Monday, September 28, 2009

Canucks Trim Down to 29

The Canucks sent down eight players on Monday, including a few that cleared waivers over the weekend. The most notable players to go down were goaltender Cory Schneider, defenseman Nathan McIver and forward Michael Grabner. All three players will be on the immediate call-up list when the season starts and injuries were to hit the team.

That being said, there are already four injured players on the list, marked in red below, to start the season. The 29 players listed below should actually count for 25, since the four who are injured won't be available to play right away.

Daniel SedinKevin BieksaRoberto Luongo
Henrik SedinChristian EhrhoffAndrew Raycroft
Ryan KeslerAlex Edler
Pavol DemitraMathieu Schneider
Alex BurrowsSami Salo
Mikael SamuelssonWillie Mitchell
Steve BernierShane O'Brien
Kyle WellwoodBrad Lukowich
Mason RaymondLawrence Nycholat
Jannik HansenAaron Rome
Ryan JohnsonMichael Funk
Darcy Hordichuk

Rick Rypien

Tanner Glass

Cody Hodgson

Sergei Shirokov

The injuries up front to Pavol Demitra and Jannik Hansen is going to open the door for one of the rookies to step up and play a major role to start the season. There are 14 forwards healthy on the list, looking to fill 12 (or maybe 13) spots in the opening night line-up. On defense, it will be interesting to see if either Aaron Rome or Michael Funk have played well enough to displace one of the veteran defenders ahead of them in the depth chart. Rome has had a pretty good preseason, while Funk hasn't appeared to be much of a liability, which is a good thing, especially when you're talking about depth defenders.

Salary CapThere will still need to be a couple cuts and they will need something to help save some cap space somewhere. Including the four injured players, the Canucks have an approximate annual cap hit of $65.7 million, $9.9 million over the cap ceiling. That is way over... by a country mile, if you will. If you were to take away the four injured players, the cap hit would only be $59.1 million, only $2.3 million over the limit. Cutting Cody Hodgson would go a long ways to cut that number down further and another defenseman would also be cut.

Pool-wise, there are quite a few good picks to be taken from the Canucks. The Sedin twins are looking a little more mature and ready to prove to the rest of the league that they were worthy of their long-term contracts. Roberto Luongo (pictured above) should be considered one of the top three goalies in the league and should be taken accordingly. I would also be looking to Sami Salo to have a rebound season after a tough injury-plagued year in 2009.

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