The Vancouver Canucks have undoubtedly gotten worse this summer. They have lost Maxim Lapierre, Derek Roy, Keith Ballard, Cory Schneider and Mason Raymond (most likely), and even talks with Chris Tanev have hit a standstill.
If you're wondering which players have replaced those lost to trade and free agency, then join the club—the answer is not yet clear. One thing we do know is the Canucks don't have the money to make the additions they so desperately need.
On one hand, it's a letdown that the Canucks' Cup window is closing. They will no longer be favourites to make it to the Final, nor will they be favourites to make the playoffs.
But on the other hand, it does make for an exciting season. The Canucks will have to fight for a playoff spot; every game will be a battle. And throughout that exciting season will be some interesting headlines.
The following is a prediction of what some of those headlines might be.
The Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider saga is somewhat resolved. But as much as Luongo wants out of Vancouver, he’ll happily accept the uncontested No. 1 spot, and he won’t look back.
Throughout this goalie controversy (and the many hours spent on his Twitter account), Luongo has developed a comic approach to his role in Vancouver, and that could be just what he needed.
Vancouver is not an easy city to play in. The fans expect a lot from the team and its players. Perhaps the fans will give Luongo some room to breathe now that an alternative is not so easy.
Luongo is notoriously mediocre in the first months of the season. But this is a new era. He is the starting goalie, and he’s not going anywhere—and he’ll win his fans back right from the get-go.
That’s right, the reports of Chris Tanev drawing interest from Europe are nerve-racking, but a deal will be done. Mike Gillis is building a solid reputation of letting young talent go, but Tanev is as good as they come.
He will be a leader in Vancouver for a very, very long time.
Call me crazy, but I predict that at some point this season, a reporter will ask John Tortorella a question—and we all know how much he hates that.
The general consensus with Bo Horvat is that while he's a good player, he was not enough return for a player of Cory Schneider's calibre.
John Tortorella admittedly likes to get his top young guys in the lineup early. It will only happen sooner with Gillis orchestrating from behind the scenes in an attempt to redeem himself.
Per Mike Battaglino of NHL.com, Gillis said, "One of the reasons that [Tortorella] was so appealing for me as a head coach is young players have thrived in New York. And we need to have young players in our lineup. Now whether Bo's ready, we'll find out."
Cody Hodgson and Cory Schneider for Zack Kassian and Bo Horvat (essentially): It sounds crazy, but that’s what Mike Gillis has done to the Canucks. He traded a player who was in contention for the Calder Trophy and one who finished fourth, second and third in save percentage among NHL goalies the past three years for a player who had seven points in 27 games and a player who has yet to play an NHL game.
Not only were the trades he made poor, but the way he went about them was too.
With Hodgson, Gillis made a sad attempt to justify his decision by claiming Hodgson was a problem on the team and too much of his time was spent dealing with the player’s problems. He then made the claim that Hodgson’s success with Vancouver was a result of strategic coaching in order to increase trade value rather than the pure talent we all witnessed.
Then, we have the more recent handling of Cory Schneider. Gillis began by making outrageous demands for Roberto Luongo, asking for Jake Gardiner, Tyler Bozak, Matt Frattin and a first-round draft pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the end, Gillis did get his first-round pick, but it cost him the better goalie and the majority of his initial return package. After publicly accepting a deal much, much worse than originally demanded out of desperation, one has got to wonder if any general manager will take Gillis seriously down the road.
As the Canucks struggle midway through the season, it will be quite clear who's responsible.
Follow Riley Kufta on Twitter for more work and news around the NHL.