By Allan Muir
Multiple sources report Derek Roy going from Dallas to Vancouver in exchange for a 2013 second-round pick and defenseman Kevin Connauton.
Finally, the Canucks get a legitimate, second/third line center to fill a long-gaping hole, and they did it without tampering with their current roster. Roy brings veteran experience and proven playmaking ability (18 assists in 30 games), but as I’ll explain below, his game is not without flaws. Still, he’s an upgrade over what they had, and he gives coach Alain Vigneault some flexibility in his top nine. That kind of depth will be key as the Canucks push into the playoffs.
The Stars paid a high price — fan favorite Steve Ott — to acquire Roy from Buffalo with the thinking that they needed an offensive-minded pivot to replace Mike Ribeiro on their second line. Early on, Roy seemed like a good fit — he even took Spanish lessons to acclimate to the local culture — but it soon became apparent that the pending UFA wouldn’t sign an extension to his deal without checking out the market first. Probably a good call on his part. After watching him this season, it’s unlikely the Stars would have matched the kind of money/term he’ll get as a free agent. It’s not that Roy was bad, but he was pretty much exactly the player Buffalo gave up on last year. Soft, happy to play on the periphery, inconsistent. Maybe his biggest failing was not meshing with Loui Eriksson, whose game has taken a huge dip this year.
The pick is nice, but Connauton is the key for Dallas. The 23-year-old is 6′-1″, 185 pounds, and a right-handed shot, something the Stars are short of at the NHL level. He’s a bit soft defensively, but that can be worked on. Where he shines is in moving the puck, and that’s an element where Dallas struggles miserably, as the Stars showed in their past few blowout losses. He’ll be an asset for their power play as well.
My quick take
The Stars would have gotten more in a deadline deal if they’d kept Ott and traded him today, but ifs and buts, right? This was the right deal for Dallas and a low-risk move for the Canucks. Good for both.