Examining the Canuck winners and losers of the 2013 trade deadline

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.

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20 comments

  1. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 4, 2013

    Mason “Buster” Raymond?

    I’d say Gillis comes out smelling like a rose if you compare this year to the holocaust that was deadline day 2012.

    Also, people talk about goaltending being a buyer’s market this year and this upcoming summer, however, that’s being said now, before 15 of 16 playoff teams have tasted bitter defeat, in many cases due to mediocre goaltending. It’s too bad for Luongo though.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      April 4, 2013

      I love you, Chris, but comparing the Cody Hodgson trade to the holocaust might be the beginning of a turn towards self-parody.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 4, 2013

        I love you too Harrison and would be happy to give you a big ol’ hockey hug. However, I compared it to “a holocaust”, not “The Holocaust”. I also found the Pahlsson trade to be decidedly underwhelming, incidentally.

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  2. EllynBleu
    April 4, 2013

    Thank you for the positive *spinzz* of Trade Day! Three winners and three losers equals a good balance. RL will have his day later. I just wish that I didn’t see all the “My contract sucks” comments in the media.

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  3. Neil B
    April 4, 2013

    I think that we’ve arrived at the new NHL earlier than I thought we would.

    As of this season, you can sign with your home team for one more year than with anyone you’re traded for. This also means one more year to pad one’s salary cap hit. Hence, it is in the interest of both the player and the team to not trade a soon-to-be UFA at the deadline, especially if he’s younger or likely to garner interest. Why? Because, rather than trading a rental to someone for a small return, you will be able to trade a signed player, good for up to 8 years, in the summer for a greater return.

    Welcome to the sign-and-trade world of the new NHL. The trade deadline is now officially when teams swap spare parts: bottom 6 forwards and depth defensemen. The big losers: teams & players who didn’t get the memo.

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  4. Andre
    April 4, 2013

    Regarding Ballard, I’d say that he became a winner long before the deadline, by plugging up a hole on the third line. This move is typical of AV: trying new combinations or ideas that he might want to use during the playoffs. Ballard’s flexibility means that he is now a valuable asset in AV’s toolbox because he can fill gaps created by injuries during the playoffs.

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  5. Fitz
    April 4, 2013

    Luongo’s now has to hope that the Leafs and/or Flyers get absolutely shelled in the first round of the playoffs. We all know he wants to go to Florida but the reality is the Panthers plain don’t have the money to pay him. Lu’s agent should have councilled him on this last summer and been more pro-active in brokering a deal to get him out.

    That said, blame who you want but Luongo remains a Canuck due to the “perfect storm” of a long term, high dollar contract with a No Trade Clause and a new more restrictive CBA. It has zero to do with his abilities on the ice and everything to do with dollars and cents.

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  6. Frank N.
    April 4, 2013

    I for one, am happy that Luongo didn’t get traded; from a team perspective that is. It sucks for Luongo on a personal level, as he wants to play and be the starter. But had he been traded we would have been one injury away from playing Climie (or a possible return in a Luongo trade à la Scrivens!?). No thanks, I prefer Luongo as our back up for the play-offs.

    Too bad though we didn’t add some more gritty scoring depth on our wings as that has been proven to be the Canucks biggest weakness in the last two play-offs: lack of scoring.

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  7. steveB
    April 4, 2013

    Another winner: sporting goods stores that sell Luongo #1 jerseys.
    Now they won’t have to sell them at steep discount.
    I <3 strombone1, glad that he is still a Canuck for a while longer.

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  8. akidd
    April 4, 2013

    i thought gillis did pretty good actually. there were a lot of buyers out there. to get roy was not too shabby imo. also not trading lou was an equally good move. the playoffs are all about goaltending. if schneider went down and lou wasn’t there the team would be in deep doodoo. the canucks don’t have to move salary until the summer. they might not end up getting much back for lou then but i think they’ll be able to move his contract.

    as much as clowe sounds good on paper, how does that work in the dressing room? there are lots of intangibles at work with trades. the canucks are close-knit. having lou and not having clowe is probably a surer bet for the dressing room.

    whatever might make this team successful this year will come from inside the organization. hoping that a deadline trade will do it is just desperation and a symptom of bad planning. small parts? sure. big parts? low percentage.

    gillis didn’t panic. very nice(said with a borat accent.)

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  9. tj
    April 4, 2013

    I think Mason Raymond’s continuously being undervalued by Van fans. Were he traded, he’d go to another team and possibly shine and then all those who ran him out of town would be calling for Gillis’s head for making such a crappy trade.

    Although I’m not a Gillis apologist (he strikes me as somewhat milketoast when it comes to trade negotiations), I think he did the right thing by not trading Luongo at this point (even though he might have had the right deal come through). In the end, Shneider just can’t carry the team solo through playoffs. I’m stymied by those who think otherwise.

    And as for Lu, I’ve said it elsewhere but I’ll say it again: It does seem like the mythology of Bettman’s Revenge has indeed begun to play out. (Maybe I’m watching too much Game of Thrones…) http://www.canada.com/hockey/columnists/Luongo+Rule+shows+Bettman+pettiness/7792570/story.html

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  10. Dale
    April 4, 2013

    ya I’d be upset too..what 64 million dollars and so many years…however he is still a great goalie.

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  11. Naturalmystic
    April 4, 2013

    The real losers are the long suffering fans of the Casucks. The Oilers pimp slapped the Flames last night and now want their money from Mary Kate and Ashley. The Oilers want their money.

    Not half.
    Not some.
    But all their cash.
    Because if they don’t….

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 4, 2013

      The Oilers beat a Flames team that traded away Iginla and Bouwmeester? The devil you say! What’s next for the intrepid Oilers? Stealing candy from a baby?

      Incidentally, the fact that you used the phrase “pimp slapped” and constantly use the female gender as an insult immediately lets me know that your opinion is utterly useless.

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      • JDM
        April 4, 2013

        Wagner, you were in the PITB deadline chat yesterday. I saw you. You were making polls about sandwiches and such. Naturalmystic was there too, doing his Oiler troll thing. What I’m getting at is: you don’t need to consult his use of any particular phrase or any evidence of misogyny to conclude that his opinion is utterly useless. There is plenty of longer-standing evidence on that point.

        Assuming I briefly have your attention, could one of you guys do a post discussing whether it might at long last be best to give up on this trade-Roberto-for-peanuts campaign and instead get what would likely be something of a king’s ransom for Corey Schneider? If things have gotten down to two 2nd round picks and Ben Scrivens, I’m starting to lean in that direction.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          April 4, 2013

          Heh, I actually wasn’t the one creating the polls, but point taken.

          Schneider would certainly fetch more in a trade, but I just don’t see it happening. I also don’t see Luongo going for as little as two 2nd round picks and Ben Scrivens. I don’t buy that rumour in the slightest.

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          • JDM
            April 4, 2013

            Yet it’s been widely reported by TSN and Pierre LeBrun among others. One has to assume that it comes straight from Nonis or someone near him. You think they’re lying to the media to drive the price down? Because it will work unless denied outright by GMMG, and he hasn’t done that.

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            • Daniel Wagner
              April 4, 2013

              Keep in mind that Dreger, y’know, works for TSN, as does LeBrun. Dreger is basically the source for everyone else and his sources is Nonis, who has plenty of reasons to spread misinformation in hopes of driving Luongo’s asking price down. Nonis can safely deny it, of course, since he’s not the one saying it. It makes it pointless for Gillis to deny it.

              I suspect it’s a half-truth. It makes no sense whatsoever for Gillis to go after draft picks and a replacement goaltender at the trade deadline. If they’re not going to trade Luongo for a roster player that helps the Canucks immediately, then there’s no reason to make a trade during the season and should wait until the draft, where they’ll likely have more interest. My guess is that Scrivens and two 2nd rounders is what Toronto offered, rather than what the Canucks offered. That’s the only way any of this makes sense to me.

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  12. Bill Sanders
    April 4, 2013

    We need to step back and go wait a minute – Big Lou has won the sports lottery and set for life. Hard to feel to bad for him. He’s been a class act but how many players would give up their first born to be in his position. Suck it up cupcake….

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  13. xyrix
    April 4, 2013

    It’s pretty inaccurate to describe the drop-off of the Sedins’ production as due to their deployment or increased defensive attention. They’re scoring at the same rate at evens as last year, and not too far off of two years ago. The problem is that the power play has been absolute garbage.

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