I'm going to blow up this myth once and for all. Pittsburgh has 3 of the best centres in hockey, and I NEVER hear of anyone saying they "have to trade" one of them, nor is there an issue of ice time. Players know their role. Good players are good players. Quinton Howden is exactly the kind of guy Gillis would have wanted. He's 6'3", is versatile and can play wing or centre, and will eventually fill out his 183 lb frame. I'm sorry but he sounds like he's a better prospect than Schroeder is. At least he could play on the bottom 6 and fit in well. Do you see Schroeder being a bottom 6 guy? In what's probably his last year of junior he's averaged 65 points per season or better the past three years with Moose Jaw. Did I mention he has 15 points in 9 games in the playoffs? Sounds like he shows up when it matters. (He's a point a game or better player in post-season play in the WHL)
Gillis made the trade because we had a hole to fill on D. I didn't mind giving up Grabner or Bernier, but the 1st rounder was too much to get too little back. If we had traded for Keaton Ellerby or a similar young defensive prospect ok, yeah, you'd probably have to give up a first rounder. I still don't like the trade. But I understand why we did it.
What does Pittsburgh's situation have to do with what I was talking about?
If Quinton Howden was exactly the player GMMG wanted he would have kept that year's 1st round and traded the following year's 1st rounder that was a factual option.. he didn't.
Of course you wouldn't 'mind' giving up Bernier or Grabner, because neither had to role to fill with the team (unless of course Raymond had been let go of over Grabs) and Bernier had a 2 million dollar cap hit.
Anyway, Howden hasn't played a single pro game yet and the Canucks made it to the SCF last year and are in the race for it again this year. If they hadn't been able to sign Hamhuis and they hadn't traded for Keith Ballard things might be looking quite a bit different. Howden would NOT be on this team this year, within the next 3 years now? Maybe, but I still think the chances are slim.
He might end up being a fine player, but like I said, there's a window of opportunity right now and some sacrifices have/had to be made.