Hidden under the drama is the (probably real) truth that the Sedin Twins would like – love – to finish their NHL careers in Vancouver. The sub-text with European players, whether it’s deserved or not, though, is whether ‘NHL career’ and ‘career’ mean the same thing as they do to us lowly Canadians.
You know us, right? The Canadians? We’re the ones who boo you and churn you out when you haven’t pumped enough ‘Bobby Clarke’ into your performance.
Forget the lost Stanley Cup or the last two playoff exits. Don’t let results that look poor on a text-only Wikipedia page distract you from the fact that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been the Canucks’ two best players for eight seasons running, and their most physically dependable, too.
They need to re-sign the Twins, the same way any team needs to re-sign the icing holding together the entire gingerbread house.
The Twins’ agent – J.P. Barry – is set to begin discussion with Canucks management on Thursday, meaning there’s a chance this thing will finish itself before their (perhaps) final season on Canada’s West Coast starts.
But, at the very worst, the process has begun.
This is good news.
This means there won’t be the same tension or uncertainty of the nuclear chicken that occurred the last time this stuff happened. That summer – 2009 – the Twins signed identical deals, totalling $6.1 million a year each, but those signatures followed weeks of rumours and the bullying of their old general manager, Brian Burke.
(Mike Gillis was just a season into his current job and we still actually liked him then.)
But, $6.1 million. That’s not a bad price tag for a future Hart Trophy winner and two Art Ross Trophies, not to mention your captain, his assistant captain, and the leaders of a team that clinched two consecutive Presidents Trophies, regardless of how that all turned out.
Maybe the Canucks haven’t won that Cup yet, but those deals with the Sedins put them in position to, and that’s really all any exec can do when farming his talent.
And, they want to re-sign…
“I’m sure we’re going to talk before training camp and see where we are,” Henrik told Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy in August. “For us there’s no rush, I mean, if things can get done we’re more than happy but if not we’re happy to wait.
“There’s no secret: we like where we are… I think everyone knows that.”
Yay. Done deal?
Ahh, it’s not this easy. It can’t be this easy. Otherwise, it would be easy, and we know it’s not.
Together, the Twins pocket $12.2 million a season, which is ripped away from Mike Gillis’s hands – hands that were forced to make fourth line centre Brad Richardson the team’s biggest free agent ‘coup’ of this past offseason. (No offence, Brad.)
The question isn’t whether the Twins are worth it. The question is, ‘Can two 33-year-old brothers who have been here since Todd Bertuzzi was just an occasionally rough player and not a near-fatally one lead the Vancouver Canucks to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history?’
It’s clear, not everything’s gone according to plan. And, if Gillis can get his hands on two other players who bring more to the table – who are younger, and sign them for longer – then it may be worth dividing up that $12 mill and making it rain over someone else’s head.
Now, I’ve never blamed the Sedin Twins for any postseason loss – in fact, I despise those who do.
Blaming the Twins paints over the fact that this team lost a Stanley Cup Final without its top defenceman (Dan Hamhuis) or the left leg of its only Selke finalist (Ryan Kesler), or that Daniel and Henrik single-handedly carried their impotent teammates through nine pathetically strategized games against Los Angeles and San Jose in April 2012 and April 2013.
I could blame Vigneault, Luongo, Schneider, Edler, Bieksa, and even the invisible Chris Higgins more than I could blame either of our Swedish Wundertwins.
They need help. They need support. They haven’t pulled it off yet, but is expelling them really the answer?
Losing the Twins would not only obliterate the first-line, but it would neuter the contracts of Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison, and Roberto Luongo, all of whom benefit knowing they have the two most-sure puck possession players in the game on their top line.
They can take a shift off – and they all often do – knowing they’ll be bailed out by the only Canucks who never do.
Kesler can dive all he wants knowing any penalties he draws gets the Super Friends on the ice again. Edler, Hamhuis, Bieksa, and Garrison can flick pucks out of their own end in any vicinity even remotely considered close to either Twin and they’ll not only grab it and corral it, but they’ll take it 100 feet the other way.
Alex Burrows is still one of the Canucks more underrated players, because he’s more than just their running mate and he always has been, but I’d find it hard to believe he’d get that fat, new $4.5 million contract on the basis of his 20-plus goals a year alone.
(And, if he did, then I guess that tells you all you need to know about the NHL right now.)
Losing the Twins would mean this team enters the Middle Ages for an unforeseen amount of time. It would mean losing your starting goalie (if you think Luongo’s pissed now, imagine how he’d feel without his only consistent source of run support), you second-line centre (because Ryan Kesler would jump to No. 1 and, come on, really?) and the fabric you’ve built your franchise on.
Of course, they’ll probably just re-sign. So, why am I even still talking?