Canucks add three defencemen; Sharks dump two

Tough to keep up with all of the activity this afternoon:

San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has acquired center Patrick White and defenseman Daniel Rahimi from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich.

Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have signed defenceman Mathieu Schneider. In keeping with club policy, terms were not disclosed.

All right, what does all this mean?

For Vancouver

The Canucks definitely needed at least one more blueliner and had about $5-million cap space to pull it off, but adding three is a bit of a surprise. Combined, Ehrhoff and Lukowich add $4.66-million and Schneider's deal will be in the $1.5-million range.

This puts Vancouver over the cap and gives Gillis eight NHL defencemen to work with, something that leads me to believe there will be another move on the horizon on the Canucks blueline with someone like Kevin Bieksa or Shane O'Brien being shuttled out. Ehrhoff was an awful minus-12 on the Sharks last year and his time was up there; he's overpaid but should be able to do some nice things on the Canucks power play.

Lukowich is a servicable (but expensive) option in the No. 6 or 7 spot, and Schneider showed he had something left in the tank during his stint in Montreal last season. All in all, depending who they move out, Vancouver's defence gets an upgrade even if they still lack a true No. 1 guy.

Ehrhoff is overrated in general and could cause some headaches for Canucks fans, but as a package, these three help.

For San Jose

This is a big time salary dump, as the two prospects coming in aren't anything to crow about. As far as I can tell, the Sharks have about $2.5-million left under the salary cap after having been over for much of the summer, and one of the first orders of business will be to re-sign restricted free agent Torrey Mitchell to a new deal.

I think more moves are coming for the Sharks here, and that may even involve the long rumoured deal for Dany Heatley. Dumping Ehrhoff and Lukowich gives Wilson a lot of flexibility going forward, especially if he can also move out Jonathan Cheechoo, although it'd still be wise for him to add another cheap veteran on the back end at some point.

I'll be very surprised if this is the lineup San Jose goes into the season with. We were told to expect big changes, and I imagine those are still on the way.

UPDATE Here's my piece in Saturday's Globe and Mail on the deal.

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