Canucks sign Demitra
Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis today announced that the team has signed free agent forward Pavol Demitra. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.I'm sure it doesn't hurt that Gillis was Demitra's agent up until a few months ago. It's a two-year, $8-million contract, which is a better alternative than the rumoured three- or four-year deal we heard of last week.
“Throughout his NHL career, Pavol has proven himself to be an offensive contributor where ever he has played,” said Gillis. “Pavol is a strong two-way hockey player with excellent quickness and finish. His play making abilities will be an asset on our power-play and make him a great addition to our top six forwards.”>> team release
At 33, and in fact throughout his career, Demitra's durability has been a major concern. He's had concussion issues in the past, and has played more than 71 games in a season only three times in his career.
He's a relative late-bloomer, sticking as a full-time NHLer at age 24 in St. Louis, and over the past 10 seasons has been remarkably productive. In that span, he's 20th in the NHL in goals with 266, 14th in assists with 404 and 11th in points with 670 in 683 games.
The Canucks need to name a new captain and Demitra could certainly be management's choice. It's worth noting that the outgoing Markus Naslund signed a nearly identical deal with the Rangers and that both are former Gillis clients.
Even with Demitra signed, the Canucks have $10-million left to spend under the cap (likely reserved for Mats Sundin) and have gaping holes in their front lines:
Sedin - Sedin - Bernier
Pyatt - Wellwood - Demitra
Pettinger - Kesler - Raymond
Hordichuk - Johnson - Burrows
Pretty ugly. And there's like seven left wingers there.
If Sundin takes a pass, expect Gillis to turn to the trade front to add another key piece. Anyone willing to unload a big ticket up front would do well to give the Canucks a call.
The free agent pool is looking mighty thin.