Friday, April 29th, 2016



Brief comments on various stories or issues around the NHL:

1) Are there any other Canuck fans who are hoping that Columbus ends up with the first overall draft pick? They’ve already indicated they are prepared to deal the choice and I can’t think of a better return for Cory Schneider.

2) I know Oiler fans are delighted with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (and I might feel different about this if RNH hadn’t been hurt) but for my money Gabriel Landeskog is this year’s best rookie.

3) The announcement that Quebec City is committed to a new rink sounds like the death knell of the Phoenix Coyotes to me. I’ll be surprised if the franchise lasts a week beyond the Coyote’s last game of the year. RIP.

4) David Ebner reports out about expectations in Vancouver and the pressure on Alain Vigneault:

The seeming consensus – even if it’s unreasonable, and short-sighted – among chatterers is essentially this: Vigneault, the best coach Vancouver has ever had, has to make the Cup final to keep his job. A third-round exit might be acceptable, depending how it unfolds. Second-round failure, almost-guaranteed firing. First-round, goodbye.

Tony Gallagher would fire him today even though it is unreasonable and short-sighted. Fortunately for the sentient, Mike Gillis is not a chatterer, he is not unreasonable and he is not short-sighted. Me, I’d extend Vigneault, no matter what. I’d extend him today.

I have faith in Gillis, so I don’t think Vigneault’s job depends on playoff success this year. But if it does, and if Alain does lose his job, the Habs will hire him in a heartbeat. It would be our loss, their gain.

5) I can understand why David Poile chose to let Alex Radulov return this year – will they ever have a better chance to win a Cup? – but it’s a very sweet deal for Radulov and Poile may very well end up regretting it. It is great right now, but when the season ends…

Radulov will be an RFA, but a special RFA in that he will be looking at an offer from the KHL that Nashville will find difficult to top especially if they still hope to sign Suter and Weber. Since the NHL will be locking out the players in September, Radulov will probably be returning to the KHL anyway.

This is a short term deal and it is very late in the season to be trying to fit a new star into the lineup. It changes the pecking order on an already successful team, pushing most forwards into different (and lesser) roles. I’ve got a lot of time for Barry Trotz, but that type of transition isn’t always easy.

6) Zack Kassian isn’t making anyone in Vancouver forget Cody Hodgson (yet) but Sami – er, Samme or Sam or whatever he wants to call himself – Pahlsson has reminded me why he has been one of my favourite players for years. He does so many things to help a team win, I’ve nearly forgotten who he replaced.

Gillis made the Canucks better at the deadline.

7) Is there an explanation for the swan dive the Sharks have taken this year? I expected them to be better after getting Brett Burns, but they might miss the playoffs. I think they will hang in there, but I’m still shocked.

Still, they only project to be 11 points off last year’s pace. The Capitals project to 90 points this year – a stunning 17 points off what they accomplished last season. And even they aren’t the Habs, who are 19 points off last year’s record. Or the Lightning, down 20 points. Pick your disappointment.

A reminder to Canuck fans: Enjoy this while you can. It can all go poof, and in a hurry.

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10 Responses to “Potpourri”
  1. Dean says:

    Oh wow…I never thought of that possibility for trading Schneider.

  2. Matt says:

    “Gillis made the Canucks better at the deadline”. Doesn’t their record and trouble scoring since the trade suggest this is at least up for debate? And if they are better, it’s because of which trade?

    No one has explained to me why Gillis couldn’t have acquired Pahlsson while keeping Hodgson and using him on the wing and at centre on the second unit power play? If Gillis didn’t see Cody fitting into his future plans why not wait to see what he would fetch in the summer?

    If the Kassian trade was about making the team better now wouldn’t he be playing a more prominent role? I’m not sure that Nicklas Jensen couldn’t give you the same ten minutes on the fourth line

    Gillis is a smart man but the Hodgson trade doesn’t quite add up. You rarely see a young player traded for an even younger one at the deadline. It smacks of panic.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve written extensively about the Hodgson trade. We won’t know for years who wins that trade, but we do know the Canucks did not have a job for Cody. I’m just saying that in my opinion, Pahlsson is an upgrade on Hodgson.

      Kassian hasn’t shown much so far. It is an unusual trade, but it is the only kind of trade that works. Trying to deal him for another prospect who could be a fit. The Canucks have the same problem with Schneider. They have to deal him and they can’t get NHL value for him. They don’t have the cap space to get good players for him unless they dump other good players along with him. What’s the point?

      The only good trade for Schneider is a trade for future value. That’s ridiculous considering how young he is, but I think you have to blame the CBA for that, not Mike Gillis.

      • speeds says:

        What kind of market would you need, were you the GM, to move Luongo and hang onto Schneider? Say FLA was interested in re-acquiring Luongo, and say he’s willing to go back to FLA.

        Is that a preferable outcome for the Canucks?

        • Tom says:

          It is an impossible outcome for the Canucks. Florida probably isn’t interested in getting Luongo and Roberto definitely isn’t willing to go because above all he wants to win a Cup. Right now, he lives in a great city, he’s working for a quality organization, and on a team that’s going to be a contender for the foreseeable future. That’s exactly the kind of situation everybody wants.

          Why on earth would he want to return to the situation in Florida? Why would he want to be anywhere but Vancouver? It’s an absurd idea. I don’t get this fantasy at all. It all hinges on the premise that Roberto is willing to give up on his dream of winning a Cup and piling up a Hall of Fame career just so that he can live closer to his mother-in-law. How does that make sense to anybody?

          Anyway, if we ignore the fact that Luongo has a no-trade and would not waive it, I still think trading Schneider makes more sense because he has so much more trade value. With Luongo, the Canucks probably have to take a contract back and they’d have to give Schneider a big raise. It could easily be salary cap negative.

          Schneider, on the other hand, has to look to be an awesome fit to each of Columbus, Toronto and Tampa Bay. I think Gillis will hold the auction during the two weeks before the draft and then make the splash at the draft. That’s what I’d do. I’d be looking to build the team that will be in contention after 2016. Vancouver doesn’t have the cap space available for a player good enough to help the team in the near future.

          • Roberto says:

            I think Gillis will pull a rabbit out of the hat and hold on to Schneider by moving Ballard and his contract.

            You read it here first. 😉

  3. ColinM says:

    Not sure I’m ready to write off the Coyotes yet. Last year I didn’t think Glendale City Council was prepared to pony up $25 million dollars to keep the team running, but they did so anyway. Why would this year be different given that they have the same group of people running the city?

    • Tom says:

      Glendale could change their mind, I suppose, but I can’t see the league continuing to own the team. They paid $140 MM for the team. After the first year, the set the rpice at $170 MM to cover their purchase price and the losses. Last year (and likely this one) the Glendal subsidy was not enough to cover the losses. The NHL is close to having $200 MM into this operation and there is a limit to what they can jerk out of any new owner even on a relocation.

      I think the league has had enough, almost no matter what Glendale does.

  4. Quis says:

    I really think we should trade Skeletor (Gallagher) to Toronto so he can bitch and moan to his hearts content. I’d love to take a poll and find out how many people think he’s a waste of good air… He doesn’t like AV because AV has no time for him and thinks he’s a whiner.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve despised Gallagher since he – along with Al Strachan – invented the “Pavel Bure held out in the SCF” urban legend. Canuck management has hated him at least back to 1988.

      He has made no reasonable case for firing Vigneault. There is no reasonable case for firing Vigneault.

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