Most pieces in place

BARRY MACDONALD -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

The sun has been coming up. The hangover is gone. Life is returning to normal, or as normal as it gets in this part of the world in the absence of the Vancouver Canucks.

The 2006-07 season is in the rear-view mirror, but the path taken has been a positive one.

And Dave Nonis has some decisions to make when it comes to retooling this group in time for next season.

There are some pieces in place. The goaltender is pretty good. Vancouver's top four defencemen are solid, and under contract. But up front there are issues, and that is no great revelation.

For all the abuse the Sedins took in the playoffs, from the media and opposition alike, they aren't going anywhere. Neither is Markus Naslund and his $6-million contract. Ryan Kesler will be back. So will Matt Cooke. Taylor Pyatt should be offered another contract based on what he provided. Jeff Cowan too.

Nonis was non-committal when pressed about whether he would like Linden back "for the right price." He didn't say no, but he didn't say yes.

Keep an eye on July 1. That's the first day of free agency. You want to celebrate on Canada Day? How would a Scott Gomez suit you? Or Daniel Briere? Or Chris Drury?

Easier said than spent, given the dollars any of these guys would command. But if this team is going to take the next step, there is a price to be paid.

Canuck fans have been teased. They should be excited. There is something to build on. A year from now, we might not be looking back. There still could be some games to be played.


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