Depending on who you follow on Twitter, the response you get to certain deals is going to be different. In my case, it involved seeing a whole lotta tweets involving “Canucks” and “rebuilding.” And, in fairness to those people, they are to some extent. They’re not making a push for the Cup, they’re making deals with core assets before they decline and maximizing their return, so…yeah, re-tooling, rebuilding, whatever. They Canucks know they aren’t Cup hopefuls.
But I’m a little surprised to see that the initial fan reaction seems to imply that they’ve blown it up, that they’re starting over, or that they got fleeced.
The Roberto Luongo contract is capital “L” Large, and stretches to 2022. It was never going to be easy to move, and with Luongo providing not-that-much-more than your average goalie in 2014 (more, but again, not that much more) teams weren’t going to give up huge assets for him, as big a name as he may be.
To get back a goalie who was long a top prospect in the Panthers system in Jacob Markstrom, and to have Eddie Lack who’s been great, the Canucks aren’t suddenly a train wreck in net. They’re fine-to-good going forward. They managed to move the deal, and they managed to bring in a 6’4” 26 year old center in Shawn Matthias who was easily on pace for 20-plus goals during the 2013 lockout-shortened season. They had to retain some of Lu’s salary, but that was always going to be a part of moving him.
They also haven’t traded Ryan Kesler yet, but if they get back what they’re rumored to be asking – a 20-25 year old NHL center, a top prospect and a first – you can hardly say they’re purely thinking like the Buffalo Sabres with a “Boy, six years from now…” mentality.
So, while the Canucks moving their best goalie in franchise history is undeniably a big moment for the team, I don’t think it’s cause for fans to burn their jerseys. They moved a nearly immovable deal and got some return.
It’s a bummer to watch a great goalie leave, but the franchise isn’t in tatters just yet.