If you're a Vancouver Canucks fan and disappointed with the indignity of losing a beauty pageant to Edmonton, take solace.
At least the Canucks have lots of money to spend. They just might not have anyone they are willing to spend it on.
All the good feelings which started the weekend, with Cory Schneider re-signing before a Roberto Luongo trade, crashed and burned when the team with the inside track on Schultz failed to even finish as first runner-up.
The Canucks were reluctant to make promises to Schultz about playing time and that could have been one of the areas where the deal they were hoping for disintegrated.
The slick blueline prospect chose Edmonton — Ottawa was reportedly second — leaving the Canucks with a hole or two on defence to go along with their other complications — one too many starters in goal and no reliable third-line centre.
So off to free agency, where some followers are hopeful White Rock's Jason Garrison would be willing to give the Canucks a hometown discount. If not, is Vancouver really ready to make him their highest-paid defenceman? Has it really come to that? Are the Canucks desperate enough to pay Garrison the more than $5 million a year he's been eyeing?
It hasn't been the Canucks tact. At least, not often.
"It would be unfair for me to comment on how others run their teams and do their business," GM Mike Gillis said. "I know what we do here and how we try and approach things. We don't sign contracts we're not comfortable with.
"And we get our players to work with us and we've been successful on that basis."
But the Canucks have to kick the tires on Shane Doan, a free agent who is just about exactly what their top-six has been missing during the past two years. The team has the money to make a run at him, even if most believe he wants to keep playing in Phoenix.
The Canucks have $10.521 million to spend, not including whatever cap space they get when Luongo is traded, according to the reliable web site cap geek.com
Gillis suggested there's even more than that to throw around.
"If I were you guys, I wouldn't be concerned about the cap," Gillis said. "We had, as of (Thursday before Schneider was signed) close to $20 million in cap space with the 10 per cent summer overage.
"So, we have lots of space. We'll deal with it as it comes."
Lots of space and suddenly lots of needs for a team coming off consecutive President's Trophy-winning season. As of now, the Canucks only healthy, reliable centres are Henrik Sedin and Max Lapierre. The bottom six is still not big enough, a problem the team has been trying to address for more than a year. And they need a defenceman — or two, depending on what happens with Sami Salo.
It was July 1 when Salo signed a one-year deal. Will we see history repeat itself?
The top three of Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler was just not good enough at the end last year, mostly because of Edler's and Bieksa's wrestling matches with inconsistency.
To help up front, you can say the team should go out and sign Brandon Prust but he is in a position to cash in with a "how the heck is he making that" type deal.
Now, a Luongo trade should impact the team immediately but if it is true he's trying to steer a deal only to Florida, the Canucks hands are somewhat tied. Worse, the team could be snookered if the Panthers really believe Marty Brodeur, who is ready to test free agency, is an option.
Realistically, Brodeur, because of his playing style, may only work in New Jersey. But his name is big enough that teams like Florida who need a goalie are at least going to give him a look.
The good news, however, is that Schneider is locked up on a deal with the Canucks that will pay him $12 million during the next three years, buying the Canucks all sorts of time before they have to do anything with Luongo.
The contract essentially guarantees a Luongo trade, if there's one to be made. Schneider, for one, wasn't quite ready to say good-bye.
"It's a little premature to be writing his obituary in Vancouver while he’s still on the team," Schneider said. "I’m not sure that’s fair to him. I will speak about what he has meant to this team over the last six years, I know he’s been the best goalie in team history and holds a lot of the records and he’s almost become iconic
"For me personally to have played with him and to be a teammate has been a tremendous honour and I really owe a lot to him in terms of how I developed and the player I’ve become.
"I’ve learned a tremendous amount and kind of honed my game and taken a lot of things from his game that I’ve emulated."
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