three.
14 Marc Chouinard C -- Never got out of Alain Vigneault's dog house and finished the season as the extra veteran. His contract will likely be bought out and Chouinard will either try Europe or sign a two-way deal. He won't be back here regardless.
15 Jason Jaffray LW -- Manitoba's top goal scorer and point getter in both the regular season and playoffs is getting set to sign his first two-way NHL deal. If it's with the Canucks, Jaffray could spend time here but if they don't make him a good offer, one of the other 29 teams will.
16 Michael Grabner LW -- In his limited action, the 2006 first rounder showcased his skating ability but it will be interesting to see whether the Austrian is ready to turn pro or needs another year in the Western Hockey League.
17 Jannik Hansen LW -- The Danish rookie turned heads by getting a promotion to play with the Sedin Twins during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but he was pointless in six AHL playoff games and should spend the majority of next season on the farm.
18 J.J. Hunter C -- A valuable penalty kill and face-off man who chipped in 11 goals last season, the Shaunavon, Sask. product is a candidate to be a depth guy, since he isn't a veteran.
19 Nathan Smith C -- After coming back from a serious knee injury, Smith posted career highs in goals (19) and points (40) and will be an unrestricted free agent. The first rounder from 2000 will likely look for a fresh start.
20 Brad Moran C -- The playmaker anchored the top line and produced at more than a point per game. With only three games with the Canucks this season, the prospective unrestricted free agent is no better than 50-50 to return, though he'd be welcomed back.
22 Jesse Schultz RW -- Following his breakout 37-goal season in 2005-06, Schultz clashed with head coach Scott Arniel and his production dropped off to 18 goals. The Canucks won't likely tender a qualifying offer and Schultz will become an unrestricted free agent. He'll either try Europe or catch on with another organization.
23 Dustin Wood D -- He earned a depth spot in training camp but logged quality minutes as the season wore on. He'll be a veteran next season, so unless the number of games played is raised to 320, he won't likely be back.
26 Brendan Brooks RW -- The energetic winger didn't make the impact that was excepted of him after being acquired on loan at the trading deadline, but he showed signs of life in the playoffs and even chipped in a goal. Potential veteran status likely prevents him from a return.
27 Maxime Fortunus D -- For a second straight season, the Quebecker played a valuable role on the blue line and played in all important situations. He could garner some NHL interest as a depth guy, but there's a good chance he could be back with the Moose.
28 Marc-Andre Bernier RW -- The winger with the heavy shot never got on track after a strong Canucks' training camp, but he'll be given one more opportunity to show that he belongs if he has a strong summer of training.
29 Colby Genoway RW -- The Morden product is versatile and has good hockey sense, but he slipped to seven goals after producing 23 as a rookie with the Hartford Wolf Pack. He's 50-50 to return.
32 Tyler Bouck LW -- Following an injury-plagued season, the hard-working veteran should be able to find work, but it won't likely be in Manitoba. He spent the lockout year in Finland and that could be an option.
37 Lee Goren RW -- The Winnipegger had another strong season but wasn't rewarded by the parent Canucks, so he'll likely be headed overseas or sign with an organization other team. Signing an AHL deal with the Moose is a possibility but a hometown discount is unlikely.
38 Yannick Tremblay D -- The veteran does a lot of things well, like run the power play and make a strong first pass, but he was hoping for more of a chance at the NHL-level so he might search for an alternative. A return to Germany is also an option he'll consider.
41 Patrick Coulombe D -- His whirlwind season included nearly making the Canucks, eventually signing an NHL contract and making his debut, but not being able to nail down a spot on the clear-day roster so he spent time in the ECHL. He has the potential to run the power play and worked on play in the defensive zone so he should be a regular next year.
45 Shaun Heshka D -- The rookie started slow but responded well after a trip to the ECHL. He finished the season as the most improved Moose player. Look for him to take on a more offensive role in his sophomore campaign.
49 Alex Bolduc LW -- As a strong skater who has the ability to be physical, there could be a spot for him as a regular with the Moose next season.