by PuckStopsHere on 03/05/14 at 02:43 AM ET
The Vancouver Canucks have finished first in their division every year since 2009. However they have struggled this season. A tougher division and the increased travel of the new alignment have not helped them. Many of their core players are aging and it looks like their window of opportunity as a contender is closing. That said it is possible with a little luck that the team we had seen most of this season could make a playoff run.
That was true until they decided to trade away Roberto Luongo for a limited return. Jacob Markstrom has been a strong goalie in Sweden and in the AHL but he failed to make the jump to the NHL this year. At age 24 his days as a serious prospect are limited. He could be a solid NHLer, but there is no certainty. Shawn Matthias is 26 years old and is a solid depth player but he has never scored more than 24 points in his five NHL seasons. This is a poor return for a player who was a member of the Canadian Olympic team. Luongo was the backup goalie and only played in one game, but he recorded a shutout in that game. It is a poor return for one of the better goalies in the NHL. Sure Luongo is not a favorite of many Canuck fans, he has a large lengthy contract and he has requested a trade but the move doesn't make the Canucks better and it probably never will.
To make matters worse, Cory Schneider is a strong goalie as well. The Canucks traded him last summer for Bo Horvat, who is a solid prospect but not a proven NHLer. The Canucks have gone from a team with arguably the best goaltending twosome in the league to one with no proven goalies at all. Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom don`t scare anyone. Last year that would have been an AHL tandem.
To make matters worse, Ryan Kesler also wants a trade. He might be the core player with the biggest future value on the Canucks. I find it hard to imagine the Canucks getting a player as good as Kesler in return.
The Canucks have gone from a team that could win a couple playoff rounds under the right circumstances to a team that is quite likely going to miss the playoffs. The is Mike Gillis`s legacy as Vancouver Canuck GM. He desconstructed the Canucks. If that is what happens he would go down in infamy as one of the worst GMs in Vancouver Canuck history and given their history through the 1970s and 1980s before they ever had a strong season, that is a tough list to crack. Every year I post the teams on the trade deadline that make the best and worst moves in the long and short term. The worst move short term is something the Vancouver Canucks seem to have already locked up and trade deadline day is yet to come.
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