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Dreamy_Nuck

A review before the trading begins

Who do you want back?  

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So, the playoffs are over and done with. We have seen one of our own fan-favorites lift the cup. It was a bit of a shock to the system seeing Willie Mitchell being the first one to hold the cup after the Kings’ captain, in spite of having known for almost the whole game that Willie would get his turn.

I thought now would be a good time to summarise what has been going wrong over the past couple of seasons. If the parade is being planned in another city, things haven’t gone right. No matter how you put it, our goal-tending was not a problem in the playoffs or during the season as a whole. And yet, the biggest decision for the management over the next few months remains the goaltending. It will have long-term implications no matter who they keep. And in the unlikely event of keeping both goal-tenders, it would seem unlikely both would make it past the trade deadline in Canucks colours. I would hope that we would have a decision latest by trade deadline next season as to who we are putting our long-term faith in. I am still split on who we should keep; neither seems to be a bad option. But we have discussed that topic way too much already and will keep doing so for years to come, no matter how sweet or sour the outcome turns out to be.

But the major thought I have been having over the last 2 months in my mind has been – where is the big trade for next season coming from? And yes, there has to be one, maybe two. We have put all our trust in Mike Gillis, hopefully rightly so. He seems to get the best of the smaller trades, reviving player careers like Lapierre’s and Higgins’; while keeping the cost of contracts down. But there comes a time when you have to go all out for what you crave. You do have to take a chance, an educated punt. It can’t be all guesswork; after all, the GM has a full crew of experts working for him and hopefully helping him out in his thought process. Chicago took a chance on Hossa’s big contract; the Kings made a bunch of changes to their roster and took a chance on our hometown boy when we failed to take the same risk! They even made a coaching change when needed, and were active around trade deadline.

A trade between Cody Hodgson and Kassian did not cut it, whether Cody was a problem child or not. Maybe the trade could have waited till now. Wouldn’t Cody have loved to show what he is made of so more teams would line up for him. That would also have helped increase his trade value. It could have been a win-win. No matter who says what and who we believe, we will never know what really went on behind closed doors. Kassian just wasn’t good enough to be on the roster and it was clear after the first 3 games as a Canucks, once the excitement and adrenaline calmed off. In our market, we pay a bit too much attention to the local media telling us how good the trades and new players coming in are. All the talk about having Kassian on the first line as a try-out with the Sedins was just that – all talk. A player has to be good enough to play on the 3rd or 2nd line before making it to the top line. And similarly, all trades are not great trades, the local experts are essentially homeboys, The Team does business on all topics Canucks, surely they would keep the management happy in general. So, we should take all talk about the great trades and acquisitions with a pinch of salt.

I am not pretending to know as much as the GM knows – surely, there must be a lot of deliberation and information going into each and every decision. But in hindsight, we have made mistakes. And we have not taken big chances. And knowing how much of a fan following MG seems to have, dare I say that he should be judged by the same yard-stick as we judge our coach, Luongo, Sedins, Kesler et al. If the team cannot bring home the cup, nobody has done their job as well as we would like.

So to mention a few things that haven’t gone great with the benefit of hindsight: we have missed Torres more than we thought, Willie Mitchell is a healthy, stay-at-home cup winning defenseman, Malhotra returned from injury in the Cup final too early and that messed up the team chemistry (completely my personal opinion), Kesler returned from injury too soon (as if to re-iterate the fact that what should have been a lesson in case of Manny’s early return was ignored), Grabner and/or Cody could have helped more than Raymond has helped.

And then there are the issues with our planning and responses to certain situations. There wasn’t much of response to either Daniel getting the elbow by Keith, or Henrik being run over by Brown. The Marchand punch response is well known. Our team having a mixed identity that moved away from the Detroit model but not quite enough towards the Bruins or Minnesota or Phoenix model in the last 3rd of the season. The persistence with the drop pass, Henrik trying to shoot the puck for a month and going back to his pass first mentality, Sammy Salo’s supposed decrease in work-load never materialising, the reluctance to seriously trial separating the twins have all been little things that show a lack of belief in the plans made. I am assuming quotes in the media are not the full version of what the players and staff plan on. But it all seems to equate to more madness than method. Kesler being injured was news to us, I would be surprised if it was news to the club. There would be at least a fair chance that the staff knew he was not a 100% at the time Cody was being traded. Not a smart trade, if that is true.

Make no mistake; we have had Sundin, Ballard, Erhoff, Hamhuis, Samuelsson, Booth come into the club via trades and such. As mentioned earlier, we have had a lot of additions to the club in the form of Higgins, Samuelsson and Torres for a while, Lapierre, Alberts, Burrows a while back; Hansen, Edler , Schnieder, Tanev and others have come along under this management. The goaltending situation has been handled with class and with surgeon-like precision: changing Luongo’s coach, decreasing his workload, getting Schnieder to where he is now – all things goaltending could not have gone any better. But the fact remains that we haven’t had a blockbuster trade since Luongo.

Now would be the time to go for the cup all out, if the time has not already passed. Like they keep saying, the days of hockey dynasties are long gone; you need to be good enough for one postseason to be the Stanley Cup champions.

Any of the decisions from the past, or one that will be made this coming season could yet turn out to be a masterstroke. It will be called that only if we win the cup, as there is a fine line in professional sports between brilliance and utter shame. Luck does play a factor, but luck also favours the brave. So, with all the great players on offer this free agency and going up to the end of trade deadline day, I feel we need ideally 2 big pieces to be added to our current core – which will likely only miss one of the goal-tenders, maybe Ballard, Raymond or other smaller pieces. We probably will never know who was offered or who was interested in joining our team unless we have them wearing a Canucks uniform, but this is the year that defines this team, the management and this era!

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If Erhoff was still here, he could anchor the PP and be our offensive d-man while Hamhuis, Bieksa and Edler can focus more on their defense.

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It almost seemed like MG had a choice between Bieksa and Ehrhoff at the time and it would have been tough to accomodate both. Would Ehrhoff have been that much better? I do not know. Some truly great work would have kept both, but as i mention in my post, we just cannot assume that Ehrhoff was greedy and did not care about staying. It is possible that the management could have done more than they eventually did.

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I wasn't crazy about the way Ehrhoff left, but I believe he'd bring the most benefit to the team, especially the power play.

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I'd say Ehrhoff, and only because he thought we were still negotiating when his rights were traded away. He would have made a pretty marked difference in our offensive ability, although it would have meant we likely wouldn't have gotten Booth.

Cody was being Sheltered prior to the deadline to showcase his talents. He'd already started to slump coming into February (along with others on the team) and he didn't do anything so remarkable in Buffalo to suggest he could have further increased his trade value over and above where it was at the deadline.

Mitchell obviously would have been nice to keep, but he knew want kind of money and term he wanted, and we weren't going to be able to offer that to a player who hadn't played in 5 months after a concussion. There were just too many questions about his health for us to compete with the kind of offer he got from LA.

Grabner was the only person in charge of his future, and it wasn't until he decided to make a change after being traded to and then waived by one of the worst teams in the league that he showed what he was capable of. Even then, he's had a sophomore slump, and it remains to be seen if he can be a consistent threat at the NHL level.

Torres we would have missed, but that would have been us missing him after having a $2500 fine, a 2 game suspension and a 25 game suspension all in the same season. He can play, but it came at a cost that we knew prior to offering him a one year deal, when he wanted longer term.

Samuelsson was a good veteran guy who could produce, but is on the tail end of his career. We moved him before his value dropped so much that it wouldn't net us anything in return and got back a younger, more dynamic forward instead. Hard to argue that even if he would have been nice to have after his injury healed.

Tamby would have been a good depth guy at a good price, but he showed last year how his play could vary. Always fairly solid defensively, his offence tailed off and never came back when it could have helped our secondary scoring greatly.

I'd say all the moves were made in the best interest of the team and hindsight can't tell us how those players would have performed if they'd stayed. Perhaps we'd be making threads now about:

- how Cody's value plummeted after he threw a fit about his playing time despite disappearing in the playoffs

- how Gillis got nothing in return for Grabner after he had yet another bad training camp and was lost to waivers

- how Mitchell was sitting out the whole season on a $3.5M deal after another concussion and we were scrambling for a replacement

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4 million dollar cap hit for 50 pt d-man is underpayment. Shea weber almost gets double that for the same pt production.

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4 million dollar cap hit for 50 pt d-man is underpayment. Shea weber almost gets double that for the same pt production.

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Shea Weber is also a beast on defence. Ehrhoff was okay on the defensive end.

It's not the cap hit that did it for Ehrhoff, its the fact he wanted a 10 year deal. There is enough cases in the NHL of long term deals like that not exactly panning out.

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4 million dollar cap hit for 50 pt d-man is underpayment. Shea weber almost gets double that for the same pt production.

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Defensemen have a longer hockey lifespan than forwards so I wouldn't have been too worried. Worse case scenario, he plays in the minors for the last couple years of his contract.

Well Shea Weber wasn't able to shut down the weak offense of phoenix so he's not as good as everyone says. People just like him cause he's from BC.

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I'd say all the moves were made in the best interest of the team and hindsight can't tell us how those players would have performed if they'd stayed.

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- how Cody's value plummeted after he threw a fit about his playing time despite disappearing in the playoffs

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Defensemen have a longer hockey lifespan than forwards so I wouldn't have been too worried. Worse case scenario, he plays in the minors for the last couple years of his contract.

Well Shea Weber wasn't able to shut down the weak offense of phoenix so he's not as good as everyone says. People just like him cause he's from BC.

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We got Linden back so the only player that was ever worth having back is Todd Bertuzzi. To this day he is still contributes point wise and is a force around the net and on the forecheck. Big Bert is the only choice.

:canucks: NUFF SAID ::D

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If Erhoff was still here, he could anchor the PP and be our offensive d-man while Hamhuis, Bieksa and Edler can focus more on their defense.

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