This is an inside look into Mike Gillis, his past, his role, and the challenges that he has yet to face.
I am a long time canucks fan, and over the last few months have witnessed many Pro and Negative Gillis statements. This blog is for all canucks fans to take a step back and look at Mike Gillis in a different perspective. I hope it's also a different perspective for all the Non-canucks fans that flame him for offering Sundin so much money... and Ill dip into that later.
I personally feel that Mike has done a great job in trying to restructure a franchise that constantly sits in front of a loaded media shotgun. Think back on the bullet dodging that Nonis had to do, and don't get me wrong... I won't flame Nonis as I feel he did a good job as well. A team plagued with injury & star players having difficult seasons... all in a city that has a sports media that will literally chew you up and spit you out. No, I won't flame Nonis.
So why would a man step into this kind of role that has seen Brian Burke pushed out the door?? A role where blood thirsty fans expect a GM to bring us a solution at the cost of nothing?
~A brief about who Mike Gillis is~
Mike has always been a hockey man, and always will be. From his youth hockey days, to his days with the Boston Bruins and retiring from the ice in 84. Then keeping in the business he obtained a law degree and went on to be a Player Agent. His clientele over the years included big names such as Pavel Bure, Markus Naslund, Mike Richter and Bobby Holik just to name a few.
Now I admit something, I felt strongly that this job was meant more for Steve Tambellini at the time, and was a little shocked to see it go to a Mr. Mike Gillis, who I knew nothing about back then.
Now lets dip into Naslund for a moment, having Markus scooped by the Rangers was a difficult pill for a lot of Van Fans to swallow. I remember the Canuck forums were littered with anti-Gillis posts, media around Van was having a heyday and a lot of loaded cannons were being pointed in Mike's direction.
But look at it this way. Mike Gillis was formerly Markus's agent. If Markus was offered a contract extension that would have made him happy enough to stay, there would be just as much ranting and raving over Markus being treated as a favorite by Gillis AND YOU ALL KNOW IT. Obviously ownership was screaming for someone to walk into this role and blow its doors wide open. You're not going to do that by offering all the same players immediate extensions. Changes HAD to be made. Thus, Naslund walked. Followed by another longtime Canuck Brendan Morrison.
Now there is one flaw, I liked Morrison; I felt he was a great player and a good center. Sad to see him go.
So Gillis walks into this role, knows the one thing we need is a new face in our leadership department (Knew this prior to Naslund being scooped by the Rangers mind you). Someone who is hungry for a cup. And thus the Sundin Saga Begins.
Takes big balls for a rookie GM to slam down an offer to a player on the verge of retirement a contract that would make him the highest paid player in history.
Big Kahoonas sports fans...
Was it an off the wall offer? NO.
Let's face it, for a west coast team to have serious interest in Mats Sundin, you HAVE to top the charts in your proposal. If he matched Montreal's offer, or just slightly above it. There's not a chance that Sundin would make a move out to the west coast. So Mike Gillis went 'all-in' with his poker chips and dropped a few jaws. Kahoona's people...
But he didn't stop there, he knew holes needed to be filled regardless of Sundin and has brought in talent such as Demitra and Bernier, who I think are great additions to the canucks lineup.
Creating 1 large hole, a hole that a player like Sundin is meant to fill. Sundin said it himself when he stated he was looking for the team that would have most need of his talents.
Truth be told; Montreal would do just fine if Sundin looked elsewhere. Toronto... well... yes Sundin has kind of shafted them at this point, I can't imagine why they would want him back. NY Rangers?? I mean really, they have no NEED for Sundin.
But Vancouver... With a missing Sundin-sized piece of a puzzle.
Mike Gillis has set it all up this way in hopes that would sway Sundin to make the trip. If Sundin chooses elsewhere or what it is looking to be 'Retirement', I personally have no fear in the matter. I'm sure the right moves will be made to bring Canucks into cup contender status.
Ad 1 part Mike Gillis.
And 1 part 10 million cap space.
And we end up with an interesting new future for the Canucks full of new faces.
For all those who love to point fingers, place blame before even beginning to contemplate reasons. I hope you second think pointing at GM's before taking a moment to try and understand the pressure that sit's on thier shoulders.
The Canucks needed a man that could walk the High Wire, I think they found one.