The crux of Cole’s case is that guys like Nikolai Khabibulin and Marc-Andre Fleury are not paid like franchise players. That’s simply not true. Khabibulin is in the final year of a four-year, $27 million deal he got after the lockout. The Blackhawks put him in waivers in September, but decided to keep him around. Fleury, meanwhile, will be making over $5 million each of the next four seasons.
While Cole is correct that Jonas Hiller isn’t paid like a franchise guy in Anaheim, Jean-Sebastien Giguere certainly is, and he’s still on the team. The Ducks are tying a significant amount of cap space up for a goalie they aren’t even using, which to me is not a sound blueprint to follow when building a team.
The Canucks have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. They have $31 million or so tied up in 11 players for next season, but key free agents like Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Mats Sundin, and Mattias Ohlund.
With three big-time forwards possibly gone, Vancouver will need to use some cap space to take care of that problem, as well as hoping that young guns like Mason Raymond continue to develop into top-line players.
In the meantime, it’s probably not a good idea to get rid of a potential MVP candidate who may be the best hope your franchise has to return to the playoffs next spring.