Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ohlund locked up long-term

Mattias Ohlund signed on for four more years in Canuckville, and not only the legth of the deal impresses me, so does the price tag. It works out to be $3.5 million/season, and in my eyes, that's incredibly good, because he is one of the most underrated defensemen in the entire NHL.

Despite the ability, Ohlund may not put up huge offensive numbers, but that's not his primary role on this team. What he does bring to the table is a superb overall game. There's not many around that can match his depth of talent. He's routinely matched up against the opposition's top line, and he regularly logs mucho ice-time.

The fact that the Canucks locked him up for less than fellow blue-liner Ed Jovanovski is a feather in Dave Nonis's cap, and a reflection on the type of loyal and unselfish person that Ohlund is. In my mind, and many who know the Canucks, Ohlund is the true #1 defenseman on the Vancouver team.

That brings me to my second musing of the day. What will become of Ed Jovanovski? He'll be come an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and with the trend in the NHL the way it is, he damn well won't be taking a paycut. In fact, I surmise that he will likely command at least $5 million/season on the open market.

So, do the Canucks intend to shell out that kind of money? And even if they do, does Jovanovski have other plans for his future? Well, obviously no one can know what he's thinking on a personal level, but if the Canucks suffer yet another early playoff exit, why would he want to stick around on a team that can't make it over the playoff hump?

If I'm Dave Nonis, I may throw out some inquiring phone calls out to the GM's of the league - just to test the waters. If Jovanovski puts up solid numbers to start the season, his value will be quite high, and it's better to lose him for something than nothing at all. Sounds exactly like the Wade Redden situation in Ottawa, doesn't it? We may have to get used to this kind of thing happening everywhere.


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