I've been using pcmanfm with GVFS on other systems for quite a while now it seems. I'm always super-critical of extended dependency trees, but did not have any hesitation with utilizing GVFS.
However after you mentioned it, I did a quick search and it seems that GVFS can be used "optionally". I read that if the library is not present on the system, that pcmanfm will silently drop those features from usage.
While very uncommon, there's a few filesystems-access-types that are almost exclusive to GVFS. I've recently dealt with a cellular phone's network filesystem that strictly needed GVFS to access. No commandline or low-level access tools available for it. This was actually why I switched to the pre-release 0.9x branch some time ago. Even though I never got the cell thing working, I stuck with 0.9x and have no regrets. I even continue to use it to manage my desktop icons/background.
OTOH, I _HATE__HATE__HATE_ file manager trash cans. Every rare once in a while I'll think, oops I shouldn't have deleted that and of course I don't have atrash can in that case. But multiple times a week I'll think about my dislike for trash cans when I have them!