Dave Nonis is feeling the heat in Vancouver.
The Canucks GM is being roasted for his team not making the playoffs. His crime? Failing to get additional scoring to go with the Sedin twins and a declining Markus Naslund. And rightly so.
Vancouver has one of the best goalies in the NHL with Roberto Luongo, a very solid defense corps and a bunch of quality grinders. But, as has been pointed out time and time again, they lack frontline scoring.
The fact Nonis failed to acquire additional scoring help at the trade deadline was his team’s downfall. It put way too much pressure on Luongo to have to be great every game and as we saw, he wasn’t up to the test this season.
Word is Nonis inquired about Florida’s Olli Jokinen, but was told it would take the Sedin twins to get him. Can’t say I blame him for not pulling the trigger on that deal. Now, if Nonis counters with the Sedins for Jokinen and David Booth, I wonder if Florida GM Jacques Martin would bite.
The bottom line is, Nonis needed to show some creativity at the deadline. Never mind all the players who were rumored to be available for trade, go out and instigate a deal for somebody whose name was not mentioned.
Surely there had to be players on teams that were not headed to the playoffs he could have acquired, but it might have meant parting with some of the depth he has built on his blueline.
There are people calling for Nonis’ scalp in Vancouver. I think that’s unfair. The mere fact he was able to get Luongo out of Florida for a song and a dance is enough to keep him in charge of the Canucks for now.
But if he doesn’t get some additional scoring in the off-season, he’ll be skating on very thin ice next season.
And while we’re on the subject, Nonis might also want to ask himself if hitching his wagon to the Sedins is the way to go. They are very good players, make no mistake about that. Nice guys, too. But do you see them leading the Canucks to the Stanley Cup?
Frankly, I don’t. Not that they couldn’t be part of a championship team, I just don’t envision them leading the way.
If Nonis happens to agree with that assessment, he has an easy out – the Sedins are Burke’s boys, not his. It was Brian Burke who made a big splash at the 1999 entry draft, moving up to take the twins.
Regardless, Nonis’ mission is quite simple: Get more goals!
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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