Revisiting the Canucks Derek Roy Trade

Three seasons later, it’s still hard to stomach the price the Canucks paid to acquire Derek Roy in a rental trade.

GM Mike Gillis and Vancouver sent prospect Kevin Connauton and a 2013 second round pick to the Dallas Stars for Derek Roy back on April 2, 2013. The Canucks did go 7-4-1 to end the regular season after this trade, and won the Northwest Division with 59 points in the lockout-shortened campaign, but past that immediate success there really is nothing positive to reflect on about this trade.

The Canucks were swept in the first round of the playoffs to the sixth seed San Jose Sharks, and fired coach Alain Vigneault soon after. Vancouver also parted ways with Roy after the 2013 season, who became a free agent after only 16 games in a Canucks uniform.

Currently, Kevin Connauton, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has the potential to be a top-four NHL defenseman, and the Stars have a quality goalie prospect who they drafted with the 2013 second rounder from the Canucks. Derek Roy, meanwhile, who has 28 goals in his last 189 NHL games, failed to sign in the league this season and is now playing for SC Bern in Switzerland.

Big Risk, No Reward for Vancouver in this Deal

Roy, a former 32nd overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2001, amassed only three goals and three assists in 12 games for Vancouver, and only one assist in four playoff games. The Canucks acquired Roy in an attempt to bolster their depth at center, a player who only had four goals in 30 games with Dallas prior to being traded. The fix was temporary and didn’t spark the Canucks forward unit like Gillis and company had hoped for.

During most of Roy’s eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, the team he broke into the NHL with, he showed strong playmaking abilities and hovered around a point per game. Roy had four straight seasons of at least 21 goals and 42 assists from 2006-07 to 2009-10 with the Sabres, and career-highs of 32 goals, 49 assists and 81 points in 2007-08.

But following a major injury in 2010-11, Roy tallied only 44 points in 80 games in 2011-12 – the beginning of his downward trek in point production, and the Canucks gambled two pieces of their future for a player who’s value evidently wasn’t there.

At What Cost Was Derek Roy?

Giving up Connauton and a second round pick for the all but non-existent services of Derek Roy is nothing to take lightly for the Canucks.

Connauton is a former third round pick of Vancouver in 2009 who has experience playing in the city; though he never debuted with the Canucks, the offensive defenseman spent 2009-10 with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, scoring 24 goals in 72 games. Connauton brings great offensive skills to the table and is a left handed shot who has a cannon of a shot, an asset that the Canucks don’t have on their roster of his caliber. Interestingly enough, the Stars didn’t see the full value of Connauton, much like the Canucks. He was put on waivers by Dallas and was picked up by Columbus on November 18, 2014. Connauton finally broke out for the Blue Jackets with nine goals and 19 points in 54 games with the team in 2014-15.

So with the loss of Connauton, the Stars didn’t entirely win this trade. However, they still retain Phillippe Desrosiers under contract, the goalie they drafted 54th overall in 2013, with the second round pick acquired from Vancouver in the Roy deal. The 20 year-old is the second best goalie prospect in the Stars system, behind Jack Campbell, and was a standout in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Oceanic. Desrosiers recorded a combined 60 wins in 96 games for Rimouski over the past two seasons, and in 2014-15 was an all-star in the league, backing the Oceanic during the 2015 Memorial Cup.

Lesson Learned for Vancouver

Despite winning the Northwest Division in 2012-13, the Canucks weren’t primed for a Stanley Cup Finals run and Derek Roy certainly wouldn’t have been the missing piece to the puzzle. Roy is all but a ghost to the Canucks franchise, playing only 16 total games and signing with the St. Louis Blues three months after Vancouver traded for him.

What still lingers from this trade is what the Canucks sent away for Roy. In today’s league, higher round draft picks are at a premium; if Derek Roy is worth a 2nd round pick in 2013, it’s hard to imagine what a modern day Eddie Lack would have been worth, who was moved in an unpopular trade last June. And, for the Canucks, organizational depth on the blue line is hard to come by, which was emphasized in the team’s loss of Frank Corrado.

With the assets lost being so hard to come by, you can bet there won’t a Derek Roy-esque rental player situation in Vancouver anytime soon.