The 2022 Vancouver Canucks Deadline Deals

Travis Hamonic

General Manager Patrik Allvin’s first trade deadline has come and gone. Now it’s time to examine how successful the Vancouver Canucks deadline deals were.

Canucks Deadline(-ish) Deals

The weekend started with a resounding thud for Vancouver. A seven-game homestand was coming to an end, and the team was on a very mediocre 2-2-1 run. The three one-goal losses were marked by slow starts, misfiring forwards, and an exhausted Thatcher Demko. Even so, finishing the set with two wins on a winning trajectory. The distant dream of a playoff run would still be in sight, even if it was a mirage.

Instead, the team was soundly thrashed by the Calgary Flames and dropped the Buffalo Sabres match in overtime. To rub salt in the wound, the Canucks gave up a goal in the first two minutes against the Sabres, and overtime didn’t last a minute. As ridiculous as it is to think the management would be swayed by two games after watching two dozen, the fans are another matter.

Burn It to the Ground!

Debate is rampant on various fan sites, radio stations, vlogging channels, newspapers, social sites, etc. The question is not so much “should a big-ticket player get moved” as it is “which one?” There are different favourites, of course, with various fans insisting that their player be left alone. But in every practical sense, they do know moves have to be made. The team has had an impressive run under Bruce Boudreau, but you can only sprint for so long.

So they bit the bullet and traded Tyler Motte. A fourth-round pick might not be anyone’s idea of a reason to pop champagne, as we mention this is mostly about getting cap space. Negotiations went nowhere, and the unrestricted free agent is due a raise from his current $1.25 million. The Canucks did manage to bring something back, even if it was below the assumed value. The pick isn’t even for this season so it’s not like there will be eager anticipation for its use. Hooray?

Before that trade was done, Vancouver also brought back former player Brad Richardson. Sure, it’s been a few years. But Richardson’s tenure in 2013-14 through 2014-15 was… fine. In his 118 games, he scored 19 goals and 44 points in the bottom six. More than that, though, the Canucks were the first team to use him as a penalty killer. He got reasonably good at it, too, spending much of his past five seasons there. That is likely where he’s going to mostly appear for the Canucks this year.

Where’s the Fun Stuff?

Arguably, the best deal involving the Canucks this deadline day didn’t involve them at all. The second-round pick sent to the Arizona Coyotes in the Oliver Ekman-Larsson deal? That got moved to the Minnesota Wild in return for signing rights to a player the Wild had no chance in landing. Getting a second-round pick for literally nothing is about as good as deals get, and it wasn’t the Canucks getting it.

If we jump back in time by one day, though, we get to the good stuff. Well, the better stuff. The good stuff isn’t going to happen until the offseason, and that’s fine. Big numbers are hard to move in the Salary Cap Era, and Summer’s a better time to work out deals. That doesn’t mean there were no Canucks deadline deals, though!

Simply the Best

The move that sends Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators is astounding. The Canucks were desperate to shed cap room and the Senators obliged. They not only took the entire hit for the next two seasons, but they also returned a 2022 third-round draft pick. Which is, as resident Sens writer Alex Metzger understates, “a bit confusing.” The best explanation anyone’s seen so far is that current associate coach Jack Capuano liked playing with him on Long Island.

This provides a very handy sign for fans to tap when they hear someone criticize the Canucks “outside the box” management hires. If there’s any move that highlights the dangers of relying on an Old Boys Network, it’s this one. Vancouver will be happy to take it and run.

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty, Good

Fainting couches were out for Canucks fans seeing a draft pick actually being collected by the team. But the euphoria didn’t last, as another third-round pick was moved out to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was in return for Travis Dermott, a versatile defenceman who’s never quite managed to find his role in Toronto. Dermott is signed for another season at $1.5 million – half of Hamonic’s pay.

While Dermott isn’t the big, right-shot defenceman Vancouver’s been longing for, he has plenty to recommend him. While he never quite lived up to his draft position – 34th overall in 2015 – he can still be a decent middle-pair defender. He moves the puck reasonably well at the NHL level, as predicted. He’s a touch aggressive on defence – liking to push up in the neutral zone – but frankly, Vancouver could use some of that.

Dermott plays on either side of the ice, as much as a result of trying to find space with the Leafs as it is any preference. For now, he’ll likely play alongside Brad Hunt on the right. When Tucker Poolman is ready to return, Dermott may well switch to the left on that pair.

Picky’s Big Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a third-round pick who lived in Vancouver. It was a nice place, but Picky longed for action and excitement! And he made his way to Las Vegas! Home of neon lights! Big shows! And a whole lot of other things we won’t get into on a family-friendly website!

It was great, but soon Picky was feeling like his life had no real meaning. No purpose. So he packed his bags and went into government, moving to Ottawa. It only took one Winter – and a whole lot of very rude, noisy people – before he changed his mind again. And Picky, the 2022 third-round pick, finally made his way back home to Vancouver.

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