The Canucks have traded Marco Sturm and Mikkeal Samuelsson to the Florida Panthers for David Booth, Steve Reinprecht and a 2013 3rd round pick. The Canucks are picking up a spot on the roster as Reinprecht is currently playing in the AHL for over two million a year.
While neither team is off to the start they want, and lack consistency there are almost certainly more reasons than just a shakeup in the lineups for both teams. Mike Gillis was recently on the radio to respond to an incredibly ill informed editorial. Roberto Luongo is off to one of his well documented poor Octobers, which for those who haven’t done the math is one of the two shortest months of the season. He’s still managed to have great Vezina worthy seasons. He also turned in two shutouts against the Stanley Cup winners last spring and ended with a Sv% better than the two previous cup winning goalies. With the extra two million in pay going to the AHL and only half a million less being paid out in Vancouver, obviously this isn’t about the money in Vancouver.
Dale Tallon’s club looses one of the longest tenured members of the Sunrise team. Tallon traded out a contract with four seasons left for two guys who will be unrestricted free agents at about the same price tag. So what gives? There has been conjecture that Sturm isn’t yet healthy. If he is great, paired with Weiss he’s capable of 20+ goals, and can play even strength, powerplay and shorthanded. Sturms work ethic can’t be questioned, but his health can. Multiple surgeries, multiple long stretches on the shelf.
Tallon has been anything but shy in adding free agents to the Panthers adding Upshall, Jovanovski, and Kopecky among others this year. A look at who is currently unsigned for next season and do for unrestricted free agency might just provide a look at who is on their radar. The top of the food chain has four mouth watering, fan energizing choices from all three areas of the ice. Pekka Rinne is one of the best goalies on the planet. He’s had a huge hand in the success of the Nashville Predators over the last two seasons, with a team on the upswing with vision he could put a contender over the top. Up front is Alex Semin. Enigmatic, occasionally displaying less than ideal work ethic; sure, immensely talented yes, yes and yes. Just as talented, and even more complete is Zach Parise, presently the captain in the soon to be Brodeurless New Jersey Devils and may be the most interesting UFA to be in the NHL. Currently patrolling the net in front of Rinne is one of the most talented and underrated defensemen in the NHL. While he’s largely in the shadow of Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne in Music City Suter is not the type of defenseman who comes along every day and would easily be the number one defenseman in about 25 NHL cities.