Vancouver Canucks Goalie Situation Puts Mike Gillis in a Bit of a Pickle

Smiley GimbelCorrespondent IJune 28, 2012

No offense to Canucks fans in general, or Mike Gillis in particular, but what exactly has Gillis done for the Canucks hockey club to give him such exalted status?

And more curiously, what have Burke and Nonis done to earn such animosity?

Yes, Burke is a bit of a blow-hard and maybe a tad overrated, but you have to be honest in that he and Nonis did build the majority of your Stanley Cup contending team through drafts and trades. There’s no mistaking that. You can’t re-write that history leaving those two out of it.

And what about Gillis? I’ll give the man his dues in that he locked up the Sedins long term with a reasonable cap hit. Signing Dan Hamhuis was great. As was the signing of Tanev.

Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich for Daniel Rahimi and Patrick White was larceny!

Tinkering with the bottom six has been great for the 'Nucks too.

As well, I’m a huge fan of his “Moneyball” drafting approach for the later rounds (you’ll have to Google that but it’s fantastically clever).

Signing Luongo to that massive contract though—that move was bound to blow up.

Sure the cap circumvention that this contract is structured around allows for him to “retire” in five or six years as opposed to the 10 years he’s under contract for, but technically that may not happen either.

So teams he can be traded to have to assume the full 10 years to the age of 42, and the cap hit that entails. No problem.

He probably should have foreseen the possible complications that arise in giving Luongo that contract.

I mean, they already had a blue chip prospect goalie in Cory Schneider. They even have another one in Eddie Lack. Yes, a prospect is only a prospect until proven otherwise.

Cory Schneider did just that, and in his contract year.

Gillis is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ll explain.

Luongo does not want to be the backup. He says he’s a team-first guy (via the Vancouver Sun), but that does not change this dynamic. He’ll want 50+ games or he’ll sulk. Plus he controls his trade with his NTC.

Cory Schneider is on the verge of being a perennial Vezina nominee superstar. He also does not want to be a backup. He’s in his prime and wants to be the guy. In his mind, it’s showtime, and make no mistake, he controls his future via his RFA.

So basically—and believe me this scenario is being scrutinized—if Luongo stays, Schneider signs a one year deal making him a UFA next year. If Luongo gets traded, then Schneider signs a much longer deal.

If I’m Gillis, in no way do I want Schneider signed for one year. Also, in no way do I want Schneider in the Western Conference. This is a player that can really haunt them!

So Gillis either has to trade Luongo and sign Schneider long term, or keep Luongo, and trade Schneider for a boatload to an Eastern Conference team.

Personally I think that would be Gillis' best option as it allows him more teams to trade to with greater return. And it allows Eddie Lack to develop more without crowding the crease.

Obviously they can keep both goalies but it would be a cancerous locker room. Not terminally cancerous, but cancerous none the less. Schneider will be gone after the year as a UFA unless somehow they find a team for Luongo and extend Schneider.

So my question to Gillis is this: why are you asking the moon for Luongo when there are only three teams at the most you can trade him too?

If he allows Schneider to walk UFA after next year, then he will soon go down as a worse GM than the two 'Nucks fans currently have a hate-on for.

Since there are Canucks fans who feel a spike in their blood pressure whenever Luongo is mentioned in a trade scenario in which the Canucks barely get anything back, Gillis becomes pigeon-holed by the above scenarios.

The three GM’s on the teams he’s willing to go to know it and it’s no reflection on Luongo the goalie.  He’d improve all three of those teams.

But those three teams are not going to strip their team to trade for him.

Mike Gillis needs to lower his demands for Luongo substantially or trade the younger Schneider.


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