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It's time to pick a name for the Canucks' new AHL Abbotsford farm team

June 16, 2021, 2:07 PM ET [446 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Vancouver Canucks are soliciting input from interested parties as they try to settle on a name for their new AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.

Here's the list of names that was floating around on Tuesday:

I like the logic of doing something that nods to the Abbotsford Air Show — probably the thing the community is best known for. But I don't love Aeros because I feel like that belongs to Houston. It was used not only in the Gordie Howe/WHA years, but also in the minor leagues from 1994 to 2013, including in the AHL from 2001 to 2013.

That franchise eventually relocated to Iowa, and became the Iowa Wild. Which addresses my next issue — I don't like the idea of the Abbotsford Canucks, because it can get confusing. That being said, it's not uncommon. Minnesota/Iowa has gone this route, along with a handful of other clubs: the Ottawa/Belleville Senators, the New York/Bridgeport Islanders, the Boston/Providence Bruins, the Dallas/Texas Stars and the Pittsburgh/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (sorry about the crazy punctuation on that one!).

Looking at the team logos on the AHL website, I guess there is something to be said for having the brand continuity across the leagues. But I'd like to see something a bit more distinct.

I think, out of the list above, that my preferences would be Pilots and Falcons.

Falcons is not airshow related, but it has good sport-team connotations in my mind. The Fandom Wiki online says that falcons represent "vision, freedom, and victory." That works for me.

And a quick Google search tells me that there haven't been a lot of Falcons teams in hockey. Bowling Green State University uses it for its sports teams — so Kevin Bieksa would have been a Falcon back in the day. It also looks like Surrey's female ice hockey program is called the Falcons.

Wikipedia also has an interesting story about the Winnipeg Falcons, a men's hockey team made up of players of primarily Icelandic heritage, who went on to represent Canada and win a gold medal at the 1920 Winter Olympics.

Yup. I like Falcons.

Elsewhere, it was unsurprising to hear on Tuesday that agent J.P. Barry believes the Canucks' salary-cap constraints will limit the options on what can be done with the new contracts for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

The Canucks are certainly not alone; the altered landscape caused by the flat salary cap has impacted every team's future projections. In Vancouver's case, though, I think there's a certain amount of urgency in getting these deals done. The team needs to know what number it's working with before it can fill out the rest of its roster.

Ideally, we get an announcement on Hughes and Pettersson within the next month. That will allow the club to determine how much budget is available to sign other free agents — whether that's incumbents like Travis Hamonic or Alex Edler, or someone from outside the organization. In a perfect world, the team would also be in a position to do some wheeling and dealing ahead of the expansion draft. The Canucks don't have any significant protection issues, so there would be a chance that they might be able to trade for a decent player that another team would otherwise have to leave exposed, without necessarily breaking the bank.

Within this financial landscape, I think there is some benefit for young players committing to relatively short-term deals. It could be several years before the NHL's books are brought back into balance. But at some point, the cap will start to rise again. The guesswork for players and agents is trying to find the sweet spot where they're up for negotiation right when the pot of gold starts to grow — and, as is always the case, when the player is at the top of his game.

So, Elliotte Friedman didn't have much on the Canucks in his latest 31 Thoughts column this week — which I guess will be expanding to '32 Thoughts' quite soon?

I did find it interesting, however, that he mentioned that he didn't think Travis Green's negotiation with the Canucks ended up being impacted by the low-ball number that Rod Brind'Amour was being offered in Carolina.

In early May, Friedman reported Brind'Amour and the Hurricanes were working toward a three-year extension worth $1.8 million a year — not even midway up the tier when coaches like Alain Vigneault in Philadelphia and Todd McLellan in Los Angeles are getting $5 million per seaon.

In this week's blog, Friedman says, "Brind'Amour met with peer pressure from other coaches who wanted him to push for a higher number." Brind'Amour's number was made public about two weeks before Travis Green inked his new deal. And their coaching stories are somewhat similar — both first-time NHL bosses, although Green has one more year of experience under his belt.

Brind'Amour would have been a logical comparable, so I imagine Green was one of the 'peers' that was urging him to hold out for more, in order to improve his bargaining leverage.

Take a look at how Friedman phrased this item:

If you’re another coach in the NHL, you have to argue that Brind’Amour’s situation is unique and shouldn’t affect your negotiation. It looks as if others (Travis Green in Vancouver) were successful in doing that.

My read is that, in the end, Green got what he wanted. Or, at the very least, got more than Brind'Amour's $1.8 million.

CapFriendly has a chart with some current and past coaches' salaries. It's incomplete, and doesn't include a new number for Green, but says he was working at $1 million a year on his previous deal.

On the '31 Thoughts' podcast last week, Friedman also mentioned that the Canucks beat out some other interested teams when they added Brad Shaw to their coaching staff. Put that together with Green's apparently successful negotiation and Ian Clark getting the five-year term that he was after, and it looks like the Canucks have loosened the purse strings after their major belt-tightening last year.

The salary cap will still limit what they're able to do with Hughes and Pettersson. But it's nice to see that they're back to trying to do what they can, financially, to make their club better.
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