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Canucks trade the franchise; GM suffers emotional breakdown

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07-05-2012, 02:58 AM
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Hossa
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Canucks trade the franchise; GM suffers emotional breakdown

When the Keogh administration took over the Vancouver Canucks franchise in 2003, the promise made to the fans on the West Coast was for sweeping change, out with the old overpaid veterans and in with the new young talent that the club needed to rebuild from the ground up. The player that started it all was Eric Staal, and after ten years with the HFNHL Canucks he will now be moving on.

While a couple of star players were sold off for prospects during the 2002-03 season, the franchise acquired its new face after the season at the 2003 HFNHL Entry Draft, where the Canucks made the third overall selection after winning the draft lottery a couple of weeks prior. Although the 2003 draft is often heralded as the best of all time, Staal remains the draft's most accomplished star.

Since breaking into the league as an 18 year old rookie, Staal has been a dynamic, well-rounded and incredibly durable force. Over his eight seasons he has played 642 of a possible 656 games, leading the NHL Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup and putting up at least 70 points every season since the lockout, in spite of carrying players like Jiri Tlusty and Tim Brent as wingers in recent years.

Unfortunately in the HFNHL, Staal has now had the misfortune of being surpassed as the face of his franchise by Evgeni Malkin, arguably the best player in the world at the moment. As a result, the HFNHL Canucks decided this past week that the time had come to move one of its two towering centres, and pulled the trigger on a massive deal which sees Staal move to to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

At a teary-eyed press conference, GM Keogh explained that it was simply not possible to keep Staal without trading several other players. "We have been fighting the cap for years," he said, "and it simply got to a point where to keep Eric at his current price, we would have to either trade Malkin or trade two other core players, such as David Backes or David Krejci or Bobby Ryan or Kris Letang."

In short, the Canucks have over the years amassed an unsustainable excess of high-priced talent, and indeed had been living on borrowed time for several years now. With most of the core players now in their prime and earning salaries concomitant with their achievements and market value, difficult management decisions have given way to impossible choices.

The return for Staal should not be dismissed as insignificant. Coming to Vancouver are two players who can help right away, Bryan Little and Chris Kelly, as well as arguably the best defence prospect in the world, Dougie Hamilton. However none can or will replace Staal, because the unfortunate reality is that the Canucks cannot not afford to replace Staal.

"Kelly and Little will probably play together on the third line, with a yet to be decided left winger," said the GM at the press conference. "And while Hamilton will not dress for us for a couple of years, this is a player that could become part of our core in time."

Indeed Hamilton is the key to the trade for the Canucks. While the club has several very good defencemen, and Kris Letang and Justin Faulk look to be cornerstones for the future, the club's blueline has long been sustained by players of a different generation than the crop of all-star forwards that had driven the offence. Hamilton's size, skill and raw physical potential gives the club a dimension it has not had on the blueline since Mattias Ohlund's departure.

But this blockbuster trade was not really about Dougie Hamilton, Bryan Little or Chris Kelly, nor was the press conference truly about welcoming the new players. Staal departs a team which he has led for almost a decade, during which time the club has had arguably unrivaled success in the HFNHL.

The Canucks have made the playoffs six consecutive years, losing in the first round only once. Three years in a row now the club has finished with over 100 points, despite playing in arguably the most competitive division in the league. Most importantly, Staal led the Canucks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2010, a playoff run during which was first in club scoring.

"Eric has been the centrepiece of our franchise for a long time, and the Canucks organization and the city of Vancouver owe him a considerable debt for the achievements he has brought and shared with all of us," said the GM. "We wish him absolutely nothing but the best in Columbus and will surely continue to regret for years this impossible decision we were forced to make.

Libor Stojanov,
Vancouver Gazette


Last edited by Hossa: 07-05-2012 at 03:17 AM.
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07-05-2012, 03:15 AM
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Most importantly, Staal led the Canucks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2012, a playoff run during which was first in club scoring.
Pretty sure it wasn't 2012, but I know you can hardly make out the keys on your computer for the tears, Sean.

Great article, tough trade. Hope it works out for both of us.

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07-05-2012, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ohio Jones View Post
Pretty sure it wasn't 2012, but I know you can hardly make out the keys on your computer for the tears, Sean.

Great article, tough trade. Hope it works out for both of us.
It wasn't the tears, it was the alcohol I've drowned myself in since pulling the trigger on this. The Kershaw coping strategy.

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07-05-2012, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Hossa View Post
It wasn't the tears, it was the alcohol I've drowned myself in since pulling the trigger on this. The Kershaw coping strategy.
I feel ya. I'm already drinking to cope with my trading of Datsyuk. And that won't happen till the All Star break.

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07-05-2012, 10:20 AM
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I feel ya. I'm already drinking to cope with my trading of Datsyuk. And that won't happen till the All Star break.
You must have been planning that move for years, then, based on historical evidence.

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07-05-2012, 10:34 AM
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Why oh why must he come to the Central Division?

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07-05-2012, 11:47 AM
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You must have been planning that move for years, then, based on historical evidence.
Indeed!


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