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Nonis On Team 1040

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Canucks general manager Dave Nonis took time off before the long weekend to talk hockey with Dave Pratt and Don Taylor on team 1040's afternoon show. Nonis spoke about Dustin Penner's move to Edmonton, Michael Grabner's big obstacle, and his hopes for 2005 second-round pick Mason Raymond.

Listen to Part One, and Part Two. Be aware, the clips are long and could a few moments to load.

Here are a few key excerpts:

I’m not a fan of this unbalanced schedule, what are your thoughts about it and finally getting Crosby in your building ?

I think you know my opinion on the unbalanced schedule: I don’t like it. I don’t think there’s any reason why we shouldn’t have every team in our building once a year, or at the very least, play them once a year. That’s something we’ve pushed very hard for, and we’ll continue to push for. It’s not just for us, but our fans who come to our building and would like to see everyone in here.

How close are we to seeing the new jerseys ?

I think it’s great that we have this amount of interest in our marketplace and the game when we’re talking about jerseys at the start of August, but it will be a little while before you see the actual jersey.

What’s your reaction to the Dustin Penner signing ?

Obviously every team has to do what they think is right in order to make their team better. Edmonton felt that [Penner] was a player they wanted, and they were willing to pay the price to get him. I haven’t talked to Brian [Burke] as to what his thinking was - whether he ever considered matching or not - but it’s not a one year deal, it’s a multi-year deal and it’s for pretty big money. I’m just speculating, but I think he thought that player wasn’t worth that money and would be tough to move at that price.

The Sedins will become unrestricted free agents next year, how big of a hurry are you in to get them signed ?

I’m not in a hurry to get them signed. I mean they’ve got a little time left on their contracts here and I would expect they’ll play those contracts out, and then we’ll sign them to another two or three year deal. I don’t think there’s any question that they’ll be back in Vancouver.

As far as Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison are concerned, what are your thoughts on what they have to do this season to earn contracts for next year ?

Anyone who is in the last year of their deal wants to play as well as they can to drive their own market value up. What do they have to do? I don’t set special goals for anyone on our team. You always want to have as solid a season as possible in order to improve as a team, and as our team improves, everyone’s going to be in good shape after that.

The general consensus in this town was that Markus and Brendan had disappointing seasons, do you feel the same way ?

In certain areas I think they did. I think offensively both players are capable of more. I think Brendan was not great off the start. Coming off a hip injury did hurt him, but at the end of the day when you look at the numbers, they’re not that bad. He’s a 20-goal scorer and we saw some guys this summer, who scored 15 or 13 goals, sign for $6 million or $7 million dollars. I think you have to look at the season and ask what else did he do? I think he was pretty good in the second half and was very good in his own end.

As for Markus, can he score more goals? Yeah, he can. But one positive thing I would look at with him, is that he went from a minus player to a plus player. He did a lot of good things in a Canucks uniform that people didn’t give him credit for.

Everyone is screaming that the Canucks need more offense, are you just hoping that you’ve got it with Naslund and Morrison if their numbers go up ?

I think those two guys can help, but I haven’t seen anything out there that can help us that's any better than we have, or that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money, or doesn’t tie up money in the future that I don’t want to tie up. I think there are players that maybe you can look at and say, ‘Yeah, that guy might be able score 20 goals for us,’ but he’s going to cost you more money than he’s worth, and then you’re going into next year with your hands tied and I don’t have any interest in that. If there’s a player out there that fits into our situation financially and can help us put a few more pucks in the net – and I think there will be one or two that present themselves – then that’s great. If not, then I don’t see any reason why the players that we have can’t come back and have better years.

What about Trevor Linden ?

Trevor and I have been in contact several times over the past few weeks… we’ve had a couple of more talks. I expect in the next week or two we’ll talk again.

Who do you see as the next big surprise like Kevin Bieksa who will turn heads at training camp ?

I think we have a number of young players coming up. Whether they’re capable or ready to step in and be regular contributors at this point, I don’t know that. I would expect Luc Bourdon and Alexander Edler to have good camps and push for a job, but the one guy I’ve only had a short chance to watch last year since he joined us in Manitoba, is Mason Raymond.

If he can put some weight on, I don’t think there’s any reason why he can’t play very quickly, whether it’s the middle of this year or next year. Everyone talks about Jonathan Toews, and everyone knows what kind of player he is, well [Toews] was a second team all-star and Mason was a first-team all-star – that’s the type of prospect we think he is. At this point he’s just not a man. He has to turn himself into one.

How far away is Michael Grabner from making the team ?

I would give him the same answer actually. He has to get stronger. That’s Michael’s problem right now, weight. It’s not anything else. I know that there was an issue: people thought he didn’t have the year that was expected of him. I think he was second or third in the WHL in goals, and of the top five, he led the league in goals-per-game. He is a goal scorer. He’s not a passer or a guy that’s going to set up any players. He’s a guy, who if he has the right centre, he can score. Now he can’t do it at 165 pounds, he has to do it 195 pounds and he’s a guy who has worked very hard to put weight on and keep it on.

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