Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa knows he’s far from a sure bet in British Columbia for the 2010-2011 season. ‘Nucks GM Mike Gillis has been receiving inquiries from a number of teams, including the Anaheim Ducks, the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bieksa has a year left on his $3.5 million deal in Vancouver and it doesn’t look like there’s much room for going to the negotiating table with Gillis. It’s clear that the GM feels that Bieksa is a player of value and it looks like he wants to test the market with Bieksa to see what he can get in return.
He won’t be giving away the defenceman for a song, that’s for sure, but it probably wouldn’t take much for the Canucks to move Bieksa at this point and time.
With the Canucks over the cap currently, they’ve got some shuffling to do before camp. The addition of an unexpectedly hefty salary for Jannik Hansen, won through arbitration, doesn’t help matters and furthers the notion that Bieksa could be on the move sooner than later. Mason Raymond, too, has an arbitration hearing set for Monday and could also be awarded a pretty decent sum.
It probably isn’t likely that Bieksa will just turn out to be a salary dump for Gillis, but lightening the load in Vancouver is assuredly on the agenda. It’s more a matter of reason, as the deal has to make sense fiscally but it also has to produce results. Moving a player like Bieksa isn’t an easy decision, as he has a tremendous upside and a lot of potential.
According to the Orange County Register, the Ducks are the team really charging hard for Bieksa. They’ve got a pretty decent core group of defencemen, sure, but adding a player like him to the mix would be ideal. With Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank, Danny Syvret and Brett Festerling currently under contract in Anaheim, Bieksa could fit in well with a top pairing conceivably.
The Sharks are also still in the market for defencemen and Bieksa would be a nice fit for the team looking to replace Rob Blake. The Kings could use some backup for Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson and Bieksa would still fit well with a youth movement, so that’s also a possibility. The Habs seem like longshots to me.
In any event, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Bieksa suiting up for a California team in the near future. If that’s the case, Canucks fans will still see a fair deal of their former defender.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.