The Canucks practiced again today at UBC, and general manager, Mike Gillis spoke about a variety of topics, from trades and roster issues, to choosing a captain, and it’s all right here.
On Today’s Trades
Shane O’Brien was traded to the Nashville Predators today, along with Dan Gender, in exchange for Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson. Andersson hasn’t seen NHL play since the 01.02 season, spending time in the KHL, Parent played 48 games last season, finishing with a minus-14. Gillis hopes that Parent will be a good call up as insurance against injuries.
“We were looking for a young defensemen that we can have in a call up situation,” said Gillis. “We’re hoping that’s going to be the case, he still has to clear waivers. If it isn’t he’ll be going to another team, but right now we’re hoping he gets through and we’ll be in a position to raise his confidence.”
He also liked the experience Andersson can bring to the Moose.
“We’ve got a younger defensemen and we’ve got a forward that doesn’t require recallable waivers. He’s got more experience than some of our forwards in Manitoba. We think that it can be a real asset.”
As for O’Brien, Gillis made no apologies for losing the defensemen after having renewed his contract over the summer.
“He has his opportunity to come here and make the team,” he said. “And other players played better than he did. We don’t go into this with predetermined ideas about players, he has to come here and make the teams, if he doesn’t come here and doesn’t make the team then that’s life.”
On Cody Hodsgon
Gillis follows in Alain Vigneault’s belief that if a player’s skill can earn him a place on the team the salary cap should not be an excuse to not play him.
“If players come and can play on this team and be the best players that we can put on the ice, we will make the moves necessary to keep him,” Gillis said. “Cody is still a work in progress. He’s gotten better every day, he played his best game in his last game, and there are ways [we can keep him] if we want to.”
On Cap Compliance
Gillis faced plenty of questions on how the team will fit under the salary cap by the time the season starts, having spent the entire summer well over the limit. He didn’t seem too worried it would get done by tomorrow’s deadline.
“We’re going to be cap compliant when the roster goes,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, because we did some things in the summer to make our team better. We understood going into it that we were going to have to do a lot of things as far as cutting our opening day roster and maximizing our space.”
The required reconfigurations might even result in an unexpected name on the opening night roster to get the most out of long term injury relief.
“The most LTI space is to have Sami [Salo] on the roster and put him on LTI after,” he said.
Obviously Salo will not be playing Saturday, but being this close to the upper limits of cap space means that every dollar counts.
TSN reports that Jeff Tambellini has been placed on waivers today, and that he’ll have 24 hours to clear them, during which time, any other team could pick him up, but this isn’t confirmed by the team. Gillis has no doubts Tambellini will make an appearnce in a Canucks jersey this season.
“Jeff’s a good player,” said Gillis. “He’s had a couple of up and down seasons, coming to a team like this is pretty stiff competition, and I fully anticipate Jeff Tambellini coming back and playing with us. Right now we’re looking at him as our first call up guy if someone gets injured. I’m sure you’re going to see Jeff back he when it’s the right time, when we have a place for him.”
On Picking a Captain
Yesterday Coach V said that he needs to discuss the matter of choosing a captain with Gillis, and today Gillis made it clear that he plans to put a lot of thought into the process.
“We’re trying to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “The last time we picked the guy who we knew was the best captain, but because of other considerations that we didn’t flush out as well as we should have, it didn’t work out as well as it we would have liked. We’re not going to make that mistake again, we’re going to be very careful in who we select. We have to talk with people about how they’re going to handle media, and how they’re going to handle their time, and we have to make it right this time.”
Alexandre Burrows skated with the team in a full practice for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery this summer. The left-winger had a career season in 2009-10 but is expected to be out until at least November.
Burrows sported a bright yellow UBC Thunderbirds jersey at practice, signaling that he wasn’t up for contact quite yet. Despite skating well at practice, last year’s top goal scorer is unsure about an exact return date.
“It’s tough to say,” said Burrows. “You have to listen to the team, the doctors and trainers. You have to do what’s best for the team, and for myself, I wouldn’t want to injure myself for the rest of the season.”
Burrows finished last season with 67 points (35-32-67) skating on a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
ALBERTS HERE TO STAY
Andrew Alberts faced harsh criticism since joining the team at the trade deadline last season, but he’s earned himself a spot on this season’s roster, beating out the departed Shane O’Brien.
The 6’5” defenseman was acquired from the Hurricanes after having been bounced around three teams in as many years, but he spent his summer preparing for this season, and so far the hard work shows through the preseason. His teammates have this to say about the twenty-nine year-old:
“He’s extremely positive coming in,” said Keith Ballard. “ I know last year was tough on him, coming into a new environment, it’s a tough place to play. He’s worked hard all summer and it really shows in this camp.”
“I thought Andrew had a really strong camp,” said Kevin Bieksa. “He played physical we had to, he stayed within his limits. With his size and his strength and his physical presence, we need that right now.”
Alberts just saw himself as being able to fill role the team needs.
“I don’t look at it as beating out guys, I was just earning a spot on the team. There are nine guys here, and that’s part of the business. As for camp I put some good games together, I played physical, which is what the coaches wanted. Right now I’m just happy to have the sixth spot.”