by PuckStopsHere on 04/10/14 at 01:49 AM ET
Yesterday the Vancouver Canucks fired general manager Mike Gillis. This is in response to the team missing the playoffs this year. The announcement was made just before the end of the season, which is somewhat pointless. Nothing can be done at this point in the season. Hot on the heels of firing the GM, the Canucks hired Trevor Linden as the new president. Linden was a popular player but he has no management experience in the NHL. He is a figurehead (hopefully) who will do little to improve the Canucks. These moves are done now because the Vancouver Canucks season ticket renewal date is here and the Canucks wanted to try to bring a sense of optimism to season ticket holders. At this point the move is window dressing. Until a new GM is hired it is not possible to decide if this move is a good one. If it is to work out, Linden cannot be making player personnel moves.
Gillis had been hired as GM of the Canucks in 2008. At that time the Canucks were a top team in the NHL. Gillis did little to improve the team and they went to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. When it came time that moves were needed, Gillis was unable to make the right ones. He is a former player agent and didn't have the skills to guide a team through tough times.
Gillis will most be remembered for destroying the Vancouver Canuck goaltending. Less than a year ago they had the best two-man tandem in the NHL with Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo. Now both have been traded and there are no top level players on the Canucks roster in their place. Mike Gillis strikes me as a fantasy hockey GM who took over a good team in an existing league. He had some success in his first few years and people began to think he was a good GM. When it was time to prove his abliity because the team needed some work, he wasn't up to the job.
Vancouver still has some talent. They probably are good enough that they should be a playoff team. It seems everything fell apart when coach John Tortorella was suspended after his attempt to push his way into the Calgary Flames dressing room after a brawl in January. The Canucks have stumbled since that point. He will almost certainly not be back next year. A new GM will bring in a new coach. In all likelihood, the Canucks will be a playoff team with little work necessary. They are not a Stanley Cup contender anymore. It will take a good new GM to make things any better than that. Mike Gillis did not seem to have the skills needed to complete that job.
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