Are you a Vancouver Canucks fan who is determined that the team will make the playoffs this year? You don’t want to hear us describe ANY Vancouver Canucks 2021-22 trade pieces? Okay, well maybe sit this one out. Love the optimism, buddy!
(They gone? Right. Now, let’s talk possible Vancouver Canucks 2021-22 trade deals, shall we?)
Which Canucks Might Get Traded
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the new management team is that Jim Rutherford hasn’t made a trade yet. Sure, he wasn’t officially the general manager, but he was empowered to make any deal he saw fit. And if Rutherford likes anything it’s making deals. The Vancouver Canucks 2021-22 trade deadline is officially March 21st, but don’t count on them waiting that long.
Still, new manager now in place, new team of White Collars going forward. Deals are going to happen, and well they should. Rutherford has spoken about looking at where the team will be in “two-to-three years” and this isn’t really a team set up for it. That time frame adds a twist that does make things very interesting. Getting any “futures” back in a trade other than a young player, a near-ready prospect, or very high draft pick – first half of the first round – and they won’t be ready for the NHL in time.
But leaving aside any return, there is also the consideration of cap crunches. A deal to move out salary is a useful way to set the team up for the future, too. Even in the short-term, adding someone suddenly available. But who, of all the players on the team, is likely to be moved? Let’s poke at nests and see what flies out.
Top Tier – Big Ticket, Big Return, Easily Moved
J.T. Miller is the obvious call. So obvious, in fact, we’ve already done an article on it, broken down into different time frames. Of any player easily moved, Miller is clearly the most valuable. Good cap hit, signed through next year, performing brilliantly. What’s not to like? Obviously, the effort involved in replacing him isn’t to be liked. Otherwise, the best option of the bunch.
Saying your team needs speed then trading Tyler Motte may seem disingenuous. But he is a good playoff performer, he adds some snap to any team’s bottom-six, and has some scoring ability. Being a threat while short-handed is a nice bonus. He has a bit of injury history, though. Unrestricted at season’s end, and that will increase the interested market.
After signing for five years at just under $5 million, Conor Garland hasn’t been scoring at his previous pace. Then again, this is just his fourth NHL season, so what is his usual pace? He was the headliner during a Hockey Day in Canada piece, which tells you something about interest in him. If he’s on the block there’s going to be interest, but it’s hard to picture the team trading off their mascot.
Going two-for-one on the defence here, though there are differences. Both are right-handed shot defencemen, but Luke Schenn is a 14-year veteran of the game. Good at the physical side of the game, he’s never going to lead your team in scoring. But he is reliable, can play alongside skill, and dirt cheap for two more years at $850K. That’s worth a mid-round pick from a playoff team, but maybe next year.
What the 26-year old Kyle Burroughs has is an entry-level contract. The New York Islanders drafted Burroughs in the seventh round in 2013, and the local boy bull-headed his way into the NHL last year. Those five games with the Colorado Avalanche have been obliterated by his 30+ games so far with Vancouver. Smaller, but smart and calm and worth picking up. The Canucks may price him too high, given his connections to the city and potential play in Abbotsford.
Mid-Tier – Tough Call, Tough Call
The only reason Brock Boeser‘s name comes up is his qualifying offer. And it’s big, make no mistake! His deal ends on a $7.5 million base salary, which is what the offer must be made on. That being said, Boeser is only 24 years old and has a comically good shot. His all-around game has improved dramatically as well, and there’s no question he is a first-line player. But between the contract and his injury history, he may never see 30 goals in one season as a Canuck. But if the return isn’t substantial, he’ll stay.
Contrary to some fans’ belief, Tanner Pearson has value. He is a decent middle-six winger who can play the boards really well and does solid puck retrieval. He’s also responsible in his own end and can chip in 40-ish points. The cost certainty of his three-year deal would have been a bonus in pre-pandemic years. Now it’s a tougher sale. He does have a Stanley Cup ring, which is always a welcome addition. He has a full no-trade clause for this season, which severely limits the team’s options.
Yes, Travis Hamonic is still officially a member of the Vancouver Canucks. It may not seem like it, given he’s only played nine games for them so far – and them seemingly with great reluctance. It’s hard to pin down his value with so little time on the ice between his decision to not be in Vancouver and then injury. He also has an eight-team no-move clause on his two-year, $6 million deal. On the other hand, he is an NHL-level, right-handed defenceman. His no-move also expires at the end of the season. If he comes back reasonably soon, there may even be a market for him. Maybe even with the Canucks.
Bottom Tier – How’d You Do That?
Moving Jaroslav Halák is tricky, to say the least. He signed on with the intent of playing in Vancouver, not to be a bargaining chip. As such, he has a no-move clause in his bargain-basement $1.5 million contract. Now, that contract is extremely reasonable but comes with a catch: a $1.5 million payout when he reaches 10 games. With the Canucks being as cap-stretched as they are, that bonus would come out of next season’s cap. If they do move Halák, they’ll want to move him soon. There should be a market – but he’ll have to be convinced to go.
It was no secret that the Canucks were short a right-handed defenceman. They have been for years. So when they signed one for four years, it was expected he would be more than a spare part. Oddly, the choice was Tucker Poolman, a 2013 draft pick who had played just 120 NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets before signing with Vancouver in 2021-22. Again, for four years. His cap hit is not great, at $2.5 million per season, but not too painful if he were anything but a third-pair defenceman.
When Jason Dickinson came over from the Dallas Stars, he was seen as a solid, third-line centre. He would make up for the Canucks essentially trading their bottom-six away. So they signed the free agent to a three-year, $2.65 million deal and he has thus far been less than the sum of his parts. His defence has been borderline acceptable, though the Canucks’ disastrous penalty kill can be partially laid at his feet. Another team would need a premium to take him this year. There’s a chance he rebounds, though.
The unfortunate conclusion to Micheal Ferland‘s NHL career is all about his concussions. Then-manager Jim Benning took a big risk on getting the agitating forward and it didn’t pay off. However, his LTIR deal – $3.5 million per season – might be worth something to a cap-topped team. And Rutherford talked about having a cap cushion, which means the Canucks won’t be able to get LTIR relief for Ferland’s deal anyway. There’s motivation to move him, but it’ll need a very specific trade partner. It’s tough to describe this as one of the Canucks 2021-22 trade pieces, exactly. More likely he’d need a sweetener.
The Rest – No Chance or No Difference
Arguably the biggest advantage any new management team has is a lack of history. They don’t have any particular loyalty to any particular player. They didn’t draft them, they didn’t sign them, they didn’t trade for them. There are neither emotional nor professional stakes involved. As awful as it was for many fans, one of the best trades in Canucks history was when Trevor Linden was sent to the New York Islanders for the ridiculous haul of Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and a third-round pick (Jarkko Ruutu) in 1998.
That all being said, don’t expect captain Bo Horvat or Elias Pettersson to wave from the plane. Likewise Quinn Hughes or Thatcher Demko. Nils Höglander and Vasily Podkolzin can leave their bags packed. Don’t expect the Vancouver Canucks 2021-22 trade deals to be any of these. They might still be big – moving Boeser or Miller qualifies – but not likely to involve these guys.
Everyone else – especially among the forwards – is a shrug. Neither Alex Chiasson nor Justin Dowling is going to bring back a mighty return. Losing assets to convince a team to take Tyler Myers or Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a bit much to stomach, even if the team could work around their no-movement clauses.
The Vancouver Canucks need to make changes to their on-ice personnel. The owner didn’t rebuild management just to have the new squad pick at the edges.