VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks didn't wait until the last second to make a move.
Instead, general manager Mike Gillis pulled the trigger a little more than 24 hours before Wednesday's trade deadline by picking up a much-needed centre. And according to assistant GM Laurence Gilman, the team isn't done wheeling and dealing just yet.
Tuesday, the Canucks acquired Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars for prospect defenceman Kevin Connauton and a second-round pick, giving Vancouver an experienced player who has a solid offensive track record.
The 29-year-old Ottawa native has four goals and 22 points in 30 games this year with the Stars after being traded from the Buffalo Sabres last July. And, aside from a 35-game campaign in 2010-11, he has put up 40 points or more per season since 2005-06, with his best outing coming in 2007-08 when he had 32 goals and 81 points through 78 games with the Sabres.
Although he was looking to re-negotiate his contract in Dallas one that currently has him in the final year of $4 million per season Roy was instead dealt to Vancouver.
"Things didn't work out the way we planned here in Dallas," Roy said in a conference call Tuesday. "It's exciting to go to a team with a lot of skill and a lot of work ethic.
"Everything happens for a reason and I'm really excited to just put forth a healthy rest of the season and a healthy playoffs and show people what I can do."
Earlier this season, the Stars put Roy on injured reserve after the forward suffered a groin ailment. But he claims to be 100% now and looking forward to the opportunity with a Cup-contending team one that is currently fighting for the Northwest Division title with 12 games to go in the regular season.
In Connauton, the Canucks give up an offensive defenceman albeit one that has gone a minus-12 this season in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. The former third-round pick in 2009 has yet to suit up in the NHL.
With reports Monday that centre Ryan Kesler could be back skating in about a week, the move now gives Vancouver options moving forward. The team is coming off two losses, struggling offensively as of late due to an injury-depleted lineup also missing wingers David Booth and Mason Raymond.
"I like a lot of things," Gillis said in a conference call about Roy. "I like the play-making aspect and the opportunity to add another layer of offence I thought was important.
"We had a chance to do that deal this morning and we acted upon it to try and fill that hole we had."
The Canucks GM added they expect Roy to be the third-line centre playing between Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins, who signed a four-year, $10-million contract extension with the club Tuesday. But Roy also brings flexibility and can move up to the second line.
Vancouver lost out on landing Ryane Clowe from the San Jose Sharks, as the big winger decided to go to the New York Rangers instead a decision Gillis said came down to "geography." On Team 1040, assistant GM Gilman admitted the team is still looking to make at least one more move, potentially two, although Gillis didn't sound as convincing.
"There's not a lot of players out there so we're going through every possibility and see what it may do to our lineup," Gillis said. "We're still looking to be active but it's a very different year."
Added Gilman on the radio: "We're not done trying to improve this hockey team. We know this is our time and we're trying to win the Stanley Cup. Are you asking me if we're good enough right now with the addition of Derek Roy? We're certainly competitive enough, we're certainly strong down the middle, our defence is in the upper echelon of the NHL and we have an overabundance of goaltending.
"Could we change the mix and give ourselves a better opportunity? Absolutely. But I rather wait and see what our team looks like after the dust settles tomorrow at noon before I further comment on what our team's chances are."
The Roy trade also seemingly changes the asking price for Roberto Luongo. Having picked up a centre which the Canucks was clearly coveting they may be looking for a different piece to their lineup now if they do move the goaltender.
"In the event that we move (Luongo), a centre can easily come but it does provide a flexibility to take back a positional player such as a winger or a defenceman," Gilman said. "We know we have a chance to compete with the teams to win the Stanley Cup.
"In order to do that, we need to have a complete roster we're out there trolling on all fronts to make it happen. That probably sounds like we're all in, I guess it means we are."
Roy said he talked with former Sabres teammate and current Canuck Zack Kassian, with the youngster offering to give up his No. 9. But the veteran won't take it away from him "because he's a good kid" and is still pondering what number he'll wear. Roy will be at practice Wednesday Earlier in the day, the Canucks put defenceman Cam Barker on waivers and sent centre Jordan Schroeder down to the minors Gilman confirmed Booth is on long-term injured reserve and won't be back for the team this season.