As of right now the Canucks total salaries payable for next season are $43.4 million dollars, with the only notable players yet to be signed being Ryan Shannon, Trevor Linden and Rory or someone similar to fill our 6th D slot. Assuming these three sign for a total of about 2 million, that leaves us with a cap figure of $45.5 million dollars. The canucks have said they won't commit the full cap to sign the season, with $48 million seeming like a reasonable figure to stop at. So basically there's $2.5 million dollars left to improve the team. Seeing as how our depth chart currently looks something like this:
A whole bunch of 4th liners
Martin Gelinas. Thirty-seven years old and still full of piss and vinegar. Already spent 5 years with the Canucks, might be interested in finishing up his career with a contender.
Pros:Cheap( last contract was $950 000 per year for two years). Playoff experience (147 career playoff games)
Cons: Thirty-seven years old. Little offensive upside (best NHL season was only 68 points and that was 10 years ago. He had 41 and 44 points in his last 2 years with Florida and it's hard to see him putting up more than that in the Canucks defensive system)
Jeff O'Neil. His career has hit a rough patch the last few years with both personal and on-ice problems, to the point that he apparently considered retirement this season. Maybe a change of scenery will bring him back to his old form.
Cons: Defense. (i don't necessarily consider +/- a very useful stat but this guy's been a minus player for 9 of his 11 seasons, and the other two he was only +1 and +3. That's got to mean something).
Anson Carter. Poor guy went from playing with the Sedins and scoring 33 goals (by the way, the Sedin's jersey numbers: 33 and 22. Carter's number: 55. Carter's stats in his season with Van: 33-22-55. Coincidence? Destiny? You decide.) to Columbus and a 28 point season. We need to show him a bit of love.
Pros: Probably the best offensive player of all the 2nd/3d liners still available. His career numbers don't as good as they should because he keeps bouncing from place to place (9 teams in 10 seasons) but give him some stability and he'll put up numbers. Also, nice guy, smart, everyone loves his interviews.
Cons: If we actually do get him everyone will start asking why he's not playing with the Sedins, leading to the inevitable Carter or Pyatt controversy. Maybe this is a good thing and a little competition wouldn't be a big deal, especially with Vigneault's sytem, but I'm putting it down as a negative. It just seems that it would throw the whole balance of the team out of whack.
Jan Bulis. The Canucks don't seem to want to resign him but damnit I do. He built up a lot of animosity among the fans last year with his lackluster play and his trade demand, but picked things up in the second half, working his way up from "he's an ass" to "benign neglect " status.
Pros. Honestly I think this guy 's one of the more underrated defensive players on the Canucks. He always seems to have his stick in on the play and make those little deflections that screw up the flow of an opposing team's rush. He's also my vote for "player most likely to intercept an opposing team's pass and take it back up the other way for a scoring chance".
Tony Amonte. He'll be 37 to start the year, and many have said he's been one of the players most negatively affected by the new NHL, with the drop-off in his point production agreeing.
Pros. Used to be the best offensive forward out of anyone on this list. Only guy we could afford who had at least one point-per-game season. Solid playoff experience. Crappy season last year(30 pts) means that he might take a pay cut(from $1.85 million) making him fairly affordable.
Cons. Will be 37 to start the year...Best days are behind him...it's pretty easy to compare him with Martin Gelinas except at this point in their careers I think Martin might have more offensive upside. If that's not a con i don't know what is.
This isn't a complete list of course, nor is it necesarily a list of the top 5 guys who would make the best signings(except for Bulis. He's at the top of the list damnit), more like a sampling of the possibilities that are out there. There's other guys out there(although they may be better players at this point their names aren't as big so I kind of naturally erred towards the older guys) and I may add to this list in the future. If there's any point to this though, it's to show that the Canucks still have plenty of options hope that we pick up at least one of these guys so we dont go into the season with Brad Isbister as our second line right winger.