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: We just felt strongly that we needed the courage to re-tool this team and get younger and free up space to bring a new complexion
— TEAM Radio (@TEAM1040) March 5, 2014
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.
Sep 18, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT
And it’s probably going to be Ryan McDonagh.
Sep 18, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
Two key youngsters on a Stars team with high hopes.
Sep 18, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT
Former first-round pick missed extensive time to a torn ACL.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Taken 16th overall in 2007.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT
Remember him? Taken 3rd overall in 2004… behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT
Tough blow for a kid looking to make the leap this season.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT
Just a precautionary measure, said GM Jim Rutherford.
Sep 18, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
He spent a lot of time on the sidelines last season, but Pittsburgh leaned on him heavily when he was healthy.
Sep 18, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Retired Finnish star was diplomatic after being made a healthy scratch, but now he’s opening up.
Sep 18, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
Is it still reasonable to believe this might have a relatively happy ending for both sides?
Sep 18, 2014, 7:57 AM EDT
Thursday’s collection of links.
Sep 17, 2014, 10:48 PM EDT
Brendan Bell also gets a chance to impress.
Sep 17, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
A clothing-conscious post.
Sep 17, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
His back issues present another headache for Columbus.
Sep 17, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT
He has 44 games of NHL experience under his belt.
Sep 17, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT
Insert your “humongous big” jokes here.
Sep 17, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT
Quite an open letter.
Sep 17, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Sep 17, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
His agent says it’s best to leave town and avoiding being a distraction.
Sep 17, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
“No matter how much my old teammates say it doesn’t bother them, it affects them. It does in that city.”
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