Rumblings: Canucks have big decisions to make next month

Radim Vrbata is tied for second on the Canucks with nine goals. Glenn James/NHLI/Getty Images

Sometime next month, the Vancouver Canucks are expected to sit back and take stock of their team and begin to make decisions on some players.

The team has been in free fall this month, yet remains in reach of a playoff spot in the mediocre Pacific Division.

But it’s been a tough go of late as the Canucks attempt to retool on the fly.

What remains to be seen is what the Canucks will do with pending unrestricted free agents Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis, the latter of whom is out long term.

Vrbata would be a fetching rental player at the trade deadline for teams looking to add some scoring if the Canucks don't re-sign him. On the other hand, if they’re still within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Pacific, can they afford to move him?

The rebuild must continue in Vancouver. The cupboards were largely bare when general manager Jim Benning came on board in May 2014, after the Canucks had spent nearly a decade as an elite contender.

What’s also interesting, though, is that the Canucks could have as much as $15 million come off the books this summer depending on some player decisions.

Given the desire of ownership to be as competitive as possible while still rebuilding the foundation, that might make the Canucks an interesting team to watch.