Sweeping The Floor

Mike Gillis and the Vancouver Canucks spent the summer getting their house in order. Getting more grit and sandpaper, bulking up their 3rd line, and improving and deepening their defense. However in the days leading up to the roster/salary-cap freeze and beyond, the Canucks have made a small flurry of trades.

And I can’t help but think… after fixing their house all summer, the Canucks were sweeping the floor and getting it ready for what many Canucks fans hope is a real big party.

Per TSN, for three consecutive days, the Canucks made trades with players that they had previously waived.

On Monday, the Canucks acquired D Ryan Parent and FJonas Andersson from Nashville in exchange for D Shane OBrien and RW Dan Gendur.

On Tuesday, the Canucks sent LW Darcy Hordichuk to Florida for LW Andrew Peters, in a switch of heavyweights.

Finally today, the Canucks made another trade with Florida, this time bringing in Nathan Paetsch, sending back Sean Zimmerman.

In all cases, the Canucks are cleaning up. They are ridding themselves of bad contracts, bad behaviour, or simply bad talent. Mike Gillis’ statements on both O’Brien and Hordichuk is that he didn’t want to simply bury their contracts in the minors, instead trying to find them homes in the NHL where they will have a chance to play.

And while that’s nice and all, it’s total nonsense. Shane O’Brien wasn’t close to making the roster again after having a miserable preseason and had fallen to 8th in the depth chart, behind Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome. Sure, O’Brien’s teammates liked him, but he was a distraction, he was undisciplined both on and off the ice and he was constantly butting heads with Canucks coaching staff and management. Dan Gendur was a throw-in in that deal in order to rid themselves of a contract, but Gendur was another bust, toiling away between Manitoba and Victoria.

Darcy Hordichuk is a very amiable guy and does loads for the community, putting in lots of appearances and doing everything right… except play hockey. He was a liability every time he was on the ice for the Canucks and provided no real upside, since his fighting numbers were not exactly lighting the league on fire. So the Canucks changed him in for a guy who is a renowned heavyweight and probably won’t play much anyway. His only upside is that he appears to be far less of a liability when he is on the ice than Hordichuk.  Certainly, Andrew Peters is not the solution to the Canucks problems, but again, Gillis was sweeping up the bits and pieces and sweeping away Hordichuk was one more piece placed in the puzzle.

As for Zimmerman he’s been a disappointment since he was acquired in the deal that sent Mathieu Schneider to Phoenix. He never got on, spent his entire career in the AHL (and even the ECHL and CHL) and is destined to be a career minor leaguer. In acquiring Nathan Paetsch, the Canucks have themselves a bit of a project, but at least they get a defenseman who has 167 GP in the NHL and had a decent season in 2006-07. As an 8th defenseman, he is a minor upgrade from Shane O’Brien, minus the bad attitude and bad behaviour.

You have to like the fact that Gillis is tinkering with the bottom end of the roster. Let’s face it, the top end of the Canucks roster is set and it’s great. So why mess with it? But when it comes down to injuries and calling guys up, Gillis is making sure that those call-ups are ready to play.