Canucks general manager Mike Gillis wasn’t prepared to wait until the NHL deadline to start making trades, but despite speculation, goalie Roberto Luongo is still part of the team. Yesterday morning Gillis swapped defensive prospect Kevin Connauton and a 2013 second-round draft pick for Dallas Stars’ centre Derek Roy.
Roy a surprise
Although most Canucks fans were expecting Gillis to make a trade before the today’s deadline, few had Roy on their radar. But because the team has struggled to find the back of the net due to a depleted forward lineup, most felt that Gillis needed to make some sort of deal.
“We’re really lacking on our second line with [left-wing] Booth and [centre Ryan] Kessler out,” said Ben Livingston, an avid Canucks fan and Langara student.
Livingston thinks Connauton wasn’t likely to crack the Canucks lineup, but he’s also concerned about whether Roy can stay healthy for a Canucks playoff run. “I think it’s a good [trade] as long as he’s not injury riddled like he was the last couple seasons,” he said.
Roy is in his eighth season in the NHL and will offer a veteran presence up front.
Canucks fan Shane Adamson pointed out that Roy has shown he could be a 30-goal scorer in the past, although he only has four goals this season. “I think overall it’s a good pick up,” he said. “He’ll be a good replacement for Kesler until he’s back.”
Another trade pending?
Roy will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, which means he is free to sign with any team he wants on July 1. As rumours speculate that he is looking for $6 million a year, Gillis will need to free up cap space if he has any hope of signing Roy in the off-season.
One way to do this would be to trade Luongo. The 33-year-old goaltender has an annual cap hit of $5.3 million and is signed through the 2021-22 season. Since Luongo was pulled in last year’s playoffs, speculation continues about a trade out of Vancouver.
What fans say
Fans watching Monday night’s Canucks-Sharks game at G Sports Bar and Grill were vocal about a potential goalie trade.
Jessica Kelly, a bartender and Canucks fan, said she thinks the Canucks should keep Luongo although she feels badly for him. “I don’t think Vancouver has treated him fairly,” she said. “I don’t think he has gotten the credit he deserves.”
Kelly said she has little faith that the Canucks will make a Stanley Cup run this year. “But I do have hope,” she said.
Gillis was working on more than trades yesterday: he also negotiated a $10-million contract extension for left-winger Chris Higgins, keeping him in the line-up for another four years.
Reported by Patrick Colvin