For the first time in his tenure as Canucks general manager, the topic of firing Mike Gillis is being discussed heavily by a significiant number of Canucks fans. This is ludicrous, of course. Mike Gillis has been in charge of the Canucks for 5 seasons and the results speak for themselves.
The team has won its division 5 times (they had only won their division 5 times since 1970 previous to that), won 2 President’s Trophies (the first 2 in club history), won 5 playoff series (they had 11 playoffs series victories in their history prior to that) including an appearance in the Stanley Cup final (for the 3rd time in team history).
A lot of people seem to forget that winning as much as the Canucks have won isn’t all that easy. Although most of the impact players in the Canucks lineup were acquired by other general managers, it was still Gillis in charge of deciding to re-sign them, and at a cheap price no less.
I’ll analyze Mike Gillis’ signings at a later date, but for today I want to take a look at his trade history. Mike Gillis has had a very poor last couple of seasons trade-wise, and deserves to be criticized for it. And criticizing is what bloggers do… right?
After an inconsistent regular season and a complete no show in the playoffs, for Alain Vigneault, it’s time to go. The most successful head coach in Canucks history has been in Vancouver for 7 seasons now, and the players need a new message.
While he has his critics, AV has been behind the bench for the Canucks for the best stretch of years in Canucks history. They have made the playoffs 6 out of 7 years. They have 6 northwest division titles and 2 President’s Trophies. They made it to at least the 2nd round on 4 occasions, including nearly winning the 2011 Stanley Cup. Through it all, Vigneault was there, and he deserves credit for that.
But the expiration date has passed on this coach.
Hug a Leafs fan today. They’ve been through a lot.
Yes, I know about Toronto Maple Leafs fans. They’re rude, they’re cocky. They’re all of that. But you know what? So are a lot of Canucks fans.
And that’s why I think I feel for the Leafs fans today. They remind me of Canucks fans.
It was one of the most disappointing first round series in Canucks history and not just for obvious reasons. The Canucks didn’t lose to the Sharks because of a bad bounce (of which there were a few) or bad penalties (of which there were lots). No, they lost because they weren’t good enough. This was not an aberration, it was a revelation. The Canucks aren’t as good as many of us thought they were.
By no means am I suggesting that the Canucks were the odds on favourites to win the Stanley Cup this year, but I certainly thought they were in the mix. But to watch how they lost to San Jose, big changes need to be made.
One year ago, the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings played each other in the final game of the regular season and the Sharks won 3-2, giving the Canucks the Kings in round 1. This year, the opposite happened. The Kings beat the Sharks in their final game (by the same 3-2 score) to give San Jose to the Canucks.
It remains to be seen if the Canucks get a better match-up this season, but they’re certainly due for one. In 2011 the first place Canucks got the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. In 2012 the first place Canucks got the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings. In 2013, maybe, just maybe the Canucks lucked out by avoiding the Kings and Blues in round 1.
But not so fast. The Canucks have not played well against the Sharks this season, going 0-2-1 in three meetings.
Lets see how these teams match up:
It appears the NHL doesn’t think you can have too much of a good thing. The annual Winter Classic held every year on New Year’s Day has been a huge success for the National Hockey League, and there have been rumblings for years that they want to add more outdoor games each year. If reports from TSN are to be believed, the NHL will have 6 outdoor games 2013-14. One of those “outdoor” games will be at BC Place on March 2, 2014.
With days left before the trade deadline, it’s clear to most that if the Canucks have designs on bringing the first Stanley Cup in team history home to Vancouver, they will need to do something. They have a need for a centre, which I outlined three days ago. That’s their primary need, but that’s not the only need. I believe the Canucks should be looking at a defenceman as well. Their need for another right handed d-man is well documented, as well as their troubles on the power play.
With just over one week before the NHL’s April 3rd trade deadline, now is as good a time as ever to look at potential players that Mike Gillis and the Canucks front office may be targeting.
The Canucks are in the mix with a bunch of teams in the middle of the pack right now. They haven’t impressed like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston or Anaheim, but that doesn’t mean that this is a lost season by any means. Don’t get me wrong, the Canucks (like many other teams) will need a lot of things to go right to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. The Sedins need to be dominant, as does Ryan Kesler. The defense corps needs to be solid. Their goaltending needs to be great. And they need solid contributions from their role players.
The Canucks needs are fairly well documented. They desperately need a centre that can play on the third line, and possibly the second line if there’s an injury. They could also use a right handed defenceman and/or a defenceman that could help the power play. A third ‘nice to have’ need would be a scoring winger to help boost the team’s offence on the second line.
Unfortunately for Canucks fans, the Canucks don’t have a lot that they would be willing to part with in a trade. Roberto Luongo is the most obvious piece that Mike Gillis can dangle, but it remains to be seen if there is a team willing to give up a lot to get him. Apart from that, the Canucks are not in a great position to give up prospects due to the fact that they are an old team with not much coming up in the system.
With the Canucks struggling to win games this season, fans are looking for answers. They see an aging team that appears to be in decline since their near dream season in 2010-11.
The Canucks aren’t getting any younger. They have only four players on their roster under the age of 25 (Zack Kassian, Chris Tanev, Dale Weise and Tom Sestito), and none of them were Canucks draft picks. So the heat has been put on Mike Gillis. But is that fair? Lets investigate…
It’s been over a year since the Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian trade, and I’m still not happy about it.
I have noticed that there’s an increasingly large faction on Twitter that is trying to re-write history, trying to dismiss Hodgson’s strong play from last season despite what we all saw. Nobody criticized his play before the trade, but after the trade a movement began to theorize that he was put in favourable situations and that’s the reason why he succeeded.
Was Hodgson put in favourable situations last year? The advanced stats people will have you believe this, and I believe them. But Hodgson succeeded with those favourable minutes, and to say that anyone would have succeeded with those minutes is ludicrous. If it was that easy, every team’s third line centre would have 20 goals.
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