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Mellanby brings grit to Canucks

Alain Vigneault may not have secured his place in the Canucks’ organization for next season, but Scott Mellanby has.


Alain Vigneault may not have secured his place in the Canucks’ organization for next season, but Scott Mellanby has.

The former hard-nosed NHLer has been hired as a consultant to general manager Mike Gillis and is in Las Vegas with the rest of the Canucks’ brass to discuss the future of the team.

Mellanby has never worked in a front office capacity, but he knows a little something about chemistry on the ice. During his 20 NHL seasons, Mellanby played in two Stanley Cup Finals and was viewed as a leader who would do the dirty work necessary to help his team win.

The Canucks need more players who play the in-your-face style that Mellanby embraced during his career, and he may be able to provide Gillis with better knowledge of which free agents are worth taking a run at.

As for Vigneault, if his fate has been decided, no one is talking about it. The current Canucks’ coach is also in Sin City with the club, which leads me to believe that he’ll be behind the bench when the season begins in Vancouver.

>> While everyone is buzzing about the mega-dollar extension that Evgeni Malkin appears set to sign in the off-season, one has to wonder what type of financial strain Marc-Andre Fleury will be putting on the books in Pittsburgh. The Pens have the luxury of Malkin’s rookie deal for one more season, but Fleury is a restricted free agent as of this summer.

The 21-year-old tender made $1.6 million US this season, but his playoff statistics suggest that a hefty raise is in the works for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft. Fleury has won 11 of 12 games, posted a goals against average of 1.74 and stopped nearly 94 per cent of the shots he’s faced thus far in the postseason.

Though Fleury does not have a lengthy regular season resume to enter as evidence, his agent will cite the $3.7 million being made by Martin Gerber, Martin Biron’s $3.5 million deal and the $3.25 million contract of Ray Emery as contextual evidence for his client’s case.

Pittsburgh may even offer a lengthy pact in order to keep its salary structure somewhat fixed for the foreseeable future, but I don’t see Fleury getting a 15-year deal like the one Rick Dipietro got in New York from the Islanders.

How to make a Scott Rintoul: Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously. Serve chilled Monday-Friday on the TEAM 1040 from 6-9 a.m. or online at thetoulbox.blogspot.com.

 
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