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What We Learned: End of Vancouver goalie absurdity; NHL Draft winners, losers

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Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

One may spin and spin and still be an incompetent.

Canucks Mike Gillis can try to justify the decision to trade Cory Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo after all of this nonsense any old way he pleases. Was it about getting a good value for whatever asset they could unload? Was it about how unmovable the Luongo contract ended up being? Was it about not wanting to buy out Luongo because of how much it would cost? Was it all of those things? Was it something else?

At the end of the day, this was handled in an absolutely abhorrent manner by the Canucks, and the only thing that made you forget what a friggin' sideshow all of it was pretty much from the outset was how publicly good-natured Luongo himself was about it.

Here's how bad it got by the end: The team's owner had to go to Luongo's house in Florida to personally tell him about the deal in the seconds before it happened, while Schneider was left to find out about it on television, even though the deal was apparently agreed the night before.

The problem with all of this is obviously right out there. They pissed Luongo off by going to Schneider down the stretch and then in the playoffs in 2011-12, then they said they would move him, then they didn't. Then they said they'd figure it out at some point this season, then they didn't. And now they've been forced to settle for what has always been simultaneously the most inevitable and least-comfortable conclusion, much to their own detriment.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this were the last major decision of Gillis' tenure in Vancouver.

All the time and hand-wringing and the "Schneider is our guy" has wrought this.

"Their guy" in New Jersey for a decent enough second-line center prospect, and a 34-year-old goaltender making $5.33 million against your already-too-tight cap number who might not be too enamored of the organization in general right now. What a disaster.

But even beyond the current realities, there are the hypotheticals of what Gillis could have done a year ago to make today, and all the finger-pointing that came with it, a thing that never happened.

What did he ask for from the Leafs? Something like Tyler Bozak, Jake Gardiner, and the fifth overall pick? And at the time, he might have turned that down flat as well. Boy, did his asking price drop fast once he realized the economic realities of the situation that he created for himself.

Even getting fifth overall instead of ninth, without the NHL-ready players, would have been a coup at this point, just to unload the near-eternal cap hit and the possibility of recapture penalties coming down hard like the Rains of Castamere on the team in another year or three.

The problem for Gillis is that he started acting like the league's decision to target the kind of absurd long-term, cap-circumventing deal Luongo signed in the first place came out of left field. This is, in reality, the opposite of the case. If you didn't think the league would do all it could to make sure teams controlling these contracts were made to pay for what Gary Bettman and the owners saw as these unacceptable deals, then you weren't paying attention, and that's if you're a civilian. If you're in an NHL front office, you have to have known they'd be taking teams' ability to get any flexibility to deal with these contracts, and shooting them execution-style. Anyone could see they would have no mercy.

That obviously tied Gillis's hands a little bit, but it also said maybe he should have loosened the grip on his white-knuckle demands for a high-quality "hockey trade." I guess he did, in a way, since Schneider for the ninth pick this year isn't that, but it only happened once he had all other options stolen from him because he couldn't hear the slow train coming miles off.

You don't get to act surprised that the new CBA made an already-unpalatable contract additionally unpalatable. Sorry, you just don't.

That's the point in all this. Gillis had to know certain things about his goaltending situation because they were clear to everyone on earth, and yet he did nothing until he was forced into a decision that seemed like the opposite of the one he preferred. No amount of collar-tugging rationalizations will whitewash that.

And now all the Canucks have to do is hope Luongo isn't too unsettled by all of this.

Should be no problem. All according to plan.

What We Learned (Draft winners and losers edition)

Anaheim Ducks: Losers, marginally. Don't the Ducks already have enough offensive defensemen with questionable play in their own end?

Boston Bruins: Winners, because why not? A couple Swedes, that's all fine. But look at Peter Chiarelli putting Tyler Seguin on blast after no one wanted to trade for him this weekend: "He’s got to commit his mind and focus to the one task at hand. He’s got to become more of a professional."

Buffalo Sabres: Losers, but only just. Stocking up on defense is all well and good but when Darcy Regier's stated reason for doing so is to increase the team's "toughness," well, they're not going to stop Ryan Miller from getting run two years ago. The trade to get Jamie McBain and the No. 35 for Andrej Sekera was a coup, though.

Calgary Flames: Losers. Sean Monahan and Morgan Klimchuk were perfectly fine picks at No. 6. Pretty much the definition of safe picks. Then with Hunter Shinkaruk available at No. 22, Jay Feaster goes way off the board for Emile Poirier, and even the usually rah-rah TSN panel seemed stunned. Even Poirier looked surprised. Feaster, of course, assured everyone that the Flames had this guy in their top 10. Good lord.

Carolina Hurricanes: Winners. The benefit of picking fifth, to some extent, was that the teams picking at Nos. 1-4 ahead of them made their decisions for them. That being said, Elias Lindholm is a very good prospect, albeit not necessarily what the 'Canes really need. He's almost certainly not coming over for next year.

Chicago Blackhawks: Losers. Another post-Cup selloff. Just to give Bryan Bickell way too much money. On the other hand, while it's tough to see huge positives in a No. 30 overall pick, that's the trade-off for winning the Cup, isn't it? And hey, if Ryan Hartman — a kid from Chicago, no less — can develop into a poor man's Andrew Shaw or Brad Marchand, then that's a guy any team can use.

Colorado Avalanche: Winners. They say you can never had too many centers, and having one like Nathan MacKinnon, who's 11 months younger than Seth Jones, doesn't seem like a bad bet. I still think this is blatant anti-Americanism.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Winners. Jarmo Kekalainen is widely considered one of the best drafting executives in the league so even if you have qualms about his passing on Shinkaruk at No. 19, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt running his own ship for the first time. The good news, too, is that he drafted for a variety of needs at forward. Plus, they locked up Sergei Bobrovsky for a very reasonable term and a largely unreasonable but understandable cap hit.

Dallas Stars: Winners. I can't believe Valeri Nichushkin dropped to them. Maybe the biggest shock of the draft for me, outside of Jones going No. 4.

Detroit Red Wings: Winners. Trading down to get an extra pick from San Jose and still pull a 50-goal scorer in Anthony Mantha (whose grandfather is former Wing Andre Pronovost) looks real good. He's big, too, but reportedly has little interest in going to the high-traffic areas, so go ahead and table your Johan Franzen comparisons.

Edmonton Oilers: Winners. Gotta give Craig MacTavish credit for being the first Oilers GM in years to realize that he is legally allowed to draft a player who is not a forward.

Florida Panthers: Losers. As much as Aleksander Barkov is excellent, they had a huge need at defense and Jones available. Hell, they had Jonathan Drouin available as well. I don't know about this at all.

Los Angeles Kings: Losers, but only because of the circumstances. Tough to have a good draft when you have to trade just to get into the top 37, and really, Valentin Zykov is a good enough pick there.

Minnesota Wild: Losers for right this second. This is only prohibitive, though. Nino Niederreiter could turn out to be a very strong pickup, but he'll have to prove it. Getting rid of a decent NHL player to acquire him is a little risky, but they had to clear cap space, and Clutterbuck always looked like the victim there.

Montreal Canadiens: Winners, in theory. College-bound D Michael McCarron might be a little bit of a reach but hell, he's already 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. That kind of muscle on the wing gives Montreal something it desperately needs. They also swam in second-round picks, which is really good for a team that should be sneakily rebuilding.

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Nashville Predators: Winners with a capital WINNERS. Getting Seth Jones to drop out of the top three is an incredibly lucky break for David Poile, who's now looking like a genius. Imagine this kid and Shea Weber together for the next 15 years? Gee whiz, you guys.

New Jersey Devils: Winners. Getting Cory Schneider as the heir to Marty Brodeur is very, very wise, as is drafting Steve Santini, who was the best defenseman at the U-18s this year. What a great draft for Lou Lamoriello, who won't have a first-rounder next year.

New York Islanders: Winners? Cal Clutterbuck is most notably good at things that are overrated (hits, chief among them) but he played with John Tavares in junior and is generally a pretty decent corsi player. Plus, Nino Niederreiter was clearly on the outs. Getting a pick on top of that, then getting offensive defenseman Ryan Pulock, shows Garth Snow is still really great at the draft.

New York Rangers: Losers. The Rangers didn't even pick until No. 65, which obviously puts you behind the 8-ball in any draft. With that pick, they took Steve Tambellini's son, Adam. Do not under any circumstances let him make personnel decisions.

Ottawa Senators: Losers, I think. Curtis Lazar is a bit of a project, but you can probably say that about most players picked in the teens. The issue, though, is that there were better projects available.

Philadelphia Flyers: Losers. Big-time off the board pick for Samuel Morin, who the Flyers would love to repeatedly remind you doesn't have a lot of offense for where he was picked, doesn't skate well, and wholly lacks in puck skills. Looks like they were enticed by his size (6-foot-6, 200-plus pounds), and little more.

Phoenix Coyotes: Winners, I guess. I like the Max Domi pick at No. 12, but that Mike Smith getting six years at $5.67 million per and a no-move doesn't make a lot of sense. Why do you do that given your proven ability to turn backups into Vezina candidates? (And just in case you thought I forgot: Today is Day No. 325 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days.)

Pittsburgh Penguins: Winners. They drafted a goalie. Soon they can drop Marc-Andre Fleury off at the pound and never think about him again.

San Jose Sharks: Winners. Mirco Mueller projects as a bit of a depth scoring defenseman and the Sharks can certainly use those, even if that was a little unexpected compared with what everyone figured they would do. Getting Tyler Kennedy, I guess, doesn't actively hurt even if I think he's kind of sub-mediocre.

St. Louis Blues: Winners. Their first pick didn't come until the second round, and when they got there they took a US-born, college-bound defenseman. Always a cool way to get on my good side.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Winners, unequivocally. Getting Jonathan Drouin at No. 3 looked like it was always gonna happen, Florida's baffling move at No. 2 notwithstanding. Then pulling Adam Erne at No. 33, well, that's also a very strong move. Doesn't address the D issue, but best player available and all that.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Winners. I know, I know, Dave Bolland is overrated because of his performance in the Cup Final but his acquisition likely signals that the Leafs won't be bringing back Tyler Bozak, so that's a big-time positive.

Vancouver Canucks: Losers. Trading Schneider to grab Bo Horvat straight-up? Yeah, great job, Gillis.

Washington Capitals: Winners. First-rounder Andre Burakowsky is apparently one of the upside-iest players in the draft. I guess you take that, right? And he's a Swede? Well shoot, sign him on up.

Winnipeg Jets: Winners. I love the acquisition of Michael Frolik, in what is now a regular post-Cup sell-off of Chicago's depth after they win the Cup. First-round pick Josh Morrissey, meanwhile, is obviously an upside pick but there were a lot of very strong players considered to be better than him. Kevin Cheveldayoff saying they were "fortunate" to get him there tells you everything you need to know about the kind of job he does. But hey, of course a guy named Morrissey cares about animal welfare.

Play of the Weekend

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RIP for the summer. :(


Gold Star Award

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The Cake Boss (cakeboss)!

Minus of the Weekend

All I want in the entire world forever is for Roberto Luongo to ask out of Vancouver today.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "harro92" is struggling out there.

Nashville trade:
Jonathan Blum
Paul Gaustad
2014 2nd round pick

Colorado trade:
Paul Stasny
Stefan Elliott
Jamie Mcginn

Signoff
They're not recognizing me as their maternal influence! The project has gone horribly awry!

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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