From GM of the Year to ‘moron’ in one season; what’s the deal with Mike Gillis?

If I were David Poile, Doug Armstrong, or Dale Tallon, this year’s nominees for GM of the Year, I’d be praying that the award goes to someone else. All you have to do is take one look at the season Mike Gillis has had to suspect that, maybe, the NHL General Manager of the Year award is cursed.

Gillis deserved the award after 2010-11 but, since winning it, nothing has gone right for him. He couldn’t sell Christian Ehrhoff on taking a haircut and forgoing free agency. All he could rustle up on July 1 was a clunky old Marco Sturm, hockey’s equivalent of snagging a boot while fishing. Six games into Sturm’s tenure, he was moved to Florida along with Mikael Samuelsson for David Booth, who underwhelmed. Samme Pahlsson, acquired at the trade deadline, earned praise during the regular season, then withered in an arduous, 5-game postseason.

But Gillis’s worst move on the surface — the one that really hurt his approval rating — was the Cody Hodgson trade. Not only did many, many fans fall out of love with Gillis over this one, which yielded no immediate payoffs, but on Monday, Gary Roberts, trainer to the young stars, called the Canucks’ GM a moron and a dud.

Last year, it was all accolades for Gillis. This year, the Quinoa King of the East is calling him names. What the Hell happened?

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The Canucks gave Cody Hodgson two makeovers this year

Considering when news of Cody Hodgson’s trade to Buffalo broke — at around 12:30 PST, well after the trade deadline had passed — you could be forgiven for thinking it was a last-minute deal, like the one that brought Chris Higgins to the team at the 2011 cutoff. And, after Hodgson’s agent Ritch Winter claimed in the aftermath that he and Hodgson had met with the Canucks the weekend prior about icetime, you might even think it was a kneejerk move.

But on Tuesday morning at Mike Gillis’s season wrap-up presser, the Canucks’ GM had some interesting things to say about the circumstances surrounding Hodgson’s departure. Most notably, while he never quite said it, it’s apparent that even if Buffalo didn’t get onboard until later, the team had been working on a Hodgson deal since December at least.

Remember how Hodgson’s teammates gave him an off-ice makeover? Turns out the coaching staff gave him one too.

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