Last summer, Pavol Demitra was spotted house hunting in Vancouver weeks before he actually became a free agent. Sure enough, Demitra signed with the Canucks.
This week, it was revealed that Marian Gaborik, a close friend of Demitra, has purchased a house in West Vancouver. He becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and likely won't be returning to Minnesota. You can read between the lines here.
Demitra and Gaborik are both Slovak forwards who chafed in Minnesota's restrictive system under former coach Jacques Lemaire. But unlike Demitra, a former client of agent-turned-Canucks GM Mike Gillis, Gaborik is not a slam dunk on the West Coast.
Demitra wanted to play for his former agent and signed a two-year $8-million (all currency U.S.) contract. In Gaborik's case, it's more a matter of him being Vancouver's Plan B, lest the team not re-sign Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The Canucks would be particularly hard-pressed to fit Gaborik and both Sedin twins under the salary cap unless all three players take far less than market value. Gaborik, 27, turned down a 10-year deal worth $78.5-million to stay with the Wild, while the Sedins asked for 12-year pacts worth $63-million from the Canucks and were rejected.
For the moment, Gillis and Co. are trying to arrive at terms with the Sedin twins, but should the brother act depart for greener pastures, the Canucks will be hunting at least one, if not two, top-six forwards on the free-agent market.
It was always assumed that Calgary's Mike Cammalleri, another former Gillis client, was on the Plan B short list. Apparently, Gaborik is also.