Skip to content

Canucks want ‘a player to help Kesler,’ says Gillis

Feb 24, 2014, 12:32 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler AP

Just over a week away from the NHL trade deadline, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis knows what he needs to help his struggling team.

Problem is, getting that help will cost him.

“We’d like to get a player to help [Ryan] Kesler, but you have to give up a lot,” Gillis told Team 1040 radio, per The Province. “If it’s not a rental player or a younger player, you look at your options. We might make hard decisions or none.”

Kesler has played some wing this season, but is best suited as the club’s No. 2 center behind Henrik Sedin. Problem is, finding capable linemates for Kesler has been difficult, and Vancouver’s need for a top-six winger has been increased this season due to down years from Alex Burrows (zero goals in 28 games) and David Booth (five in 44). Zack Kassian has yet to emerge as the consistent presence required of a top-six guy and, outside of a solid campaign from Chris Higgins (16 goals), not many Canucks have stepped up to fill the void.

It seems unlikely the Canucks will go the rental route to find a solution. The team’s had little success with that over the last two years — Sammy Pahlsson and Derek Roy made minimal impacts (granted, both were centers) — and this hardly looks like a team ready to make a playoff run. As such, it’s possible Gillis could look to the farm for help at forward. Former first-round pick Nicklas Jensen has been playing well for AHL Utica lately, and could be on his way up to the big team.

“The most noticeable thing is his pace has picked up,” Gillis said of Jensen. “We’d like to leave him there (Utica) but our needs are important.”

  1. steverolley - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Hey Gillis, imagine there was a way to add new players every year? You could even develop them in some kind of lower level then in a couple of years they would be NHL ready!

    Too bad Gillis doesn’t know this has existed in his years as a GM because right around now these players would be ready for the Canucks….. nah let’s trade a 2nd round pick for Derek Roy.

    • elvispocomo - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      Uh, Kassian (from Hodgson), Schroeder, Tanev and Lack are all contributing for the team now as draft picks or undrafted free agents. Corrado, Eriksson, Archibald, Lain and Sauve have all contributed at times. The Comets (with prospects like Jensen and Grenier) have been excellent after a very rough start.

      I think our drafting has been just fine. Just because we don’t have a flashy A-list draftee in the line up doesn’t mean Gillis is clueless about how to develop hockey talent.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Gillis has been brutal at drafting.

        Dave Nonis drafted more NHLers in his 4 years in Vancouver than Gillis has in 6. Nonis brought in Cory Schneider, Alex Edler, Mike Brown, Jannik Hansen, Luc Bourdon, Mason Raymond and Michael Grabner.

        Gillis’s been GM since 2008 and has next to nothing much to show for 6 draft years. Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder are the only two players he’s drafted who even play in the NHL. Neither of them are game changers. Hodgson is the only ‘regular’ and Vancouver traded him anyways.

        I think this years’s draft might be Gillis’s most successful so far… but still have to wait and see if Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk work out. Given Gillis’s draft history, I wouldn’t hold my breathe in excitement.

      • ikillchicken - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:17 PM

        This just in: Players drafted 2004-2006 have had a bigger impact that players drafted 2011-2013. In other shocking news: Hockey is played on ice. And in terms of the years that are remotely reasonable to judge, He got Hodgson in 2008, Schroeder in 2009 and we didn’t even pick in the first 3 rounds in 2010. I wouldn’t call that amazing. But he’s been okay. Gillis’ so called “horrible draft record” is a myth. By all means criticize him for trading away a too many picks. The Ballard trade was a disaster and the Roy trade was just wasteful. (Although he’s made strong pickups too like Higgins and Lappy and Erhoff). But with what he’s had he’s done okay so far.

      • steverolley - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        elvispocomo contributing to the team? how about winning games!

        Fact is that the Canucks with all their injuries have had to rely on their depth, and that has them out of the playoffs and on a 7 game losing streak.

        Here are some great “contributions”

        Kassian 54GP 10G 7A -8
        Scroeder 10GP 2G 1A -3

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        You tell ‘m Rolley !

        Your ‘cold, hard and indisputable’ facts render these people like Elvis and the Chicken Killer silent … and I love when things like that happen ! :)

      • elvispocomo - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        There was no level of achievement mentioned in the first post, just that Gillis didn’t realize there was a way to add new players every year. But way to cherry picking whose stats to show – here are the other two I mentioned:

        Tanev 54GP 5G 9A +8
        Lack 22GP 2.22GAA .922SV%

        Hmm, those look pretty good.

        And “Gillis sucks at drafting” is pretty strong. Our past GMs have some players they’ve picked up that have done well for us, but they’ve had some serious busts as well.

        Patrick White ring a bell?

        Taylor Ellington, Daniel Rahimi, Marc-Andre Bernier, Kiril Koltsov, Dennis Grot, Nathan Smith – they were all 2nd rounders (Rahimi a 3rd actually) during the Nonis/Burke era. 26 NHL games (all Nathan Smith) between them. Pretty terrible.

        And at least Gillis didn’t draft a player that wouldn’t sign with us in RJ Umberger.

  2. nightfireop - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    i think they should bring michael phelps in the lineup for kesler.

  3. AppealToReason - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Remember when Kesler had 50 assists? And he didn’t just aimlessly take a shot high and wide every time he crossed the blueline? Didn’t seem like he needed wingers to help him then.

    The worst thing to happen to Kesler was the Twins banking 20 of his 40 goals off his butt in 2011. Made him think he’s some kind of super star shooter.

    • kcbruinsfan - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Cant say I’ve wathced a whole lot of Canucks games recently, but I think the point of trying to find ” a player to help Kesler” implies he’s not getting a whole lot of support. I have to imagine when he produced 50 assists there were some effective players to dish the puck to and produce points. If he doesn’t have that support now, which this article leads me to believe, who is he supposed to be feeding the puck to?

      Your opening sentence is completely illogical. If he’s producing 50 assists, I imagine he has some solid wingers to distribute the puck to. If those aren’t available now, that may be a pretty good explanation for why he is shooting more. Just going out on a limb here, but maybe he’s shooting more because he doesn’t have teammates he is confident can make opportunities.

      Thought he had a solid tournament in Sochi. Seemed to play well with solid wingers around him. Might be the problem lies in the talent Vancouver has to surround him.

      • elvispocomo - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        His career high year had Raymond and Samuelsson – who also had very good years that year. Samuelsson (he’s a shadow of the player he was anyway) and Raymond are gone, and while Higgins is doing well this year, the other wingers have been Santorelli, Kassian and Hansen. Santo’s out the rest of the year with injury, Kassian’s still working on consistency and Hansen isn’t having the same luck offensively as he did last year.

        Not really any remarkable names there for offensive help in any case.

  4. blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM


    Gillis is a ‘fool’ and the longer his stewardship of this team continues, the more the Canucks are starting to look like salmon. Traveling ‘thousands’ of miles across the treacherous Pacific Ocean, then forging up a coastal river system past a ‘deadly’ gauntlet of human obstacles (entrepreneurial Indians, drunken fisherman and industrial pollutants) the resilient salmon’s journey always then ‘sadly’ comes to an end … despite whatever wishes he may have had of one day making it back to the sea.

    The bottom line friends is that until Gillis is ‘removed’ from the equation here in Vancouver, the Canucks are likely to continue carrying on with ‘fruitless’ campaigns that fall well short of the mark … and that’s truly a shame 😦

  5. leepetertk - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Canucks management has been searching for a left shooting hybrid center/winger for Kesler since 2011-12. They are convinced that Kesler is more of a shooter in the offensive zone. Kesler’s effectiveness with Sedins (albeit streaky this season) is their evidence.

    Derek Roy last year as an attempt at filling that position or a third line centre position (spoiler: neither worked). Bo Horvat is a possibility, but a lot of pressure on a 19 year old next year if he is NHL ready. After Horvat, there is nobody internally to take this spot.

    I don’t think the Canucks can fill this hole anytime soon. Management has difficulty signing free agents without hometown discounts. The Sedins and Kesler set an internal individual salary cap for the team.

  6. canucks30 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Last time Gillis said this, he acquired the decaying carcass of David Booth.

    Ergo, I don’t have high expectations.

    • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      David Booth is a fatigue-wearing ‘pansy’ and a ‘wannabe’ tough guy. Any special forces person, be it American, German or Israeli, could kill an ‘armed’ Booth bare-handed so fast that the idiot wouldn’t even know what hit him. Same goes for the fool Gillis, who likes to think of himself as some ‘visionary’ captain of business, ala Lee Iacocca. Again, nothing could be farther from the truth. Even I made better business decisions running my own Vancouver Sun paper route here back in the early 70’s, compared to what this clown has done to the Canucks.

      • c9castine - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        what the hell are you talking about

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:12 PM

        Question: what the hell are you talking about ?

        Answer: fact !


        Look Castline …

        Any reasonable person who follows the Canucks regularly just needs to take a step back and look at Gillis’ ‘body of work’ in it’s entirety. The man came here in April ’08, taking over a ‘young & vibrant’ team which was on the ‘upswing’ poised for many years of perennial ‘spring’ success. Yet here we are only six years later in 2014 and what do we have ? A team now finding itself ‘spiraling’ into oblivion, or complete & utter ‘irrelevance’ if you will. I knew of Mike Gillis before, during his player agent days. He was reputed to be a ‘jerk’ and he was apparently ‘loathed’ by the majority of GM’s and owners around the league. For me however, it was his ‘unscrupulous’ back-stabbing of Dave Nonis, followed by the ‘4 x day’ interview with Alain Vigneault in a Vegas hotel room which sealed the deal. For right ‘then and there’ I knew that he was ‘bad’ … and as God is my witness, time has now proven me right. Gillis is ‘the’ problem and the Canuck’s situation will only worsen until such time that he’s ‘removed’ from the equation altogether !


    • elvispocomo - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      In fairness to Booth, he was acquired for the low, low cost of Samuelsson and Sturm – not to mention he was actually playing well after joining the team. It wasn’t until Potter’s knee on knee hit that Booth’s play really fell off the map.

      • leepetertk - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        However the cost of David Booth was his salary for 4 years (4.6 million 4 more years including the year he was acquired) and perhaps burning a compliance buyout on him. This is space that could have been used to develop somebody or acquire an effective top 6 forward.

  7. drewsylvania - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    I hear Steve Ott is available. #AllDBagTeam

  8. muckleflugga - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    kesler’s never been right after being caught on camera … naked … holding-up a monolith on wreck beach

    say blom … how’s the weather

    no pitch and putt today … cricket on hold … sailing a disaster … until the third week in april when canucks take the gas pipe

    i miss the good old days when canucks played like they had a mission … now they play like missionaries

    at every position

    • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      no pitch and putt today? … cricket on hold?

      Comrade Flugga, farther from the truth you couldn’t be! I’ll have you know friend that I carded a respectable 86 at my ‘no-nonsense’ 6500 yard course last Monday! I’ll have you also know that I always play from the back tees, I always walk and carry my own bag and I always play under ‘summer rules’ irrespective of conditions ! As for the weather here in Vancouver today ? … well we’re ‘snowed in’ if you can believe it ! :)

      Now regarding the Canucks and Kesler’s nudity, etc ? The bottom line as I see it is that Gillis has to go. Ever since his arrival here vis-a-vis a knife in Dave Nonis’ back, this man has done positively nothing but make one ‘bad’ trade after another, with the Luongo contract for ‘20,000 light years’ being the dumbest of them all ! Yes, I’m a LA King’s fan, however I do still ‘care’ for these people as God is my witness …

      • kaptaanamerica - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        appreciate the comment blomfeld. although, i don’t mind that the Canucks got rid of Nonis. he pretty much traded away draft picks for fill ins like Sauer, Bergevin, etc… trying to get over the hump instead of getting real players or building through the draft. I wasn’t a fan of Nonis except for the Bertuzzi trade for Luongo, which worked out well. the subsequent long term deal is a different story.

        If the Canucks can’t make an impact or even make the playoffs this season then Gillis has to go. after the 2011 loss where injuries basically did the team in, he never addressed the team’s key issues around tough hard to play against forwards (booth was a fail) or depth on Defense (ballard was a fail). His third line never worked out or his fourth. Teams like Boston, LA, Anaheim roll four lines and that’s who you have to beat.

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        “Teams like Boston, LA, Anaheim roll four lines and that’s who you have to beat” …

        Person A: hey man, it sounds like this guy knows the deal ?

        Person B: yeah, he’s definitely ‘tuned in’ man …


        Comrade America … thanks for your kindly remarks and thoughtful analysis in retort. The bottom line is that Gillis will be ‘toast’ should the Canucks fail to make the playoffs this year, which now looks like a very ‘real’ possibility. And I suspect that his dismissal will come within ‘days’ of the Canucks’ final game. You know, a lot of people like to get all ‘queenish’ here with their stupid statistics and numbers. For me however, I’ve always gone with my own ‘innate’ instincts and the lay of the land … and it’s always served me well, be that hockey, work, women or song ! Right now, the Heritage ‘Tent’ Festival is drawing very ‘poor’ numbers in terms of tickets sold … and so you just ‘know’ that the Aquilini brothers are already looking ahead to inviting Gillis to a ‘spaghetti dinner’ sometime soon ! :)

  9. muckleflugga - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    good on you blomfeld

    i think we hit minus 28 last night … the jackrabbits were so cold they left my apple trees alone … the coyotes were only able to harvest three or four dogs and cats from the neighbourhood … my pipe froze mid hoot

    i agree with you on gillis … he has one trade deadline to right the good ship canucks … foundering in semiamhoo bay as it is

    i’m heading south for vegas friday with golf and a general all-round bacchanal on my mind … the bag … gently rubbed thank you

    balls i say balls

    • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      “Oh Lord, may it be that he who calls himself Flugg comes to enjoy a ‘wondrous’ trip to the south, replete with warm sunshine, ‘quality’ ball-striking and numerous encounters with ‘pretty’ senoritas … amen”

  10. csilojohnson - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    that got wierd..

  11. deezenucks - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    Lol, while I’m certainly not a Booth fan those fatigues you speak if is him in his hunting gear. Not sure what that rant was about…

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1803)
  2. P. Kane (1390)
  3. S. Matthias (1235)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1104)
  5. D. Carcillo (1097)