Upon first glance, the Vancouver Canucks may look as though they’ve made a crucial error by standing pat and not making a single move in last Wednesday’s National Hockey League (NHL) Trade Deadline. However, after a closer look, it seems rather unnecessary for them to pull the trigger on a deal that could very well cost them in the long run.
In the days leading up to the deadline, there was a lot of talk that the Canucks were attempting to acquire a player who added offensive depth. In addition, they were also looking for a puck-moving defenseman, with a knack for scoring goals.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis supposedly came close to making a deal for the highly coveted Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, but it turned out that the juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze.
Bouwmeester became the talk of this year’s NHL Trade Deadline long before March 4, but as the day drew nearer, there was more and more speculation that his departure from the sunshine state was imminent. On the deadline day, Gillis was in talks with Florida GM Jacques Martin about moving Bouwmeester to the Northwest.
However, the 25-year-old, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, would come with a big price tag. It was reported by a few different media outlets, including Sportsnet and TSN, that for Bouwmeester, the Canucks would have to trade a first-round draft pick, forward Mason Raymond, and a top-four defenseman. Kevin Bieksa was rumoured to have been that defenseman.
After a disastrous 2-5-5 record in January, and I'm Gillis, I’m seriously tempted to make this deal, perhaps just out of sheer desperation, but kudos to him for keeping his composure, because it’s funny how much can change in a mere month.
Since their horrendous start in 2009, the Canucks came back in February and have become the hottest team in the NHL, boasting a sensational 11-2-0 record, putting them at fifth place in the Western Conference. This amazing turnaround was a result of the Canucks' persistency, hard work, and getting their act together to get themselves back into a playoff birth.
There’s no denying the fact that Bouwmeester is a very good player with a lot of great years still ahead of him. It goes without saying that any team in the league would love to have a player of his caliber on their blue line.
With that being said, I respect Gillis even more for not making this deal. As much as I was pulling for Bouwmeester to come to Vancouver, it became clear to me that when the dust settles, you’re in a situation where you have a star defenseman who is unsure as to whether or not he’ll re-sign with your team.
When you reach the end of the season, you lose him to free agency, and you’re out one first-round draft pick, a speedy, young forward, and a hard-nosed, but offensively capable defenseman. If you’re one of those fans that believe they should have gone out and made the deal for Bouwmeester, I suggest you take a good long look at his playoff numbers.
That’s right, he doesn’t have any.
Though this year’s deadline was not as entertaining or exciting as past ones for the Canucks, when a team is playing so well, it isn’t essential to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. While some depth up front or in the back-end would be helpful, it’s definitely not essential.