Great recap on the Canucks' outlook this off-season on nhl.com today. Everyone is trying to say the right things, John Tortorella downplaying his reputation as a defensive coach, saying they'll be aggressive this season, and tougher to play against. Chris Higgins painting his former coach's methods in a favourable light, of building up his team and installing his system in training camp day by day, and asking for nothing less than 100%.
The article outlines the competitiveness of the team in the past few years, but how it fell on hard times since the Finals loss to Boston, and especially last season.
Personally, I don't think the team needed a coaching change, what it needed was a full healthy season from Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. A nice bonus could come from David Booth too, he's the forgotten man since he hasn't been able to contribute since coming over from Florida. If Mr. Booth could plug one of the holes on the wing and chip in 20 or more goals that would go a long way to making their season a success.
What it needed also, and we'll cry over spilled milk here, is for the Canucks to get some immediate assets back from trading Roberto Luongo, and failing that, for Corey Schneider. I know the goalie market is soft, but before their window closes, the Canucks needed a significant contributor on their third or fourth line in return for one of their goalies. That's easier said than done, but that's what would have made Mike Gillis' reputation, if he could have navigated that. It's a results business, and he fumbled that.
Furthermore, he and his predecessors have never managed to find that big talented winger to play with the Sedin brothers. They've squandered draft picks, they've let marketable defencemen such as Christian Ehrhoff and Mathias Ohlund walk in free agency, over the years they should have found a way to cobble a trade together to find them their James Neal. Alex Burrows is a nice player and really handy to have on your roster, but on a trio with the Sedins, it's like sprinkling sugar on a piece of chocolate cake, you wonder if there's not another more complementary topping.