August 25, 2010
Even with pennies pinched and salaries squeezed this offseason, the questions remains: How much did Raffi Torres's(notes) absolute bust with the Buffalo Sabres after the trade deadline cost him this summer?
Torres, who turns 29 in October, signed a 1-year, $1 million with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, according to Sportsnet. His base salary for the 2009-10 season, split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Sabres, was $2.75 million.
The pay-cut comes after Torres went from 19 goals in 60 games with C-Bus to zero goals (but 5 assists) in 14 regular-season games with Buffalo; followed by a humbling playoff series against the Boston Bruins that saw him tally 2 assists in four games before becoming a healthy scratch.
How bad was the Torres stint in Buffalo? GM Darcy Regier didn't sugarcoat it when discussing having given up a second-round pick for Torres, to Buffalo Sports Daily:
"It didn't benefit him and it didn't benefit us and it didn't work," Regier said. "When we looked at him we looked at him from the standpoint of a bigger body and someone who had played well for Columbus in the playoffs the previous year. Quite honestly for me personally I wasn't looking at his 19 goals as much as I as looking at him, hoping that he could give us some board work in corners. "
If the Buffalo performance was an anomaly, the Canucks have themselves a speedy, gritty depth player who can contribute 20-plus goals when healthy. Operative phrase: "when healthy," if his last three seasons are any indication.
The addition of Torres adds to the amount of money over the salary cap the Canucks are carrying this summer, but that problem's solution is just one Bieksa trade or Sami Salo injury exception away.
Low risk, high reward; and, also, some insurance on left wing with Alex Burrows potentially missing the first month of the season. In the sense that Torres is a complete pest, too. Don't look directly into his eyes ...