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Canucks’ offense approaches crossroads

Aug 14, 2012, 10:40 PM EDT

Jannik Hansen, Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows AP

While the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ defense and goaltending seems established, the majority of their forwards face some uncertainty.

Ryan Kesler (four seasons remaining) and David Booth (three seasons left) are the only noteworthy NHL-ready offensive players with contracts exceeding two years.

It’s reasonable to say that the team will be interested in bringing back many of these guys anyway, but here are the players whose deals are set to expire after a season or two:

Contract years

Alexandre Burrows ($2 million cap hit) – Any “NHL’s biggest bargains” list must include Burrows’ name. Keeping him around after 2012-13 could prove very costly.

Manny Malhotra ($2.5M) – Still valuable defensively even after a scary eye injury.

Mason Raymond ($2.275M) – Hoping to redeem his career and fatten his bank account.

Chris Higgins ($1.9M) – Speedy forward found a great fit in Vancouver so far.

Two more seasons

The Sedin twins ($6.1M) – Could easily command more than their current cap hits on the open market. Even with two more years of mileage, they’re likely to be pricey – and probably would prefer to stay.

Jannik Hansen ($1.35M) – Underrated winger might earn himself a solid raise.

***

Other guys who could make themselves nice raises over the next year or so include pest Maxim Lapierre and Zack Kassian.

  1. bigoldorcafromvan - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Trade Mason Raymond if you can and get something. Sign Burrows to 4M/3years and sign the rest for what they are getting now. The Sedins will stay with an extension I think. Get er done MG.

  2. t16rich - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    I know this a forward article, but throw Edler on that list right at the top. I am certain he will be a top priority to get locked up before next off season.

  3. sergeikremlin - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    The results of this season will determine if Mike Gillis makes this his team, or if he keeps going with the Burke/Nonis nucleus that he inherited. It starts and finishes with the Sedins. And not the regular season Sedins.

    • ikillchicken - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:09 AM

      I don’t think we’re in bad shape.
      -Burrows isn’t going to come cheap obviously. Then again, I don’t think he’s going to be eager to leave the Sedins either. He’s due a major raise but we can afford it.
      -We can afford to lose a second or third line winger (preferably Raymond but Higgins would be manageable in a worst case scenario). We have a few different options developing at wing. Between Kassian and Jensen we should be able to fill that slot a year or so down the road.
      -Malhorta isn’t the same player he once was and will take a paycut. If not, he’s replaceable.
      All in all it isn’t anything we can’t handle once Luongo is moved. Ballard may also be dumpable (if not next offseason, at least the one after when he’s down to 1 yr remaining on his contract).

      • ikillchicken - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:11 AM

        Sorry. Don’t know why that went as a reply.

      • jovocop2112 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:24 AM

        Higgins should not be allowed out by any means necessary, he was one of Vancouver’s best forwards this year, and seems to me like the kind of lunch-pail guy you build champions around. Re-signing/keeping him needs to be MG’s top priority after Burrows and the twins, unless of course they continue to decline offensively

      • ikillchicken - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:48 AM

        I can’t imagine keeping him over Raymond. So yeah…I guess he would be the next forward up after Burrows. By any means necessary though? No. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I really like what Higgins brings to the team. I’d hate to lose him. At the end of the day though, he’s not a core player. He’s not irreplaceable. If it comes to that we have options.

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