Can Mike Gillis learn something from Scott Howson?

Adding by subtracting

There are many conflicting opinions on the Rich Nash trade to the NY Rangers. While most commenters, professional or otherwise, were focusing on the relative values of the players exchanged in the deal, there were a prescient few that keyed in on the most important aspect. Among those, Ken Campbell put it best:

Because what so many people have failed to realize is that the Blue Jackets got one more enormous piece in this deal – they got out from under a contract that had six years remaining with $47.4 million owed in real cash and a $7.8 million per year cap hit. If there’s anyone who thought the Blue Jackets were getting anything near their money’s worth on this deal, please let us know.

And the question Canucks fans should be asking themselves is "Can Mike Gillis learn anything from this?"

The answer is yes. But not for the reasons you might think.

Despite all the talk about what they should have or could have received in return, the Blue Jackets actually just got quite a bit better. No matter what you think of the relative value of Nash compared to Anisimov, Dubinsky and Erixon, Howson just added three regular NHL roster players to a team that was sorely lacking in depth. But don’t get me wrong, these aren’t just depth players that Howson added. There’s some potential upside there, and as Daniel Wagner explains, it wasn’t that long ago that they were considered pretty good prospects for the Rangers.

Maybe it’s just that everything is shinier in the Big Apple.

Speaking of which, there has also been much talk about whether or not Rick Nash can handle the pressure of playing in New York City. After all, Nash has spent his entire career in one of the NHL’s backwaters, and now he’s going to have to perform on one of the biggest stages in the league. But there are a few reasons I’m not too concerned about how he’ll handle the pressure:

Playing with pressureThe pressure of playing in NY

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The point is, if Gillis can hold out and wait for the right deal, there’s no reason he can get some valuable pieces in return. It doesn’t just have to be about dumping a contract. Clearly there are teams out there willing to take on horrendous contracts to fill a roster need.   

But Gillis can’t catch a break lately. If he’s not being criticized for being unable to move Luongo’s big contract, he’s being criticized for not offering up an even bigger contract to Shea Weber. While I agree with Can Charron that an elite defenseman is one of the positions a team should be willing to overpay for, I’m not convinced the Canucks had any chance of acquiring Weber through the offer sheet route.

As Thomas Drance laid out, the only plausible way that Weber would wind up a Vancouver Canuck is if he made it to unrestricted free agency next year. A trade would have gutted the team and a long term offer sheet would surely have been matched by Nashville. Although there are rumblings that the Predators may not match the Philadelphia offer because of the monetary structure of the deal, I would suggest that they would be even more determined to find a way too match if he had signed an offer from a team in the Wester Conference. It’s one thing to let him walk and only have to face him on home ice once every three years or so, but it’s another thing entirely to have to go up against him on a regular basis with one of the top contenders and chief rivals in your conference.

No, the only way Weber winds up in Vancouver is if he signed a one year contract to get him to UFA status next year. But given the uncertainty of the CBA negotiations and the potential restrictions on contract values and term, Weber was intent on signing a long term deal while he still had the chance. Given the offer that Paul Holmgren put in front of him, there were plenty of reasons for Weber to sign it; although one was more important than the others: 

An ofer he couldn't refuse 

But don’t give up hope, Canucks’ faithful. There’s still the chance that Nashville doesn’t match, that Bryzgalov is Bryzgalov and that by Christmas, Holmgren is ready to send us Weber for Luongo, who’s is well rested and fresh after live tweeting from the bench on game nights.

Oh, who am I kidding. As if there are going to be any games before Christmas.

But no matter what you think of Gillis and what he has or hasn’t done, should or shouldn’t do, at least he’s doing a bit better these days than David Poile. That being said, at least Poile has all the makings of a new career if he wants it:

David Poile's new career