Farhan Lalji wrote:NuckFanInTo,
Only a few things I disagree with. I think Reghyr is just as good as Ohlund. I don't think anyone can say that one guy is better than the other.
I also think that Willie Mitchell is our #2 defenseman, and not Sami Salo.
You make a fantastic point about the Canucks not having much defensive depth outside their top 3. I'd really would love to see the Canucks get another top 4 defenseman.
Kraijeck and Bourdon are still green IMO. I think it's too much of a risk for Nonis to expect them to step up to that level (for now).
Fitzpatrick and Bieksa are 5th/6th level defensemen.
Although I hate the idea of moving Matt Cooke (the guy has heart), maybe him being traded for a top 4 d-man isn't the worst of ideas?
The reason why I rank Ohlund ahead of Regher is because of Ohlund's 2-way game... Regehr is better defensively, but the gap is not nearly as big as how much better Ohlund is offensively... his transition game, play on the PP, passing, skating, and overall vision on the offensive side of the red line - is simply better and the difference is greater than Regehr's defensive ability over Ohlund's.
I love Regehr's game... I think he's a #1 dman in the game, because like Ohlund he makes those he plays with better - simply by playing with them! But every facet of the game broken down, and Ohlund overall is ahead.
And Salo is easily our #2 right now, unless Mitchell takes him over... Salo was #2 on the canucks last year - not Jovo, as he took him over in average icetime per game into the season, and finished the year with a higher total, and as the team's #2 guy, even when all 3 - Ohlund, Salo and Jovo - were all in the lineup.
I fully expect Salo to regress next season... he had a phenomenal year, and likely was a career year overall - the guy was just solid - a rock on defense, and an offensive catalyst from the blueline... I don't see him being as good next year...
still he's a complete dman... and IMO his offensive game, his defensive game, and his impact to the overall team when he's on the ice, he outweighs Mitchell on the whole.
I also don't see Fitzpatrick as anything more than a #7... Bourdon will get regular icetime next season... it's either playing regularly or being sent to junior within the first 10 games of the season... all signs point to him not being sent back - which means he'll be in the top 6 - he can't be sent to the minors given his age, and there's no way he gets parked in the pressbox given his potential and his development stage.
Bieksa is a given to be in the lineup... he's been impressive so far as well... I went to the Calgary game in Calgary last week - and Bieska was the best canuck on the ice - easily.
Krajicek is also a given to be in the lineup... he's got almost a 100 games in the NHL now, and is making more than the league's minimum salary... I believe the canucks have already given him a spot in the top 6.
That leaves Tremblay and Fitzpatrick on the outside looking in - to start the season at least.
As for Cooke - I wouldn't move the guy at all... he's everything you want from every one of your players going into a system that is built around goal, and run by Vigneault... he's the prototypical Vigneault type player, and will quickly become his coach's favorite... he's also the only player we have on the right side that has played both on the right wing and in the top 6 in his career... Bulis, Pyatt, and Burrows haven't played that side or on the top 6, and Linden is now a bottom 6er. I don't see Cooke being moved at all.
If I'm betting, I'd bet that a few weeks ago Nonis had planned on keeping enough money under the cap to add one top 6 forward and 1 top 4 dman by deadline time... $2mill in cap space is enough to fill both holes... this gives him time to see which players fit, which don't, and which step up - perhaps allowing Nonis to save on either of those holes.
Since the Kesler offer sheet that has changed... now there's room for maybe one addition... I'd bet that Nonis is now thinking he'll go into the deadline seeing which hole can be filled from within (again, as a betting man, my guess would be that the forward spot will be filled from within, while the canucks will need to add a UFA to be dman to round out their top 4).
Take last year's example... add Carney to our defense - a UFA to be #4 dman, available at the deadline - and our defense all of sudden goes from green and lacking depth, to veteran balanced, with solid depth - Ohlund, Salo, Mitchell, Carney, Bieska, Kraijcek/Bourdon is a pretty solid group... and all it takes is adding a decent top 4 guy from a non-playoff type team looking to move a soon to be UFA for a future pick.
It's no coincidence that Nonis has been collecting draft picks for a year now... he has 3 2nd rounders now, a couple of 3rds, and a couple of 5ths... that, to me, looks like he's been collecting some trade assets to use at the deadline.
of course his original plan included going into the season with $2mill in cap space - which Clarke took away.