After years of little deadline activity I was shocked that we not only dipped, but we dipped into the Free Agent pool in a big way. I don’t remember the last time the Canucks were amongst the teams rumoured in the mix for a big name free agent, and the Canucks were that team that walked away with the prize at the end of the day.
Every time Gillis pulls off another great signing I think back to the days he first signed on with the Canucks and I remember how anti-Gillis I was. I couldn’t have been more wrong at the time and Gillis has certainly turned himself into the modern day Canucks’ fans’ GM. He’s aggressive, he gets what he wants and what the fans want, and he makes sure he doesn’t get ripped off.
What I’ve found even more impressive about Gillis has been his ability to stick to his vision, and while doing so he’s managed to put the team in a situation where they’re not only on the cusp of big success, but on a cusp that sees the Canucks core sections locked up long term. Our top six (pending Raymond) is established for at least the next five seasons, Luongo’s locked up till he’s well over the hill, and the Canucks blue line pending a few contract extensions (with the addition of Ballard’s 4 remaining years and Hamhuis’ 6 year deal) looks like it’s going to be solid for a long time.
Gillis told us all that he wanted to create faster, younger team. He’s managed to do that within the restrictions of a cap while looking to the future. Gillis’ vision is one that he’s created, but one he’s created with long term success in mind. With his moves at the deadline I couldn’t be more impressed. He’s put the Canucks in a situation where with a bit of luck on the injury front, they can make a big impact next year.