Once again, it seems Mike Gillis is rolling the dice that patience will bring a better return for one of his core players. Other than sending depth defenseman Raphael Diaz to the New York Rangers for a fifth-round pick in 2015, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t make a move today, one day after Gillis dealt Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers in a move that did nothing to help the embattled general manager’s approval rating in the hockey-mad city.
Rumors were rampant that Kesler could be sent to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Anaheim and others. Instead, he remains with the Canucks, a team that’s becoming more and more of a long shot to make the playoffs with each additional loss.
Gillis will be criticized for wasting the value Kesler could have provided a contender this postseason. Now, the most the Canucks can guarantee a potential trade partner is two playoff runs with the 29-year-old former Selke Trophy winner, not three.
It could end up that Vancouver receives a better deal for Kesler in the summer, when teams have more flexibility to do deals. But Canucks fans have heard that before. Right now, there’s not a lot of faith it all turns out for the best, and speculation, valid or not, is only going to grow that Gillis will be fired.