This is the week when Canucks' GM Dave Nonis really earns his money as he tries to decide just who to pursue and what to part with as Feb. 27 deadline looms.
Three months ago, it didn't seem like the Canucks' GM would be faced with many difficult decisions come late February. The team established itself as a blue-collar group, long on try, short on finish.
But heading into tonight's game with Los Angeles, Vancouver has played 24 games since Dec. 25, and in only three of them have they failed to gain a point. Out of a possible 48 points, they have 39, a surge vaulting them to the top of the Northwest Division.
They are now more contender than pretender. Ray Ferraro said earlier this week they have as good a shot as any team to represent the west in the Stanley Cup final. Pierre McGuire agreed. So here sits Nonis, the architect of this rebuilt model, trying to decide how to best position this group for an extended post season run.
What he would like to do is acquire an experienced defenceman, and some help at centre ice. That's the easy part, because they are available. But at what price?
Most of the available, veteran help is affordable in terms of what the Canucks would have to pay them for the balance of the season. But what exactly is Nonis prepared to barter with? Does he think Vancouver is a veteran or two away from really making a run at Lord Stanley's mug? Is it worth trading for a couple of players who could be mere "rentals"... free to sign with any other team when the book is closed on this season?
And what is he willing to mortgage?
This is why Nonis gets the big bucks. He has to make that distinction. He has to pull the trigger. It's a week that can make or break a GM.
Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on the Team 1040 from 6-9 a.m. E-mail Barry at: email@example.com