It wasn’t a terrible NHL trade deadline for the Canucks. After all, they acquired Derek Roy, a skilled player that adds a very important element to their attack: a centre. They really haven’t had one of those all season.
Still, the 2013 trade deadline won’t be remembered in this city for what Mike Gillis did — it will be remembered for what he didn’t do. A big part of that is because he acquired Roy the day before the deadline, which is like giving a child a present on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting, but there had damn well better be something else under the tree on Christmas. But a bigger part is because Roberto Luongo wasn’t traded, leading to the the most indelible moment of the deadline, when Luongo told the world he had a sucky contract. That’ll stay with us, just like Luongo will.
All of this in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline from a Vancouver perspective.
LOSER – ROBERTO LUONGO
Most of the time, when Roberto Luongo shows emotion, he gets mocked. But it was hard not to feel sorry for him as he stood up there, almost a year after requesting a trade, wearing a Canucks t-shirt, a Canucks hat and a Canucks jacket and trying to make sense of it all. When the dust settled, he remained a Canuck, and the Vancouver media was treated to yet another showing of what a raw and emotional person Luongo can be.
I don’t think he was upset because he doesn’t like the Canucks organization. He just wants to play. Instead, he’s wrapped up in the complex drama of his situation, he’s grown weary of it, and on a day when it really should have ended — a day everyone, even he, thought it would end — it didn’t end. So yes, his contract sucks, because it’s keeping this exhausting, bewildering, frustrating situation from coming to a close. It’s preventing him from getting traded because other GMs are spooked by it. At one point yesterday — and I agree with Mike Gillis that this was Luongo at the height of emotion — Luongo wanted the saga to end so badly, he’d have been willing to tear up the deal. Tough day for Luongo.
On the bright side. Today’s his birthday! Happy big one, Funny Bob! Make us laugh with your comedy!
WINNER – KEITH BALLARD
With the club in the market for a right-handed defenceman, it seems reasonable to assume that Keith Ballard’s playing time would have taken an even steeper drop if they had found one. No doubt the incoming player would have immediately taken up residence ahead of Ballard on the depth chart. But with the Canucks unable to add on deadline day, Ballard will continue to share the number six hole with Andrew Alberts. He’ll still be in and out of the lineup, sure, but he’ll be in it a whole lot more than he would have been if another body had come to Vancouver. Minor victory, yes, but perhaps the biggest win of Ballard’s unspectacular time as a Canuck.
LOSER – MIKE GILLIS
Gillis and assistant GM Laurence Gilman got the piece they needed most desperately: a third-line centre. That’s a win. Still, it’s clear that they wanted to do more. As mentioned, a right-handed defenceman was a target. So too was another winger, and they were burned twice in this regard. First, they went hard after San Jose’s Ryane Clowe, but failed to get him after Clowe opted to go East (although that might be a small win, considering Clowe’s reported contract demands for next season are something like $34M over 8 years, which is ridiculous). Then they went after old friend Raffi Torres, and were beaten, as it happens, by the Sharks, who had a better third-round pick.
“It was tough to make trades today,” Gillis admitted.
I’ve heard it said that Gillis and Gilman were desperate, but that’s not true. They like the team and there are plenty of reasons the Canucks could make some noise in the playoffs. But it still has some weaknesses. That’s fine. Every team has weaknesses, but Gillis and Gilman worked hard to address them in some way and were unable.
WINNER – HENRIK SEDIN AND DANIEL SEDIN
With 31 and 29 points in 36 games, respectively, the Sedins aren’t quite producing at their usual point per game pace. One reason for this: their jobs have changed. Henrik and Daniel are natural scorers, and Alain Vigneault tends to deploy them almost exclusively to do this. It’s not a bad way to go about things, all things considered. But with Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra gone, the Sedins’ job became more complicated this season. They had more to do — more starts in their own end, more defensive deployment.
That’s going to eat into your offence. So too is the fact that, with the other lines so unstable, the twins were the only consistent threat to score game in and game out. That makes the opposition’s strategy very easy: stop them.
The addition of Derek Roy, who can spearhead another scoring line, makes playing Vancouver a little more complicated. Plus, Roy can suck up some defensive zone starts, meaning the Sedins’ job can be simplified. They should have a little more time and space to operate.
LOSER – JORDAN SCHROEDER
But while the twins were likely quite pleased to see the arrival of Roy, Jordan Schroeder wasn’t. Granted, he didn’t actually see it, and that’s because before Roy even arrived, Schroeder was on a plane to Chicago.
Schroeder had a decent rookie season here in Vancouver, and at times, he’s shown flashes of the sort of player he could be. But only flashes. Schroeder just wasn’t able to do enough to convince the Canucks he could be anything but an emergency option in the postseason, and the arrival of Derek Roy likely spelled the end of his NHL rookie season.
WINNER – MASON RAYMOND
With Derek Roy in the fold and Ryan Kesler coming back, Raymond can finally stop playing centre, which means he can stop taking faceoffs. This is good, because he sucks at it. He’s 34% in the circle. When it comes to taking draws, he’s just a turd out there.Tags: Daniel Sedin, Derek Roy, Henrik Sedin, Jordan Schroeder, Keith Ballard, Mason Raymond, Mike Gillis, Roberto Luongo, trade deadline, winners and losers