Shawn Matthias playing it cool as free agency looms

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks Shawn Matthias, right, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames Dennis Wideman during playoff hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 25, 2015.
 

Vancouver Canucks Shawn Matthias, right, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames Dennis Wideman during playoff hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Photograph by: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER - Canuck forward Shawn Matthias is heading for unrestricted free agency but doesn’t plan to get stressed over it. In fact, he plans to do just the opposite.

“I’m going to go home, have a beer, and relax,” Matthias quipped Monday as the Canuck players said their goodbyes at Rogers Arena.

It might be a good idea. Matthias, 27, scored 18 goals this past season, 17 of those coming at even-strength. He’s 6-4 and 225 pounds and made $1.85 million on his expiring contract. He appears to be in line for a nice raise but it might not be in Vancouver where the Canucks have to create roster space for some of their top prospects, most of them forwards.

“The team has a lot of decisions to make,” said Matthias, who joined the Canucks March 4, 2014 as part of the Roberto Luongo deal with Florida. “There are lots of guys under contract and stuff. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m not going to hold my breath. I do really enjoy playing here. I respect all the guys and management.

“I would love to be back but, in the business side of things, you never know what could happen. It’s a salary cap world. I mean, if I go to July 1st, I’m going to do what’s best for myself. So we’ll see what happens.”

Centre Brad Richardson is the second Canuck heading to unrestricted free agency. The 30-year-old grinder made $1.15 million this past season but his ankle injury may hurt him at the bargaining table. He was enjoying a fine first half, with 19 points, before the injury.

“I don’t know if I can dwell on that or not,” he said. "I think I had a pretty good first half. There is only so much you can do. An injury like this is tough. What do you do? So I’m going to be positive. I think I’ve done a good job and whatever happens, happens.”

CZECH-ING IN: Two Canucks have opted to join their countries for the upcoming IIHF world championships in the Czech Republic but Czech native Radim Vrbata is not one of them. Defenceman Dan Hamhuis will play for Canada while centre Nick Bonino flew out Monday to join Team USA.

Vrbata, who turns 34 in June, felt there was not enough time to gear up for the tournament after the long NHL season.

“I was going to go if we didn’t make the playoffs and I would have had enough time to go back and kind of prepare but this is a tough situation to turn around,” explained Vrbata. “I did it a couple of years ago and it didn’t work out well.”

Others who turned down their countries include the Sedin twins (Sweden, need rest), Jannik Hansen (Denmark, sore groin), Luca Sbisa (Switzerland, sore knees) and Yannick Weber (Switzerland, contract up). Alex Edler said he was undecided.

QUOTABLE: “It’s a great tournament and I think if you go, you have to be fully committed and the body has to feel good. I just had some issues with my body. It was a pretty tough series against Calgary and I just don’t think I’m up for it.” – Luca Sbisa on declining his world championship invitation from Swiss national team coach (and ex-Canuck) Glen Hanlon.

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks Shawn Matthias, right, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames Dennis Wideman during playoff hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 25, 2015.
 

Vancouver Canucks Shawn Matthias, right, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames Dennis Wideman during playoff hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Photograph by: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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