"When you have the Hart Trophy winner (Henrik Sedin) and six 25-goal scorers, you have to change your viewpoint," said Gillis, who also gave up winger Steve Bernier in the package.
"We're trying to get close to the Stanley Cup final today. We don't have enough top-quality defence-men. Ballard can play big minutes."
They did surrender a first-round pick, but only after their scouts determined there wasn't a prospect on the board worth taking. In addition, they lost Michael Grabner, but convinced the Florida Panthers to take on Steve Bernier and his $2 million US salary.
Grabner is the only asset of real value the Canucks coughed up. But for all his promise and hypnotizing speed, he is the Canucks' fourth-best prospect behind Cody Hodgson, Jordan Schroeder and Cory Schneider. There will be angst about what kind of player he will become but he had nowhere to play in the Canucks lineup in 2010-11 and became, as GM Mike Gillis pointed out, redundant.
What Vancouver didn't need in Grabner -- another soft goal-scorer -- they did need in Ballard.