When Roberto Luongo(notes) announced the Vancouver Canucks' first-round pick at the NHL Draft last weekend, the healing began. The clarion calls for his removal from the franchise's foundation have been ignored by management; and even if he doesn't have that contract extension yet, it's clear that the Canucks are Luongo's team.
Which is to say they aren't the Sedin Twins' team, a fact that's being underlined by the immobility of their contract negotiations with the team.
TSN's Darren Dreger reports that "Henrik and Daniel Sedin(notes) are in for a significant raise, but they're likely going to have to leave Vancouver to collect it." From TSN, in conversation with agent J.P. Barry:
Barry says there has been no progress in contract discussions, including a meeting this week in Montreal with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis that failed to encourage a counter offer to keep the Sedins in Vancouver. On the open market, the brothers will command upwards of $7 million and will draw interest from a number of teams, including Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota and Los Angeles.
Over the past three years, the Sedins have averaged 80 points per season.
Their plight is a fascinating one, because it reveals everything from how teams wish to build for the future to the economic constraints in the NHL to the fact that two of the League's top players are basically an inseparable package deal.
They could be Toronto Maple Leafs. They could play for the Minnesota Wild. But unless conditions change dramatically for them in negotiations, it's hard to imagine the Sedins as Vancouver Canucks any longer.
(UPDATE: ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has an interesting and somewhat hilarious update, as both the Sedins' agent and the Canucks' GM are in Sweden.)
If the twins wish to move on, then they have every right to do so. But if it is true what they say - that they truly want to remain in Vancouver - the let's hope the brothers don't forget that agent J.P. Barry works for them, not the other way around.
There has to be shorter term deals on the table. If not, you can take that as a sign the Sedins want out of Vancouver. Duel 12-year, $62 million deals? A GM would have to be out of his mind to take that on. It would be an anchor on the Canucks franchise long, long after Gillis had moved on.
The dual 12-year, $62 million contracts for Daniel and Henrik Sedin(notes) are difficult to justify, even with their incredible output in the NHL. The bottom line is that a team will be committing that money to two players who have to play on the same line to succeed.
This isn't the Tampa Bay Lightning committing to Vincent Lecavalier(notes) and Martin St. Louis(notes), or the Detroit Red Wings paying long years and big dollars to Henrik Zetterberg(notes) and Pavel Datsyuk(notes). The Sedins have proven time and time again that they work best as linemates, leaving the offensive lineup fiscally top-heavy for any team that signs them. But hey, they're twins; the producers of "Full House" couldn't fire Ashley to keep Mary-Kate either, right?
Can Vancouver's offense handle their leaving? Upon hearing about the stagnant talks, Nucks Misconduct wrote the following:
Vancouver had nothing positive on the Sedins. In fact, it's looking quite strong that they may hit July 1st as independent contractors available to the highest bidder. And, if they do, they will leave two deep holes in the forward ranks and fundamentally change Vancouver's offensive strategy for the first time in about five or six seasons. Gillis is playing hardball and now runs the risk of damaging any goodwill between the two sides. Part of me honestly still feels he'll cave. But if Gillis lets them walk, it'll be a fierce debate as to if he did the right thing or not. And, if they do leave, how Gillis replaces them is an entirely separate debate.
True, and replacing them would seem to be an impossible task given the UFA market. Marian Gaborik(notes) instead of either Henrik and Daniel Sedin is great on paper; a little worse when he's on the IR for the third consecutive month.
The great Tom Benjamin of Canucks Corner likes Gabby as part of the replacement for the Sedins, but one still gets the vibe that he's the lesser of two evils; the second evil being the commitment to an elephantine deal for two players Benjamin doesn't believe warrant the sort of cap hit-avoiding long-term contract others have gotten:
I don't see what the statistical data has to do with anything. The Sedins are about to become free agents - after July 1st, they are worth whatever an NHL team is prepared to pay them. Emphasis on the word them. The ballpark here is not between $5 MM and $7 MM. It is between $10 MM and $14 MM. Gillis thinks - and I agree with him - that the pair should come a lot cheaper than individual players of similar quality. The Canucks are being asked to commit $126 MM and I think that's way too much.
I don't like these long term deals to lessen the cap hit and I'm happy Gillis doesn't like them either. I expect that the next few years will be difficult ones for the league and the teams that maintain flexibility are the ones that will do best in that environment.
Benjamin wonders if anyone will take on the deal the Sedins are floating, and it's a valid point: If Dany Heatley's(notes) five years and an average salary cap hit of $7.5 million is getting NHL executives to admit that "nobody wants him" from the Ottawa Senators, what hope do the Sedins have?
(OK, their hope is actually named Brian Burke, and he failed to do anything of significance at the Draft besides smirking as the Bell Centre crowd booed the Leafs and chanted '67' ...)
As both sides leak to the media, the chatter between the Canucks and the Sedins will continue. It'll be interesting to see if the money or the years are the first detail to change when the talks heat up this week.