A review of Gillis’ major moves
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
Here we are, three weeks into hockey season when no story is huge yet, but everyone’s excited. It’s a prime opportunity to blow past moves out of proportion.
When the Canucks bested the Devils earlier this month, it was a great relief to finally put an end to the discussion over who won the trade. ‘Nucks won the game, so Vancouver won, right?
I understand that living in Vancouver means all things hockey-related are under a microscope, but do we really have to do this every time? The Devils play Vancouver again on the October 24. Are we all going to haul out our hockey expert hats and proclaim the victor all over again? The Schneids probably puts it best, “I‘m hoping this will be the final chapter but I don’t know if it will be for you guys. I’m sure every time we play the Canucks, it will be brought up and that‘s fine and that comparison is going to be made. Obviously it‘s the first time back since the trade, but I’m just hoping to move on from here once this is done, and just start playing hockey again.”
Nothing new here, but from a personal standpoint, I don’t think there’s any argument whatsoever over who came out on top of that move. New Jersey got their goalie for when Martin Brodeur finally retires. The Canucks meanwhile, more specifically Gillis, took a great situation and totally bungled it. Two goalies and a league full of teams who could use even one capable starter. One goalie had been touted for years to be a future star and the other who had seemingly been sitting on a ticket out of town for some time. Pretty sure even our dear editor, Jacey Gibb could have made the right move. Kadri and a pick look good to anyone about now?
Going back to Gillis’ other defining trade, there’s little doubt he screwed the pooch there too. The Cody Hodgson-Zack Kassian trade is now almost two years old and the players are moving in distinctly different directions. Hodgson is coming off a strong year (34 points in 48 games), just signed a six-year contract extension, and has looked good to start the season. Kassian meanwhile has been significantly less Todd Bertuzzi than advertised, scoring 11 points in 39 games; take out his first eight games and that total drops to five points in 31. To top it off (as of this writing), Kassian hasn’t even seen the ice this regular season due to a suspension. Considering the trade was supposedly made with “winning now” in mind, it was a catastrophic failure, with Kassian doing little down the stretch. Trying to see the positive and looking at what the trade will do for the Canucks and the prospects are still bleak. What goes around comes around, and it was only a matter of time before the Canucks found themselves the recipients of an Alexander Stojanov.
But hey, we’re three weeks into the season and the team hasn’t tanked it yet. Maybe there’s hope yet.