Mike Gillis: Canucks wheeler and dealer

The trade

Relatively speaking, Kevin Connauton is not a big name in the, “anyone can be traded,” circle, but there’s certainly no questioning his departure is significant for the Vancouver Canucks depth chart.

The kid was easily one of the Canucks top three defensive youngsters yet to make their mark on the NHL and it simply can’t be ignored the Canucks current D-core is aging. The average age of that group of seven (not counting Cam Barker) is 28.4.

Some might say that’s young but why bank on always acquiring defensemen in the future when you can breed them in the minors through good drafting and development? “Going for it at the deadline,” doesn’t have to mean letting all your boiling eggs go.

On that note, Connauton is probably one of Mike Gillis’ best picks apart from Cody Hodgson, which again, blunders the mind as to why he’d part with the 23 year old.

The bottom line is this: Kevin Connauton is gone and left at the top of the Canucks defensive prospects list are Frank Corrado and Yann Sauve. That’s saying something since Sauve is playing in the ECHL right now and not with Chicago.

It looks even worse after @News1130Sports tweeted this Tuesday


Derek Roy is a Vancouver Canuck and should provide some flexibility down the middle but I don’t buy the whole Ryan Kesler on the wing idea. He’s a centerman and a damn good one so let him play that position when he returns, which should be soon after his CT scan Monday came back clean.

Two factors will decide whether or not this was a good deal in the long run. The first is winning a Stanley Cup this season. If the Canucks pull it off, boom, ding, you went for it at the deadline and you won. Should they not (which is more probable), it’s vital Roy re-signs with the Nucks so the loss of Connauton is not in vain.

Oh and don’t be foolish. Derek Roy alone is not going to put the Canucks, as they say, over the top.

Derek Roy - Chris Higgins

Derek Roy alone is not going to put the Canucks, as they say, over the top.

The re-assignment

Solely based on Twitter reaction Tuesday, which I can’t say is ever completely reliable, the re-assignment of Schroeder to Chicago was a surprise to many.

The debate is focused mainly around the aforementioned Shredster and Andrew Ebbett as those two have been manning the middle of the ice in the bottom six recently. With Ryan Kesler set to return to the 2nd line and Derek Roy to take over the 3rd, one of them had to go.

There’s nothing difficult to understand why Schroeder should have gotten the nod. He’s 7 years younger, he’s faster, played almost twice as many games as Ebbett this season, has more goals, assists and a better +/- rating and has worked his Minnesotan arse off to get this far with the big squad this season.


Nothing against Ebbett because I’m sure he gives 110% too but even when you extrapolate his figures to Schroeder’s level, the young one’s are still better. I can’t understand this move in the slightest when you’re a team that needs scoring more than anything and the player sent down is the better scoring of the two options.

Don’t give me the, “Schroeder’s not a 4th liner,” argument either. They are the same type of player with different amounts of facial hair.

In the end, I can’t see Schroeder remaining in Chicago for long if he produces in a game or two and Ebbett continues to be a plug.

The re-signing

Christopher Higgins has been just about everything the Vancouver Canucks ever wanted him to be. He was a catalyst upon coming to the team at the trade deadline in 2011, helping the team in a major way to a Stanley Cup final appearance.

Higgins was lights out last season and would have scored 20 goals had he not missed 11 games with an infection. When he’s not been good, it’s been during the same ups and downs the rest of the team has experienced.

What’s telling is his +6 rating and 62 points in 120 games as a Canuck. Those figures affirm to the organization and fans that he is a reliable forward defensively and what more can we ask for right?

ABS! Right…he has nice abs. My bad.


These are all reasons why the Canucks giving Chris Higgins a 4 year deal worth $10 million on Tuesday gets the rubber stamp from this guy. Additionally, Higgins has been pragmatic and has shown he can mesh with line-mates in the top and bottom six.

He also doesn’t complain about it which fans know is tough not to do sometimes with Alain Vigneault and the Ringling Brothers circus act he puts on with the lines sometimes.

In four years, Higgins will turn 34 and at that point the Canucks can re-evaluate his usefulness but for now, a solid thumbs up to Mike Gillis that he wasn’t getting 24 hours ago. Perhaps what may be interesting to see is who Florida selects with the 2013 3rd round pick they received in the Higgins trade two years ago.

So one day before what should really be a statutory holiday in Canada, Mike ‘Stay Still’ Gill(is) decided he’s going to go for it. The possibilities involving the Canucks before noon Wednesday involve Roberto Luongo and even Mason Raymond but again for a team that needs scoring, it doesn’t make sense to trade away your second leading scorer.

It’d also be nice to get some draft picks back after giving one away for Derek Roy.

If you’re asking and if I’m betting, Roberto Luongo will be a Vancouver Canuck after Wednesday making for what is optimistically looking like a good chance at a deep playoff run. Yet Gillis made statements Tuesday that imply a move or two are in the works.

Regardless, if there’s one headline I want to read before 12pm Wednesday or hear out of Bob McKenzie’s mouth, it would have to start off like this: “The Vancouver Canucks have traded Head Coach Alain Vigneault to…”


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