The reign of Nonis ends in Vancouver
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Originally published in Eishockey News in 2008
By Lucas Aykroyd
When Dave Nonis was fired as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks on April 14, the timing of his dismissal came as a surprise.
Even though owner Francesco Aquilini expressed bitterness over the club’s narrow failure to make the playoffs, most observers thought Nonis, a 41-year-old Vancouver native, would get at least one more season to address Vancouver’s need for more secondary scoring to help out the Sedins, especially with captain Markus Naslund likely not returning. Nonis made no major free agent signings last year, and failed to land the likes of Peter Forsberg or Brad Richards during the stretch run.
After Nonis took over from Brian Burke in 2004, the Canucks missed the playoffs in two of the three post-lockout years. But still, in 2006-07, the team set new records for wins (49) and points (105), and Alain Vigneault, whom Nonis chose as head coach, captured the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year.
Nonis will be best-remembered for his 2006 acquisition of superstar goalie Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers in exchange for overrated power forward Todd Bertuzzi, who only played seven games for Florida. In addition, Nonis resisted the urge to trade young players for proven but aging and expensive veterans, and the Canucks now boast a surplus of emerging talent, such as forwards Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, defencemen Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieksa, and goalie Cory Schneider.
“I think I worked pretty hard to do the right things for this organization,” said Nonis. “Would I do things differently? No.”