Crunch time for Nonis

BARRY MACDONALD -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be general managers.

There are certainly easier ways to make a living, and this morning it is fair to assume that Dave Nonis is very aware of that.

That said, these are the days that can come to define the legacy of a man like Nonis ... days that certainly make or break his reputation and the fortunes of his hockey club.

Dave Nonis isn't exactly new to this stuff, even if he is a rookie general manager. He was Brian Burke's right-hand man so he wasn't on the outside looking in when it came to previous wheeling and dealing.

But when you are the man actually pulling the trigger on a trade, when you are the man who can immediately change the landscape of your organization with one phone call, you certainly feel the heat a little more directly.

Think about all the significant deals in the history of the Canucks. Devoted fans of the organization know who was involved, and of course, who made it happen. The "Bure deal" involved Brian Burke. Pat Quinn was the general manager who fleeced the Penguins by acquiring Markus Naslund for Alek Stojanov. Poor Jack Gordon will forever be remembered as the man who sent Cam Neely to Boston for Barry Pederson. It goes with the territory. One phone call and you can be either brilliant or a buffoon.

Which can make for some sleepless nights. But as Dave Nonis went to work this morning, the panic button wasn't an option. It can't be. Any possible deal must be made for the right reasons, and not for the sake of making it.

When considering a deal, Nonis has to be asking himself one question. Does this improve our hockey club? It really is that simple, on the surface. But more often than not, what you get isn't always what you bargained for. The new acquisition is nursing an injury of some degree, his family is upset by having to move, and his agent wants a contract extension. You have to be careful what you wish for.

Bottom line, Nonis has more to attend to than you might think. He has to look beyond the obvious when it comes to possible deals. The goals and assists are the easy part. But what baggage is there? Other general managers aren't going to disclose the flip side of a player they are trying to move. And that is where the real challenge lies for Nonis, should he try and make a swap or two. He has to know the complete resume of a player he is interested in, not just his point total.

It is an inexact science, this trading stuff. It is why making a swap is easier said than done.

Dave Nonis can define his legacy between now and noon. One day, one deal.

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