Ok, so in like 2 weeks, Linden and Benning have achieved the best possible results in undoing the damage it took Gillis more than a year to cause.
- Canucks lose Luongo and Schneider in one of hockey's all-time greatest eff-ups. We can't get them back, but can you see anyone other than Miller and Demko as better replacements? Miller is on a 3 year contract, not a 3 million year contract. So that gives the guys in the system a chance to prove they are ready. Yes, Luongo was cheaper and better, but he's under contract until he needs a walker. I would rather not be handcuffed by term and NTCs and have a slightly lesser, although potentially just as good, goalie through the re-tooling years. Does that mean we're not tanking for McDavid? Yup. But isn't tanking on purpose for a high draft pick kind of classless, unethical, and Oilerish? Do we really want Vancouver to add that reputation?
- Kesler wanted out. That much is clear now. Anaheim was really the only fit for him and everyone knew it. The fact that we got anything at all in return from such a profound position of weakness is a miracle in itself. Bonino isn't as good as Kesler, but he's no scrub. Sbisa isn't a scrub either, and is a cheaper alternative to Garrison. Management is trying to get younger. They are dealing older, slower, depreciating assets often with limitations such as NTCs. What do you think they're going to get in return? The team is younger and faster now. The team has no locker room issues now (that we know of). Jared McCann may someday become as good as Kesler, in which case the immediate help of Bonino and Sbisa is just gravy. If McCann doesn't pan out, we've still got 2 NHL players, a lower cap hit, and purged a negative, whining, diving, often injured, declining player in return. Plus it opens a potential roster spot for Horvat or Gaunce to grab up in the not too distant future. Can you imagine if Benning had sat on Kesler and allowed the situation to fester? That would have been worse for the team than just giving him away for nothing.
- Torts is gone. By all accounts, Willie Desjardins is a good teacher and communicator and doesn't have an albatross of a negative reputation following him around. Is he the next Scotty Bowman? Here's hoping. But realistically if he's the next Dave Tippet I'll be happy. By the time he's figured out the NHL, the Canucks should be just about ready to compete again. Again, the timing fits.
It seems like this new management group has a better handle on planning than the last one. Long term contracts and NTC/NMCs cripple the team's ability to adapt and grow, and screws up the timing of slotting young guys into the roster. The team isn't as good, that's true, but FINALLY there are spots for prospects to grab.