With the Philadelphia Flyers just completing several blockbuster deals, it’s apparent that today’s draft will be rife with trade activity; Mike Gillis should be right in the mix.
Though it hasn’t been inferred, it’s possible down the line some media type will question Gillis’ ability to nab a top 6 forward. They might point to the fact that center/ right winger Jeff Carter (36 goals, 30 assists) of the Philadelphia Flyers was available, but snapped up by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite not needing much help at the center position, Mike Richards (23 goals, 43 assists) was available, but was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
In all reality, the price tags on these players were too high for Gillis. The Kings parted with Brayden Schenn, who many feel is the best young player outside of the NHL, along with Wayne Simmonds (who has given some Canucks fans fits) and a 2nd round draft pick. In Canuck terms, that would have meant shipping Cory Schneider, Manny Malhotra and a 2nd round pick. I’m not saying that was a deal on the table, but likely the price tag. Brian Burke referred to current trade talks as being a “very expensive card game to get into”. TSN reported that though Burke didn’t offer it, the Flyers wanted Nazem Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin from the Leafs. Kadri should have a long, prosperous NHL career in front of him, and Kulemin (30 goal scorer) was one of the young, bright performers last season.
To obtain Jeff Carter, the Blue Jackets parted with Jakub Voracek (7th overall pick, 2007 draft), a right wing with substantial potential. Also leaving were a 1st and 3rd round draft pick. Would Carter have been a good fit for the Canucks? It’s hard to say, but would probably be a better fit than Mason Raymond. He’s certainly a player that would complement Selke trophy winner, Ryan Kesler. But again, at what cost? I’m positive there are fans that would have traded Cody Hodgson in a deal to obtain Carter, but I think he’ll be like a bottle of wine.
Being a former player agent, Gillis might wait until July 1st to really start to push for a deal. Would the average Canucks fan be satisfied if Gillis signed Erik Cole (26 goals, 26 assists), or Ville Leino (19 goals, 34 assists) ? I guess that depends on what Carter does in Columbus, and what Richards does in Los Angeles. Though Gillis’ strength is getting players to sign a contract, this years’ Free Agency seems a little thinner than those of recent memory.
No matter what plays out, Gillis will no doubt be busy. Then again, you don’t get those kind of bags under your eyes, or GM of the Year award any other way.