Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Best Vancouver Canucks Trade Pieces

VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 27: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at Rogers Arena on December 27, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks won 6-2. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)

The upcoming trade deadline looms large for the Vancouver Canucks and their fans. It will show decisively just how much control the owner has. While a major deal can – and, we suspect, will – happen before March, the third is a make-or-break point. There are a number of players the team and fans would like to see moved. We’ll look at those later – for now, let’s see who other teams want.

Canucks Trade Deals Tricky, Not Impossible

There is no such thing as a “free market system”. Nowhere is this more true than in professional sports, with artificial caps, trade restrictions, and sentient trading materials. Well, mostly sentient. Enough to be able to say “yeah, I don’t feel like packing my house” and kill a deal in some cases.

So making trades is complicated. The COVID-19 years pulling a LOT of money out of the system isn’t helping. For Vancouver specifically, they are still trying to shake off several years of “two or three years” being a plan. There are a number of contracts on this team they would love to move on from. On the plus side, not all of them are bad deals: they just got signed at the wrong time. The player contributes, and the paycheque is tolerable, but he’s worth more to a team closer to competing.

There are other contracts on the team that, well… As Frank Seravalli put it, this will be a year of third-party brokers. There’s no reason why the Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, or Arizona Coyotes shouldn’t flex their economic muscle. It’s not like any team is going to turn down additional mid-round picks for a bit of cash. Especially young teams looking to emerge soon – though the three have slightly different timelines. Any Vancouver Canucks trade should involve them getting picks rather than giving them, but there could be some one-in, one-out deals in there as well.

Embed from Getty Images

How Valuable Draft Picks Are

Traditionally speaking, rentals are the most sought-after pieces at the deadline. The teams ready to compete for the Stanley Cup now usually have the least room under the cap and the highest will to move future pieces. Teams trading players away are usually looking for youth in the form of prospects and picks, after all.

There is a remaining hangover from the days of a 21-team league we should get rid of here. A “first-round pick” isn’t really worth what it used to be. There is a marked difference between getting a 15th selection and the 29th, after all. And the best teams are looking to be as far down in the draft as possible. All the way down to 32nd, in an ideal world. But with the league being what it is, the earlier in the season a team makes a trade, the greater risk of falling out of those top spots.

The next two draft years are highly anticipated, and the odds of getting an unprotected first-round pick are slim. Definitely worth trying to get, but general managers have seen plenty of teams finish well one year, then worse than hoped the next. Still, getting a pick in the late-20s or early-30s is better than the second-round pick of a mediocre team.

All of this comes with the obvious caveat that drafted players are rarely impact players in their first few years. Only 10 of 32 NHL general managers have seen their fifth anniversaries with their current teams. Any GM that’s survived to a half-decade has seen maybe five of an average of 35 selections actually play a game for the big club. There’s a reason why other teams’ prospects may be more enticing.

Embed from Getty Images

Trade Pieces and Brass Tacks

Okay, let’s get to it. Here’s a brief look at the players who might not be around come the Vancouver Canucks trade deadline.

Bo Horvat

The obvious player is obvious, but really who else is making this much noise in their unrestricted free-agent season? Bo Horvat is not only scoring goals aplenty, but he’s also one of the best faceoff men in the league. He’s a premium position player at a very good cap hit. Oh, and his last playoff appearance included 10 goals in just 17 games.

The Return: Definitely at the 3-P level. A current player, a top draft pick, and a good prospect. There’s fine-tuning to go along with a deal like this. For instance, the better the prospect, the lower the pick can be. The current play would ideally be a contributor, but with a high pick maybe he’s a UFA to balance the cap hit.

Andrei Kuzmenko

“But didn’t Andrei Kuzmenko just get here?” Yep, and he’s been spending his time scoring goals and loving life ever since. His 17 goals and 17 assists in 34 games are far beyond expectations. For anyone who has lingering anti-European biases, those goals are almost entirely at the netfront. Any team that wants to add a scoring winger should be interested, especially given his sub-$1 million cap hit.

The Return: This would be a perfect time to shake free of one of the Canucks’ problem salaries. It’s tough for a team to afford the suspect health of Brock Boeser, but with a year of Kuzmenko added…? There is an argument that no one knows how Kuzmenko will handle the playoffs. That same argument was made about his conversion to the NHL. Case closed. Bring back a couple of picks in the 50-120 range.

Embed from Getty Images

Luke Schenn

Why would the Vancouver Canucks trade away the league’s top hits leader? Because he’s the league’s top hits leader, of course! The old adage of the playoffs being a different game still holds true, and some extra toughness is never amiss. That Luke Schenn wears two Stanley Cup rings polishes his resume for any playoff-bound team. His play with the extremely skilled Quinn Hughes over the last two seasons is proof he doesn’t need to stay on a third pair to be effective.

The Return: It can get a little weird, here. Players like Schenn have brought back first-round picks as rentals, so shoot for the moon! Though anything in the top 100 would be a good return for a team that needs it.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images


More Posts

Send Us A Message