VANCOUVER - The agent for Dale Weise says he and the Vancouver Canucks are close to agreeing on a new contract for the winger, who is a restricted free agent.
Agent Allain Roy said the Canucks did tender a qualifying offer to Weise before Tuesday's deadline, but added "we are close to a deal here."
Assistant general manager Laurence Gilman would only say "we are discussing a contract, yes."
Weise, 24, has spent most of the past two seasons with the Canucks, skating mainly on the team's fourth line. He had three goals, six points and 43 penalty minutes in 40 games last season.
Weise made $615,000 last season and his qualifying offer was $676,500. The Canucks recently signed fellow fourth-liner Tom Sestito to a two-year deal worth $750,000 a season.
The Canucks also qualified defenceman Chris Tanev, their most valuable restricted free agent. Tanev made $900,000 last season but is pencilled in as the team's No. 5 defenceman this next season and figures to get a big raise. Gilman said talks are continuing with Tanev's agent, Ross Gurney.
Besides Tanev and Weise, those receiving qualifying offers included forwards Jordan Schroeder, Bill Sweatt, Kellan Lain, Anton Rodin and Darren Archibald, as well as defenceman Yann Sauve.
Gilman said the Canucks did not extend qualifying offers to three of their restricted free agents: defenceman Derek Joslin and forwards Prab Rai and Stefan Schneider. They all become unrestricted free agents.
BIG APPLE BOUND: Scott Arniel made it official on Tuesday. He is leaving the Canuck organization and has agreed to join former Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault as associate coach of the New York Rangers.
Arniel, who coached Vancouver's AHL farm team in Chicago last season, had been offered a job on new coach John Tortorella's staff and had also received interest from the Dallas Stars and their new coach Lindy Ruff.
Arniel, who also coached Vancouver's AHL team in Manitoba, said his positive relationship with Vigneault played a big part in his decision.
"It had a lot to do with it," Arniel said in a phone interview. "Alain was really good to me when I was in Manitoba and he was starting in Vancouver and also last year when I was in Chicago.
"And when I was in Columbus (as head coach) he was a guy I talked to regularly. He's become a good friend and I am excited to work with him."
Ulf Samuelsson, who was head coach of Modo in the Swedish League under general manager Markus Naslund, is also expected to join Vigneault's staff with the Rangers.
The Canucks have received permission to talk to Mike Sullivan, who was Tortorella's associate coach with the Rangers. Sullivan is expected to be named to the same position with the Canucks.
LUONGO'S ALL-IN: The Canucks' new No. 1 goalie will once again be representing the B.C. Lottery Corp.'s PlayNow.com brand at the upcoming World Series of Poker main event tourney in Las Vegas.
BCLC confirmed Tuesday that Roberto Luongo's $10,000 buy-in will for the second straight year be paid for as part of his promotional contract with the corporation.
"Under the endorsement agreement, Roberto Luongo is required to represent PlayNow.com at the World Series of Poker tournament wearing branded clothing and interacting with players," Kim Steinbart, senior communications officer with BCLC, said in an email to the Vancouver Sun on Tuesday. "As with any agreement of this nature, the cost of the appearance is budgeted for and funded from the brand’s marketing budget."
The World Series of Poker Main Event tournament starts this weekend at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Last year, Luongo cashed at the tournament, finishing in 634th place and earning $19,227.
BCLC thinks its partnership with Luongo has been a good one that has benefitted the corporation.
"This partnership has allowed PlayNow.com to reach a broad, passionate hockey market in BC and Manitoba, giving players chances to win truly once-in-a-lifetime experiential prizes, like meeting and playing poker with Luongo," Steinbart said.
Luongo, by the way, still has his Vancouver condo, although it remains on the market. The Yaletown property has been listed the past 60 days for $4.2 million.
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