The Vancouver Canucks have a bit of a logjam it seems. It makes sense given that one of the team’s logos is a lumberjack named Johnny Canuck, but in this case it involves defensemen and not trees. After the team acquired Keith Ballard in a trade with the Florida Panthers and Dan Hamhuis via free agency, the team found themselves with nine blueliners to make use of.
The most rumored about defenseman on the Canucks roster of late is Kevin Bieksa. While he’s been more than serviceable to the Canucks and could certainly battle for a starting position, his $3.75 million salary makes him a bit of a problem for the cap-strapped team and he knows it.
Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa appeared on TSN’s Off The Record program Tuesday, marking the first time he has spoken publicly since the team acquired Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard and pushed him two notches down the depth chart. Bieksa conceded he understands he’s a candidate to be traded away.
“I’m not an idiot,” Bieksa told host Michael Landsberg. “I can put two and two together. Anything could happen right now.”
More of the harsh realities of playing professional sports right there.
Compared with the other defensemen on the team making a comparable salary and able to be traded (Alexander Edler and Christian Ehrhoff. Sami Salo has a no-trade clause), Bieksa is the oldest of the bunch who can be moved without issue. Edler is 24 years-old and locked up for three more seasons. Ehrhoff is the team’s leading scorer on defense and the power play quarterback. Bieksa, meanwhile, managed to be the only starting defenseman to end up with a negative plus/minus rating, ending the year at -5.
Bieksa is at least having some fun with the rumor mongering going on about where he’s going next if it’s not Vancouver.
Told the TSN panel figured he would be involved in trade talks after the Canucks’ July 1 moves, Bieksa quipped: “Yeah, well, you guys have been drawing blanks for three years now with the rumours so we’ll see if you’re right this time.”
You win this round, Kevin. That said, his future likely lies elsewhere next season.