The Vancouver Canucks dipped into the Unrestricted Free Agent Market on opening day of the NHL free agency period, by picking up a few forwards & 1 notable defenseman... Dan Hamhuis.
General Manager Mike Gillis was a busy boy on opening day. He went out and signed 4 new players, 2 that will be undoubtedly part of the Canucks roster & 2 who hope to be.
At $27M over 6 yrs, the Canucks got the highly sought after free agent Dan Hamhuis, who was so much in demand, 2 different teams traded for his negotiating rights prior to July 1st in hopes of wooing him to sign there before he hit the open market.
The 6'1, 202 lb, 27 yr old Smithers, BC native, played last season in Nashville. There he put up 24 pts in 78 GP with a +4 rating.
What the Canucks get in Hamhuis, is a very good shutdown defensively responsible dman, maybe soft physically at times...but makes up for it with incredible hockey sense. Should be a capable 2nd unit PP defenseman that will be a staple in the top 4 regular shift dmen. Still is improving his game, the upside on him is tantalizing to scouts & will likely soon find himself taking 1st line time...perhaps even this season.
Along with the addition of Keith Ballard, the Canucks have shored up their defense that was weakened last season with the longterm injuries of Willie Mitchell & Kevin Bieksa. With Mitchell all but moving on these recent additions shore up the Canucks main 6 unit, likely even leaving Bieksa as trade bait down the line.
It seemed fairly evident in the last week that Hamhuis had tunnel vision on the Canucks as his prefered destination & Canucks fans seemed tunnel visioned on getting him. Both sides got what they wanted today, and the price, not too shabby...when you consider the likes of an aging Sergei Gonchar got 5.5M from Ottawa on a 3 yr deal & Paul Martin got 5M from the Penguins.
This move now makes the Canucks defense (for now) one of the deepest in the NHL.
The Canucks dipped into the forward Free Agent Market on opening day as well, most notably by picking up forward Manny Malhotra.
The 30 yr old Mississauga, ON native, played last season in San Jose. There he put up 14 goals, 33 pts in 71 GP while finishing a +17. He also had the 2nd best faceoff percentage in the 2010 NHL Playoffs.
What the Canucks get in Malhotra, is a versatile forward who can play centre & wing, can play defensive style checking forward, and be an adequate offensive piece. At $2.5M for 3 years, the price might be a little steeper than some might want, but the Canucks needed a player like this & with some cap room to play with, felt overpaying to get their guy was acceptable. His addition is the Canucks answer to letting Ryan Johnson go, he will get lots of chances as a penalty killing forward.
After trading away Steve Bernier & Michael Grabner recently. The Canucks were looking to possibly fill a hole or two in their back 6, and this move will help to do that.
Other Canuck signings today included Jeff Tambellini, the former New York Islander & son of former Canucks player Steve Tamblellini, as well as Joel Perrault, a former Phoenix Coyotes farmhand with a handful of NHL games.
Former Canucks goalies, Curtis Sanford & Alex Auld signed on in Montreal, while recent back up Andrew Raycroft got a 2 yr deal in Dallas.
Elsewhere in the Northwest Division
Calgary Flames got in their Hot Tub Time Machine to re-acquire Alex Tanguay & Olli Jokinen. Rumour has them trying to get Theo Fleury & Ed Beers locked up next.
Edmonton Oilers obtained the best deal of the day in PP catalyst Kurtis Foster for only 1.8M.
Minnesota Wild bolstered the 2nd & 3rd lines with depth forwards Matt Cullen & Eric Nystrom
Colorado Avalanche acquired nothing.
No, this isnt a terrible re-post. The Avs really were here twice in 3 wks. Gary Bettmans NHL, gotta loathe it.
I have enjoyed going for the Avs for a long time. The Joe Sakic effect helped, as well, they often had more class players than ass players. This years roster was more or less the same.
CRAIG ANDERSON- 4 autographs. He actually looked put out to be signing, but still did multiple items without saying anything about it.
PETER BUDAJ- 1 autograph. An often Jekyle & Hyde signer, was more on the unwilling than willing side this trip, but still did sign on more than 1 occasion.
JOHN MICHAEL LILES- 3 autographs. Always a great signer, still a class act.
BRETT CLARK- 5 autographs. Except the 1 time where he was with Budaj who seemed uninterested in signing at the time, Brett was an accomodating signer.
KYLE QUINCEY- 3 autographs. Being one of the several new faces on this team since last time I had gone for them. It took me a while to get him because I was having trouble IDing him. Once I did though, he did everything.
SCOTT HANNAN- 3 autographs. Scott has always shown a level of unhappiness with signing, but he still does it.
ADAM FOOTE- 4 autographs. Back when he would hang out with Patrick Roy I actually thought he was a dick. Turns out it was just the people he was hanging with. He has been nothing but class since breaking away from one of the sports least classy guys.
RYAN WILSON- 2 autographs. Had no problem asking him for a 2nd item.
KYLE CUMISKEY- 2 autographs. Was willing to sign multiples.
RUSLAN SALEI & TOM PREISSING- no reports
PAUL STASTNY- 4 autographs. Was a consistent 1 per person each time you saw him. Dont try to loop him, or he stops signing all together.
MATT DUCHENE- 7 autographs. I know the numbers say otherwise, but hes actually a less accomodating signer than the stats show. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time a couple times. Generally, he is a strict 1 per on photos, and a 2 per overall.
RYAN O'REILLEY- 3 autographs. Happily did multiples. If he keeps up this pace for too much longer, we'll see if he is still happy to do multiples.
WOJTEK WOLSKI- 2 autographs. When confronted for an autograph, he'll do it. But he will do everything he can to avoid that, including waiting for a bigger player to be signing in hopes of sneaking by.
MILAN HEJDUK- 5 autographs. Usually a good 1-2 per signer. Still was.
DAVID JONES- 5 autographs. Willingly did everything presented to him.
CHRIS STEWART- 5 autographs. Signed multiples, but when there was more than a couple people around, he limited to just 1 or 2 per.
MAREK SVATOS- 1 autograph. He is continually challenging Wojtek for worst signer on the team. This trip, he might have won.
DAVID KOCI- 3 autographs. Willing signer of multiples.
BRIAN WILLSIE- 2 autographs. Willing signer of multiples.
PHILIPPE DUPUIS- 1 autograph. Signed anything put infront of him.
CHRIS DURNO- 2 autographs. Signed whatever was asked of him.
TJ HENSICK- 0 autographs. Signed willingly when asked, I just kept missing him for other players.
DARCY TUCKER, TJ GALIARDI, CODY MCLEOD & AMTT HENDRICKS- no reports
JOE SACCO- 1 autograph. Signed anything that he was asked to sign.
ADAM DEADMARSH- 4 autographs. Did everything asked of him.
STEVE KONOWALCHUK- 0 autographs. Signed whenever he was asked.
Total autographs from Colorado- 72
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From time to time I have something to say on hockey. Whether its the Vancouver Canucks, NHL in general, Womens Hockey or International Hockey...if I have something to post, it will be in here.