Sports Hockey

Time for the Canucks to wheel and deal?

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Besides the playoffs, there is no better time in the hockey season than trade deadline day.

In Vancouver though, don't expect the Canucks to be big players despite the large salary cap space ($2.731 million).

But that doesn't mean GM Mike Gillis will take the day off tomorrow.

One glaring hole in this team's roster is the lack of a checking line, especially since Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler moved to the top two lines.

So here are a few players who can fill the gap, and could be here when the noon deadline arrives.

Ian Laperriere, 34, Colorado, $1,150,000: He won't be in to rack up points for Vancouver but Laperriere is the type of player you take into battle. He's experienced, he's gritty and he's the definition of a checker.

Final buzz: In his final contract year, Colorado is shopping Laperriere, and many teams are interested. Go for it, Gillis.

Chris Neil, 29, Ottawa, $1,200,000: If any team wants a grinder with an offensive flair, look no further then Neil. Although he is currently sidelined with a lacerated calf, Neil is a suitable rental grinder, especially for a long playoff run.

Final buzz: Apparently the asking price is a top prospect and a second rounder, that's too expensive for Gillis' liking.

Samuel Pahlsson, 30, Anaheim, $1,400,000: He's dropped off a bit since the Duck's Cup run two seasons ago, but this former Selke trophy candidate is a perfect fit to centre any team's third line and speculations has it that Pahlsson is available.

Final buzz: Vancouver might be able to steal him from Anaheim; a roster player and a lower draft pick.

Olli Jokinen, 29, Phoenix, $5,250,000: With Coyotes reportedly in financial trouble, Vancouver is a team with the cap space to take some salary off Phoenix's hands. Jokinen can put up big numbers but has yet to see playoff action.

Final buzz: This could cost a Cory Schneider or Michael Grabner. Is Jokinen worth it?


Despite saying that he won't make any big moves, if the right deal comes along, Gillis won't hesitate to the pull the trigger. And here are a trio who would improve this team.

Jay Bouwmeester, 24, Florida, $4,875,000: One area Gillis might aim to improve is the blueline, and Jay-Bo is the man. He's young, he's talented, and is an UFA in July.

Final buzz: If this deal happens, expect either Kevin Bieksa or Mattias Ohlund to go the other way, along with prospects and draft picks. The price is high but he might be worth it, especially if Vancouver can re-sign him.

Milan Hejduk, 32, Colorado, $4,000,000: No explanation needed. This Canuck killer would definitely boost Vancouver's offence and with the Canucks facing the Avs four more times, that just might be a good thing.

Final buzz: Hejduk won't come cheap, that's for sure, especially since Vancouver's a division rival. This might be a stretch.

Marian Gaborik, 26, Minnesota, $6,333,000: Vancouver fans know all too well about this Slovak speedster.

Final buzz: Unless Gaborik comes cheap, don't expect Vancouver to waste players and picks on an injury-riddled pending UFA.