The Canucks, as a franchise, have a generally poor drafting record. There are, of course, some exceptions, but in general the team has not been impressive at the draft. That said, I really think drafting is often overrated. But, before you jump all over me, I'm not saying it's not important, but rather that there's a lot that goes in to it and it often takes a long time to tell if you've done well or not. Unless you're drafting high and getting a player that is almost a sure thing, the future is very uncertain. As for the later picks, the system of development, the organizational attitude, and a lot of chance (remember, we're talking about 'kids') goes in to it.
I judge Gillis based on the moves he's made, primarily some pretty decent contracts, and the moves he has not made. He's not gone out and thrown buckets of money at people just for the sake of making a splash. Nor has he caved to pressure to sign playes that used to be franchise players. However, I have two major criticisms of Gillis. The 1st is that he didn't fire AV when he was hired. I know, the Canucks have done fairly well in the regular season since then, and even to the 7th game of the Stanley Cup final, but I think that, if not for AV's blunders, they would have reached that position sooner and, perhaps, even have beaten Boston in 2011 and, surely, LA in 2012. But, it's not a thread about AV. The second criticism is that he seems to refuse to face the reality of how the NHL is officiated. Personally, I love a fast, hard hitting, whistle to whistle team with lots of skill, and that is what Gillis has tried to build (though, perhaps not hard hitting enough). However, the further in to the playoffs a team progresses, the more this approach is penalized. It's just a fact about the world that refs swallow whistles in the playoffs, so it just won't work to play all skill, no tough and punish them on the powerplay. I'd like to see it called consistently from October to June, but it isn't, hasn't been, and won't be, so face that reality and make the necessary changes. Let us not forget you have to be able to score on the powerplay and, more importantly, there have to actually be powerplays.
Gillis is a bit of an idealist. On the one hand that's a good thing, such as sticking to principles around what he's willing to pay a player or what represents sensible term. On the other hand, refusing to recognize the necessity of toughness and players with a mean-sterak, has cost this team.