Canucks Trade a 2nd Round Pick and Kevin Connauton to Dallas, Acquire Derek Roy

Derek Roy battles new teammate Jason Garrison for the puck.

The Canucks have made a splash a day before the trade deadline, acquiring Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2nd round pick and blueline prospect Kevin Connauton.

On first blush this trade is a very good one for Mike Gillis and the Canucks. Derek Roy is having himself a hell of a season in Dallas this year playing second line minutes at even-strength, and second unit minutes on both the penalty-kill and the power-play. Despite facing the second toughest minutes among all Stars centreman and sporting a cool 42% offensive zone start rate, Roy has driven play and offense for Dallas all season. 

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Post now updated with analysis and words and stuff. Read past the jump.

Derek Roy is a bit undersized (5,9) but he plays a gritty game and certainly holds his own. He draws penalties at an absurd rate – a testament to his speed – and he’s consistently ended up in the black by the possession numbers. Roy’s not just a play driving forward with no offensive upside he’s a very legitimate top-six centreman. In the BehindtheNet era Roy has produced three seventy-point seasons and most promising of all: none of them required outrageously inflated percentages. 

The Canucks need at centre had become so great over the past month, that I’d have been happy with Mike Gillis adding any type of NHL calibre body. Instead he’s added a really good player in Derek Roy, and he didn’t have to pay through the nose to do so.

The only downside to this move is that Derek Roy is not a particularly strong faceoff man. I tend to think faceoffs are overvalued anyway, but without doubt this is a phase of the game where the Canucks have struggled mightily in the absence of Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra this season. Roy is a tick below 50% in the circle over the past four seasons, so while he’s not a solution necessarily, he’ll at least offer the team a massive improvement over what they’ve recieved from Andrew Ebbett (37%) and Jordan Schroeder (43%) of late.

In terms of price, I think Mike Gillis made out pretty damn well in a sellers market. With depth defenseman netting two second round picks, and over the hill third-line forwards netting B+ prospects on this year’s trade market – Mike Gillis paid a 23 year old prospect with limited two-way value and a second round pick for Derek Roy. Anyway you slice it, that’s some solid work by Vancouver’s General Manager.

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On Kevin Connauton, we had him ranked as Vancouver’s 6th best prospect this past summer. At the time he was coming off of his best season of professional hockey and had appeared to take a big step forward under the tutelage of defensive-minded headcoach Craig MacTavish. Connauton followed up on his strong sophmore campaign by underwhelming this season in Chicago.

Connauton is a really strong skater with a dangerous slapshot, and he has NHL size too. He’s a relatively capable power-play quarterback and that alone makes him a legitimate prospect, albeit not a guy who really projects as a top-four defenseman at the NHL level. 

A converted forward, Connauton’s issue has always been his defensive play which regressed again this season. While Connauton’s production has picked up of late, he also struggled offensively for a while too this season. According to Wolves Play-by-Play guy Jason Shaver, Connauton went through a bit of a crisis of identity in the early going this season – where he was  focussing so much on his defensive play that he wasn’t playing to his strengths as a hockey player. 

Connauton might figure it out in Dallas, or he might not. At this point he’s not a huge loss for the Canucks prospect pool, though I tend to think he does have some offensive value. That the Canucks chose to sign Cam Barker rather than give Kevin Connauton a cup of coffee back in January, suggests that Connauton didn’t really factor into Vancouver’s long-term plans anyway.

As for the second round pick, it’s essentially a lottery ticket and well worth the cost of doing business for a rental of Roy’s calibre. We’ll have to see how Derek Roy fits in, but on paper he’s pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered for this iteration of the Canucks.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Not a fan of this, how will this fill a gritty third line Center role, is he playing second line with Kesler on the wing? If so who is filling the third line Center gap. Prospect pool gets smaller and smaller and our future gets dimmer and dimmer

    • elvis15

      People forget that a good 3rd line center doesn’t have to be 6’4″, 230 lbs. Dave Bolland is a classic example of an undersized 3rd line center who’s still very effective – and he weighs the same as Roy. Granted, Bolland’s 3″ taller, and they aren’t quite the same player, but Roy is pretty effective as a two-way center and has played the second toughest minutes for Dallas centers this year.

  • BrudnySeaby

    It is a start. I still think that we would do well to pick up Clowe.
    Should this season end in tatters (like last playoffs) I think that the team should look to rebuild. Only players that I would 100% keep would be: Sedin(s), Burrows, Schneider, Higgy, Bieska, Taniv, Hamhus, Edler. The rest I would trade for picks and hope to rebuild into something better.

  • Not sure about this one! I really don’t like the concept of rentals (and thought Gillis didn’t either) if the team isn’t that close to winning it all.
    But considering that he didn’t have to give up all that much, it’s not too bad!

  • I’m not sure why everyone is assuming Roy is a rental. Assuming he can be re-signed for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5m/year (the Canucks’ cap climate makes this a prerequisite), and assuming that Luongo and Ballard are gone, two more things are quite possible:

    -Mason Raymond has priced himself out of a re-signing, and

    -David Booth, while awesome, is less important to the team than a guy like Roy could be.

    If you assume Luongo, Ballard, and Raymond all leaving makes enough room to re-sign everybody we need to (Tanev, Lapierre, Schroeder), then dumping Booth to fit Roy is 100% doable, especially for Gilman. The question just becomes, which do you want to keep?

      • BrudnySeaby

        Hey, I don’t disagree it’s less-than-likely, but Gilman has managed to convince people to sign for less than the highest bid in order to play with a decent team before!

        • Mantastic

          that was Gilman signing replacement level players (Higgins and Lappy) that wasn’t going to get a lot of money in the market. Roy is a completely different case and doesn’t have ay ties to the franchise or city.

    • KleptoKlown

      Assuming Raymond signs elsewhere, and Ballard, Booth and Lou are moved/bought out the Canucks have 46.62 million committed to 11 players(according to capgeek) Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Kassian, Hansen, Bieska, Hamhius, Edler, Garrison and Schneider. That 46.62 million will most likely be a higher number if you consider the Canucks will take on some salary with Luo’s trade.

      Tanev needs to be resigned as RFA’s(the rest I excluded. The Canucks of course have other RFA’s, but those are contracts likely to be less than a 1 million dollar cap hit. I am guessing Tanev will be around 1.5-1.75 million.

      So by my count the Canucks will have to sign 6 forwards, a d-man, and a backup goalie. All with just under 16 million dollars.

      So there is room for Roy, but I think his 5+ million is better spent elsewhere.

  • Mantastic

    Fair price for Vancouver – Connauton has a great point shot and is a PP asset but has never shown the acuity for playing in his own end necessary to earn an NHL spot. He still has NHL upside, for sure, so he’s not a lottery ticket for the Stars, but it’s not a piece the Canucks couldn’t afford to part with.

    As far as Roy goes, he was near the bottom of my list of 5 possible players who could help Vancouver at centre (the top being Vermette and Ott), largely because I thought the cost would be higher to get him (it reportedly will take more to acquire Jagr). Roy is essentially an improved version of Jordan Schroeder – if the Canucks didn’t trust Schroeder as a rookie to play significant minutes in the playoffs, and I can see that, this is an easy upgrade.

    From here, Roy fills in for Kesler on line 2 until Kesler returns. Then he drops down to line 3 between Hansen and Raymond, and line 3 acts as a “line 2B”, another scoring line. line 4 is your checking line. Not sure how that pans out in the playoffs (probably not well against, say, Los Angeles but perhaps better against, say, Minnesota, Detroit or SJS). But as Kesler’s line is often used in a shut-down role anyway, it just makes sense to me.

    Either way, if the Canucks don’t get healthy again pretty soon, they’re out in round 1 regardless, and they just wasted a pick and a prospect. And either way, if they could get Roy for this price, they could probably have gotten Vermette, who for me would’ve been a better fit for the team’s needs.

  • BrudnySeaby

    @ Daniel W. Perhaps Gillis knows more than we do and they already talked contract business with Roy!?

    Nevertheless, I am happy they picked up a playmaking centre. Now we have options. Kesler can play on Roy’s wing. Or Kesler can play as the other 2nd line centre in a shutdown role (with for instance Hansen and Higgins) while Roy plays with Raymond +1 (Kassian?, Booth). Or perhaps even Clowe? 😉

    The old thinking of lines 1, 2, 3, 4 is well, just that, old. It’s all more fluid. Let’s just hope Kesler can return to his 2011 play-off form.

  • Mantastic

    The other issue is that he can ASK for $6m/ year, but there are going to be very few teams who can afford that under next year’s cap… he might find $5m/year with the Canucks to be one of the better deals out there.

  • KleptoKlown

    Unless that 2nd round pick turns into something amazing, I think GMMG got a great deal here. Connauton is a left handed dman. With Hamhius, Garrison, Edler, Bieska and Tanev leaps and bounds ahead of Connauton on the depth charts, he was never going to get much a chance to make the team anyway.

    Good trade.

  • elvis15

    Gillis has hit it out of the park with this one. Roy was just what the doctor ordered. He also paid peanuts to get him. That 2nd will be forgettable and Connauton, while he still might make the NHL someday, is still kind of a risky project prospect.

    I can’t wait to see Roy down the middle with Kesler streaking down the wing.