Another quiet tradeline has come and gone for the Vancouver Canucks. Fresh on the heels of finally moving their
starter back-up best twitter user ever in Roberto Luongo yesterday, the conventional wisdom was the fire sale was on and Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler were heading out the door.
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: Mike Gillis did nothing. Sorry, that's not true: he moved Raphael Diaz to the New York Rangers (*spits*) for a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft. You may remember Diaz from such films as "I've scored more goals this season than Alex Burrows" and "I played in the Winter Classic and Luongo didn't." He'll be missed.
Edler's name has been batted around for months now as a possible trade target. Today could have made sense, but never appeared to be more than just rumors. I appreciate Edler's no-nonsense stance:
Alex Edler told me you don't sign a 6-year deal with a NTC so you can leave town shortly after #canucks Don't think he'd waive.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) March 5, 2014
Kesler was the domino we expected to fall. No one wants to see him go, but most (some?) fans understand the art of asset management enough to realize a Kesler trade with a strong return is simply smart business for a team currently lost in the NHL wilderness. Selke centers don't grow on trees and he was rumored to be headed everywhere from LA to Minnesota, from Detroit to New York (*spits*) and, of course, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. In the end, the package Gillis was looking for (a replacement young center, a high prospect plus a 1st rounder) never materialized...except in Eddie Lack's mind.
Then there's Mike Gillis who (appropriately enough from a golf course) took time out of his busy day to explain himself:
If it wasn't going to fit with our long range plans ... we weren't going to do it.
I tabled yesterday that Gillis doesn't seem to have much of a game plan right now and today certainly didn't do much to change my mind. Complicating it all the more was one terrible idea that took to Twitter that management wouldn't move Kesler in hopes of revenue from the playoffs which, if true, is so frustrating that you're not paying attention if your blood pressure remains normal after finishing this sentence.
Again, this isn't to suggest the Canucks are in some death spiral: there's great talent that slaps that jersey on, there's actual life in the pipeline (no seriously) and they once again have a good deal of cap space to play it. What's frustratingly unclear is the next step: do you keep the KesLord or make moving him priority #1 at the draft? Will Gillis opt for high picks over free agent targets or is ready to get into a bidding war? Is the goal for 2014-15 just like this season: "hang in there kitty" with help coming in the form of Markstrom, Gaunce, Jensen, Corrado, and Horvat? And if they're not ready, what then? Also should we even bring up Torts yet?
On trade deadline days it's easy for fans to get excited at the idea of a quick fix, but those are extremely rare and isolated incidents. Most teams settle for the quick stopgap in hopes they don't show up and fail to meet even the most modest expectations (hello Derek Roy!). For a team in dire need an offensive kick start to even come close to the playoffs, today was rough. For a fanbase looking for even a modest feel good story outside of the new bromance, today was rough. For a franchise fresh on the heels of suddenly moving their best goalie in team history looking for some sign of next steps, today didn't solve that either.
Not sure about you, but I've pegged my hope for the near future on one simple concept: don't become Calgary. I mean, I know we're doomed by the fate, hockey gods and all the rest, but we're not that doomed...right?
Tick tock Michael. Tick. Tock.