When I wake up in the morning it’s around noon on the west coast of Canada. A lot happens between the crack of dawn on the east coast and my getting up, so during my summer months (ie. hockey season) I like to get up, make myself a strong coffee and sit down to read my hockey news list on Twitter (@wayneinjindy is my alter ego, “personal” account).
This morning I slept in a little (hey, it’s Sunday here!) so by the time I had my coffee and sat down to get my fill of hockey news a fair bit had happened on the Canucks front:
- Jimmy Howard said this of the Canucks “They’ve got a bunch of idiots over there”. Ouch. I’ll leave that for better people like Pass It To Bulis to deal with that one. I’ll just call Jimmy Howard names back
- The Canucks have placed Keith Ballard on LTIR, giving them around $4.6 million in cap space (according to Cap Geek)
- Immediately this led to rumours surrounding a potential trade between Vancouver and the Dallas Stars, with the name Steve Ott being said loud and clear. Interestingly, the Canucks and Stars face off in Dallas on Sunday
So there’s a few things to consider here.
Keith Ballard was first taken out of the lineup before the February 9th game against the Minnesota Wild (his “home team”). That was exactly 10 games before the trade deadline. A player has to be out 10 games before the deadline to be placed on LTIR to have his salary against the cap removed.
It’s not a mystery why some analysts and hockey writers jumped on that fact and became very suspicious. Perhaps I’m naive, but I don’t view this as suspicious. I think the hockey gods are staring down on the Canucks.
This might sound harsh, especially if Ballard is in fact concussed or has a serious neck injury. I don’t wish harm on anyone . But you have to face facts. FACT – Ballard has never fit with the Canucks. FACT – His $4.2 million salary is a big chunk of the cap, especially for a player getting 3rd pairing minutes and not doing much with them.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis must surely have been trying to move him before the deadline. The injury a couple of weeks ago would have raised alarm bells, not just because of Ballard’s long term health, but because it could not have happened at a worse time. Trading a player with a long term injury is tricky stuff and also not such a nice thing to do. For the Canucks sake, they must have been hoping that Ballard had a speedy recovery or at worst, that he would be out for a couple of months.
Well, looks like he is out for a couple of months, which takes him out of the roster and frees up a large amount of cap space that I am sure the Canucks will want to use for something. It’s bad luck for Keith Ballard but it’s good luck for the Vancouver Canucks. The kind of good luck that happens to teams that go on to win the Stanley Cup.
So what to do with that $4.6 million in cap space? Thanks mostly to Bob McKenzie Canucks fans are looking in the direction of Dallas to see who can be added to their roster. Steve Ott’s name came up straight away. Ott is a former 20 goal scorer, is gritty as hell (117 PIMs this season, good for 5th in the NHL) and is a hell of a faceoff man for a winger – running at 57.3% this season. He could slide in with Kesler and Booth, or play on the 3rd line and clear all kinds of room for Hodgson to work his magic (not to mention winning faceoffs for him). He’s 10-19-29 and a +4 so far this season, so he hasn’t lost his offensive ability either.
But Ott is hated. He’s an elite agitator and rumour has it amongst NHL players he is considered in the same league as Burrows, Lapierre and Kesler. Just take a look at his run in with Flyers coach Peter Laviolette:
I think he’ll fit right in on the Canucks team, and after I read his thoughts on playing in Vancouver, I was convinced he belongs in Vancouver:
“Yeah I’m an asshole, sure. But am I Canucks-grade asshole? Not sure.”
Oh man, he belongs there!
EDIT This wasn’t a real quote. I wish so much that it was though.
But there is another player on the Stars that I think would be an even better fit for the Canucks. He is a defensemen and his name is Stephane Robidas.
He’s right handed. He can play on the powerplay. He can kill penalties. He is 4-14-18 and even so far this season. In 18 playoff games he is 3-8-11. In 780 career NHL games he is 49-175-224 and +1.
He could slide in with Edler, take the big minutes and allow Salo to play with Rome on the 3rd pairing. All of a sudden the Canucks defensive corps looks that much better. If I am Mike Gillis, Stephane Robidas is the guy I’m looking to trade for.
And the best part? Word has it Mike Gillis and Joe Nieuwendyk talk regularly.