Nonis – Back to Work

Nonis has gotten right back to work after returning from some time off.  I guess even a GM needs to take a vacation once in a while.

In two days since he’s returned, he has made progress with Linden, Kesler, Bieksa & Fitzpatrick (more about him below). 

Bieksa – signed a two year, 1.05m deal.  Bieksa has no negotiating rights, and is getting the only thing he can right now, and that’s a one way deal.  He’ll be given every opportunity to make the team being that he’s on a one way deal, and this will set him up well for a better paycheck in two years time when he has arbitration rights.  Not that Nonis would let it get that far, but more on that later.

Linden – They’ve had talks, and Lindens heart is nowhere else but Vancouver.  The team did not pick up his option at 1.5m, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t wanted.  If you look at the bottom few lines on the team, you see clearly that some leadership is required to help the young guys out.  This is where his true value will come out.  Expect him to sign for about 850K later this week.

Kesler – A little background first.  Kesler and Umberger were teammates at Ohio State University.  Umberger was the Canucks first round pick in 2002 and Kelser was picked in the first round a year later. 

The Canucks tried desperately to sign Umberger, but he wanted top rookie dollars allowed under the old CBA.  He left school and stayed out of hockey for an entire year during 2003/04 in order to secure his Free Agent status.  Essentially he became a free agent if the team was unable to sign him during this period.  The team eventually traded him for Rucinsky at the deadline in 2004 to the NYR’s as they knew he was never going to become a Canuck.  Okay, back to Kesler. 

Kesler was obviously watching all this, and decided to jump on the opportunity to get on with the Canucks.  Due to the absence of Umberger, his stock rose quickly and he ended up playing 28 games with the big club that year.  But in order to do this, Kesler signed a deal that paid what the team was willing to give.  Kesler took it, knowing he would get an inside edge on playing pro hockey in the big league. 

Fast forward to this summer.  Umberger eventually signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for the rookie max and Kesler realizes he could have held out for the same now too.  Kesler’s rookie contract is over and now he wants to make up a bit of the money he gave up on his first contract. 

What he hasn’t considered is the Canucks history in dealing with players that don’t have arbitration rights.  Basically, you either sign (see old Cooke or Sopel deals), or get outcast (see Peter Who…. okay, I mean Peter Schaefer).  Kesler will have no success in getting any more out of Nonis than Nonis wants to pay him.  Here’s hoping the kid realizes this before training camp, or we are going to be wondering what happened to Ryan ‘who’ too.

Rory Fitzpatrick – it was reported today that the Canucks have signed journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick.  Clearly a depth move, Fitzpatrick has only 210 NHL games to his credit but despite his many stints in the minors, continues to show up at the NHL level and fills in admirably when needed.  I figured we see Sean Brown sign next on defense, but maybe Nonis got the man he wanted here instead.

Nonis still has a few other players to get to sign before training camp, including Bouck, Krajicek, & Noronen. 

Regardless though, after a slow couple weeks, it’s good to see some action on the Canuck front again. 

The Chief Canuck

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