Canucks goalie situation + Cooke Situation

The Canucks have an interesting situation going into the start of training camp. The have a fan favourite and world class agitator who is threatening at holding out. They have an absolute dogfight for the 6th spot on defence and they have three goalies, all who will want to play in the NHL. I think it is time we break this down.1. Matt Cooke:

Matt Cooke is the last remaining section of the Canucks core to sign and over on the west coast there is a constant battle about what he is worth. Most people seem to think he is worth less than 1M (these tend to be the same people who thought Ohlund would only take 1M). The middle group, where I belong, believe he should be in the 1-1.5 range. Cooke’s agent has been on the record saying he believes Cooke could earn upwards of 2 million dollars if he was on the open market. His agent has also said that if they had offered to make Cooke the fourth highest paid forward (currently Trevor Linden at $1.52M) then Cooke would be signed. With the majority of people not thinking he is worth that many trade rumours have popped up. According to many and various sources, the following has been offered by Cooke to other teams. Keep in mind, Vancouver has three 2nd round picks next year.

To NYR:

Cooke + 2nd round pick

To VCR:

Tom Poti

Apparently the Canucks brass is huge on Poti. Weird, because nobody else seems to be. If you are under performing so badly that even the rangers want to get rid of you then there is something wrong.

To CHI:

Cooke + 2nd round pick

To VAN:

Arnason

With all of Arnason chemistry with Tuuomo Ruutu I don’t see this happening. Vancouver would love this deal though. Maybe if they sent the other Ruutu in that deal as well for a low pick.

To WAS:

Cooke + 2nd round pick

To VAN:

Brendan Witt

Don’t see this happening. Looking at the Canucks D-man depth this year I am extremely happy, probably because I am REALLY big on Steve McCarthy. I have huge hopes for this kid. Maybe Allen and Cooke. That deal I like (not an Allen fan).

2. The Defensive Dogfight:

The top five for the Canucks are already arguably set and, if training camp is any show for the future, will look something like this:

Jovanovski Allen

Ohlund ???

Salo McCarthy

It’s that sixth spot which is in contention, and there is a huge fight going on for it in training camp right now. Currently Jason Doig, formerly of the Washington Capitals, is occupying that spot and playing like an absolute monster. (No, the Canucks have not signed Doig yet, but he was invited to training camp). However though, Sven Butenschon and Nolan Baumgartner are also fighting hard for it and stand a chance. Kevin Bieksa was originally pencilled in there by all the fans but he, I believe, sprained his ankle and hasn’t made it to camp. Also Kiril Koltsov has said if he doesn’t get it he will be playing in Russia. I’ll drive him to the airport if he wants (moody bloody Russians). If training camp is any showing for the future though Doig will be signed and placed in that spot with Butenschon and Baumgartner as possible call ups.

3. Three NHL goalies, only two spots:

Dan Cloutier will be the number one goalie come October 5th. I would like to keep this post away from Cloutier bashers who don’t look at the numbers or the facts. During the season I personally believe the only better goalie there is out there is Martin Brodeur and possibly Roberto Luongo. Just look at the numbers. It’s the post season where the doubts are. Now later on, depending on how people play that could change around. The battle is for the back up goalie spot between Brent Johnson and Alex Auld. If training camp is showing anything, Johnson may be a hug steal. He has been solid and is so far expected to be the backup. Problem being that he is on a two way contract while Auld is only on a one way. If Auld gets sent to the minors he has to clear wavers and I would bet money on him not lasting a day on waivers. To add to this, Nonis has gone on record with the following quote: “Auld will play in the NHL this season, and there is a good chance he will play with us.” To me this sounds like “Make the team or be shipped off.” Also with how Johnson has been stopping the puck in training camp and showing off his lightning quick glove hand he could push Cloutier especially hard for the starting spot.

Just a few very long winded notes.


33 Responses to Canucks goalie situation + Cooke Situation

  1. dave1979 says:

    Good article Scruffy. I will start with the goaltending situation because I really dont have much to say. I believe that Cloutier is a great regular season goaltender but a question in the playoffs, and that comment has to be the most blatantly obvious one I could make because everyone knows this is true. I am a fan of Auld’s but I believe that the spot is his to lose, so he better show us some magic, as I also believe that Johnson is a very good and proven netminder. I dont know what to make of Nonis’s comment “and there is a good chance he will play with us” because this doesnt reek with confidence to me. As for the Cooker situation, without analyzing the cap space and salary and blah blah blah, I think that Cooke should be given $1 mil and be happy with that. And I am a big big Cooke fan so I may even be a little generous there. Though on the other hand he could even be given more for the being the super pest he is. A couple years ago there was a poll of NHLers in The Hockey News about the toop ten most hated pests to play against, and there was Matt. (top ten, though I cant remember where he placed) I love the way he gets the other team off of their game and generally just his all around play.

  2. Scruffy05 says:

    Cooker was top five and I almost want to say first, but I cannot confirm it, expecially with the likes of Avery and Chelios around and the entire St. Louis Blues team voting against Tkatchuk.

    ps… Whee! My first article!

  3. Scruffy05 says:

    All it took was a couple hours of typing and editting.. and there are STILL @#$%ing typos…

  4. GilaMonster says:

    hey i think cloutier is a good regular season goalie as well. but 2nd in the league? not even top 7 on my list.

  5. Scruffy05 says:

    So then, uh, I take it he’s eigth? I’ve heard top 5, top 10… but top 7?

  6. Deke says:

    Nice piece Scruffy…I’m a HUGE canuck fan as well but I think Allen is just a late bloomer and you will see better things from him this year and GREAT things from him in the future….Patience…..

  7. vansteve says:

    Thanks, good article. I hope we keep Cook for all the mentioned reasons but anything more than 1.25 mil would be a mistake. Feel reasonably confident about the goaltending and the defense but not sure either is cup worthy. So many games to be played and queations to be answered, can’t wait!

  8. vansteve says:

    Sorry, questions to be answered

  9. NemiNA says:

    Well done Scruff! However, I think your underestimating Cooke. He can pull in about 1.5 mil. I don’t think they should trade him for a forward because we all know they have enough of them. I like your Witt idea, but you can pull off that deal and only throw in at max a 4th.

    I still think Johnson can get the job done in the NHL. He was great in St. Louis in his rookie year, then he pulled a Boucher the next year. Then the next year he joined Boucher. Hmm….

    I think the Nucks will go far in the Playoffs if they can get another D man. Witt would be perfect.

  10. Bishop7979 says:

    I know that there are people around pittsburgh who would love to see Cooke in a pens uniform, but with camp opening up I dont think the pens are looking to add anyone until at least the start of the season to see where everyone fits.

    I’d love to see a Leclair Cooke Koltzov 3rd line. He’s a poor mans John Madden in my opinion, a good hard working blue collar center who is a good 2 way player who can actually skate.

    Goalies. I’m of the opinion that a goalie is only as good as his playoffs, Cloutier is just not a preasure goalie period. Look at Lalime, great regualar season stats, horrid playoff track record. JOhnson is big quick and skilled, but he is inconsistant, when hes on his game hes a great goalie, when hes off his game he’s an AHLer.

    Doig, mean gritty competitior. Not the highest skilled player by any means, but the kind of guy you want to have on your team, if for no other reason than he isnt playing against you. Even if he isnt an everyday player hes a good guy to have around for when you need him.

    What about Ronning? I had read somewhere that Cliffy was getting a tryout, any truth to that?

  11. Nemix says:

    I have to say after the heated rivalry between winnipeg and vancouver in the late 80s, early 90s. Im sure few jets fans who love to whack momesso lol , Im not a huge Vancouver canucks fan.. and pain to that having the baby team of our long time rivals just adds salt to the wounds. However as a fan of canadian hockey, i support all 6 and have to say vancouver is a good hockey team

    now that over, *brought to you by deep thoughts , with jack handy * Few comments

    Bryan allen is not a top 4 , pencil him into a number 5 spot and put mccarthy up there in top 4.. More then likely will see the reunion of Jovo and ohlund

    If i remember, wasnt a year and some ago while johnson playing for the blues and people thought he stinks ? Clout will carry the load .. maybe john will pull a clout and turn his game around entirely , who knows

    And someone please explain to me why on earth the sedins are still on the second line ?

    Enjoy hockey fans.. See you in october

  12. Nemix says:

    I have to say after the heated rivalry between winnipeg and vancouver in the late 80s, early 90s. Im sure few jets fans who love to whack momesso lol , Im not a huge Vancouver canucks fan.. and pain to that having the baby team of our long time rivals just adds salt to the wounds. However as a fan of canadian hockey, i support all 6 and have to say vancouver is a good hockey team

    now that over, *brought to you by deep thoughts , with jack handy * Few comments

    Bryan allen is not a top 4 , pencil him into a number 5 spot and put mccarthy up there in top 4.. More then likely will see the reunion of Jovo and ohlund

    If i remember, wasnt a year and some ago while johnson playing for the blues and people thought he stinks ? Clout will carry the load .. maybe john will pull a clout and turn his game around entirely , who knows

    And someone please explain to me why on earth the sedins are still on the second line ?

    Enjoy hockey fans.. See you in october

  13. Slavik says:

    I am really big on Allen and can’t wait to see what he does with more Ice time, He is ready for it, and will not dissapoint. However I am a little worried outside the top four of Ohlund, Jovo, Allen, and Salo. Doig, many people have said has done well, but in seven NHL seasons only has one 60+ game season, not what I want to pencil in for number 5, Mccarthy although he seems to have some offensive talent…is always nocked for lacking physical play..and has yet to play a full NHL season. Butenschon is another softy and again has not played even 50 games in a season yet.

    I am not likign that, although I would like to hear a bit more about bieksa or skinner…as both have recieved some talk as being able to fill the role. I do like Doig and I belive we need his toughness on the blueline, but I would feel more comfortable if he was not our teams number 5/6 rather 6/7.

    As for the cookie monster he aint worth a penny over 1.2 million, he is good but…I would rather have someoen then nothing, and with an increased role for the sedin’s cookes ice time will probabley decrease a bit.

    I still like Auld as a backup, don’t have to much first hand knowledge on Johnson. But the way I see it is, that Auld has always been Average in the AHL. In 01-02 he had a .881% in the AHL while having a .909% at the NHL. in 02-03 he ahd a .908% in the AHL while having a .939% in the NHL, in 03-04 he had a .915% in the AHL while having a .929% in the NHL, and people are just deciding he is not performing in the AHL? If AHL performance ment anything Corey Hirsch would be runner up for the vezina. But I am not worried about the Canucks goaltending now or in the future and as far as I can tell cloutier did fairly well against calgary posting a .922%, not bad for a guy who apparently can’t stop a beachball.

  14. Flanker_Leader says:

    cooke is a 3rd liner, and the second line of sedin-sedin-carter makes 1.25mil-1.25mil-1mil. cooke has already been offered 1, 2 and 3 years at 1.25 mil but has refused them all, which doesn’t make any sense because last contract he made under 600k (which he negotiated himself without an agent). cooke is ‘speculating’ he can get 60+ points in the ‘new’ NHL and should be payed as such (?!?!) – his best season he got 42 points (2 seasons ago – 23 points last year) while last season the sedins got 42/54 points. there’s no reason why he should get 1 cent over 1.25mil and is now just being stupid. he is my fav player on the canucks, but as far as i’m concerned he’s gone or sitting for sure.

    i don’t think cloutier’s stats are his issue – it’s his getting injured all the time that kills him. mabe if crawford played him less (and he hated all our previous backup goaltenders but likes auld so it might be likely this year) the wear and tear won’t get to him so much.

    the sedins are excellent second liners- daniel sedin last season was 54th in scoring ( 30 teams * 3 top line players =90 top 3 forwards) putting him in the middle of all top 3 forwards in the nhl (for dirt cheap), while hendrick is 127th ( out of 91-180 second liners) which puts him fairly high on the second liner list. no question for their price they are a steal!!

  15. Mr_Canuck says:

    You are Correct,

    Ronning got invited and is reporting the the Canucks Camp.

    Used to love that guy,

    But With Henrik/Morris/Linden/Kesser we don’t need a center unless ronning takes a two way or plays wing

  16. Tops04 says:

    Saying Cloutier is possibly the third best regular season goalie is like saying that Auld and Johnson are NHL calibre goalies. Oh wait, you did say that.

    Any goalie can make a save, but to be great a goalie needs to be counted on to make saves in certain situations. Cloutier certainly isn’t that calibre. Not many are. But I’m sure I could name 10 at least who are ahead of Dan the Man.

    Pinning hopes on any one of the three goalies the Canucks have will probably not work out. Thankfully for the Canucks, they can score like crazy, and may be able to carry the team with offense.

  17. Montrealsdogg says:

    i’m sorry, but if the fight for your 6th d-man is between Doig, Baumgartner and Butenschon you guys are looking for trouble.

    Doig is the one who has played the most of the three and if i may say so, isn’t really all that good, he’s more of a journeyman that was inserted in a bad situation in Washington.

    Butenschon and Baumgartner are both awful (IMO) neither will be with the big club all year and will likely be injury call-up.

  18. The_Cramp says:

    «i’m sorry, but if the fight for your 6th d-man is between Doig, Baumgartner and Butenschon you guys are looking for trouble»

    Hey! theres a new cba with a salary cap, you cant have Adam Foote as a sixth D-man, just look at any other team, yes some have good 6th D-man but they obviously dont have Naslund and Bert. Its the new reality gotta make some choices.

    As for why the Sedins still play on the second line, its the same reason, the nucks chose to play Bert, Naslund and Morrison on the first line, so they obviously wont have three stars on the second line. Do people actually understand what is a salary cap? Sometimes I Dont think so….

  19. Hollywood666 says:

    Your first paragraph was exactly what I was going to say. Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought both of those points were hilarious.

  20. shakrmakr says:

    Actually Belfour had better stats then Cloutier also.

  21. rojoke says:

    This season is going to be Cloutier’s make-it-or-break-it season. He’s proven that he can take a team through the regular season. But in 2003, he had the Wings down 3-1 and lost the series. Then he got hurt in 2004. If he can’t get the Canucks a top 4 seed and at least to the third round, it may be the end of his tenure in Vancouver. His biggest ally in the Canucks front office is now in Anaheim. When people, especially the media, were calling for Cloutier’s head after that Detroit series, Burke was the one to came to his defence the loudest, as he should do. His teammates certainly have a very high opinion of him, but that can change very quickly after a bad playoff series.

  22. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    your goaltending sucks!

  23. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Here’s whats annoying about Cloutier. He’s terrible in the playoffs. He is…at best, his play in the playoffs can be decent, where he didn’t lose the game but he didn’t help win it either. He was brutal in the playoffs in 03…but everyone still considers him a great goaltender and calls the Canucks a Cup favorite.

    Then you have someone like Esche, who did have a great playoffs…and no one will give him credit because they want to shoot holes in the Flyers team. I’m not saying that to get into a Flyers/Leafs thing, it’s just the first example that came to mind.

    I don’t get the love for Cloutier at all. You said it yourself, there’s doubts about the post season…I’m not sure if Canuck fans are aware, but the post season is fairly important when it comes to winning the cup. He might have a good yea this year …it’s possible. But the guy has been terrible in the playoffs consistantly, and no one holds it against him…

  24. JeffBurnz09 says:

    It was 2002 where he blew it against Detroit. In 2003 he blew it against Minnesota when he forgot how to stop anything from the blue line.

  25. Bishop7979 says:

    He is able to play left wing pretty well, or at least was when he was in his prime. I’m not sure how much he could contribute now at his age with a year of. But even at 80% of his normal top speed he could keep up with 80% of the players in the league.

    Also wasnt Linden playing left wing there for a while when Cooke was centering the 3rd line?

  26. mojo19 says:

    I agree. Cloutier is not a top 2 goalie. But when he’s on his game he is a top ten for sure. Big time chokes against the wings, and wild in previous playoffs though.

  27. Montrealsdogg says:

    you can have more then some basic “crap” as your sixth d-man, heck i’d rather have someone like Karl Dykhuis or even a young rook from the farm then someone like Doig.

  28. bammer91 says:

    Nice article……..

    I think that if the canucks keep cooke they will be for sure a #1 contender for the cup. but i think cooke is askin for to much………..he has made under a million for his hole career and now he is askin for a huge raise up to 2 million…..Anson Carter for example, is better then cooke and the sedins and he only makes one million, he is on the canucks 2nd line. Thats how much cooke should make i beleive. Im a huge fan of cooke and the way he plays but……. he is askin for too much

  29. rojoke says:

    Damn lockout got my math all screwed up. Thanks for setting it straight.

  30. Slavik says:

    Why, you mean they should be on the first? I think Naslund and bert are better then them. At 13 minutes a night they can grab 50 points, with out a decent winger. They have an excellent plus minus, and make very few mistakes. I don’t mind people saying kovalchuk, heatly, nash, and gaborik are better, because they are…but making ignorant comments like that is uncalled for.

  31. Linden_Rules says:

    Cooke – this guy has had his head inflated big time, he seems to think he is the second coming of Stan Smyl or something. I think Vancouver *might* sign him eventually for around 1 million but will wait until the season starts to see how we do. I’d rather trade him and get rid of the distraction.

    Allen is looking good this year and local media reports have him in top physical condition. I think he has it in him to play top four. Give Doig a two way contract and see what he does with it – it is his position to lose and I don’t think he has many other teams knocking on the door.

    I really think that Cloutier’s problem is his mask. It is so ‘I still play in the OHL’ that he is automatically written off as amateurish. Give him a scultped mask with some flare and everyone would be saying he is fantastic. Really though, I have to agree with some of the other comments saying this is his make-or-break year. If the Canucks lose in the first two rounds of the playoffs, he is gone in my opinion. As for the backup – I liked Auld in the playoff series with Calgary but if Johnson outplays him, trade the guy.

  32. Nemix says:

    Nope i mean why in gods name they are still on the second line.. Truly they are good at puck control with no application.. keeping it away from opposing teams forward with popping in 7 goals each should be the job of the third line.., Not from a team that if the firs tline is off , the second has to make up for it.. My solution Sign cooke , move him to centre and pair him off with carter and richard park or give linden another shot to see if got some juice left … No one since klatt even forced the sedins to push up ice.. and still didnt amount to much.

  33. Nemix says:

    im not saying they have ot be stars.. but look at what they do.. Puck control .. thats it … there is no balanced attack out there.. But certainly there is three people on that team at an average salary that have the desire to play a 2 way game… can support the team if the first line is out or be just as effective.. They are not that . not even close.. 3rd line defensive ..what im saying

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