After reading an article today on THN that noted the Canucks have 12 regulars signed for the '11-'12 season and around 10 million remaining in cap space, one has to wonder which players from their current roster will be left out next season. Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, and Sami Salo will all become UFAs at the end of this season. Meanwhile, the contracts of their entire fourth line (at least, as it was at the beginning of the season) and that of Raffi Torres will also be up next season.
Who do you think the odd man out will be, and what does that mean for Dallas? Could Kevin Bieksa or Christian Ehrhoff be the defenseman Dallas has hoped for? Will Vancouver allow either of them to slip away -- or will they have no option? Their having no option depends on whether Bieksa or Ehrhoff receive raises. Currently, they make $3.75 million and $3.1 million respectively. Given the monstrous contract Jack Johnson signed earlier this season, a rise in pay would seem logical.
Were I a betting man, and I am, I would guess that Bieksa will certainly be resigned, that Salo will be traded this season after coming off of the IR (as he will put Vancouver over the cap), and that Ehrhoff will have to be let go to sufficiently fill their roster. If, then, Dallas has new ownership in place (unlikely) or the lenders decided to continue to invest in this team (somewhat likely?) could Ehrhoff be someone we target? The Brad Richards contract obviously factors into this scenario; however, acquiring a defenseman of Ehrhoff's or Bieksa's caliber and age would certainly work towards improving Dallas's blueline for the near future, and is something I hope management does their due diligence on, at a minimum.