Canucks GM Gillis weaves his magic
It was clear that Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis was pleased with his team, but NHLHS NHL correspondent Bill Kellett dicusses why the Nuck’s GM made the depth moves he did.
The NHL trade deadline is often an overhyped gong show for GMs. We saw this again this year with some teams overpaying for minimal talent and teams stocking up just to make it to the post season. Somewhere entangled in all of that are the GMs who sit back and wait in the weeds for the right guy to fall to them. That would describe Canucks GM Mike Gillis to a tee this year.
The Vancouver Canucks sit in first place overall, so obvioulsy no big moves were required for this team and depth for the first time in forty years is not an issue. Yet there has been a lot of concern for the fourth line this season as aside from Tanner Glass it has been a revolving door at the position. In two well thought out and well planned moved Mike Gillis patched up the supposed holes.
In adding Maxim Lapierre the Canucks have taken care of the sandpaper issue. He is player best described as a pest and makes life miserable for opponents. Many may not like the move because he was not well received when playing agaisnt you, but when playing for you he’s a gem. They were also able to acquire a prospect from Anaheim in the same trade named MacGregor Sharp, maybe not a household name, but another guy who adds some depth to the lineup. The price? Little used Joel Perrault and a 3rd round pick.
The other deal Gillis pulled off may have been even better, acquiring Chris Higgins from the Florida Panthers in their fire sale for dissapointing prospect Evan Oberg and a 3rd rounder in 2012. Despite the fact Higgins is a UFA at seasons end, this is not ony a good move for the teams depth but also for Mason Raymond. Higgins is capable of playing third line minutes and it may motivate Raymond to be at his best or else lose his spot to Higgins
Higgins brings experience and some speed and skill to the team. Though expected to be a 3rd or 4th line addition, the depth for this team is now second to none and it gives the team so many options for line combinations. Higgins will not play for 7-10 days as he is out with a broken finger suffered last week, but he is raring to go when he gets the shot.
Gillis did his homework on these transactions as well, apparently asking both Florida and Anaheim for permission to speak to both players beforehand to see if they could handle the pressure of playing in a fish bowl like Vancouver. Having both previously played for the Montreal Canadiens I’m sure you know the answer.
Though they are minor additions in the big picture, to a first place team looking to win the ultimate glory, they are valuable pieces that add speed, grit, determination and skill to an already good group. Small pieces can sometimes be the key to championships, and the Canucks today are closer to that gory than they were yesterday.
I salute Mike Gillis for his moves and hopefully they will pan out. Lappiere will be loved if he ends up carrying the Stanley Cup down the streets of Vancouver