Thursday, July 10, 2008

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.

“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
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.

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.

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At 1:27 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous ]effadams#2 said...

Gőlbez just wet himself!!

At 1:30 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous ]effadams#2 said...

Let the debate begin:

a) former captain, franchise points leader, once superstar, good guy, bad interview

b) good player, injury prone, solid point getting forward

Both cost the same amount to play the same game. You are going to here the two compared for the next two years.

At 1:55 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Demitra can play center and wing so that's an asset compared to Naslund.

Washington gave 4M to ancient Fedorov so Gillis got his former client at decent price.

Hopefully Demitra stays healthy and Nucks gives us something to cheer about after Burkie ruined the team (=K.Lowe;)

At 1:59 p.m., July 10, 2008, Blogger nebcanuck said...

Naslund wasn't coming back to Vancouver for any amount of money. The Canucks fans were riding him so hard that he had to think he was at a ranch. I wish it weren't so, but Demitra was probably the only alternative.

I would whine and complain that he costs too much and is too much of a gamble with the injuries, but as a 'Nucks fan I can only really hope for respectability next year. We have plenty of cap room, and this really was the only option left aside from coercing Sundin to come play, and so I can't really complain even though in better days it would have been a bad decision.

At 2:02 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Michael Ryder is worth $4 million, then I have no problem signing Demitra at that price. Although, the key with Demitra will be his health. If he can piece together a couple of full seasons, his production should be fine. That may be a big if though ...

At 2:24 p.m., July 10, 2008, Blogger Kel said...

Pretty ugly.

Not that much uglier than last year, if any. The significant change is that they got rid of Naslund and Morrison and gained Demitra and Bernier.

At 3:10 p.m., July 10, 2008, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

1. Demitra wasn't so much a late bloomer as he was stuffed in the minors by the Sens. He could have been a regular at 22 on a team that believed in him. Amazingly, we can thank Iron Mike for rescuing him :/

2. I never wet myself. I prefer drug OD's and heart attacks

3. The deal is quite reasonable, especially for just 2 seasons. The price is right for his level of current production and leaves the Canucks some room to get something else up front.

4. The Canucks have a good first line and checkers, but the 2nd line is definitely suspect. Pyatt just isn't offensively talented enough to be up there and Wellwood...he's chunkier than Paris Hilton's vomit after a late night stop at Wendy's

At 4:29 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lines would be more likely to be

Sedin Sedin Bernier
Raymond Wellwood Demitra
Burrows Kesler Pyatt
Hordichuk Johnson Pettinger

Raymond really came on last year and should be able to get 20 goals this season.
Also Demitra and Bernier is far better than Morrisn and Naslund at this point so the offense will be improved with or without Sundin.

At 6:15 p.m., July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turn that 2nd line into:

Wellwood - Sundin - Demitra

And the Canucks forwards look pretty good to me:

Wellwood - Sundin - Demitra
Sedin - Sedin - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Pettinger
Hordichuk - Johnson - Pyatt(?)

At 10:33 p.m., July 10, 2008, Blogger Kirk said...

As a Wild fan, I was extremely excited when the Wild traded Paddy O' for him a couple years ago. But it turns out L.A. might have gotten the better of that deal. Demitra was disappointing in MN and it'll be interesting to see him 10 or 12 or 14 times next year (or whatever the intra-conference schedule is).


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