It wasn’t one of Mike Gillis’ better days as GM of the Vancouver Canucks.
Not because he didn’t make a big splash during the NHL’s annual trade frenzysteriavaganzular.
After all, he did his best to address the Canucks’ biggest needs the day before when he picked up a quality 2nd/3rd line centre in Derek Roy, inked versatile winger Chris Higgins to a very serviceable contract extention, and was in the running for hard-nosed winger Ryane Clowe righte up untile the laste minute.
No, Gillis’ failure on Wednesday was more about not meeting the needs of Roberto Luongo than those of his hockey club. He compounded that failure by not living up to the heightened expectations set by both he and Gilman the day before.
More after the jumpe (but last extra ‘e’, I promise).
Let’s try and set emotions aside and think about this rationally.
Would a Luongo trade have made the Canucks’ better this year? The answer is likely no.
The only teams that should have been interested in acquiring him would be those that need an updgrade in net in order to make a run in the playoffs. Those same teams would not have been interested in giving up much in the way of roster players, since that would just defeat the purpose.
I mean, just take a look at the return on power forwards traded over the last week. Not one NHL roster player was sent back for Morrow, Iginla, Jagr or Clowe. And this was supposed to be a sellers’ market:
The market for goalies was anything but. So there’s little chance that Gillis would have improved the short term even if he had moved Luongo. Instead, they would have been left with the same roster, minus an insurance policy for Schneider, both in terms of injury and performance.
So if this is indeed the Canucks’ last chance to swing for the fence, keeping Luongo is probably the best outcome in terms of roster depth.
That being said, Gillis and Gilman did a really poor job of managing expectations by going on record with statements intimating there were more deals to be made. Sure they were there, and they tried to make them, but ultimately you’re better off managing expectations and over-delivering on promises.
It is also unfortunate how things unfolded yesterday. Luongo was clearly put in a tough spot, being pulled from practice just as the deadline was expiring and then having to face the media while the emotions were still raw.
But man, that was a refreshing press conference. And it’s pretty assinine to say otherwise. (Is subblogging a thing? Guess it is now.)
Anyway, the point is that Gillis’ failure yesterday was more about not being able to do right by Luongo than in improving the team. I don’t believe any potential deals would have brought more value than having two proven goalies heading into the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I think having that much cap space tied up in the goalie position going into next year is a problem that needs to be dealt with. But in the immediate short term, the team is better with Luongo that without him.
I mean it’s a good thing the Penguins addressed their biggest need by adding two high-priced forwards to one of the deepest lineups in the league.
Finally, it’s probably worth touching on the continuing farce that is sports network coverage of (non) events like yesterday. Seems to me that the lower the volume of trades, the higher the volume coming from my TV set:
The one exception to this, is usually Bob McKenzie, who can be counted on dealing in facts rather than speculation. So, as the post deadline trickle of trades died down yesterday, and it was clear that something was still up between Washington and Nashville, I naturally turned to Bob for the inside scoop:
Bizarre levels of secrecy/intrigue over imminent WSH announcement. #tradecentre
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 3, 2013
And if Bob McKenzie doesn’t know what’s going on, you know it’s either going to be big, or it’s not: