Dave Nonis may not be as well known as Brian Burke but the new Toronto Maple Leafs general manager had a fairly decent track record of moves during his tenure in Vancouver.
His most prominent move was stealing all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo from Florida for next to nothing and he played a large role in bringing in current head coach Alain Vigneault to replace Marc Crawford.
He was not the most consistent drafter, but came up with outstanding class where he landed two high-quality NHL starters. Nonis was said to be much more conservative than his predecessor and his reluctance to move top prospects may have hurt him at the time, but certainly helped the Canucks franchise down the road.
Here is a look at what he accomplished during his time as general manager of the Canucks:
Nonis added some quality players to the Canucks franchise but had his fair share of misses during his four drafts with the club.
2004: This was Nonis’ first draft and by far his most successful. He added an infusion of high-quality prospects to a Canucks team in need of young talent.
First round: Cory Schneider — Schneider has developed into the team’s No. 1 goalie.
Second round: Alexander Edler — Rock-solid defenceman that has stabilized the back end.
Fifth round: Mike Brown — Nonis will see the high-effort grinder in his new job.
Ninth round: Jannik Hansen — Any time you can get an NHLer in the 9th round, it’s a win.
2005: Nonis got some good value here but unfortunately the Canucks franchise suffered some terrible luck with their top pick in his second draft.
First round: Luc Bourdon — Bourdon was a highly-touted defenceman before tragically dying in a car crash in 2008.
Second round: Mason Raymond — Raymond has not quite lived up to the hype but is still a capable roster player with the Canucks.
2006: Nonis had a rough draft class where Vancouver’s only successful pick didn’t make an impact until he left the Canucks.
First round: Michael Grabner — Grabner had a breakout year for the Isles in 2010-2011, after the club claimed him off waivers from the Florida Pantiers.
2007: This was a disastrous draft year for Nonis; not one player Vancouver selected ever suited up in an NHL game.
First round — Patrick White
Second round — Taylor Ellington
When it comes to trades, the deal to land Luongo was clearly the most impactful move Nonis has made in his GM career. He was able to acquire an all-star calibre goalie in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld. A monumental move that helped establish the Canucks as a premiere franchise for years to come.
Outside of that, Nonis never really made another marquee trade or signing. He didn’t make any real splashes and tried to supplement his core with veteran players without sacrificing any of the team’s top-level prospects. Most of his most moves were short-term trade deadline acquisitions or players to help strengthen the bottom of the roster.
Some of the players he acquired included: Taylor Pyatt, Bryan Smolinski, Mika Noronen, Keith Carney, and Eric Weinrich.
His most successful free agent signings were:
Willie Mitchell, D — Reliable veteran helped stabilize a shaky Canucks defence.
Anson Carter, F — Excelled (33 goals) playing between the Sedin brothers. Never was the same once he left.
Alex Burrows, F — Burrows has developed into a top-six forward for the Canucks. Did not hit his stride until he reached the 50-point plateau in 2008-09 but Nonis was already gone by then.
Nonis was fired in 2008 after the team failed to make the playoffs in two of his three seasons with the club.
For those expecting the second coming of Brian Burke in Toronto, you may be surprised. Nonis has some similar philosophies, but as was proven in Vancouver, the two have very different approaches in building a hockey team.