Lots of stuff happened in Vancouver over the last week. For starters, they recalled first Matt Pettinger, and then Kyle Wellwood and Jaosn Krog. Pettinger was snagged by the Tampa Bay Lightning on re-entry waivers, which is almost always a good move, given that they now only need to pay half of his $1 million salary—they’re getting a replacement level player for league minimum.
On the other hand, last I checked Tampa Bay has a million forwards, so perhaps they weren’t the best team to make this particular move. Either way, Mike Gillis sees a small portion of his ample cap space disappear, and is left with two other fringe NHLers in Krog and Wellwood. One wonders how long it is until Michel Ouellet gets a recall.
In unsurprising news, Pavol Demitra is injured again. This should effectively move the Canucks’ secondary scoring from inconsistent to nonexistent for the next month, while Demitra recovers from fractured cartilage in his ribs. For those Canucks fans who entered the season with the belief that the massive run of injuries that derailed 2007–08 couldn’t occur again, Sami Salo, Darcy Hordichuk and Rick Rypien all missed the Canucks’ last game.
In related news, Mats Sundin has finally begun skating, although his agent downplayed the idea that he has decided to return to the NHL. That didn’t stop Mike Gillis from sounding optimistic when asked by TSN to comment on the report:
“We were told that last week. It’s encouraging. I always felt that he was going to return and play because I think he’s got a lot of hockey left in him and I think there’s some goals that he expressed to me when I spoke to him a while ago that he wanted to fulfill. So, I’m not surprised.”
And as for the $10 million/season offer that the Canucks gave to Sundin, it’s still on the table:
”Yeah, we haven’t removed our proposal, we haven’t digressed in any way in terms of our interest in trying to get him to come and play in Vancouver,” Gillis said. “We’re going to put our best foot forward when the time comes and he indicates that he’s ready to play and hopefully we can get him to come.”
It almost goes without saying that signing Sundin would move the Canucks from being a fringe playoff team to being the favourite to win the division. Sundin’s a quality hockey player, the kind of guy that can go head to head with any level of opposition and less than stellar linemates and still come out ahead.
Anaheim has signed Bret Hedican to a one-year contract and assigned Ken Klee (acquired at the start of the season in the Mathieu Schneider giveaway) to the minors. Mirtle’s all over this one, and I don’t have much to add except to say that this is a great pickup by the Ducks at a very reasonable rate.
Speaking of excellent pickups, one of my favourite UFAs this summer has finally signed, inking a one-year deal with Tampa Bay. Marek Malik is underrated because he isn’t at all pretty in getting results—he just gets them, and against quality opposition. There must be some fairly serious behind the scenes stuff against him for it to have taken this long for him to get a contract offer. He brings a lot to the table that Tampa Bay is short on.