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What We Learned: Maybe Mike Gillis was serious

By Ryan Lambert

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.

There is little doubt that Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis would very much prefer to move Roberto Luongo for obvious reasons.

Luongo simply cannot any longer be seen as a viable option after he was repeatedly sat in favor of Cory Schneider in the playoffs last season, and has been routinely disquieted by trade rumors. He's expensive. He's signed long-term. He might not be as good as the Schneider. Everyone on earth expects that he will be traded before the season starts.

But the longer this summer rolls on, the stranger the scenario seems to be. Back in June, there were several teams mentioned in connection with Luongo's services, but that number has slowly been whittled away to just one: Florida. And yet there seems to be less movement now than there was even into July. We're now past 100 days of this saga.

Earlier in the week, we were told that Gillis has a very specific directive for Florida: Give us Nick Bjugstad. Florida has repeatedly denied that request, and so we wait.

The interesting thing is that Gillis has repeatedly said he was more than willing to enter next season with both Luongo and Schneider remaining as his goaltending tandem. The idea was probably first bandied about on the Canucks' getaway day, and earned a few guffaws from those who couldn't possibly imagine such a scenario because, y'know, come on. They had to trade him because… well, they just had to do it, right?

But now it's early August, and it's getting harder and harder to disbelieve him. Uncomfortable for pretty much everyone involved? Sure. But he's not in the position that Scott Howson was with Rick Nash.

"We're listening," Gillis told NHL.com. "We have been listening to teams that are interested in acquiring him. If we get what we think the value is there we'll trade him. I don't have a timetable. In fact, in hockey things can change in five minutes with one phone call. It's unrealistic to put a timetable on it."

Gillis can sit back and wait for the Panthers to come to him on this. With or without Luongo, his team can still end the regular season No. 1 in the Western Conference as they have the last two seasons. His team isn't the one with the need, but is Florida ready to enter another season with Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen between the pipes, especially given how teams in their division have improved in this offseason? Can they count on another freakishly bad Washington team scraping along all year?

Dale Tallon may love what Bjugstad brings to his organization, but does he love it more than a significantly improved chance to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season? That's what Gillis is counting on, and he's no dummy. This is the guy who artificially drove up Cody Hodgson's trade value with favorable zone starts for weeks in an effort to work a more advantageous deal for himself.

Everyone is aware that the Canucks don't especially want Luongo on the roster, and if a team really does, then they're going to have to come to heel and acquiesce to Gillis' demands. As with most Canucks trades, he's running this beautifully. It's likely that no one involved would actually be happy to have Luongo back at Canucks training camp next month, but at the same time, it also wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for that team either.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Chicago assistant Mike Haviland is moving back to the AHL to become the associate coach of the Norfolk Admirals, for which he was a head coach from 2005 to 2007. Not sure what that accomplishes.

Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask really looks forward to being the No. 1 goalie in Boston next season, and his teammates look forward to having a No. 1 goalie who doesn't keep giving them manifestos about how the Federal Reserve is a puppet of the Illuminati.

Buffalo Sabres: Can Cody Hodgson be this team's No. 1 center? Will the Sabres' attempt to become "tough" work out for them? Let me make answer these pressing questions as simply as possible: Nope.

Calgary Flames: Calgary Flames defenseman Clay Wilson, who got all of five games with the big club last season but was on a one-way deal for this one, has jumped to Donetsk of the KHL. Meanwhile, Jay Feaster should be hoping Cory Sarich does the same.

Carolina Hurricanes: Here's a great question: Does the Hurricanes' attempt to become relevant by taking on big-salary, name players do anything to make them deeper? Or for that matter, much more dangerous on a nightly basis?

Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks' failure to do much in this offseason has caused their Stanley Cup odds to drop to 14/1 from 12/1. The Penguins are the favorites at 8/1 which means that odds-makers didn't see much of Marc-Andre Fleury in the playoffs last season.

Colorado Avalanche: Don't expect the Avalanche to make any significant payroll additions any time soon, because they're only about $140,000 under the cap floor. But hey it's like, Moneyball or whatever. Except under Moneyball the Oakland A's tended to be a very good baseball team over the course of the season and rather than exploit market inefficiencies, the Avs just aren't spending money.

Columbus Blue Jackets: This blog named Jack Johnson one of the top five defensemen in the Central division for some reason.

Dallas Stars: The Stars have a pretty good top six of forwards. Please focus on that and not how bad that defense is.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Speaking of teams with terrible defense, the Red Wings are considering signing one of Michal Rozsival, Brett Clark or Carlo Colaiacovo to shore up their blue line. Oof.

Edmonton Oilers: Will Jordan Eberle take a step back production-wise because his shooting percentage was 10 points higher than league average? Yes. He almost certainly will. But hey, that's a good thing if you're the Oilers. He's in a contract year and the team stinks anyway.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers should re-sign center Stephen Weiss? Was this even up for debate? Of course they should.

Related Links

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings signed first-round pick Tanner Pearson to an entry-level deal, which seems like a bad idea. If they'd just waited for the next CBA to get approved, they might have gotten him for a lifetime of indentured servitude.

Minnesota Wild: Do the Wild have a thug on the roster? The better question is: Do they need one?

Montreal Canadiens: A London fashion critic says the Canadiens jersey "garish," and "a step too far" after someone in Girls Aloud wore one to a TV show premier.  Being British, however, they did not take the time to make a joke about how short she was.

Nashville Predators: Hey Shane Doan come play for Nashville. "First and foremost we hope it succeeds in Phoenix and that he re-signs there because that's where he wants to play," said David Poile for some reason.

New Jersey Devils: In-depth discussion of every one of David Clarkson's goals last season? Yup, it's August.

New York Islanders: More Islanders to Brooklyn talk. It just seems so fait accompli that I'm terribly interested to see how Charles Wang blows it all up.

New York Rangers: The acquisition of Rick Nash takes the Rangers from clearly best in the East to possibly best in the league, sure, but more important is that Mike Del Zotto and Anton Stralman were the Blueshirts' best Corsi defensemen last season.

Ottawa Senators: Jakob Silfverberg is almost certainly going to make the team out of camp this year, but will he also get regular minutes in the top-six? Yeah no rookie has ever floundered getting those kinds of minutes at 21 years old.

Philadelphia Flyers: So the Flyers are gonna give Andrej Meszaros a bigger role this year out of necessity, but is it a good idea? Possibly. Well, at least in so far as they have no better options.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan update: Still intent on staying with Phoenix. More on this story as it develops, which will only be when he signs with Philadelphia or wherever.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The vast majority of hockey fans think the league favors the Pittsburgh Penguins. Which is preposterous, says James Neal, who only got one game for clearly trying to concuss two people on one shift a few months ago.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks are interested in adding Shane Doan but don't have the cap space to do so. In other news the Sharks are also interested in adding Sid Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist, Shea Weber, Nail Yakupov and 1982 Wayne Gretzky.

St. Louis Blues: If you're looking for Bieber tickets the Blues might be able to hook you up if you want to buy some raffle tickets to benefit a real good cause.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Bolts goaltending prospect Jaroslav Janus will probably play in Europe next season, which is good because there's a major logjam for crease time in that system right now.

Toronto Maple Leafs: There's a difference between saying Phil Kessel shouldn't be considered untouchable and trying to sell him off for parts like most Leafs fans have done all summer. He also shouldn't be traded for either Bobby Ryan or Ryan Getzlaf. It's that simple.

Vancouver Canucks: I love that, all these years after the Canucks parted ways with Mark Messier following a terrible stint in Vancouver, they now owe him $6 million. That's more than Luongo's cap hit.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin's girlfriend won bronze at the Olympics, which like all disappointing finishes in his life, is par for the course. I didn't mean for that to be a Capitals golfing joke, but here we are.

Winnipeg Jets: Winnipeg's CFL team is off to a terrible start. Maybe the team should switch to hockey, and be showered with adulation no matter how bad they are.

Gold Star Award

Big ups to Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison for marching in the Vancouver Pride parade in support of You Can Play. Awesome stuff.

Minus of the Weekend

Canadian women's soccer coach John Herdman says the United States engages in "highly illegal tactics" as a means of softening the blow when his team get gutted like suffocating fish later this afternoon. Shameful boo-hooism.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "13MTL13" has an all-Canadian trade that you're going to love.

To Toronto:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

To Montreal:
Toronto Maple Leafs 1st 2013
Toronto Maple Leafs 2nd 2013
(Keep in mind where Toronto has drafted the past couple years)
Cody Franson

To Edmonton:
Jake Gardiner
PK Subban

Wow. Whoa.

Signoff

I've seen some of the men drinking alcohol. Do you think that has something to do with it?

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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