Mike Gillis is either trying to help along a Roberto Luongo trade that isn’t quite there yet, or is possibly the most honest human on the planet. I’ll take the former.
Yesterday an interview with the Canucks’ general manager emerged where he was quoted as saying he has a potential deal in place with a team that hasn’t yet been on the media’s radar, the trading partner just needs to clear up some of its own roster issues first.
Initially I thought this was a blatant case of negotiating through the media by saying "Hey Nonis, give us Kadri or we’re finalizing this deal with someone else." I’d still bet on that being the case, but what’s puzzling about this whole thing is that I don’t really see where Gillis gained anything by making this kind of statement, true or false.
Gillis’ team (and particularly Schneider) started off rough this weekend, and though I don’t think that’s anything to worry about, it’s clear that media are just waiting to pounce on anything Canucks-related right now. To bring this much more attention to what’s turning in to a bit of a bizarre situation seems a little foolish.
Regardless of whether Schneider hits a skid or not, the next media scrum following a Canucks game will almost surely feature questions to Luongo about him essentially already being dealt to another club. Teammates have already been asked about whether this goaltender situation is a distraction, and I can’t imagine how much more intense that storm will get now that this new quote is circulating.
Toronto is still the destination where many think Luongo will end up, and the Leafs have tried somewhat of a similar tactic in the last few weeks by having "news" break about Nonis kicking tires on Bernier in Los Angeles. I’m not sure how effective that was, considering Nonis has made it clear, even to his own goaltenders, that they’re looking to add a veteran if possible. Either way, Gillis looks to have taken his own shot at it on a bigger scale, and I don’t think it’s too wise.
When it comes to the Leafs and Canucks, to us fans on the outside it now it seems things are at a weird place where Nonis appears to be showing zero urgency in acquiring Luongo, and Gillis is trying to make it look like he’s focused elsewhere. What’s actually going on behind closed doors is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think Gillis did himself any favors by giving fans and media this type of ammunition.
If it’s going to take a while for this supposed mystery team (again, probably not true) to shuffle around some players and make room for the 33-year old goaltender, the questions surrounding the Canucks will drive the players insane in the meantime.
I think Gillis should hope this thing gets cleared up quickly, one way or another.