In one of the most action packed offseasons in Canucks history, this one blows everything else out of the water.
Roberto Luongo is named as the first goaltender in 61 years and risks "Captain Lou Albano" jokes for another 2 years.
Keeping in mind that Canucks hockey has been pretty interesting over the last few years, this year has been...incredible. Usually the high-bar is set at the shock and excitement of when Luongo was signed 2 years ago. It was an out of nowhere blockbuster deal that will forever rank Nonis as one of our top GM's in Canucks history. Every other GM must have been frothing at this one. Luongo was a proven franchise goalie and was given up for a declining and loathed Todd Bertuzzi and some other minor players. Nonis also bagged Krajicek, who has turned into a top 6 defender with some trade potential and/or room to grow.
This year has seen at least 3 moments that compare and maybe even top that magical summer in 2006.
1. Nonis lures Fabian Brunnstrom
-Brunnstrom was considered the most sought after non-NHL player on the market this year and had, through intense negotiations, chosen Vancouver as his destination. The deal would have played peanuts for a possible blue-chip player and would have seen Brunnstrom sit on a line with the Sedins for most of the season. Nonis was fired and replaced by current GM Mike Gillis before the deal could be solidified and Brunnstrom went to Dallas instead.
2. Gillis offers Mats Sundin $10 Million
-A ridiculous amount of money. A preposterous...amount of money. This deal was seen as bonkers by all and Gillis was electronically burned in effigy for even putting the deal out there. But true to his word, Gillis had promised bold moves and Sundin was/is the most sought after prospect of 2008. It should be noted that Sundin would not have even considered Vancouver had it not been for the offer which gave every Canuck fan a chance to fantasize about what the Canucks would look like with 3 powerful scoring lines.
3. Vingeault names Luongo Captain
-It had never been done before in the modern era. No one had considered it a possibility. But Luongo being named Captain has been one of the greatest actions taken by the franchise in it's history for 4 reasons:
a. Practicality. Luongo has been a natural leader in the locker-room and no one on the team has been as devoted. He's been the backbone of the organization, great under pressure, self motivated and will push his teammates hard.
b. Publicity. A stroke of genius by management. Luongo jersey's (with the "C"
go through the roof at X-mas time, Canucks look like a cutting edge and creative organization, the press and public eat this stuff up, and they get to enshrine the franchise-goalie status without having to offer up something like a 15 year contract.
c.Long-term. Baring total collapse or meltdown Luongo will be with the organization for a very long time.
d. Teamwork. I have often repeated that the Canucks greatest problem last year was motivation / chemistry / teamwork. Even more than scoring and injuries. Rather than leave bad-taste in anyone's mouth about captaincy, they give the "c" to their rock and best player and 3 "a's" to a great crop of leaders. Mitchell is a natural on-ice leader, probably the best on the team. Ohlund is the longest serving Canuck and a solid Naslund replacement. Kesler is part of the club's future and great to have for down the line.
I can only hope that the "on"-season as even remotely as electrifying!