Assessing Canucks GM Mike Gillis’ reset to date

Oh, the Disillusionment

When the Canucks season came to a screeching halt at the hands of a four game sweep, courtesy of the San Jose Sharks, you just had to know changes were coming. Be it the coaching, the players themselves or the always present mess in net, this team was just flat out awful. Top to bottom, complacency plagued this squad to the bitter end.

This, the latest in a series of playoff disappointments only interrupted once by the ever so promising Cup run of 2011, which wasn’t being taken lightly by the fan base or ownership.

It cost Alain Vigneault, the club’s winningest coach in franchise history, his job and were that not enough it threatened to shake the very foundation of this team as well.

Trade the Sedins? Edler? Luongo? Hell, why not Kesler?! These words were echoed from despondent pub to despondent pub and radio shows abroad. There was no avoiding the doomsday prophecies, no matter how hard you tried.

In response to the team’s loss and the cities heartbreak, Gillis promised sweeping changes in the form of another “reset”. The reset started with the hiring of one of the league’s more charming coaches, John Tortorella.

In addition to bringing in a new coach, Vancouver needed to get younger and bigger, Gillis said. Far from an easy task, what with Vancouver’s cap situation having easily been one of the worst in the league, but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination; management would just have to get creative.

And get creative they did…

Shocking the hockey world, the Canucks dealt the promising youngster Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall pick in this year’s draft. Not a single roster player.

Not a single middle-round draft pick added into the fold.

But hey, they got some cap space… oh, and a promising youngster in Bo Horvat who compares favorably to Jonathan Toews.

Of course, this trade also came with concerns about whether they would have a starting goalie come training camp, but hey, no time to worry about that – not yet anyways. Vancouver followed that up with a not-so-shocking move to create cap space, with the compliance buyout of Keith Ballard.

Brad Richardson

Brad Richardson apparently projects as Vancouver’s third line center?!

By the time it was all said and done the Canucks entered the free agent “frenzy” with somewhere in the neighbourhood of $7.5M in salary cap space.

So, less than a week after free agency has started, have the Canucks gotten any younger? Or, hey, even bigger for that matter?

The results are a little underwhelming

To this point in free agency Gillis has inked two members of the “all-close to star player names” team in Yannick Weber and Brad Richardson and added Mike Santorelli to his haul a day later. Assuming everything goes to plan and this team still wants to compete for a Stanley Cup, only one of these players (Brad Richardson), should land on the opening day roster.

Basically, plan the parade.

Now, about that size. Heaven forbid, but Brad Richardson apparently projects as Vancouver’s third line center; according to management. While Richardson will provide nowhere near the level of offensive production as say Derek Roy, he is two inches taller.

More realistically though, Richardson should be the fourth line center, where he is actually a three inch downgrade in size to Maxim Lapierre who signed with the St.Louis Blues.

Now, with that other center spot, be it on the third or fourth line, Jordan Schroeder projects to fill the void. I’m not the most astute of individuals (hey, I try), but Jordan Schroeder‘s 6’1 frame isn’t exactly imposing.

As for age, Richardson and Maxim Lapierre are both 28 years old. So much for getting younger in that trade-off. Sure, the Schroeder addition helps, but youth can only go so far. While Schroeder never looked out of place during his 31 game stay in the NHL last season, he did only tally three goals. A little bit of a gamble there.

Maybe I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here, but this roster isn’t getting younger or bigger. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The Canucks still lack a reliable center that can bounce between the second and third line as insurance for the oft injured Ryan Kesler.

They now lack a backup goaltender.

And so far as I can see this team lacks a plan.

But hey, what’s a summer in Vancouver without a little doom and gloom to occupy the space once riddled with rain clouds? Not one that I’ve ever encountered.


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About J.D. Burke

Living in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. the majority of his life, father introduced him to hockey at an early age and made sure his team was the Canucks. Eventually found himself loving the Seahawks. Masochistic much? Loves beer, novels, music, writing, long walks on the beach & sushi. "Be more like J.D." Connect with him today!
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