The last week for the Vancouver Canucks has been a disaster.
There was always a belief that this summer would be the most critical in franchise history. The Canucks would either become contenders again or reach misery. Mike Gillis has dug the Canucks grave and solidified them in pretenderville. However, this isn’t something new. The former agent has been ruining the Canucks since he jumped onto the scene. Here’s an examination on the biggest errors by Gillis in terms of trades, drafting and free agency.
The entire Gillis tenure has been marred by destroying the team Brian Burke and Dave Nonis built. Gillis has made major trade gaffes virtually every season which have impacted the Canucks in a negative manner. Highlights of terrible trades by Gillis include trading Cody Hodgson, a commodity that was proving himself at the time for an inconsistent and unproven Zack Kassian. Another major blip was trading two expiring contracts in Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson for an injury plagued David Booth. Arguably, the second worst deal Gillis has made during his tenure was the infamous Keith Ballard trade where the Canucks gave up Micheal Grabner, a first round pick (turned out to be Quinton Howden) and Steve Bernier for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich. For those of you that have been hiding under a rock, Ballard got bought out after three disastrous seasons this week.
Perhaps, the stupidest move during the Gillis tenure was made last week when he traded Cory Schneider for a measly 9th pick. It was dumb for two reasons. Firstly, Gillis got virtually nothing for Schneider (no disrespect to Bo Horvat) when he could have received much more if Schneider was traded last off-season or the one previous to that. Additionally, he did not consult his $60 million dollar goalie who does not want to play for the Canucks anymore. Imagine if the very real possibility of Roberto Luongo holding out occurs. Vancouver goes from two starters to zero and the only options they would have are untested net minders in Joacim Eriksson and Eddie Lack.
While Mike Gillis has been spending time destroying the Canucks through transactions, he also has not replenished their prospect base. Cody Hodgson and Frank Corrado have been the only two players which Gillis drafted that have played games for the Canucks. Hockey Futures, which covers prospects extensively has the Canucks ranked 27th out of 30 in terms of organizational prospect ranking. Indeed, the Canucks don’t have the prospects to cover up Mike Gillis’ mistakes.
To put the cherry on top, Gillis has also had a horrible track record in free agency. Each season (minus one) there has been at least one terrible signing by Gillis. In 2008 it was Mats Sundin for one year at $10 million. The 2009 blemish was the Mathieu Schneider experiment which lasted a grand total of 17 games. In 2010, Gillis decided to overpay for Manny Malhotra and in 2011 he decided to overpay the injury plagued Marco Sturm for one season. The only off-season where there wasn’t an awful signing was last year. This year the early contender for terrible signing is the Brad Richardson deal as Vancouver overpaid for the fringe fourth liner. The stupidity in the Richardson deal is only compounded by the fact that Gillis could have signed a better fourth line in Maxim Lapierre at a lower price than what he paid for Richardson.
Recently, the Canucks have also had a tough time attracting marquee free agents to come play in Vancouver. Players, such as Justin Schultz, Shea Weber, Shane Doan, Ryane Clowe balked at the opportunity to play for the Canucks. Clearly, Gillis’ initiatives, such as sleep doctors and larger player lounges, are not attracting players to come play in Vancouver.
Listening to local sports radio and talking with family and friends who are die hard Canucks fans, I feel a sense of frustration has resonated amongst the fan base. Some, such as me, are blaming Gillis while others are looking at other avenues in terms of scapegoats. I always enjoy comments and creating discussion off my posts but for this one I would really love to get the take of everyone who reads this post. Do you think Mike Gillis is to blame or should it be directed elsewhere? Or do you even think anything is wrong with the Canucks?