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Dave Nonis Fired

A Great Loss To Vancouver


A little over a week after the Vancouver Canucks failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years, their GM and senior vice-president got fired. Dave Nonis held both positions for four seasons and carried the team through many ups and downs.

Nonis helped orchestrate the Canucks to a franchise best 49 wins and 105 points in the 2006-2007 season, but did not come home with the Cup. He also made the trade of the century for Vancouver, sending Todd Bertuzzi to Florida for the amazing Roberto Luongo. This trade was nothing shy of brilliance by Nonis, but the team still missed the playoffs two of the three next seasons.

There is a silent rule that states that every GM gets a five year time frame to turn a franchise around. Vancouver Canucks co-owner Francesco Aquilini pretty much said that it was time to move forward and look ahead to a new GM after his fourth year.

I think this was a unfair firing, especially considering the injury-filled season the Canucks had with their defenseman in 2008. Of all the d-men on the roster, not one played the entire season and only one player lasted 75 games. Injuries are not a GM’s fault and it is hard to trade an ill player.

Here are the top four defenseman for the Canucks and the amount of games missed.

  • Willie Mitchell - 10 games missed

  • Mattias Ohlund - 29 games missed

  • Sami Salo - 19 games missed

  • Kevin Bieska - 47 games missed

That is a total of 105 total missed games by one team’s top four defensemen. It does matter what team you are, this does not equal a playoff team and should not be blamed on a GM.

Of course, during his farewell speech, Nonis claimed he would not do anything different. That is because he did a great job with this team. Their shining star in Markus Naslund is not playing the same as he used to, and everyone else is young. The Sedin twins are becoming a great tandem, but help is needed in the other three lines. There is no doubt that Nonis had a plan this offseason to fill the gaps in the roster, probably using Naslund as the main bait. He should have done it earlier, I guess.

During the offseason, the new Canucks GM has to make a big bang to rejuvenate this club, by acquiring a big name to replace Naslund. Plus, it always looks good when a new mastermind makes a move and shows the fans that he is here to win the Cup.

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So who is available to replace Nonis?

Settle down everyone, Brian Burke is not leaving Anaheim to GM his former team. The only thing Nonis does not have that Burke does, is a big mouth filled with media loving quotes. This may explain that the Vancouver owners may want a more charismatic GM, like the ones in the past. Nonis was not about charisma; he was all business.

Current Canuck vice-president and assistant GM, Steve Tambellini is a definite front-runner and was praised by Nonis as a great replacement. Then there are names like Jim Nill, who is currently with the Red Wings organization as well as former Vancouver player, Mike Gillis. No really big names are yet in the running.

The NHL is a very tight business and only success keeps jobs. Not making the playoffs equals an unsuccessful season that equals change. Either way, this should be a sad time in Western Canada as a great GM was fired far too early. Let me remind everyone that the Vancouver Canucks held a record of 130-91-25 during Dave Nonis' tenure.


By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer

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