All Quiet on the Western Front


So let’s recap what Mike Gillis has done this summer.

Long-term contract extension to Roberto Luongo (as rumoured)? No.
Signed/Dealt for anticipated puck-moving defenceman? No.
Signed/Dealt for another top 6 forward? No.

So what is Mike’s plan?

Who knows? So far, he has made one significant move with the signing of Mikael Samuelsson. In retrospect, it’s a fantastic signing for dollar value. However, it’s only one deal. The other moves have been made to replenish the stocks in Manitoba. So other than signing a bunch of borderline NHLers, his only notable move has been the Samuelsson deal. So what’s going on?

Right now, I think that two things are happening with Mike Gillis:

1. He is holding cards really close to his chest and is waiting for just the right moment to pounce on his desired opportunities.

Gillis knows full well who he is targetting, given how he went after Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson seemed to sign with the Canucks out of nowhere, in that there were no real rumours or rumblings of him signing in Vancouver. Gillis definitely has an air of shrewdness and competency when it comes to this job so far.

2. He is working the phones hard, but he’s being blackballed by other GMs because of his former role as an agent.

Gillis has not been a member of this “fraternity” for long enough yet to really belong. I do believe that his is being shut out of deals where he could play, because he doesn’t have the history with many of the GMs.

The problem here is that I think that Gillis is waiting for the right opportunities (as per point #1), but when he does try to act upon them, he’s being pushed well down the card of dance partners.

There are still a number of decent free agents out there that would be good signings for Gillis to make. However, it appears more and more that these free agents are Plan B.

I believe that the first domino that HAS to fall is the signing of Luongo to a long-term extension. I believe that this deal is what is keeping Gillis from making more moves. Once Gillis knows who is goaltender for the future will be, he will begin planning for the rest of this year and beyond.

However, at what point does this ONE deal handcuff him from making other sound decisions? Well I think we’re reaching a breaking point. As we move into August, the window to make a useful trade or to pick up a solid free agent is beginning to close rapidly.

If Gillis is waiting for the Luongo domino to fall, I think he has to give himself a deadline of August 1. If Luongo is signed long-term by August 1, then Gillis MUST turn his attention solely to signing or trading for a puck-moving defenceman.

Time’s a-tickin’, Mike. Whatcha gonna do?

Go Canucks Go!

– Cam Davie