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Welcome to the ‘re-tool,’ Vancouver

Mar 4, 2014, 8:26 PM EDT

Three years ago, the Canucks were one win away from their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Today, that seems like a distant memory.

Vancouver is in the midst of a “re-tool” according to GM Mike Gillis, a statement confirmed with Tuesday’s stunning trade of goalie Roberto Luongo to Florida — one that came just nine moths after firing head coach Alain Vigneault, and eight after dealing Cory Schneider to New Jersey.

If the re-tool wasn’t on before today, it sure is now.

Gillis later acknowledged the magnitude of today’s deal, and what it represented.

“It takes a lot of courage to trade a player like Roberto Luongo,” he said. “It’s a wake-up call that we’re not performing where we should be.”

It appears as though more dominoes will fall. Ryan Kesler is one of the hottest commodities heading into tomorrow’s trade deadline and likely to be moved, as the Canucks are primed to capitalize on his highest market value. Alex Edler‘s popped up in trade conversations for the second straight year, and Kevin Bieksa‘s name has been bandied about too.

New faces are on the way in. Jacob Markstrom, 24, will join new No. 1 Eddie Lack (who’s 26) in an all-Swedish goalie tandem. Fellow 26-year-old Shawn Matthias, who Gillis called a “critical part” of the Luongo deal, will give Vancouver a new look up front.

“I’m so excited,” Matthias said. “I told my agent a while ago I’d love to go to a Canadian city. I’ve heard rumors of Vancouver for a while, I’m glad it happened.

“I’ve been smiling ear-to-ear since I got the news. I think my game is going to elevate playing in front of fans like that.”

Eventually, former first-round picks Nicklas Jensen, Brendan Gaunce, Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat will get their opportunities as well. But it’s worth noting this is being labeled a “re-tool,” not a rebuild. This isn’t about Vancouver waiting for the kids to mature — it’s about fixing things on the fly, mixing youth with experience, which is a necessity given how many veterans Gillis is locked into (and the fact nine of ‘em have some form of a no-trade clause.)

Gillis acknowledged as much in his Tuesday conference call, explaining his goals for future trades.

“I don’t know if we’re done yet,” he explained. “If we do something else, it will be in the same vain of trying to get younger and trying to get more depth and more balance.”

Like we said: Welcome to the re-tool, Vancouver.

  1. killerpgh - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Is Torts the right coach for a rebuild/retool? Doesn’t seem like the type of coach that will put up with “growing pain” the young, less experienced players will undoubtedly go though.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      I wanted John Stevens (Kings assistant coach and former head coach with Philly) before we hired Torts, and he’d be excellent with younger players. If Torts can’t make something out of what’s left once the trades are done and dusted then I do think we move past him to someone else.

    • joey4id - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      No. He’ll be gone at the end of the season. Heck, they should trade him before tomorrow’s deadline.

  2. lowenni - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    Think Gillis really has the right idea here and he’s doing it at the right time. As Halford notes, this isn’t a complete rebuild, it’s a retooling of the team. They still have a pretty good, if aging, core and a lot of good players. They also have some good prospects coming up. I think if Kesler WANTS out, then ship him out, if not then I would consider keeping him because it will probably only take a year or two to rebuild and he’s still relatively young. Edler, however, I would ship out, along with Burrows. This team can be good again two years from now, they just need to restock. For once, Gillis knows what he’s doing.

    • elrock7 - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Gillis is doing this at the right time? Funny, he had a way better deal with Leafs last year but wouldn’t eat any salary. Now its good? Gillis is a complete moron. He gives Lou the contract from hell, couldn’t trade him last year so he trades Shneider and re-pumps Lous tires. Now this!

      What a stupid stupid man!

      • lowenni - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Didn’t say that the moves he’s made before this were smart. It IS smart to do this NOW however, now that his mistakes have already happened, before they end up like Calgary did. I agree he should’ve gone through with the deal with the Leafs, but this was a pretty solid deal even though they no longer have Schneider. It is what it is, and right now the best thing to do is “retool”. That’s what he’s doing. That’s all I’m saying.

    • blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      “Edler, however, I would ship out, along with Burrows” … Lowenni (typical Canuck fan)

      Friends, this is precisely why despite living here in Vancouver, I will ‘never’ call myself a fan of the Canucks ! Artificial, fickle, conceited and disloyal are just a few of the terms which can be aptly used to describe this ‘disingenuous’ fan base. Never in a million years would I ever start turning on my own team like this, never ! And I’ll tell you another thing too. Even though Canuck Nation may dwarf our King’s nation in size, what we lack in numbers we ‘more’ than make up for with loyalty, decency and pride ! I’ve lived in both LA and Vancouver and I can attest that the gap between the two fan bases in terms of ‘values’ is as wide as the Grand Canyon !

      • lowenni - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Blomfeld, I’m a Caps fan living in Maryland. I know you think you know hockey, but you don’t. In no way am I conceited for recommending that two players already rumored to be on the trading block be traded. That’s what a rebuild is for. Players get traded. Thank god you aren’t a GM, you’d be even worse than Gillis.

      • blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        “I’m a Caps fan living in Maryland” …

        well that sure explains that … friend, please disregard my comments above, take care of yourself and God speed …

    • joey4id - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      They won’t keep Kesler because they don’t want a repeat of the Luongo debacle.

  3. esracerx46 - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Apparently the definition of a re-tool is ones desperate attempt at clinging to a job.

    • strictlythedanks - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      re-tool, by-tool

    • elrock7 - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      That’s all good lowenni, but if this is a re-tool, then I am the second coming of Scotty Bowman.

      • 19to77 - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        Hell, at this point I’d still give you a shot over Torts.

  4. grocerystick101 - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    I don’t think the Luongo trade is a bad trade in itself, considering there wasn’t a huge market for him with that contract. However, put in context, considering they kept him and traded Schneider, this whole situation was handled with such unbelievable ineptitude that I would be shocked if Gillis had a job after this season.

  5. prd797 - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Gillis is childish. I liken his ‘efforts’ to trade Luongo to a little kid who refuses to get in the pool when his family goes for the day.

    After much encouragement from his family and others, the kid sticks his foot in to test the water, but promptly backs away. Family and friends give up and go about their business. Then suddenly, following several hours of sitting on the deck, the kid goes in the pool. And after taking an inordinate amount of time to do get in the damn pool and get it over with, he then looks for some kind of grand congratulations.

    It takes a lot of ‘courage’ to drag a guy like Luongo through the mud and run a franchise into the ground, but Gillis has courageously accomplished both. I wonder what’s next?

  6. thebigwhitecat - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    Didn’t Gillis sign Luongo to the big contract? You’re lucky to have a job, Gillis.

    • blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      thebigwhitecat …
      he won’t have a job here for much longer friend, trust me … see point C below :)

      _____________________________________________________________

      blomfeld – Jun 24, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Allow me to indulge you friend …

      A) Aquilini Investments restructures Luongo’s K by ‘writing off’ at least 20-25 million, thus leaving a much more ‘palpable’ circa 20 million over the next decade

      B) Aquilini Investments then sends Luongo to Florida and in return receives some worthless ‘face-saving’ asset(s) … Loo and wifey-poo very very happy !!! :) :) :)

      C) Aquilini Investments then liquidates Gillis in retaliation for the hideous financial loss and thereafter immediately promotes John Tortorella to the position of ‘Coach & GM’ of the Canucks

      there you have it friend, all gift-wrapped and ready to go ! :)

      • joey4id - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        A re-post. Excellent! My favorite. :-)

      • blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        Friend … the ‘forensic’ use of previously-offered testimony is a skill which I believe I may have borrowed from you ? :)

  7. shortsxit34 - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    “It takes a lot of courage to trade a player like Roberto Luongo,” he said. “It’s a wake-up call that we’re not performing where we should be.”
    Nothing like giving yourself a pat on the back for doing something that should have been done 2-3 years ago. Courageous trade there, you’re a brilliant GM!!

    What exactly does Gillis definte as a “retool?” Every summer for the last five seasons the Canucks have been “a few pieces” away from a Cup team. Every summer they just need to tweak the team with a couple guys and they will finally win the Cup.

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