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.
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.
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.