On another note, we turn our attention on how Mike Gillis has done in player contracts. Since his arrival in May 2008, Mike has done numerous big name player contracts. How has he fared?
We learned on Tuesday that the National Hockey League is chasing down the long term player contracts such as Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger, Marc Savard and Vancouver's very own Roberto Luongo. This is brought to the attention of the NHL by the recent 17-year, $102 million mega deal between the Kovalchuk camp and New Jersey Devils. Bloch is looking into the process of the contract with the similar type of deals.
One can definitely argue this is a fair assessment, since one guy's contract is very alike the other ones. However, the other deals have been made a year ago, so how can they chase it down?
The NHL makes the rules I guess...
The Vancouver Canucks started off by letting long-time captain and associate captain Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison depart in the off-season. At the time, Markus needed a change of scenary and Morrison is let go so that new leadership and younger players can carry the torch.
Instead of re-signing 2/3 of the West Coast Express, Gillis signed Pavol Demitra and traded for Steve Bernier from Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd and 3rd round pick. Neither player panned out. Ryan Johnson also signed a $1.1mil average salary for two years. He suffered too many injuries and fractured ankles. When he returned, he faced the most shots against in the NHL. Let's not forget Kyle Wellwood was picked up from waivers and had to be asked to lose weight.
Canucks spent $4.0 + 2.5 + 1.1 = $7.6mil for very minimal return
Overall grade in summer 2008: F
By December, Mike Gillis and JP Barry talks heated up and the two agreed on a contract to send Mats Sundin to Vancouver for $8.6mil.
Sundin ended up with 28 points in 41 games. He was heavily critized by the fans and media. Canucks ended up exiting the playoffs in the second round. Much ado about nothing. In February, Gillis slightly redeemed himself by signing Alex Burrows to 4-year $8mil contract. Grossly underpaid for the Canucks leading goal scorer in the 2009-2010 season with 35 goals.
Overall grade in 2008/2009 season: C+
In the off-season, Mike Gillis turned his attention on signing the Sedin twins. The pair spent all their careers in Vancouver, but one memorable comment Mike Gillis had about the twins was: "They are front-line players but I don't know if they're players that the team will be built around going forward."
Sedins were pessimistic that they will return to Vancouver and became free agents before signing a new five-year deal for $6.1mil a year. The team also signed Mikael Samuelsson from the Red Wings for $2.5mil for 3-years.
Other signings were Tanner Glass, and depth defenseman Aaron Rome. Samuelsson was huge in the playoffs, scoring big goals and scoring often. He earned a spot on the Sedin top-line. Rome played here and there. Not a big factor when Sami Salo returned from injury. Glass is a grinder on the 3rd and 4th lines. Vigneault liked him. Roberto Luongo signed a 12-year extension for $64 million on September 2, 2009. Just to remind you, it is under inspection a year later on Aug.10, 2010.
Overall grade in 2009 summer: B
2009-2010, the trade deadline is the first time Mike Gillis went out to buy something. He added Andrew Alberts from Carolina for a 3rd round pick, Austin Levi. This is where Willie Mitchell is greatly missed. He suffered a concussion and never returned. Ryan Kesler re-signed for six-years at $5.0mil per year.
Alberts was not only a non-contributor down the stretch into the playoffs, he costed the team a number of hooking and holding penalties for the LA Kings to quickly capitalize. Kings happened to convert on over 50% of their odd-man opportunities, so Vigneault stashed him back on the bench and called up others to fill in.
Overall grade in 2010 trade deadline: F
2010 off-season began with the rumours flowing about Dan Hamhuis of the Nashville Predators desiring to join his home province team Vancouver Canucks once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He turned away the Predators, Flyers who traded for his rights, and Penguins who also tried to sign him prior to July 1. Other than Hamhuis and his $4.5mil six-year pact, Canucks added Manny Malhotra from San Jose for $2.5mil for 3-years, Joel Perrault from Phoenix, and Jeff Tambellini from NYI for close to league minimums. Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich were acquired from Florida for Michael Grabner, 1st rounder (Quinton Howdon), and Steve Bernier. Fans should be hoping Willie Mitchell and the Canucks find a way to fit under the cap. Kevin Bieksa could be on the move soon.
Overall grade: pending...your thoughts are welcomed!
Although Mike Gillis has started off his management career poorly, he is steadily inclining as a manager of the salary cap. His assistant Laurence Gilman deserves a lot of credit for being the capologist. We shall see how the Canucks did.
Thank you for reading.
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