If you're so inclined, you can question Vancouver GM Mike Gillis when he says earnestly he would do the Keith Ballard trade again — in a heartbeat.

But you can't question the defence he's constructed, the one many see as a potential scales-tipper in the Western Conference final.

Gillis said Saturday he has no regrets. He shouldn't. It took the same go-for-broke mentality to sign off on the Ballard deal as it did to author a blueline that now has a starting six Ballard can't seem to crack.

And the reality is this: It may never again be this good. Unless, of course, a Shea Weber trade exists somewhere other than fans' dreams.

Without size or Chris Pronger, Vancouver's blueline isn't perfect. Even with Aaron Rome. It can be exposed, and often is, down low, around the goal line and in corners. That could be trouble because these are areas the San Jose Sharks and their puck-cycling ways can make perilous.

Still, Vancouver is the Toyota of defences — before the recalls. It is deep in defencemen who are reliable and consistently efficient. Without flash, they can skate, score and move pucks. When they're on, they can torture and tease puck possession teams like the Sharks, who give up the puck often and try to chase it down.

That's why many believe the worm turned this year, allowing Vancouver to go 3-0-1 against San Jose, a team that used to bonk the Canucks annually as if they were cohos in a salmon farm.

You can't cycle if you don't have the puck.

"It's the deepest, easily, I've ever been on," Kevin Bieksa said. "Our seven and eight guys could play anywhere else. We have a lot of different guys who can do a lot of different things. We don't ever have to rely on one guy.

"And everyone is a puck mover."

Ok, maybe Rome's puck-moving is more like "puck-flipping into the neutral zone," Bieksa said, but you get the idea.

"We don't need one guy staying back and another rushing the puck," Bieksa said. "I know on my pairing, we both can do the same things."

Bieksa is, of course, with Dan Hamhuis on Vancouver's minute-chewing top pairing. It was Hamhuis who took less money to play in his home province as a free agent in July. He spurned several other teams, even though he saw a talented defence in Vancouver that was going to make the big minutes he desperately craved more difficult to earn.

It's worked out beautifully for him. Only Bieksa, Ryan Suter and Dan Boyle have played more this postseason.