First domino to fall: Mike Gillis fired

The_streak_is_over_2

The fans that chanted “Fire Gillis” near the conclusion of last night’s home defeat to the Anaheim Ducks – putting a firm seal on any sort of outside shot the team had at a playoff bid – got what they wanted today.

According to reports, General Manager Mike Gillis has been let go by the Vancouver Canucks after 6 largely successful seasons on the job. But this is a “what have you done lately for me?” business, and things had completely gone off the rails for the franchise that was one win away from being a Stanley Cup Champion less than 3 years ago.

With the team mired in a tailspin, there’d been all sorts of rumblings floating around for a while now that Gillis wasn’t long for this job. While it was believed that he may’ve helped alleviate some of that tension with his inspiring interview on Team 1040 last Thursday, apparently it wasn’t nearly enough to save him from getting the axe.

The best head coach, goaltender, and GM in franchise history have now all become casualties in the span of 10 months now, as the soap opera in Vancouver continues to drag on without a sign of slowing down. This is surely the first domino to fall in what will be a long, and absorbing summer for the team.

The attention now shifts to coach John Tortorella, as it’s still unclear whether this news affects him in any way. When this news broke I was actually in the process of reading Jason Botchford’s Provies from last night, which have been the best source of insight into this entire ordeal:

“If the owners do fire Gillis, they will be hoping a new general manager would be willing to keep Torts.

That’s a big ask. Not only would the Canucks have to find someone willing to work with the Aquilinis, they would need to find someone willing to work with Tortorella. That’s a helluva frightening double bill right there.

Of course if Gillis goes, the Aquilinis would be doing it knowing a new GM may want his own coach. But that’s only if they don’t have a successor picked out already.”

One potential candidate that’s surfaced and would likely be OK with keeping Tortorella around for another kick at the can is Jay Feaster, which is as alarming as it sounds. The two have a working history from their days back in Tampa Bay, but that’s about the only positive I can think of. I’m not sure going after Calgary’s sloppy seconds is the right way to approach this delicate matter, personally.

As John Shannon alluded to in that tweet, though, I’d imagine that the Aquilinis will approach putting this convoluted puzzle back together piece-by-piece. The first play could involve bringing Trevor Linden into the fold in a president role, which is a headline that quickly got bumped down to being the second biggest piece of news around these parts today. While Linden quickly squashed those rumours on Global TV this morning — where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and that connection between the former player and the team makes a whole lot of sense.

After that, it appears that they’ll bring in the new GM, who they’ll entrust with handling the coach (hopefully in a different way than they did the former decision maker, if all of the reports are true). While we collectively pray that the guy I mentioned earlier isn’t actually in-play for the role, a name that would garner legitimate interest is Markus Naslund, who has some real managerial experience in Sweden

If nothing else, next year’s campaign of “WE’RE BRINGING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER” would surely be a hit with the fans. Based on the total clusterf*ck that this entire season has been for the Canucks, the franchise really could use any sort of PR help it could get right about now.

This’ll all take some time to play out, though. Especially considering all of the questions that need to be answered:

Will Gillis finally shave and take another job as a GM elsewhere? Or will he just continue to cash cheques, grow out his goatee, and snidely end every tweet he sends out with #stillonpayroll? How long will it take for the fans to turn on guys like Naslund and Linden if they’re brought in for management roles? Will they forego the alumni route and just promote cap magician Laurence Gilman instead? And what’s the buffet scene like in Vancouver (fine, Jay Feaster asked me to throw that one in there..)

While the team couldn’t help itself from casting Mike Gillis’ corpse to the side of the road as soon as it could, we’ve got the full summer to dissect and debate potential candidates and courses of actions as each little inkling become public knowledge.

Anyways, I’ve gone ahead and attached some further reading and takes on the Gillis firing, in case you’d like to continue reading up on it. I’ll also be joining Stephen Quinn on CBC Radio’s “On The Coast” later today at roughly 3:15 PM PST if you’d like to tune in and hear my thoughts, again, on the matter.

  • GarthButchers

    What kind of timing is this? Did the Aquilinis just get back from some deserted island?
    I hope it’s not in response to last night’s chant. Oddly reminiscent of their Italians forefathers in Rome – letting the mob decide.

    Scary times for the Canucks. Names like Jay Feaster? A scenario similar to Mike Keenan. Sketchy! I have very little faith in ownership to make the right moves. Let me be clear, Gillis deserves a fair share of the blame for the woes of the club. Poor trades, poor drafting, and not being committed to a vision are just highlight of some of his deficits.

    Well, hopefully Gillis can remain as some sort of consultant for the team and continue to do the only thing he was decent at – signing free agents and figuring out weird ways off the ice to make the team better.

    Ownership better have the balls to say goodbye to Tortorella. When no one has any idea what style you are playing (including the players) you have not done your job.

    The Canucks have never had a management group that was able to put it all together with good drafting, good trades and good signings among other things. I think Burke + Nonis was close to being the most complete.

  • Peachy

    The fallacy that Gillis is the best GM in Canucks history because he has the best W-L record of any Canuck GM needs to die.

    Or perhaps we can all start believing that Chris Osgood was an elite goaltender because of all the wins…

    He inherited an extremely good situation when he took over as GM and is leaving a steaming pile of a mess for the next GM.

    The next GM is probably not going to have a great W-L record attached to his name.

    That should be Gillis’ legacy…

    • acg5151

      Burke or Quinn? Or is there someone else you’d pick above Gillis?

      Nonis?

      I’d say Burke has an argument. But Burke couldn’t build a real playoff team, for lack of goaltending. Nonis fixed that, but couldn’t deal with one bad season for the blueline. Quinn, Quinn was lucky I think.

      • asdf

        The team that Burke & Nonis built in Vancouver (aside from Gillis’ pilfering of Ehrhoff, accepting Hamhuis’ gift to BC and changing some secondary/role players) was the best we ever had.

        I was too young to remember the Quinn era but perhaps he was a candidate as well.

        That’s besides the point.

        Ray Shero isn’t a particularly good GM, in my opinion.

        But he inherited a very good situation thanks to the draft lottery and has a very good W-L record attached to his name as a result.

        The W-L record is a terrible measure of a GM’s work.

        • The Benevolent Orca

          Dodged the question sir.

          Also Burke/Nonis is not a GM. Burke was the GM, then Nonis. Burke held on to sub-average goaltending for far too long and Nonis had one season where he found a miracle trade for a cashiered Bertuzzi, but ownership never gave him a chance to make his mark.

          Perhaps Burke deserves credit for his work with the Quinn and earlier Canucks, but that leaves it down to Burke and Gillis for top GM, doesn’t it?

          And Burke failed to find the team a goaltender, and the blueline is better under Gillis than Burke, I would argue.

          Gillis also resigned much of the talent of Burke, which is an achievement, rate it as you will. The Canucks lost no major U or RFAs through departure other than Erhoff under Gillis, (unless you feel the retention of Salo or Ohlund were significant). Rate that how you will.

          Burke definitely drafted better. Though whether that was him or Nonis, only a tell all will reveal.

          Burke built a tirefire into a playoff pretender. Gillis took a playoff pretender and made it a contender. It took the Bruins and the Blackhawks, arguably the two best managed franchises in the last 5-10 years, to best them, until this recent tailspin.

          Whether you feel this is Gillis’ direct fault, or whether this is part of the cycle of contender groups who succeed too long, that’s fair game.

          But Gillis must surely be in your top two or three GMs in franchise history, isn’t he?

          • The Benevolent Orca

            Are you completely unaware of the financial constraints the Canucks were under during the Burke years?

            Burke may not have been able to find a goalie.

            But neither has Gillis and he had the job for 6 years…

            “Gillis took a playoff pretender and made it a contender.”

            False.

            The Canucks won 5 playoff series in 6 years and very little of that had anything to do with Gillis.

            The Canucks were already on a path towards a sustainable contender with Lou, a solid defence core and emerging forward group.

            Unless you believe Gillis threw fairy dust on the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows etc to improve their performance.

            And if you believe in fairy dust and winning DNA, what happened to it?

            Why couldn’t Gillis simply use his winning DNA to cover up the flaws on this roster?

          • JCDavies

            What?

            Gillis had a goalie. His name was Roberto Luongo.

            And Cory Schneider, and IMHO, Eddie Lack.

            All 3 starting calibre, Luongo definitely elite. And perhaps Markstrom or Eriksson will fulfil starter potential as well.

            Goaltending was never a talent issue here. Unless you’re a tinfoil hat “meltdown” conspiracist.

            And Gillis did throw fairy dust. It was called Malholtra and Torres and permitted AV to implement one of the most radical zone deployments seen in recent history. Now, maybe that was AV, and not Gillis, but Gillis kept the guy for a long time and perhaps that firing will be the keystone of his downfall.

            Gillis failed to find another depth centreman to permit that kind of deployment, which I will criticize him for, and he failed to give Kesler another Demitra or Sundin or Sammuelson to augment the second line. These are failures, and I don’t even know whether I think Gillis is better than Burke.

            Erhoff was also much more valuable than Gillis thought, and to have signed him for 4 mil a season, even for that long, looks like it might have paid off. But perhaps someone *cough* ownership *cough* didn’t want any more long term contracts.

            We agree that Gillis is likely the second best after Burke, if you pick Burke as your #1, though, yes?

            Or do you think Nonis or Quinn did a better job?

          • The Benevolent Orca

            Correction: Gillis inherited two goalies.

            What is the collective save percentage of the goalies he brought into the organization in Vancouver?

            I suspect it’s not very good.

            Instead of Torres, Manny (and Samuelson), what difference would it have made if the Canucks had kept Grabner, Morrison & Pyatt?

            Same goes for Ballard over Mitchell…

            I can’t remember the Quinn era so I’m not going to bring him into this.

            As for the last three GMs, I’m not sure who I would have at #1.

            But #3 without a doubt is Gillis as evidenced by the mess he is leaving for the next guy to clean up…

          • pheenster

            So you’re seriously stating that there’s no difference between a clapped-out Brendan Morrison and a pre-eye injury Manny Malhotra? Or between Taylor Pyatt and FU Sweden? Or Grabner and Torres (whose style of play is entirely different)? If Malhotra doesn’t suffer the injury I don’t think we’re even having this conversation.

            Now if you want to say that Gillis messed up when he let Raffi go I would agree with that.

          • JCDavies

            I would say that Morrison and Grabner are both objectively better than Malhotra and Samuelsson, respectively. Torres is a better checker than Pyatt, but a better player? I’m not sure I’d buy that.

          • pheenster

            Objectively better? I don’t know why it seems to escape some people’s notice (willful blindness, I’m guessing) but Michael Grabner pretty much sucks. He had one decent season and since then has been average at best. Mason Raymond is a better hockey player by a significant margin. You don’t believe me, look at the numbers. FU Sweden had back to back 50-point seasons here and had some pretty good playoff series as well.

            Taylor Pyatt is a plumber, end of story. His career year was here in 06 (37 points). Torres has averaged roughly 30 points and brings a bunch of intangibles (including the proclivity to mash people’s brain cells, which is bad) but Gillis lost an element that he never replaced when he let Raffi go to Phoenix.

            Morrison had some great years with the West Coast Express tis true, but when he got put out to pasture in 08 he was a pale shadow of his former self. Malhotra (in my opinion anyway) was the reason the 2010-11 Canucks were so good. In case you forget, there was talk of him being nominated for the Selke at one point. Gillis never did replace him at 3C.

          • pheenster

            Oh Yeah that’s why Morrison made the team on a PTO and Malholtra didn’t at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. Wait – that never happened.

            Grabner vs Samelsson is an interesting argument. Different players for sure. I’d say they are about even, all thing considered.

            Torres is almost definitely better than Pyatt.

          • pheenster

            I believe Manny was on a PTO in SJ one season prior to signing in Vancouver.

            Irrespective of this, would it have made much of a difference if Morrison was the 3LC over Wellwood, Manny etc?

            The Canucks have Booth to show for Samuelson (and Sturm).

            While Sammy was pretty good in Vancouver for 2 years, it’s also a pattern this GM repeated over and over again by dedicating roster spots to older players as opposed to young guys (like Grabner).

            And eventually it all caught up to the NHL team…

          • pheenster

            He made the team in SJ. Morrison didn’t even beat out Peter Schaefer or Alex Bolduc.

            I think it would have made a difference if they kept Morrison over Malhotra. The team would not have been as strong. Morrison would not have been able to soak up the defensive zone starts and play against the opposing top centremen of the league. Thus not freeing up Kesler to explode offensively, thus not giving the Canucks two top-6 lines.
            While Morrison did enjoy success in Calgary he did it while riding along with Iginla and Tanguay. Morrison is great at riding in the middle of two thoroughbreds he just wouldn’t have been able to do it on the 2010-2011 team.

            I don’t understand the point you are making re: booth for Samuelsson? We were discussing who was better Grabner or Samuelsson. If we were talking about what could net you a better return -this would be futile since Gillis was not able to trade.

            I agree that he dedicated spots for older players when he should have made room for younger players. I don’t think Grabner’s spot should have come at the expense of Samuelsson. I surmise that Grabner playing with Kesler would not have worked as well as Kesler + MS. Grabner should have pushed Raymond or Hansen or at the very least Tambellini, Bliznak, Glass, Oreskovich out.

            But we all have hindsight to cloud our vision. We are reaping what has been sown the last few years and it does not taste good.

          • JCDavies

            Yes he did. I addressed that in post #75. He wouldn’t have been a better option than Henrik or Kesler in an offensive role. He was not better defensively than Malhotra. He may have been faster than Manny but was also smaller and not as good in the dot. Morrison would have been a good depth option but he decided he wanted something else.

            For that team Manny was the better option. Who knows, maybe Manny puts up a ppg playing with Iginla/Tanguay or Naslund/Bertuzzi?

          • The Benevolent Orca

            So Burke or Nonis are your pick?

            And frankly, that means it’s Burke, unless you feel Nonis deserves more credit for his time under Burke’s wing than I give him.

            Financial restraints do not justify holding on the Dan Cloutier for as long as he did. His team was also top heavy, forwards and blue line. You can argue that he didn’t have the dollars to do anything, but the fact is he gave Jovo bank, rode the west coast express and had the Sedins on the cheap for a second line, but Crow couldn’t figure out how to use them.

            His third and fourth lines?

            Are you going to defend them?

            It took his team 10 years to mature into the juggernaught Gillis “inherited”. Perhaps that’s how long it takes to build a team.

            But Gillis had a better blue line, and built it mostly himself, except for Bieksa and Edler, he retained NONIS’ goalie, and he built the bottom 3 lines, save kesler, to allow the Sedins to deploy in the fashion that won them MVP awards.

            Perhaps you are more impressed by what Burke did before the current ownership opened the coffers (which Nonis had access to). But he also didn’t work in a cap era NHL.

            I think Burke did a fine job.

            I will argue Gillis > Nonis though.

            Nonis doesn’t have enough of a track record.

            And FTR, I never accused you of what you called me on there. See who I replied to.

          • JCDavies

            “Also Burke/Nonis is not a GM. Burke was the GM, then Nonis. Burke held on to sub-average goaltending for far too long and Nonis had one season where he found a miracle trade for a cashiered Bertuzzi, but ownership never gave him a chance to make his mark.”

            How did those GMs fair after they left Vancouver?

            Aside for the gift that was Anaheim, not great…

          • The Benevolent Orca

            Uh, irrelevant?

            We’re talking who did the best job in Vancouver. There are 4 candidates:

            Gillis
            Burke
            Nonis
            Quinn

            Gillis has the best W/L record and did it in the cap era.

            Quinn has a playoff record that takes the team as far as Gillis did, and that team were underdogs and outmatched in a capless era, which is worth something, but he also oversaw the trainwreck afterwards.

            Burke built a competitive team with some legitimate draft picks and some decent signings, but could never build a defense to go with his offense, specifically in net.

            Nonis was Burke’s apprentice, and his right hand man. He was fired after a season of disasterous injuries (See: Mike Gillis). He may have been the GM we wanted. His Toronto record is a mixed bag. As is Burke’s. It’s hard to judge him without Burke, which is the fallacy I accused NM00 of. But because of Burke’s Shadow and his abrupt termination, I cannot truly believe that he belongs on the top of the list.

            So you have 3 GMs, all with spotted records. You pick, but to deny Gillis MIGHT be the best is dubious, especially if you don’t back another horse.

          • The Benevolent Orca

            “So you have 3 GMs, all with spotted records. You pick, but to deny Gillis MIGHT be the best is dubious, especially if you don’t back another horse.”

            That wasn’t my original claim.

            If one wants to make an argument that Gillis is the best GM in Canucks history, more power to them.

            However, defaulting to the W-L record is lazy considering everything that goes into that…

          • JCDavies

            Your opinion of their ability to do the job when they were in Vancouver isn’t influenced by what you have seen of them since?

            Did they forget how to be GMs?

          • The Benevolent Orca

            “Your opinion of their ability to do the job when they were in Vancouver isn’t influenced by what you have seen of them since?”

            When the discussion is limited to the work which each GM did in Vancouver, no, one should not be using work performed in a different environment.

            And there’s a difference between forgetting how to be a GM and simply not adapting to the times/environment…

          • JCDavies

            Disagree.

            How do I know their success/failures in Vancouver wasn’t related to something other than their abilities?

            I prefer more information in this case.

          • JCDavies

            Unfortunately this is not a science experiment where every GM gets 20 years.

            There are only 30 GM chairs and a lot of competition for them.

            Or at least there should be…

          • pheenster

            We are seemingly have two different conversations here.

            Who did the best work in Vancouver isn’t the same thing as which of these guys would you hire in 2014…

          • JCDavies

            I think your conversation with Nanodummy might have been along those lines.

            I wasn’t arguing either point.

            My point:
            With what we now know about Burke and Nonis, I was questioning whether they were really as good as they might have appeared to be.

            Burke has his flaws and I think other GMs are leaving him behind, but I don’t dislike him. I don’t think Nonis was ever a good GM, however.

          • acg5151

            “Burke has his flaws and I think other GMs are leaving him behind”

            Doesn’t that mean he was never a good GM and that he simply took advantage of “bad” GMs?

            Of course, I more or less agree with you on this.

            The ideal GM is probably someone like Lombardi who has adapted to the times…

          • JCDavies

            “Doesn’t that mean he was never a good GM and that he simply took advantage of “bad” GMs?”

            I don’t know if he was never a good GM but I am no longer certain he was any better than average.

            “The ideal GM is probably someone like Lombardi who has adapted to the times…”

            Agree.

          • The Benevolent Orca

            But what does that have to do with their work in Vancouver?

            I’m of the opinion that both Burke & Nonis deserved a GM job after what they did in Vancouver.

            However, I’m also of the opinion that based on the work they have done in Toronto, Burke doesn’t really deserve another shot and Nonis doesn’t deserve more than 1-2 years to steer the ship in the right direction.

            And I’m not someone who typically believes in firing a GM in the first 4-5 years upon hiring.

            As for Gillis, based on the mess he is leaving behind in Vancouver, there’s no way he should get another shot…

          • JCDavies

            If they really are good GMs, they should be able to succeed at the job in other organizations, no?

            Their track records since Vancouver are unimpressive to say the least.

          • The Benevolent Orca

            While I think Bryan Murray doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he deserves, Burke certainly made some notable moves (dumping Federov on CBJ, rebuilding the defense core) that propelled the Ducks to their cup.

            I’m guessing we don’t disagree much here.

            As for the work of Burke & Nonis in Toronto, I don’t necessarily look at it in terms of “if they really are good GMs”.

            The league has changed quite a bit and, quite frankly, Burke sounds like a dinosaur that hasn’t adjusted to the times.

            Which isn’t to take away from his previous successes or to suggest that he CAN’T have success in the future.

            Perhaps he can. I simply would not give him another chance if it were my decision.

            The same could be said for Nonis if he doesn’t fix what ails Toronto in the next year or two.

            Glen Sather may have been a good GM once as well…

          • JCDavies

            “The league has changed quite a bit and, quite frankly, Burke sounds like a dinosaur that hasn’t adjusted to the times.”

            “I simply would not give him another chance if it were my decision.”

            Agree on both.

            But it does sound a little like you are arguing that he was good because others were bad…

            “Burke certainly made some notable moves (dumping Federov on CBJ, rebuilding the defense core)”

            Aren’t these moves actually “gifts” that Burke was lucky to receive?

            The rebuilding of the defense core consisted of a gift from a player that wanted to play with his brother (Niedermayer) and a player whose wife didn’t want to live in Edmonton anymore (Pronger) and a gift from Doug MacLean (the Federov trade).

            He inherited a good young core (Perry, Getzlaf, Penner Selanne, Kunitz, Giguere .. etc.) and surrounded them with a couple of pretty fortunate gifts.

          • JCDavies

            “But it does sound a little like you are arguing that he was good because others were bad…”

            That’s just the other side of the coin, really.

            It’s all relative to the environment in which one works.

            As for Burke’s work in Anaheim, he acquired Rob Niedermayer before signing Scott.

            He stepped up to the plate when Pronger was available using Murray’s assets.

            Dumping Federov (and acquiring Beachumin & the cap space for Pronger) doesn’t qualify as a “gift” for me.

            As I noted, Murray deserves a lot of credit for Anaheim’s cup.

            The flip side being Burke received too much credit for Anaheim.

            And not enough for Vancouver’s success in and around 2011…

          • JCDavies

            “As for Burke’s work in Anaheim, he acquired Rob Niedermayer before signing Scott.”

            False. I believe Rob Niedermayer was acquired by Murray.

            “He stepped up to the plate when Pronger was available using Murray’s assets.”

            How is this ability? Many other GMs would have also stepped up. Pronger did have control of his destination…

            “Dumping Federov (and acquiring Beachumin & the cap space for Pronger) doesn’t qualify as a “gift” for me.”

            That was an awful trade for Columbus. Burke was lucky to find somebody willing to take that contract.

          • JCDavies

            Well if Murray acquired Niedermayer then, yes, Burke should not get credit for it.

            How do you know other GMs would have paid the price Burke did for Pronger?

            Even though I agree that the NTC means Pronger played a part, I’m not sure that Anaheim was the only team to which he would waive his right.

            As for the Federov thing, why does Burke not receive credit for dumping the contract that, if I’m not mistaken, Murray signed in the first place?

            As you say, it was an awful trade for Columbus.

            Inherent in that is that it was a good trade for Anaheim.

            In any case, do you have any complaints about what he did while in Anaheim and what he left behind for Bob Murray?

          • JCDavies

            “How do you know other GMs would have paid the price Burke did for Pronger?”

            If you believe that Edmonton got fair value for Pronger then I won’t try to dissuade you of that…

            “Even though I agree that the NTC means Pronger played a part, I’m not sure that Anaheim was the only team to which he would waive his right.”

            Never said “only”.

            “As for the Federov thing, why does Burke not receive credit for dumping the contract that, if I’m not mistaken, Murray signed in the first place?”

            The “gift” was finding someone willing to take that contract. Is Burke a good GM because MacLean wants to make a bad trade?

            “In any case, do you have any complaints about what he did while in Anaheim and what he left behind for Bob Murray? ”

            Was he in Anaheim long enough to leave a mess for Murray? … Not a fan of Carlyle.

        • argoleas

          Like Quinn, although his overall drafting record is not that good as well. But Burke & Nonis work here was really good. Loved what Burke did to get the Sedins.

          Just using the W-L record is of course an incomplete way of judging. All factors have to be considered.

          The problem with evaluating MG this way is that both Burke and Quinn started with lousy teams so they were around to some degree to witness the results of their drafting (which were very high drafts). MG did not have that luxury. No question that his early drafting did not work out too well, although turning Hodgson into Kassian may prove to be a very good deal (and we wont be able to judge for a while yet). For low 2011 and 2012 drafts in not so deep years, he may have snagged some good players that may contribute well in the future. Looks like his best draft may turn out to be 2013. In any case, we may be here in a few years saying how the next GM is only succeeding because of those drafts, unless they win the next lottery and complete blow up next year to get on the drafting.

          But if they do well in the lottery coming up, the next GM will have a good start to his tenure.

        • I agree about Shero’s drafting at least. I was trying to find a GM who was decent at drafting and looked at Craig Patrick’s record. Sure you can’t miss from some of the spots he was picking from, but he also was able to draft a few players late that are NHL players either in the “dead puck era” (for lack of abetter term) or now. Talbot, Moulson, Kennedy. About one per year in later rounds. Someone knew what they were doing.

        • acg5151

          Mike Gillis was hands down the best GM in Canucks history because he took what Burke/Nonis left him and surrounded it with enough talent to make a Stanley Cup finals appearance and nearly win it all.

          It stands to reason that the GM of the greatest Canucks team of all time should be the greatest GM of the team of all time.

          • asdf

            “It stands to reason that the GM of the greatest Canucks team of all time should be the greatest GM of the team of all time.”

            There isn’t even a shred of reason in this statement.

            Then again, we live in a world where people think Chris Osgood is a better goaltender than Roberto Luongo because of the W-L record.

            Sedin/Sedin/Burrows

            Raymond/Kesler/Grabner

            Pyatt/Morrison/Hansen

            Hamhuis/Bieksa

            Edler/Ehrhoff*

            Mitchell/Salo

            Luongo/Schneider

            The asterisk notes the only notable contribution Gillis made to the 2011 team.

            Accepting Hamhuis’ gift was hardly an accomplishment.

            Replacing secondary/role players made little, if any, difference…

          • acg5151

            He brought in Hamhuis at a reasonable contract, Ehrhoff for nothing, Raffi Torres, Max Lapierre, Chris Higgins, Manny Malhotra, Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, David Booth (for nothing I might add), Jason Garrison, Zack Kassian and Keith Ballard. Some of those moves didn’t work out but at the time, they were all smart moves.

            Let’s look at the ‘amazing’ bottom six that Nonis left.

            Tom Pyatt, Ryan Johnson, Darcy Hordichuk, Steve Bernier, Mike Brown, Kyle Wellwood, Jannik Hansen.

            We basically had a bunch of fringe NHL’ers when Mike Gillis arrived and that’s why we missed the playoffs – the core of Sedins, Burrows, Kesler, Raymond, Edler, Bieksa just weren’t surrounded by any talent whatsoever.

            We had Shane O’Brien on our defense. Shane O’Brien.

            And you think that Dave Nonis left us a capable team? While several good players were drafted during his time here, he couldn’t figure out how to surround them with talent. That is why he is an inferior GM to Mike Gillis.

          • acg5151

            1. Tom Pyatt should be Taylor Pyatt.

            2. Ryan Johnson was acquired by Gillis.

            3. Darcy Hordichuk was acquired by Gillis.

            4. Steve Bernier was acquired by Gillis and then promptly overpaid after the foolish offer sheet matching.

            5. Kyle Wellwood was acquired by Gillis.

            “We had Shane O’Brien on our defense. Shane O’Brien.”

            Shane O’Brien was acquired by Gillis.

            Other than that, well done…

          • acg5151

            You’re right. What’s sad is that those guys are all improvements on the Canucks bottom six before he got here of Matt Cooke, Matt Pettinger, Brad Isbister, Jeff Cowan, Ryan Shannon, and Byron Ritchie.

            Oh and our defense had Lukas Krajicek, Aaron miller and Nathan McIver

          • argoleas

            What kind of lineup is this? If we are putting together fantasy lineups to argue a GM’s worth you should at least be a little more conciliatory.

            Sedin/Sedin/Burr

            Raymond/Kesler/Samuelsson*

            Higgins*/Malholtra*/Grabner

            4th line? Torres*/Lapierre*/Hansen

            Hamhuis*/Bieksa

            Edler/Ehrhoff*

            Mitchell/Salo

            Rome*/Tanev*

            Luongo/Schneider

          • argoleas

            2011 Cup run was this:

            Sedin/Sedin/Burrows

            Raymond/Kesler/Samuelsson*

            Torres*/Lapiere*/Hansen

            *Malhotra

            Hamhuis/Bieksa

            Edler/Ehrhoff*

            Alberts*/Tanev*/Salo/Ballard*

            Luongo/Schneider

            Not defending all those moves by any means, but there were many key contributors to that run that MG brought in.

            I fall somewhere in between you and some other commentors here. MG may be best GM in team history, but only because of the serious flaws that Burke, Nonis, and Quinn all had. Burke couldn’t buy a goaltender. Nonis was as bad a drafter as Burke and Gillis, and misjudged Naslund terribly coming out of the lockout. His teams suffer from a lot of what we saw this year, no depth after an okay top 4-5 forwards.

            Honestly the leap in success MG achieved was a few more regular season wins and a single longer playoff run.

            In hindsight it looks like Nonis left the team in good shape, at the time the sentiment about his work sounded much like it doe about MGs now. An inglorious end to a regular season without playoffs, and questions about most of the forward groups ability to lead a team. Not enough secondary scoring/depth. Decent blueline. The goaltending was better, but Kesler wasn’t a #2 center then, and Taylor Pyatt was a first line winger.

            None of this is meant to say MG has been great, just that this team is so historically bad he might be the best GM in team history.

          • The Benevolent Orca

            Do you notice how all those secondary players you name are not any better than the ones he chose to give up?

            Neither Burke or Nonis left the Canucks in a situation where rebuilding was right around the corner.

            Unless the Canucks hire a guy to perform a Jim Nill-style reset, that’s exactly the path we’re headed on…

      • Peachy

        I’d have to look into the transaction records of every other GM as well as the environment in which they worked.

        Defaulting to the W-L record is just lazy, though…