Vancouver GM Mike Gillis finally got his man down the middle in a trade with the Dallas Stars.
The Canucks have given up a second-round pick in 2013 in addition to 23-year old defense prospect Kevin Connauton for reliable centre Derek Roy. (If you want to watch Assistant GM Laurence Gilman certify the deal, apparently they get taped!)
The deal puts to rest the concern for filling up the gap between the elite Henrik Sedin and the fourth-line’s Maxim Lapierre.
Roy brings to the team more point production (22 points in 30 games), a new defensive grit, and some competitive face-off ability (although his 46.7 success rate doesn’t impress many). Most interestingly, his 5’9″, 185lb frame puts him close to likes of Jordan Schroeder, who he is effectively replacing as the “Kesler replacement” is being sent down to the Chicago Wolves to make room for Roy. He’s no Manny Malhotra, but he fills up a much-needed role for a team insistent on a deep playoff run.
The former Buffalo Sabres star’s $4 million contract does end on July 1st, and most expect him to test free agency. Roy’s position with the Canucks gives him an opportunity to raise his value in a deep playoff run, so expect an extra effort down the stretch.
While Roy isn’t a huge scorer like his days in 07-08, his 6 game point streak did impress some in late March. Expect him to start on the second line and finally give players like Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows a run on the wing, their natural positions. Even better when Ryan Kesler returns by the middle of April, as he plays his best offensive game when lined up on the wing.
Oh man, those buffaslug jerseys…
Higgins signing – the end of Mason Raymond?
Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins, once also a “rental” player like Roy at the 2011 deadline, signed a 4-year, $10 million deal today. Both he and left wing Mason Raymond were headed for the end of their contracts at the end of the year, but this big contract for Higgins may spell the end of Raymond’s time in Vancouver. The team has made it known that they need a core winger beyond the summer, and with a reduced cap next year, re-signing a resurged Raymond by July might not be in the interests of Gillis and co.
Again, as the team is apparently trying to get extra documentation of legal affairs, you can watch a (very awkward) video of Higgins signing the deal with Assistant GM Gilman.
The Ryane Clowe Sweepestakes(e)
The San Jose Shark player with an abundance of e’s in his name, Clowe, was the star of another pre-deadline sweepstake between teams desperate for extra assets. Last night, speculation blew up as the Sharks left Clowe out of the lineup against the Canucks, indicative of an impending deal (as it was with Iginla last week). Today, it was down to two teams who had the Sharks’ ears when it came to a trade, and just like 1994, the Canucks went toe-to-toe against the New York Rangers. Once again, New York got the better of Vancouver, but the city managed to remain calm and not riot.
Who to follow tomorrow
Tomorrow is the trade deadline for NHL teams looking to get some extra pieces for deep playoff runs, which means TSN and Sportsnet will be on the entire day. Enjoy the riveting coverage of Bob Mckenzie staring at his five blackberry’s (he’s really good at NHL 13), and Doug Armstrong offering quality hockey analysis and advice.
(Of course I was kidding about that last one).
If you want to be inundated with speculation on the go, be sure to follow these Twitter accounts:
And you can’t forget:
Vyas Saran is the Canucks columnist for Vancity Buzz. Follow him on Twitter at @vyassaran.