We’ve all played arm chair GM at one point or another. It’s fun to debate with friends and co-workers on trades and free agents. The majority of the time the ‘fantasy’ trades and pick ups never come close to fruition. In Vancouver the ‘expert’ opinions have been flying in since the Canucks were bounced from post-season play. The trade banter has ramped up even more in recent days with the rumours that Roberto Luongo has told Mike Gillis he would like to be traded. There’s also a rumoured list of wanted destinations Luongo has given to Gillis. Whether or not these rumours are true we all know Gillis can’t keep both of his goalies and it is Luongo that is likely the odd man out.
Let’s start with the goalie situation. If this decision was controlled by the fans of Vancouver there would be no doubt which goalie would be let go. In a perfect world I would prefer to see Cory Schneider moved, not because I think he’s an inferior talent, but because the return on Schneider would be monstrous. However, given what went down in the final 3 games of the playoffs the writing appears to be on the wall and Luongo will likely be the man to go. At first I felt the Canucks were not going to get much more than a bag of pucks for the franchises’ all time best goaltender. However, with more and more teams rumoured to be in the mix I feel Luongo will bring something substantial back to the Canucks after all. When there are more teams in the mix that means more competition and higher prices. Tampa Bay has been rumoured to be one of these teams interested in Luongo. The Lightning do have some useful parts that the Canucks could use. If you were Gillis and were offered Ryan Malone and a non first round draft pick would you take it? Or how about a constant underachieving Lecavalier? Or an ageing Martin St. Louis? The latter two possibilities I don’t really see happening, but you never know. Gillis will be patient and likely will not bite unless he gets a top 6 forward or a top 4 d-man.
How about the rest of the Vancouver core: Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Booth, Edler, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Hansen, Kassian? Who is untouchable in your opinion? Can anyone honestly be untouchable? I mean, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded anyone can be traded. Just look at Philadelphia, would you ever have fathomed they would of traded away their captain Mike Richards and an all-star centre Jeff Carter? Which Canucks would I say are untouchable? I would go with the Sedins, Edler, Hamhuis, Hansen and Kassian. I don’t need to defend why I’d keep the Sedins…I think it’s obvious. Hamhuis is the most dependable Canucks defender in my opinion (yeah yeah forget the last play of the playoffs). He can skate, is an excellent passer and exceptional positionally. Edler struggled this season, but he has all the skills to be a #1 defender. He has size, skating ability, a booming shot and excellent passing ability. Hansen is a terror in the bottom 6 group of forwards. He has a non-stop motor, tremendous speed, tenacious checker and strong on the PK. Kassian is only 21 years old and has loads of potential: a huge man that can skate and with good hands. I left off some crowd favourites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect these players. They are all great players, but in my opinion a core piece or two should be moved to shake up the line up and change the personality of this team.
What do I mean by changing the personality/mentality of the team? In my opinion the Canucks have too many yappers and not enough punchers. By punchers I’m not saying the Canucks need to pick up 5 Gino Odjick’s. I’m saying the Canucks need some serious grit…guys who will stick up for others and if pushed will shove back not dive 8 feet backwards clutching their face like they’ve been shot. The yappers do have a place on rosters, but you don’t need 4 or 5 Lapierre’s do be effective. How many times this season did you see one of the Canucks’ stars get owned and all the response we saw was some creepy stare downs, finger pointing, empty taunts and slashes to the back of the legs? If I was an opposing team those above antics would not deter me from taking liberties on the stars of the team…it actually would likely encourage me to do more damage. The constant yapping, diving and complaining has to also have some effects on the referees as well. It always seems that the Canucks have the short end of the stick when it comes to power plays. If you were a ref could you honestly say that the constant yapping and complaining wouldn’t get to you? It must to some degree.
As we near the NHL draft and the July 1 free agent window we will see the fireworks ignite. Until then keep up the arguments…err…I mean friendly debates. I mean what else are we Canucks fans going to do this Summer?