Nonis says Canucks will contend next year

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mattola
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Nonis says Canucks will contend next year

Post by mattola »

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=233752&hubname=nhl

VANCOUVER - Missing the NHL playoffs is unacceptable but Dave Nonis says the Vancouver Canucks are closer to becoming a Stanley Cup contender than they were a year ago.

Insisting he's not a glass-half-full guy, the Canucks general manager made the assertion Monday at a media availability after his club missed the playoffs for the second time in three years and went from first to worst in the Northwest Division.

"We are not as far away as we feel right now," Nonis said of a team that had 10 fewer victories and 17 fewer points than the one that advanced to the second round of the playoffs a year ago.

On March 21, Vancouver was playing for first in the Northwest Division and third seed in the Western Conference but missed the playoffs by four points after a season-ending 1-7 collapse.

Nonis, who is entering the final year of his contract, said the Canucks are better because they're deeper than the club that came out of the NHL lockout two seasons ago and the farm system is well stocked.



"We have a deeper reserve list to either bring players up or make moves with assets we now have that we didn't have before," Nonis said.

"We have (salary) cap space that we haven't had in a long time. We're further along today than we were 12 months ago."

The post-mortem will focus on the stretch drive collapse. It will include how all-star goalie Roberto Luongo was handled and how his teammates played under pressure in unfamiliar roles.

Nonis said injuries to key defencemen resulted in rookie Alex Edler, seventh on the blue-line depth chart at training camp, playing 22 minutes a game.

The second line disappeared with season-ending injuries to veteran Brendan Morrison and promising rookie sniper Mason Raymond. Others had to fill in.

"We were asking players to do things that they were able to do for short periods but maybe they weren't capable of doing for the whole year," Nonis said.

But there will be changes. There is a need to boost scoring after the Canucks managed only 10 goals in their seven losses down the stretch. Captain Markus Naslund and Morrison become free agents July 1. Trevor Linden will likely retire.

"You can expect change but I don't think it will be as sweeping as 14 new bodies on opening night (two seasons ago) but in today's NHL you're going to see change regardless," Nonis said.

But holes remain to be filled. Roster players or those in the system will get chances to plug them or be assets to trade for players who can.

"I would expect you will see a .. much different group once we get to training camp," the GM said.

Nonis said, while he will have significant cap space to work with, the free agent pool is not deep.

"We'll be active in that market," he said. "We'll be a team that actively pursues players all over the lineup."

In addition to scoring, the Canucks are looking to upgrade their fourth line where Byron Ritchie, Jeff Cowan, and Brad Isbister saw action or were healthy scratches.

"When you talk about free-agent signings, that's an area, in some respects, that's as important as finding some scoring," said Nonis who noted the Canucks scored eight more goals than the Anaheim Ducks, the defending Stanley Cup champions.

He said the Canucks will stick to a blueprint that emphasizes prudent spending to fill key holes like the acquisition two seasons ago of shut-down defenceman Willie Mitchell. Free agents can augment a team, not build it.

"If you're building it on July 1 (the start of free agency), you're going to have a bad year," Nonis said.

Coach Alain Vigneault said he would like a do-over in his handling of Luongo, whom he described as a hard-working, demanding athlete who always said he was ready to play.

During the Canucks' swoon, the netminder was lifted from a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, went to Florida for the birth of his daughter the next day only to be yanked from a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Luongo later said there was "other stuff" going on in his personal life but did not elaborate.

"We look at it now and he was probably more fatigued mentally than he was letting on," Vigneault said. "If I could do it over again, yeah, I'd probably do things differently.

"But we were in a playoff push, where every game is huge. I don't know how I cannot play our best player."
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Post by antro »

"When you talk about free-agent signings, that's an area, in some respects, that's as important as finding some scoring,"
That sentence is very awkward, but if I understood it right, he wants to sign a free agent that can score?
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Post by newostar »

THe sentence before that implied he is talking about replacing the 4rth line via free agency.....getting some pluggers to replace our current pluggers...the isbisters, cowans, and richies etc.
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Post by Entwonder »

Combined with his comment that the Ducks scored less than the 'Nucks - i think it was his backhanded way of saying everyone's hyperfocused on getting goalscorers. While it could be alternatively effective to shutdown opponents, wear them out, intimidate, or whatever you like to call grinders work.
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Post by Fred »

I suppose the first thing the club will be doing is reviewing who can step up from the farm


http://www.moosehockey.com/statistics/

So Shannon, Hansen, Raymond, Rypien, Bourdon, MvIver all have fair chance. Maybe Jaffray, Brown, and Grabner are in with a chance too.

Millers, Isbister, Ritchie, Sanford could be gone and replaced with other similar parts either FA or Moose players.

Linden retires, Naslund is gone and Morrison is back if he plays for same or less

All in all I think they need to trade for 2 forwards and maybe trade bait wiill be Bieska and Pyatt and some picks., possibly Bourdon and Krajicek.could also be on their way
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Post by Arbour »

newostar wrote:THe sentence before that implied he is talking about replacing the 4rth line via free agency.....getting some pluggers to replace our current pluggers...the isbisters, cowans, and richies etc.

That is pretty much how I understood it as well. So Dave is saying addressing the issue of fourth line players, from his perspective, is as important as addressing the issues of scoring on the Canucks. Hmm...
But holes remain to be filled. Roster players or those in the system will get chances to plug them or be assets to trade for players who can.
So players on the team and in the system will get a chance to fill the holes in the roster, and where they can't they will be traded for players who can, assuming anybody wants those players who were not capable of filling those positions on the Canucks.
We'll be active in that market," he said. "We'll be a team that actively pursues players all over the lineup."
Most importantly for the third and fourth line since by Dave's own admission you don't use UFA's to build a team, the free agent pool isn't deep, and the Canuck's will continue to practice prudent spending in respect to free agents.

So the translation is, don't expect much change in respect to scoring, after all the Canuck's outscored Anaheim, and they will ice a brand new fourth line and maybe a couple of reclamation projects, along with some rookies, on their way to becoming a contender... and click your heels together and wish real hard...
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Post by randymeeks »

So the translation is, don't expect much change in respect to scoring, after all the Canuck's outscored Anaheim, and they will ice a brand new fourth line and maybe a couple of reclamation projects, along with some rookies, on their way to becoming a contender... and click your heels together and wish real hard...
I'm not a huge fan of what Nonis is saying here. It sounds an awful lot to me like he is saying we will retool our pluggers, promote from within, and hope we stay healthier next season. I fully understand the fact that secondary scoring isn't something that comes by easily in the NHL thru free agency or trades but isn't that what we all know is the achilles heel of this team? Especially considering just how poorly the Sedins played down the stretch? Injuries explain a lot of our problems this season but that doesn't explain why so many of our best players played so poorly down the stretch.

Remember that Nonis is going into the final season of his contract. If he doesn't find a way to address secondary scoring problems and the team misses the playoffs again based on those secondary scoring problems, it will almost certainly mean bye bye Dave.
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mattola
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Post by mattola »

randymeeks wrote:

Remember that Nonis is going into the final season of his contract. If he doesn't find a way to address secondary scoring problems and the team misses the playoffs again based on those secondary scoring problems, it will almost certainly mean bye bye Dave.

and I also think it will be a very short leash as well. come Christmas if this team isnt going in the right direction and they an ounce of what we saw this year. KAPOW
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Post by Sid Dithers »

The more I listen to Nonis, the more I get the idea that he certainly knows what he wants to do, but has no idea how to do it.
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My humble 2cents worth

Post by acidcool »

Hello all,

very very seldom post as i'm out of town but do follow up with the canucks, and like everyone else, i'm very disappointed with canucks this season. Saying that though, i'm sorta glad we didnt make the playoffs cause then Nonis would have reasons not to change the team.

My take on the Canucks (and this might be a sweeping statement) is that for the past how ever many years i can remember, we have been and still is an avg / above avg team. A team that will never be last in the conf, but a team that will never be fighting for 1st.

Without being last, we will never get good enough picks (e.g. Pens with crosby and Malkin). Without being 1st or having a strong enough team to contend for the cup, free agents usually will not want to sign with us, (plus we are in Canada)

Without good picks, we could never trade for star players as we couldn't afford to give these picks up. It seems to me that we never take huge enough risks, and always try to be in the middle.

I'm just thinking of the Boston Celtics we went from last overall the previous season and now 1st overall in the league and doing it with the biggest difference in wins season on season in NBA history.

My point here is (not to) rant, but wish Canucks could just take a risk here and there and if it fails, so be it. But at least we tried. I'm all for a 5yr plan, etc, and agree that we are stronger in our farms and have more money freed up then before, but some players really only come around once or twice and not taking a plunge in the deep end will let the chance slip.

So lets get out there, get a top line scorer (if he's available), keep our defence (and stay healthy), help our keeper relax, and we should be more than back in the running for the cup!

Well, if anyone wants to comment (or flame), do go ahead. All ready for it, but its just my 2cents worth. :D
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Post by Doyle Hargraves »

Fred blurted out and then he wrote: Morrison is back if he plays for same or less
It will have to be substantially less if he wants to play here.
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Post by hoopsjunky »

Assuming Nonis gets his scoring forwards, the bottom lines look like this:

Burrows-Kesler-Pyatt
Cowan-Rypien-Pettinger

Brown and Hansen are the next call-ups.

I don't know why he would want to replace the 4th line via free agency. As we know, that area is where we have a bit of depth. Unless they hope the Kesler, Burrows, Pyatt and Pettinger turn into top-six forwards. (I know they had to play that role at times this year, but seriously...)
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the toucan kid
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Post by the toucan kid »

So um we're putting stock in what a GM says at his press conferences now? Come on guys we're all smarter than that. Nonis is not blindly retarded he knows we need talent, it's just a question if he thinks he can get it this year or he feels the best approach is to develop it from within over the long haul.
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Post by antro »

the toucan kid wrote:So um we're putting stock in what a GM says at his press conferences now? Come on guys we're all smarter than that. Nonis is not blindly retarded he knows we need talent, it's just a question if he thinks he can get it this year or he feels the best approach is to develop it from within over the long haul.
come on, we're out of the playoffs, what else are we supposed to talk about :lol:

anyway, spector's hockey has all the related articles linked here. the globe and mail version was better, btw. they estimate that DN might have as much as 15 mill in cap space.

i think the important thing toucan is that DN is comparing the situation to 2005-06, when the Brian Burke core failed to make the playoffs, which brought a complete overhaul. this time it won't be as complete, but it's clear DN isn't happy with his forwards, and there will be new bodies in training camp. (oh please let one be a laraque-type)
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Post by randymeeks »

We could be reading into Nonis' comments too much.... after all, we never know what his real intentions are as he probably wouldn't want other g.m.'s to know what his intentions are.

We'll all have to be patient.
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