Derek Roy Trade Reax

Derek Roy, then a Sabres forward, hauls down an unidentified Canuck (I believe Matt Pettinger) back in the day.

Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis went out on Trade Deadlines Eve and acquired Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in exchange for prospect Kevin Connauton and Vancouver’s second round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. 

You can read our take on the trade and the subsequent re-assignment of Jordan Schroeder, but let’s round up what other writers and reporters are saying about the deal.

Laurence Gilman spoke about the deal on the Team 1040 saying that on Vancouver’s depth chart "Derek Roy is going to come in as our third-line centre." He elaborated on Roy’s potential impact on the club (transcription my own):

"We’re not necessarily a conventional team in the way that we’ve been built or play the game when healthy. We play uptempo with defenseman joining the rush. In Derek’s case he can take faceoffs, he plays 20 minutes a game, he’s a player who is at times has been a thirty goal scorer and he brings a dimension to the game. Aside from what he’s bringing on the ice, it’ll provide an emotional lift for our players. They know based, on what’s gone on with the team, that we’re a fertile team but we’ve been depleted.

Scott Cullen thinks Derek Roy will be a suitable third-line centre:

What does stand out, in some respects, is that Roy started a lot of shifts in the defensive zone, faced a higher-calibre of competition and still generated a positive shot differential with the Stars, so he was moving the puck the right way, even if his point total hasn’t been up to his previous standards.

In Vancouver, Roy moves into a gaping hole on the second line, at least as long as Ryan Kesler remains sidelined. Even once Kesler returns, Roy can figure in a prominent offensive role, boosting the productivity of Canucks wingers Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen, the supporting cast behind the Sedins in the Vancouver offence.

That Roy handled a higher proportion of defensive zone starts in Dallas this year probably held some appeal for the Canucks, since Vancouver has notoriously given the Sedins that majority of starts in the offensive zone when possible. Having a centre capable of handling shifts that start in the defensive zone, particularly with Kesler sidelined, was a priority for a playoff team.

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Angus made a related point about Roy’s two-way effectiveness:

Roy has been very solid in the role that Dallas created for him. He is starting 45% of his shifts in the offensive zone, while Benn is at 54%. Roy’s defensive acumen (he won’t ever win a Selke, but he knows his way around his own zone) has enabled Glen Gulutzan the luxury of keeping Benn off the ice for defensive zone faceoffs. Little things like this matter a lot in the long run. Roy’s defensively ability has also allowed the Stars to shelter Eakin a little bit. And that is never a bad thing for a young player learning the ropes in the best league on the planet.

Harrison Mooney notes that Mike Gillis has deviated from his usual modus operandi with the timing of this deal:

Over the course of his tenure as Canucks GM, Mike Gillis has earned a reputation as an eleventh hour dealer. Typically, the Canucks go completely quiet right up until the deadline appears to have passed, and then, just as Vancouver hockey fans begin to pout, it’s announced that Gillis’s paperwork has just beaten the buzzer.

Not so this time around, where it would appear Gillis’s New Year’s Resolution was to stop leaving things until the last second. A day in advance of the trade deadline, he’s made what may be his big splash: the Canucks have acquired centre Derek Roy and his expiring $4M contract from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2nd round pick and prospect Kevin Connauton.

Jason Botchford focuses in on Derek Roy’s medium-term future with the club:

Hey, it only took 10 months [for the Canucks to finally get their centre].

They don’t have the same luxury of waiting that long for their next move. And the Canucks have to have a next move.

Roy is smallish, gritty, two-way, playmaking centre who can take care of a second line. He’s also expected to be a rental. Reports abound he was asking for as much as $5-$6 million a year for five years to stick around in Dallas.

Elliott Pap transcribes Mike Gillis’ reasons for chasing Derek Roy:

“I liked a lot of things about the Derek Roy trade,” explained the GM. “I like the fact he’s a winner and an MVP at the Memorial Cup (2003). I like his points per game average. I like his playmaking ability and the opportunity to add another layer of offence.

“It also gives us more flexibility. Instead of being focused on that one piece of the puzzle, we can now look at other areas we’d like to strengthen, and other possibilities and maybe three-way deals or something along those lines. We’re still looking to be active.”

Greg Wyshynski cracks wise and focuses on Roy’s struggles in the face-off dot:

In Roy, the Canucks get a player tailormade for the second-line center role and one that’s had an strong season for the Dallas Stars – in, let’s remember, a contract year. He has 22 points in 30 games, although only four of them are goals. After a strong year on draws on 2011-12, Roy is back to being around a 46-percenter in the circle.

Vancouver was seen as a team “one proven center short,” so naturally they traded for a short proven center. (/rim shot).

On Kevin Connauton, Allen Tung singles out these tweets from Canucks beat writers Brad Ziemer and Ben Kuzma, who contextualize Vancouver’s decision to include the young defender in the Roy deal:

I tend to doubt that the Canucks were using plus/minus to evaluate Connauton’s defensive play. I do however buy that they’d "soured" on him. Kuzma’s reply:

Finally, Tony Gallagher sees this deal as representative of a monumental strategic shift for the Canucks, which honestly I’m not really sure I buy but it’s interesting:

Finally the Vancouver Canucks have looked at the way they’ve been playing and realized it is entirely the wrong approach.

With their trade with the Dallas Stars, which brings them Derek Roy for their third-line centre role, it turns the team back into an offensive handful for any team playing them and, with their back end and goaltending, it almost certainly vaults them into competition to come out of the Western Conference this year.

Roy has speed and offensive ability and, considering that last year they went with Sammy Pahlsson in this position, this marks a real change in approach. Roy gives them a second centre for the second power-play unit and, if they change their style as this move indicates, it will mean they will be entirely likely to draw more penalties than they have been.

Have your say in the comments. What are your thoughts on the Roy trade, and what do you think it means for the team going forward?

  • Fred-65

    Canucks had a lot of success a couple years ago rolling with Kesler against top lines (eg. against Thornton and the Sharks in the WCF). This trade seems like they’re (hopefully) back to that mentality, rather than watch an over-the-hill Pahlsson try and shut down Kopitar.

  • Fred-65

    Strange trade IMO. Roy is touted as a play maker first fore most and yet who will be his finishing wingers, it strikes me as some thing like Kessler in TO but in reverse.

  • Fred-65

    Now we know Higgins is staying, Roy and Raymond will almost certainly leave in the summer, leaving us with the same 3C hole. If we trade Raymond for one now, Kesler fills the hole in the wing short term and Booth will going forward. That said, Gilman said we’re ‘all in’ so maybe we just let them both walk for nothing in the summer.

    • I don’t know if the 3C hole is that big a deal next year.

      Assuming Kesler survives the playoffs without a serious injury (knock on wood), and Roy walks as a UFA (likely), then we’d still be returning Henrik, Kesler and Lapierre. In a true third line center role, I think Schroeder would be fine. The problem this year is that we were missing both the second and third line centers.

      I’m assuming that is most likely the plan going forward due to the cap going down.

  • Fred-65

    People forget that when the Canucks went to the finals, Kesler was effectively the checking line center. He played all the tough minutes. He was credited with shutting down Toews and co. He was praised for dominating Nashville despite playing against their best players. He was routinely matched against Thornton and co.

    I have no doubt that in the playoffs, he’ll be doing much of the same, seeing as we have 3 offensively capable centers, and he IS a Selke winner. I don’t understand everyone who always says they want to keep him away from the tough minutes. The tough minutes are where Kesler thrives, and in which the team definitely, definitely needs him.

    In otherwords, this trade is (as a certain Canucks Army blogger would put it), nails.

    • I agree. I’d put a healthy Kesler, probably centering Hansen and Higgins, as a shutdown line against any line in the West. They should be able to play even, or close enough to it, against tough competition.

      Meanwhile the Sedins draw the opposing shutdown line and Roy + Raymond + ??? hopefully destroy lesser competition.

  • Well, if they add another depth centerman a la Gordon or Goc, I’d consider this deadline a big success.
    I just really hope none of Corrado, Jensen or Gaunce are sacrificed just to ‘go for it’ this year. Even the best teams don’t always win the cup and I’m not sure I’d be willing to give up all that much more for another rental. If it’s someone who is brought on to stay with team I’m perfectly fine with that though.

  • I think if Derek Roy is serious about getting paid this summer, then he may have just won the lottery.

    With his talents now set to be deployed behind recent Art Ross & Selke winning centremen, it’s a dream spot for him to be in. This is a huge chance for him to show he’s worth that big money long-term contract he’s after – and even win the Cup too.

    Expect Roy to be fired up on arrival, & thats +++ for the Canucks

  • I would like to be positive about this, but I was positive about Sami Paulson last year. I kinda like Tony Gallagher’s take. In terms of the chances for the Cup, I don’t see it as a material step in that direction and that is because Roy has never won the Cup. The reason for this comment at it is a matter of record that every cup winner back to 1989 has had at least one starter who had previously won the cup – go back to 1974 if we include head coach (89 Flames were coached by Terry Crisp who had won a cup as a player). That seems statistically significant – as if a dummy variable in statistics language – a pre-requisite to win. The number of previous cup winners is not a determining factor – e.g. 2009 Red Wings had more cup experience than the Penguins. It is just that you need it, as a threshold. In 2011, the Bruins had Rechie and Thornton; the Canucks had Samuelson but not for the final, and Rome (played one game in the Ducks cup run) took himself out in game 3 with the pivotal play of the series. Maybe today, they will pick up someone like a John Madden.