Bolstering the Blue Line
Just when I was coming around to doubting Gillis, he pulls a trade that rights the ship all of a sudden. For the entire off season the Canucks had made moves that didn’t put them ahead of where they were last year, but rather were moves necessary just for them to keep pace with the rest of the division and conference and keep them on par with where they were last season.
Gillis after being quiet most of the off season in addressing the needs for a top 6 forward and a top 4 defenseman landed three defenseman – 2 via trade with San Jose (Prospects Rahimi and White for Ehrhoff and Lukowich) and the free agent signing of veteran puck moving blue liner Matheiu Schneider. While everyone talks about how much of a steal it was for the Canucks to pick those two guys off of the Sharks, there’s a couple things that are overlooked. The Sharks who clearly got the short end of the stick had little choice because they had to dump cap and as I predicted, Gillis is going after name players from teams that need to get rid of cap space in time for the season.
The interesting thing in this deal is that Gillis made clear that he was not happy with the development with Patrick White at the University of Minnesota, and he had some choice words for what he thought about the draft pick that was yet to pan out for the team. Gillis has turned around a prospect he wasn’t happy with, and a pick that was unlikely to make the team, into a solution for our current problem.
Ehrhoff is a solid top 4 defenseman, and Schneider is the puck mover we’ve been looking for. They bolster a lineup that already boasts the likes of becoming defenseman Alex Edler, howitzer producer Sami Salo, lock down defenseman Willie Mitchell and “Boom Boom” Bieksa. Gillis as predicted is going to build from the back end forward, and with Luongo in net, and that defense in front of him the Canucks again look like they’re going to have one of the top defenses in the league.
The Canucks still need to drop below the cap, and if the rumours on the Luongo extension are true, we might see Schneider (the goalie) packaged up with a couple of players (likely a defenseman – my money is on Lukowich) to get rid of some cap, and bring back a top 4 forward that would bring us to the cap ceiling, but not put us over. Gillis is all but over. He’s just getting started.