This is a series about what would happen if the Canucks demoted Jim Benning, making him the head of the scouting department and gave me the GM job. Part One is –>HERE
Let’s start with who we will bring back…
BO HORVAT – 3 years @ $4,500,000 per year
This is a tough contract to nail down because it could go a few ways. The Horvat camp may be looking at the Gaudreau and Monahan contracts for the compensation range (6 million+), while I would rather look at the Elias Lindholm contract ($2.75) which is more of a bridge. We’ve settled on a number that may be a bit conservative but it feels right.
ANTON RODIN – 1 year @ $950,000
Poor Anton Rodin. He played 6 professional games in 2016-2017, three with Utica and three with Vancouver. If Rodin is completely healed then I believe he is worth another 1-year deal at the same amount he made this year. If he doesn’t pass the inspection, maybe it is time to cut the cord on the former Swedish Hockey League MVP.
BRENDAN GAUNCE – 2 years @ $950,000 per year
This one is also a little weird. The former 1st round draft pick has only played 74 games in the NHL, with 1 goal and 5 assists to his name. He’s a valuable bottom six player, so he’s worth a contract over some other guys. This may be similar to the contract Phillip Danault got from the Montreal Canadiens coming out of his ELC. He had only put up a few points in 20 fewer games than Gaunce at this point, but he responded by putting up 40 points this past season. Could Gaunce do that?
REID BOUCHER – 1 year @ $1,000,000
Boucher is arbitration eligible but I don’t want to go down that route. There is a lot of potential here, but he needs a full season in a top 9 role. Boucher showed flashes of offense with the Canucks towards the end, but they were a huge tire fire and nothing was going right. Give him a year and let him earn his Sven Baertschi contract.
JOSEPH LABATE – 2 years @ $750,000
Labate impressed a lot of people in his short stints on the big club (including former head coach Willie Desjardins) but couldn’t stay up despite the fact he brought a lot of energy that the team lacked in the bottom six this season. He’s getting a chance with me and a new contract.
BORNA RENDULIC – 1 year @ $600,000
This is more of a depth signing. Rendulic will be back in the AHL with Utica and is a call-up option in case of injury.
ERIK GUDBRANSON – 2 years @ $3,600,000 per year
I feel like even Gudbranson knows he doesn’t deserve a raise, but we will give him an extra $100,000 in order to get a second year on his contract. We have a lot of faith that a healthy Gudbranson will be a valuable piece of this rebuild, but we aren’t comfortable in giving him a long-term contract. Jim Benning in real life is going to give him a long-term contract and make him the next captain once Henrik leaves, but in this regime, we are going to go a different direction. After losing Sbisa in the Expansion Draft, we will give Gudbranson his contract.
AUDREY PEDAN – 2 years @ $900,000 per year
Pedan is a surprisingly offensive defenseman (he scored at almost half a point a game in 2015-2016) with a gritty defensive side to him. If we are losing Sbisa, Pedan should replace him (even though Sbisa wasn’t all that offensive or gritty) and he deserves a shot to show we can do as an everyday NHL defenseman. The 2017-2018 Canucks are the perfect opportunity for him.
EVAN MCENENY – 2 years @ $700,000 per year
This man played 1 NHL game this past season, which was earned because of his strong play in his rookie Utica year. That strong play also earned him this contract. He brings some added depth and reliability to the AHL squad.
MICHAEL GARTEIG – 2 years @ $925,000 per year
The Canucks are lacking goaltending depth, and letting Ryan Miller walk to free agency is a move that the Canucks need to make to allow this rebuild to continue. With Richard Bachman becoming the new backup to Jacob Markstrom in the NHL, Garteig will be given a chance to become the backup to Demko in Utica, but we really would like him to be a starting goaltender in the professional ranks. Their ECHL team, the Alaska Aces, will be folding after the 2016-2017 season so we would love for Garteig to be the starting goaltender for whichever ECHL team that the Canucks are affiliated with.
Now, who will we let walk without so much as a contract offer…
For some reason, he was picked up on waivers at the Trade Deadline by GM Jim Benning. Knowing his team wasn’t going to make the playoffs, wouldn’t this spot would have been better used on a Joseph Labate or Alex Grenier? Doesn’t matter now, we will let him walk without a qualifying offer.
This was his first full NHL season and it will be his last with the Canucks if I have anything to do with it. He may be a good player for Utica at this point, but we will take the contract spot for somebody else.
I wanted this Drew Shore experiment to work out after such a successful season in the Swiss League. Shore may catch on with another team as a training camp invite (ala Jack Skille) but it would be best to cut ties with Shore after only 14 games where he was largely invisible on a bad Canucks team.
He will be 30 years old in May, and that is the only reason why I would let Skille walk after only one season in Vancouver. He had his moments before his injuries, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but we wish him the best.
This was more of a tough decision because he’s only 24 (will be 25 by the time the season starts) but it seems like there isn’t a lot of potential for him to be any more than a brief call-up option, or a depth AHLer. Another Darren Archibald. If Zalewski isn’t re-signed, it is likely that he will just sign an AHL deal with Utica and stay in the system, just in case.
The Canucks may need to cut ties with this player, but he is an effective minor league scorer who can provide depth in case of injury. There seems to be a lot of potential with Grenier, but it may be best for each party to separate. I could see Grenier having a successful season in Winnipeg. He’s 25, time for Vancouver to move on.
Injuries shortened his season to 17 games for Utica, and like Anton Rodin, Nilsson should get himself completely healthy before searching for another contract. If he is healthy, come play in Utica on an AHL deal in order to earn an NHL contract in Vancouver or elsewhere.
Miller wants to come back to Vancouver but if I’m in charge, we need to move away from him. He was a hell of a goalie on a hell of a team, but Markstrom needs to play more and be the number 1 guy, and this team won’t be competing for a season or two so perhaps Miller should find his way to Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Arizona or Las Vegas if he wants to stay in the area. Vancouver just won’t work (in before IRL Jim Benning re-signs Ryan Miller).
This exercise has shown me that this project is going to be a little tougher than I thought.
Part Three is coming up in the next few days. We enter UFA 2017! Training Camp! Pre-Season! 2017 Lines! Excitement!
Thanks for reading.