The future of the Vancouver Canucks is not looking so bright. With a 36-year-old starting goalie, a pair of 36-year-old twins, and three other key contributors over 30, that 4-5-1 start is a bit ominous.
The middle is no place to be. -Ray Ferraro, TSN Analyst
The former Hartford Whaler was adamant that the Vancouver Canucks should give in and start completely over. Ferraro doesn’t believe a team scoring under two goals a game can, or will, turn it around. So he suggested the Canucks move on from two underperforming defenseman Alex Biega, and Philip Larsen. However, it is believed that Vancouver management will hold on to Biega specifically for expansion considerations.
Because he’s [Biega] under contract for next year, and because you can get him up to the games played threshold, they prefer to expose him.” – Matt Sekeres, TSN
It makes sense and would be a smart move by the Canucks knowing they’ll have to be ultra careful on whom to expose. The franchise is obviously heading for a rebuild and cannot give anything of value to Las Vegas. Not that the Knights are expecting to strike it rich from Vancouver’s unprotected list.
Other moves are slowly starting to be made that seem to have expansion in mind around the league as well. Talking about a pair of three-year deals given to Andrei Vasilevskiy and Matt Murray. Another contract that was openly made in expansion preparation was Calgary’s move to sign an extra goaltender. Tom McCollum was released by Los Angeles after training camp and was then picked up by the Flames. A few weeks later McCollum signed a two-year contract worth $1.2M, however, was told by Calgary he would be exposed in June of 2017.
Sure the Flames will publicly say they needed the goaltending depth, but quietly they’re playing the system for their benefit. Expect much more of this. No one’s looking to make it easy for The Creator and his new team. Which is a shame, cause the guy who just dumped $16 million into each of his new colleagues pockets really really wants to win in year one.
Teams are definitely preparing for the draft, but I am not sure adding exposure depth is that much of a concern. Every team WILL lose one player. Whether they add a player or two as expansion bait seems irrelevant. Las Vegas will still chose the best exposed player regardless of how many scrubs are added to a team’s line up.
Teams lose players every year by expiring contracts or retirement anyway. The difference this spring will be the quality of the player they lose to expansion. At worst, it will set a team back a year or two in having to replace a higher quality player.
However, what I do see teams doing is altering the way they offer contracts. Very short term contracts for players that would normally get 3 or 4 year deals. Jacob Trouba and Kris Russel are good examples of this. If it were not an expansion year, I believe many more teams would have interest in them, with Russel finally getting just a small one year deal at the start of the season.
I believe the expansion rule that allows Las Vegas to talk to both UFA’s and RFA’s early will have a far greater impact on how teams prepare than the draft. Teams will have to decide if they want to sign their own free agents beforehand, risk losing them to a Las Vegas offer or sign them and possibly lose them anyway. Also, I am assuming that we will see almost no NMC contracts being handed out over the rest of the season.
Essentially, teams are in a ‘protect what we currently have’ mode. Not so much a ‘build the best team we can’ mode. Each team is trying to minimize the damage of an expansion year.
Except for Chicago. The’re screwed no matter what. Hello Mr van Riemsdyk!
With the stellar play of Forsling and Ville Pokka waiting in Rockford it has unfortunately made TVR expendable. It will be interesting to see at the trade deadline in March how teams prepare for the expansion draft.