Canucks acquire Derek Roy, allowing them to finally play their wingers on the wing

Over the course of his tenure as Canucks GM, Mike Gillis has earned a reputation as an eleventh hour dealer. Typically, the Canucks go completely quiet right up until the deadline appears to have passed, and then, just as Vancouver hockey fans begin to pout, it’s announced that Gillis’s paperwork has just beaten the buzzer.

Not so this time around, where it would appear Gillis’s New Year’s Resolution was to stop leaving things until the last second. A day in advance of the trade deadline, he’s made what may be his big splash: the Canucks have acquired centre Derek Roy and his expiring $4M contract from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2nd round pick and prospect Kevin Connauton.

Don’t weep for Connauton. While the defenceman has a lot of offensive ability, he’s been unable to develop his defensive game at the pro level. Clearly, the Canucks lost hope that he ever would.

As for the incoming player, it’s really not all that difficult to explain the motive here. While the Canucks have been lauded for their centre depth in recent seasons, this year, they’ve been all Malcolm and no middle. With Ryan Kesler on the injured reserve, Cody Hodgson in Buffalo, and Manny Malhotra shut down, the Canucks have been hobbling along all season. Henrik Sedin remains an elite centre, Maxim Lapierre remains a pretty good fourth line centre, and the tiny Jordan Schroeder has shown promise at times, but Vigneault has effectively been working with two and a half men all year.

Considering there are four lines, having two and a half men is about as terrible as, well, watching Two and a Half Men. As a result, Mason Raymond, Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows have all spent time in the middle as Band-Aid solutions.

Roy is no band-aid. He’s actual medical attention.

At 5’9″, 184 lbs, he’s hardly a big, bruising shutdown guy. In fact, he’s more in the mould of Schroeder, who looks like he’s just become a superfluous piece on the club. Update: Yep.

(I feel partly responsible. A week ago, I asked if he had done enough for the team to relax on their hunt for a centre. Schroeder immediately went cold. It’s pretty much the same thing that happened when I wrote about his faceoffs. Note to self: never write about Jordan Schroeder.)

But Roy is a better player than Schroeder at both ends of the ice. He’s an offensive producer, with 22 points in 30 games for the Stars this season. Just four goals, yes, but it’s still a 60-point pace over an 82-game season, made a little more impressive by his own admission that he’s only felt healthy for the last month. From the Dallas News:

Roy was ready for the start of the season in January, but he was sidelined by a groin injury and missed an additional five games in late January and early February. Now, he has five points (two goals and three assists) in the last three games, and appears to be finding his groove.

“I’m not making excuses for Derek Roy, but yesterday was the first day he said he felt 100 percent healthy,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I thought he was really good tonight, he was quick on pucks, he made good little plays, that’s what we’re going to get moving forward. It’s been a while since he felt 100 percent, but we’re relying on him, and we think he can deliver.”

But Roy can defend as well. Although his faceoff percentage is a concerning 46.7, worst among the Stars’ four primary faceoff men, Glen Gulutzan hasn’t shied away from starting him in the defensive zone in Dallas as a means of sheltering some of his prospects. He’s not exactly a Selke candidate, but by all accounts, he can hold his own. As TSN’s Scott Cullen points out, while he’s not producing offence at the point-per-game pace he used to, he’s still improving his club when he’s on the ice, at both ends of it:

While his own shooting percentage (6.2%) is a career-low, his linemates have been more effective, as his on-ice shooting percentage (10.31%, 5-on-5 per www.behindthenet.ca) is second-best among Stars forwards.

What does stand out, in some respects, is that Roy started a lot of shifts in the defensive zone, faced a higher-calibre of competition and still generated a positive shot differential with the Stars, so he was moving the puck the right way, even if his point total hasn’t been up to his previous standards.

Plus, Ryan Kesler still exists, and is reportedly returning in a week. While Roy’s no Malhotra in the defensive end, that’s okay: Ryan Kesler’s still pretty good at defence. The Canucks can probably afford to sacrifice a little of Kesler’s offence to increased defensive responsibility, especially considering Roy’s also no Malhotra in the offensive end.

As with all deals, time will tell, but on the surface, it’s a good deal for the Canucks.

49 comments

  1. Luongold
    April 2, 2013

    love the 2 sitcom references haha

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  2. Nee
    April 2, 2013

    I’m happy about this deal in the short term. We clearly had a need for another C.

    But, Roy is a UFA this summer and is reportedly asking 6 yrs/5 mill per…wtf??????

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    • Carlo
      April 2, 2013

      6 years at 5 mil per?? Oh boy. We are in trouble. But I like this trade. I do want him to stay afterwards though…

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      April 2, 2013

      Isn’t that all a little premature? He hasn’t even played a game yet and you want to give him a 30 million dollar extension?

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  3. ikillchicken
    April 2, 2013

    “they’ve been all Malcolm and no middle”

    Technically, Malcolm was IN the middle. So more accurately we’ve been all Dewey & Reese.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      April 2, 2013

      Well, yes, but if you’re Malcolm in the middle without “the middle”, you’re just “Malcolm in” and that’s no show at all, man.

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      • ColbyD
        April 2, 2013

        Or is it the best show ever? He could be IN anything.

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  4. Zach Morris
    April 2, 2013

    Well, he’s not gritty, nor is he truculent.
    Fans will be disappointed.

    I honestly don’t know how to feel about this one. I think I was hoping for a Luongo trade.

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  5. Chinook
    April 2, 2013

    Desperate need for a centre but difficult to see this being anything more than a temporary (this season) solution, considering cap situation next year. And that means giving up a second round pick is too steep a price. Also, does this mean Luongo is not going anywhere this season?

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  6. Andre
    April 2, 2013

    So, this removes the need for a Luongo-Centreman trade. Does that mean that another shoe is about to drop? Is your theory about the need for a right-hand defenseman (Weaver+?) about to be confirmed?

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    • ColbyD
      April 2, 2013

      I 100% agree Andre, I stubbornly believe we have been Center-less all year because MG has been holding out to get a solid NHler in a Luongo trade.

      Now he could be moved for a defenceman like you say, or even the right pick or prospect in the offseason if Roy works out.

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      • chinook
        April 2, 2013

        Yeah, maybe MG can shift Luongo to get that second round pick back.

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  7. Longer Memory
    April 2, 2013

    This reminds me of the deal for Pahlsson last year. Great trade, they said. Shores up the centre position, they said. Playoff experience. Yada. And out go the Nucks in the first round, Pahlsson goes back to play in Sweden, and two more draft picks out the window.

    Yes Roy is more skilled offensively, but he’s also small, has only 66 points in his last 110 games, and turns 30 in a month. And then is a UFA.

    Why is Mike Gillis allergic to draft picks? Does he really believe what he says to the media, that he thinks the team has a lot of fine prospects… then uses a 25-year-old minor league backup goalie as an example?

    Look, I hope Roy helps the Nucks make a playoff run, and they extend him for reasonable money (i.e. less than the $4 mill he gets now). But I think throwing around draft picks year after year is just bad management policy.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 2, 2013

      Longer memory? You appear to have a very short memory, considering you conveniently stopped your assessment of Roy with the worst offensive season of his career. Prior to those 110 games, Roy had 255 points in 275 games.

      Getting Roy for a second round pick and a mid-level prospect is a pretty dang good deal. I’m also not a huge fan of trading draft picks for rentals, but Roy has been a first-line center in the past and is a very good second line center. The fact that he’ll likely end up bumped to third line center once Kesler returns means that the Canucks’ center depth is once again a strength, at least for this season.

      And Eddie Lack isn’t a backup goalie in the AHL. If he wasn’t injured, he’d be the Wolves’ starter.

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  8. steveB
    April 2, 2013

    I would be much, much happier to hear that Steve Ott had been acquired by the Canucks, but oh well.
    I have hope, but little optimism for this edition of the Canucks. :-|

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  9. smj
    April 2, 2013

    Just curious what you would speculate is now the plan for Schroeder? Is Roy likely just a rental with the hopes Schroeder will be more consistent next year?

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  10. Canuckjeet
    April 2, 2013

    I’ve been disappointed that Gillis has been overly patient but this looks to be a great trade for a rental. Roy is a legitimate 2nd line center and Canucks didn’t give up a whole lot (Connauton wasn’t panning out and 2nd is probably the going rate considering today’s overpriced market with few sellers).

    This probably means a Luongo trade doesn’t happen until the summer which is also probably not a bad thing. He’s insurance for the playoffs, pushes Schneider to play well and also will likely get a higher return than before he trade deadline.

    Here’s hoping that a bruiser like Clowe can also be added. But adding Roy is a big step in the right direction … at least there’s some hope for this year’s playoff run.

    GCG!!

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    • ColbyD
      April 2, 2013

      Ugh, no Clowe please. He’s hated by some of the guys in locker room, (Game where he was running around and mouthing off), he’s got terrible stats this year and he seems to be losing his legs.

      Besides Boumeester to St Louis, all of the other trades have been East to West. I dont think the Sharks want to see Clowe in the playoffs and I think they want way too much for him.

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      • Doop
        April 2, 2013

        Well Roy is coming over from the Stars, so there goes that.

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  11. Brian
    April 2, 2013

    It seems that Gillis has a apprehension to getting hockey players that are bigger than him.

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  12. Brent
    April 2, 2013

    Well I hope this is a good trade. You guys and Thomas Drance have made a good case for this but lets remember Påhlsson last year. Much was made of his acquisition on this site, but it didn’t really work out. Sure it wasn’t all his fault (lets face it the team was flat and was basically backing into the playoffs) and on that series winning goal, I mean it was Dan “Completely Reliable Man” Hamhus with the puck. I am sure that if it was Kevin “completely unpredictable man” Bieksa he would have stayed out. But the Canucks didn’t even consider resigning him. Is Roy just a rental as well? Somehow I think there may be a trade for a defenceman before tomorrow.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 2, 2013

      Even if he is a rental, a second round pick and Connauton is a very reasonable price for a player of Roy’s calibre.

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      Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
    • ColbyD
      April 2, 2013

      Even if Roy is a complete bust, he is still better than Pahlsson.

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  13. Nee
    April 2, 2013

    Since the post isn’t up yet, I’ll just comment here:

    ABS ABS ABS ABS Higgins ABS ABS beard ABS ABS staph infection ABS ABS ABS

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  14. Snepsts
    April 2, 2013

    Far more importantly, my first name is actually “Roy”, so I look forward to being one of those few cool dudes with a legit hockey player last name/my real first name match on my future brand-spanking new away jersey, and it will never matter if he gets traded and everyone will be jealous forever.

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  15. Andre
    April 2, 2013

    When all is said and done, I still cannot see how this team can get through to the cup Finals against, say, Chicago or San Jose. Not unless Luongo (bless his soul) is traded.

    I can imagine that Kesler and a couple of other injured players may be back in the line up, but there will be other injuries along the way. Right now, we’re barely scraping by. Even with this addition and the return of Kesler, there is still not be enough in this team to get to the Finals.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 2, 2013

      If Kesler is healthy, the Canucks can survive injuries to other players. They actually have quite good depth on the wing, though losing Booth hurts that depth, and the defence has already had games without Bieksa and Edler.

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  16. JDM
    April 2, 2013

    For those of you thinking there’s any chance this is anything other than a rental, allow me to illustrate why you are almost certainly wrong. Please understand that the rumour is Roy wants somewhere in the realm of $6M. Let’s be optimistic and say he’d sign for $5M instead.

    The following is the Canucks next year, with the cap at 64.3M – I have assumed contract values for Schroeder and Tanev that are in line with the current RFA market established by guys like Subban and Del Zotto (who are tiers above Tanev in value). I have also assumed that Ballard and Luongo will no longer be on the team, as seems very likely.

    F
    Sedin 6.1
    Sedin 6.1
    Kesler 5.0
    Burrows 4.5
    Booth 4.25
    Higgins 2.5
    Hansen 1.35
    Kassian 0.8
    Schroeder 1.0
    EMPTY
    EMPTY
    EMPTY
    EMPTY

    D
    Edler 5.0
    Bieksa 4.6
    Garrison 4.6
    Hamhuis 4.5
    Tanev 1.7
    EMPTY
    EMPTY

    G
    Schneider 4.0
    Backup 0.6

    Total: $56.6M – 7.7 million in cap space for next year.

    Missing: 1 D, 3F on the roster, and I expect another D and F in the press box.

    I am guessing you could get Pinozotto and Weise back for about 600-700k per, and Lapierre back for about 1M. Barker and Alberts (or their equivalent 6-7 defensemen in free agency) for about 1.7M combined. That’s problem solved for ~$4M to $4.5M, and leaves, slightly optimistically, $3.2M to $3.7M in cap space.

    Soooo… Basically we can’t afford to re-sign Derek Roy.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 2, 2013

      This looks about right. I’d say there’s a possibility that Corrado makes the team as a 6th/7th defenceman with a $600k cap hit and the Canucks bring in Alberts, Barker, or a similar player in free agency for under $900k, which would save a bit of coin, but not enough.

      I’m not sure I buy the rumours that Roy wants $6 million. He’s a couple seasons removed from being a top-notch first-line player. But yes, to re-sign with the Canucks, Roy would definitely need to severely lower his asking price. I could see the Canucks trying to get him for around $4 to 4.5 million, which would require some finagling by Gilman and Gillis. Or, who knows, maybe the Canucks will actually buyout Booth. I personally don’t see that happening, but it’s a possibility.

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      • JDM
        April 2, 2013

        Two reasons I don’t buy the Booth buyout. First, it’s possible he’ll still be injured when the season ends, in which case he may not be buyout-eligible. Second, and more importantly, you don’t buy out a useful player simply because his contract value is about $1M too high. That is throwing away money and useful pieces with no guarantee you’ll find a replacement for significantly less. There aren’t a lot of David Booth caliber possession players out there period, let alone for under $4M AAV.

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        • Chinook
          April 2, 2013

          And it means getting only draft pick(s) for Luongo because there is no $. And no Raymond on this list either. I like Derek Roy as a player, and he is worth the trade price, but not for the Canucks. This is poor asset management.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          April 2, 2013

          I agree with this. I hope that Gillis does too.

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      • Rob
        April 2, 2013

        If the Canucks decide to try and keep Roy, that would basically put Schroeder in the AHL next year, and that would take his 1-1.25M off the books. If the Canucks could get Roy for 4.5M and re-sign all the players stated above, they would be a hair under 64M. They would be under the cap but they would be !@#$%^ if they ran into injury problems.

        Here is something to think about too. What if Jensen plays well enough during this call-up to make an impression and the coach and management decide that he is ready to play in the middle 6 next year, would that then make Booth a buyout target? It would save the Canucks 3.35M and it makes the Roy signing very easy. Do the Canucks gamble anyway and buyout Booth and bring up Jensen anyway with the hopes that he works out?

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      • Frank N
        April 3, 2013

        @ Daniel. There are a couple of scenarios, but if the Canucks want to keep Roy, they could aim to resign him for $3.5-4.5m, sign Raymond for $2.5-3m and buy-out Booth. Or they could keep Booth and let Roy and Raymond walk. I would prefer the first scenario, especially if Roy pans out. Raymond drives play, maybe not to the level of Booth, but he’s a cheaper option. (Even if people say that Raymond is looking for more money and a longer contract, with the cap coming down, what team is willing to commit $4+?).

        Anyways, let’s just first see how the Canucks perform and how they fare in the play-offs. Too bad they didn’t pick up a Clowe or Torres though. Having some more grit from guys that can actually play would have been really helpful!

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    • Andre
      April 2, 2013

      Where’s Raymond and Roy?

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      • JDM
        April 2, 2013

        Raymond’s asking price is in the neighbourhood of $4M, i.e., too rich for our blood. Roy, as I am arguing, cannot be re-signed as he will likely cost north of $5 million (I would expect $5M will be the least he will get on the UFA market in the summer).

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        • Nick
          April 2, 2013

          Haven’t seen anything about Raymond asking for $4 million. Is this common knowledge or your guess? Higgins is a comparable player and just signed for a lot less.

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  17. Taco
    April 2, 2013

    Setting the stage: two weeks before the trade deadline, it’s March 16th, the nucks receive yet another drubbing by the Wings with our poor whipping boy Luongo left in for the full 5 goals against. Enter stage left Schneider and a radically changed playing style. No more offense + team defense = “stellar goal-tending”. Drama unfolds as the oilers poke holes in the script but a quick re-write and the lucky goalie is pulled after only 2. Final plot twist and our new “star” is traded for walk-ons at the deadline. Mist parts; Luongo rises from the grave and miraculously found not to suck.

    Well, at least that might be a more interesting show then the one currently on screen. Please delete from PVR after reality airs tomorrow.

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  18. Rob
    April 2, 2013

    Sedin 6.1, Sedin 6.1, Kesler 5.0, Burrows 4.5, Higgins 2.5, Hansen 1.35, Kassian 0.87, Schroeder 1.25, Lapierre 1.25, Wiese 0.75, Pinizzotto 0.75, Ebbett 0.75, Bieksa 4.6, Garisson 4.6, Hamius 4.5, Edler 3.25, Tanev 2.0 (absolute worst case) 6th & 7th d-men 0.9 each, Schnieder 4.0, Lack 0.75. If they sign Roy for 5.0M they will be at 65.92M. But with Roy in the Line-Up Schroeder and Ebbett will play in the AHL next season freeing up 2.0M bringing the Canucks down to 63.92M – 380k below the cap. If they can keep Tanev for less than 2.0M and Roy for 4.5M they will be in pretty good shape.

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    • Kenji
      April 2, 2013

      Yes! Also, someone is going to be hurt (or “hurt”) and on LTIR…

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    • chinook
      April 2, 2013

      Edler’s salary next year is 5.0 so your numbers are shy about 1.6. And it means getting nothing but draft picks for Lu, which might be OK but is that what MG thinks is good return?

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  19. tj
    April 2, 2013

    No Clowe, a/c to the latest Drance. Can’t say I’m disappointed.

    At this point, I don’t hold out much hope for getting much better than a new mop for the locker room.

    And we have another whole day of this anxiety? Sigh.

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  20. Nick
    April 2, 2013

    Anybody else rather see Booth’s $4 million go to Raymond next season instead ?

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    • akiddd
      April 3, 2013

      //grabs arm by the elbow so he can raise it higher.

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  21. akiddd
    April 3, 2013

    at a quick glance i’d say that the canucks did well. there’s only so much talent in the league and there are a lot of buyers. the canucks had to do something. and something was done. we’ll have to see how it plays out.

    i wouldn’t just dismiss connaugton so easily though. we’ll have to see how he develops. not sure i like the immediate appraisal that he was all of a sudden good riddance. dmen can take a while to develop. dallas isn’t stupid, remember. they might not be florida crafty but they’re not stupid. the canucks paid a price and we won’t know how much for a few years still. new shiny things are expensive. whachagonnado?

    gillis was able to stir the pot, that’s what counts. and while the pragmatist might favour some ideal playoff grinder-type i have no problem to watch a skilled centre go to work. the canucks play a skill game, although a bit less recently, and that’s how they’re going to win. no use pretending they can just miraculously transform into the bruins or kings(isn’t that what we secretly all want?:) with a couple of moves.

    but something had obviously slipped recently and less recently and more skill not less is certainly the cure. the team never replaced erhoff’s skill as well as some decline of skill due to injury of key guys(and i’m not talking about booth.)

    putting all your hope eggs in kesler’s basket might not be the most prudent move considering he hasn’t(barely) played nhl hockey in almost a year. besides gillis likes options. now he’s got some again.

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  22. Nick
    April 3, 2013

    My first reaction to the deal is that even the moderate price they paid may be too high for a UFA rental.

    It reminds of the year Nonis traded second round picks to shore up the defense with UFAs Keith Carney and Eric Weinrich … and the team still didn’t improve much.

    Canucks could have picked Milan Lucic in the summer, but had traded that pick away.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 3, 2013

      Roy is a much, much better player than Carney and Weinrich, however. And 80+% of second round picks amount to next to nothing in the NHL.

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  23. Nick
    April 3, 2013

    Mike Gillis has a history of trading for other teams’ unwanted (and often with bad contracts) players.

    He gets outfoxed every year.

    Did he just trade a promising young defenseman and a reasonably good pick for 20 or so games by rental player?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 3, 2013

      Higgins and Lapierre were both trade deadline acquisitions, so that’s really not true. As for Connauton, I’m sceptical that he’ll ever be more than a third pairing defenceman. The defensive side of his game just isn’t quite strong enough for the NHL at this point and I’m not sure how much it can develop.

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