Vancouver has become notorious for its lack of activity at the trade deadline. Last year, Mike Gillis opted to do absolutely nothing; a year earlier Matt Pettinger was the sole acquisition. Yesterday was also a relatively quiet affair with only three deals made.
Leading up to the deadline, the Canucks had some issues that needed to be addressed. The primary concern was to add extra depth on defense due to the injuries to Bieksa and Mitchell. An upgrade on offence to help improve the somewhat mediocre third and fourth lines was also expected to be on Gillis’ to-do list.
The most significant and possibly the only new face in the Canucks dressing room will be defenceman Andrew Alberts, who was dealt from Carolina for a third round pick in 2010. Alberts weighs in at 216 lbs and is six foot four. This season he has two goals eight assists and 10 points in 62 games, Alberts likes to throw his weight around by administering big hits — he’s also a useful shot blocker. Alberts is under contract until 2011 and currently earns $1.5 million a year.
The other deals made were sending Mathieu Schneider to Phoenix for defenseman Sean Zimmerman and PC Labrie was shipped to St Louis for forward Yan Stastny. Both Stastny and Zimmerman will likely spend the majority of their time playing for the Moose.
The big questions are, will these new additions be the key pieces that can lead Vancouver to cup victory this season? Perhaps not. Should Mike Gillis have thrown out large nets to reel in some bigger fish? Of course landing players like Hamhuis Wolski or even Iilya Kovalchuk doesn’t guarantee success for their respective teams.
The positives that can be drawn from the movements Gillis made are the fact that Vancouver didn’t lose any significant roster players or talented prospects like Hodgson (it was rumored that the Maple Leafs wanted to trade Kaberle for the Canucks prodigy).
If a team carries out a huge overhaul during deadline day it can affect team chemistry that could cause greater problems when a team is in the middle of a playoff series. When Oli Jokinen was sent to Calgary on deadline day a few years ago, he struggled to find his feet thus creating problems for his linemates and coach.
Most fans long for their teams to be major players on what many people believe to be one of the most important and exciting days of the NHL calendar. If you’re a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes you may be feeling as if Christmas came early considering that Phoenix was one of the most active members of this annual event.
Vancouver wasn’t the only team that was quiet; teams like Chicago and San Jose both chose to stand pat. The Hawks and Sharks currently sit in first and second place in the Western Conference, while Vancouver is third. The Canucks are on the second half of their Olympic road trip with two consecutive wins plus a two-point lead over their closest divisional rivals, Colorado.
Vancouver is surely heading to the playoffs with a team that has so far proved to be successful. Why would you want to upset the dynamics?