Strombabble: Did Gillis’ “Greed” Cause him to whiff on Bozak and Kadri?

Did Mike Gillis’ "Greed" cost the Canucks Nazem Kadri?
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

This morning Damien Cox caused a bit of a stir on Twitter when he began criticizing Canucks management for turning down a trade with the Maple Leafs at the NHL draft this past June:

We buying this? Read on past the jump.

Before we get too much into it, let’s cover the full gamut of Damien Cox’s boastful "Canucks got greedy and now they’re a five-hundred team!" criticsm of Mike Gillis:

Okay, and more:

Now Cox is just getting gleeful…

And some of us still do.

The Leafs are enjoying the fifth best goaltending in the NHL this season at five-on-five, with Scrivens and Reimer combining to stop .930% of all even-strength shots. The Canucks’ vaunted tandem is just a tick above average meanwhile stopping .919% of all even-strength shots. Guess what, the Canucks’ two goalies have a higher true talent level and over the balance of the season that gap will close (though I tend to think that Reimer is a pretty damn good goaltender). There’s not enough time in a forty-eight game season for the usual sort of regression we’d expect to really take hold, but I’d be very surprised if the Leafs ended up with a significantly better even-strength save percentage than the Canucks over forty-eight games…

Forget the advanced stats, let’s get back to the Luongo for Kadri and Bozak rumours. I covered the draft in Pittsburgh for the Vancouver Sun this past June and as I recall the rumour going around in the pressbox was that the Leafs were holding steady with a weak Luongo offer based around Luke Schenn (who they eventually moved right after day two of the draft ended). In Mike Gillis’ post-draft presser he took responsibility for the lack of a Luongo trade saying "I’m the problem" referring to his admittedly exorbitant high-asking price.

Were Kadri and Bozak ever involved in trade talks? Were those two players tabled by Burke (or Nonis, who may have alrady been driving the bus at that point as far we know)? Seems pretty likely, though I’ve also seen it reported as "Bozak and Kadri was Gillis’ standing offer – not Toronto’s". That would seem to somewhat repudiate the whole "Gillis passed on Kadri and Bozak because he’s greedy" stance, no? And anyway as Jason Botchford points out that’s all pretty irrelevant if Roberto Luongo wasn’t willing to "press send" on a trade to Toronto at that point.

For what it’s worth, for the most part Jason Botchford’s and Damien Cox’s reporting on Roberto Luongo trade discussions between the Canucks and the Leafs have seemed to corroborate each other during this nine month speculation frenzy. 

But for months Jason Botchford has consistently reported that at that point in the process (I mean, at the draft and until about mid-summer) Roberto Luongo was doing what he could to drive a trade to Florida, hoping that Dale Tallon would make a legitimate play for his services. If think we can infer from Mike Gillis’ "fire sale" comments in early September that a realistic offer for Luongo never surfaced from the Panthers, though at one point it was reported that the Canucks had demanded the inclusion of Nick Bjugstad, a 6,5 NCAA centre whose offensive production has stagnated in his Junior season.

The major takeaway is that, for this to be a fair criticism of Mike Gilis’ "greed" then Luongo’s willingness to accept a trade to Toronto would have had to coincide with a timeframe during which Burke/Nonis’ had tabled Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak as a potential return. If the Canucks had their ducks in a row, which I’m somewhat skeptical of based on Botchford’s reporting but I suppose it’s possible, then Gillis messed up (you can build a bright future around Nazem Kadri and Zack Kassian, in my view and Bozak’s an upgrade at center over Mason Raymond). If not, then such criticism is unfounded.

Who really knows though? All I’ll really say is about this is that Cox’s series of tweets on this subject conflict with some of the reporting in the Vancouver market. In addition, the tweets appear to be more of a "provocation" than a "report" we might take more seriously.

Anyway, here’s our pal Petbugs with a lighter take on the kerfuffle:

Nailed it.