In a move coming the day before the trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks have acquired Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars.
Derek Roy turns 30 on May 4 and is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Dallas acquired him last season, and like Jaromir Jagr, Roy is being dealt by the Stars after not being able to come to terms on an extension.
With a weak free agent pool, Roy is reportedly looking for a $6 million deal, which makes this almost certainly a rental deal.
Roy is a 5’9”, 184-pound speedy center with great hands. Basically, a veteran version of Jordan Schroeder, who was sent to the AHL this morning in a related roster move. Four goals and 18 assists in 30 games put him third on the Canucks in scoring, behind the Sedins and just ahead of Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows.
He certainly has offensive potential over his current production levels, with career highs of 32 goals and 81 points. In the playoffs, Roy made it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals with the Sabres, posting seven goals and 25 points in 41 career playoff games.
In the faceoff circle, Roy is a subpar 46.7%, but that is still an improvement over the many Canucks not named Henrik Sedin or Maxim Lapierre, who have taken a turn filling in on draws with Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra out.
To get Roy, the Canucks had to give up a second-round pick in this year’s draft, which isn’t a big deal unless Gillis had the unlikely plan to extend an offer sheet to a restricted free agent.
They also gave up Kevin Connauton, which would have been a bigger loss in years past. But at this point, the former Vancouver Giants star has spent three years in the AHL and still hasn’t developed an NHL-level defensive game. So a change of scenery is probably the best for Connauton, who had dropped down the depth chart in the Canucks organization.
First, he will greatly help with the scoring issues that have plagued them in the playoffs.
Second, this trade also turns the center position from a weakness to a strength, all without weakening the current roster.
Theoretically, Roy will slot in on the third line behind Henrik Sedin and Kesler, at least once Kesler returns from a broken foot next week. However, an intriguing option might be to move Kesler to the wing and have Roy be the playmaker for the second line.
Roy has also played with Zack Kassian when both were Sabres last year and has trained with him in the offseason. Potentially, there could be chemistry there once Kassian returns from his conditioning stint in the AHL.
This move also signals that general manager Mike Gillis might be going all in this spring. As a pure rental, it doesn’t make a lot of sense unless Gillis expects to finally pull the trigger on a goalie trade.
And by acquiring the much-needed center via this trade, that might give Gillis more flexibility in his demands for Roberto Luongo. Or an unconventional trade of Cory Schneider, which would be my preference.