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Keith Ballard #4 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts as he is hit by Kevin Westgarth #19 of the Los Angeles Kings during the first period in NHL action on March 31, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) (Rich Lam/2011 Getty Images)
Keith Ballard #4 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts as he is hit by Kevin Westgarth #19 of the Los Angeles Kings during the first period in NHL action on March 31, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) (Rich Lam/2011 Getty Images)

How the Canucks did it Add to ...

Mike Gillis (2008-present)

Andrew Alberts (2010 trade, from Carolina for a 3rd-round pick)

Keith Ballard (2010 trade, from Florida with Victor Oreskovich for Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and a 1st-round pick)

Alex Bolduc (2008 minor-league free agent)

Christian Ehrhoff (2009 trade, from San Jose with Brad Lukowich for Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi)

Tanner Glass (2009 free agent)

Dan Hamhuis (2010 free agent)

Chris Higgins (2011 trade, from Florida)

Maxim Lapierre (2011 trade, from Anaheim)

Manny Malhotra (2010 free agent)

Aaron Rome (2009 free agent)

Mikael Samuelsson (2009 free agent)

Jeff Tambellini (2010 free agent)

Chris Tanev (2010 college free agent)

Raffi Torres (2010 free agent)

Summary: Re-signing the nucleus (the Sedins, Kesler, Luongo, Edler, Burrows) at cap-friendly prices, and assembling the supporting cast, were big achievements. Ehrhoff was stolen in a trade with San Jose. Samuelsson was one of the league's biggest free-agent bargains last year, and Malhotra was money well spent until his March 16 eye injury. Glass has been a low-cost regular for two years, while Torres earned his $1-million salary in 2010-11. Tambellini and Tanev were contributors at timely moments this season, but Ballard did not come as advertised. The jury is still out on deadline acquisitions Higgins and Lapierre.

Dave Nonis (2004-08)

Alex Burrows (2005 minor-league free agent)

Alexander Edler (2004 draft, 3rd round, 91st overall)

Jannik Hansen (2004 draft, 9th round, 287th overall)

Roberto Luongo (2006 trade, from Florida with Lukas Krajicek and a 6th-round pick for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld)

Mason Raymond (2005 draft, 2nd round, 51st overall)

Cory Schneider (2004 draft, 1st round, 26th overall)

Summary: Most noted for the Luongo fleecing, his best work may have come on Kesler, Edler and Burrows. He matched Philadelphia's $1.9-million (U.S.) offer sheet to Kesler in 2006, overpaying to keep a significant long-term asset. Dogged scouting in a remote part of Sweden, and a deft draft-day trade to outwit Detroit, secured Edler. The undrafted Burrows was a lottery-ticket, a minor-league free agent identified by Manitoba's Craig Heisinger, GM of the farm team. Hansen is a revelation given where he was selected. Schneider is paying dividends after six years in incubation.

Brian Burke (1998-2004)

Kevin Bieksa (2001 draft, 5th round, 151st overall)

Ryan Kesler (2003 draft, 1st round, 23rd overall)

Sami Salo (2002 trade, from Ottawa for Peter Schaefer)

Daniel Sedin (1999 draft, 1st round, 2nd overall)

Henrik Sedin (1999 draft, 1st round, 3rd overall)

Summary: Manoeuvred three trades to secure the Sedin twins at the '99 draft, culling two superstars from a weak class of prospects. Salo-for-Schaefer brought a top-four defenceman for a checking forward. Kesler got to the NHL quickly, and slowly blossomed into one of its best two-way forwards. Patience paid off with Bieksa. He took four years to reach the league, but stepped in as a regular and has stayed there for a half-decade.

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