Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Filip Hronek Trade Fulfills Vancouver Canucks Need

For a brief, shining moment, the Vancouver Canucks had more picks in the first four draft rounds than ever before. Then they didn’t. Perhaps the public was… ungenerous, but it shouldn’t have been.

If you want a sample of the responses to the Filip Hronek trade, follow the tweet and read any ten.

Vancouver Canucks Trade for Filip Hronek

Let’s cover the basics here first. Filip Hronek is a good, young, right-handed defenceman under contract for one more year. Once the contract expires, he will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Hronek is averaging 21:30 this year and led the Detroit Red Wings defence with nine goals, 38 points, and 122 shots. He played second unit short-handed in Detroit and the same on the power play.

He is a do-everything player for an admittedly weaker team, and this might be an outlier season. That’s the risk inherent in picking up someone who suddenly has a career year in points – even one as young as 25.

The cost is a steep one, as has been noted. Going to Detroit is Vancouver’s second-round pick, and the New York Islanders‘ protected first. Well, protected so long as it is used this year in an excellent draft. Otherwise, it flips over to 2024, and Canucks fans do likewise to tables.

Is it worth that risk, then? The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is, “Well, it depends on what the Canucks are trying to do because we know what they said they’d do, but that doesn’t mean they should actually do it, right? Excuse me; I’m having a flashback.”

Of Monkey Paws and Marshmallows

The Canucks are a team with needs, many and varied. The biggest and perhaps most apparent is the need to improve their prospect depth. If you are a rebuilding team, what you do NOT do is trade away high draft picks for current players. In an ideal world, those assets go the other way around.

Another need is clearing out money. Getting salaries under control and relying on cheaper veterans or younger rookies are the usual way to do this. It’s where moving out mid-range picks becomes acceptable, if not preferred.

Then there are those specific needs of the team closest to the fans’ hearts. Positional players are needed in Vancouver, and none more than right-side defencemen. A trade for Filip Hronek – or the equivalent – wasn’t available.

For years, Vancouver searched for just such a thing. It is the most valuable position in the league simply because of a shortage of players available. With teams recognizing the weakness of defenders playing their off-hand side, coaches are trying to fill the gap.

Again, after years of working free agency, trades, and drafts, Vancouver’s 2018-19 season included Chris Tanev, sure, for as long as he’d last.* But also Troy Stecher, Erik Gudbranson, Alex Biega, and 18 games of Luke Schenn. That’s not exactly a Murderer’s Row; fine depth guys though they may have been.

It was bad enough that the Vancouver Canucks finally took a massive swing in free agency and brought in Tyler Myers. He was the biggest right-side defenceman to reach the market, and the Canucks got him.

Enough about monkey’s paws; let’s talk marshmallows.

Testing, Testing…

You’ve probably heard about the Stanford Marshmallow Test. Kids are given the option of a marshmallow in front of them to eat now or wait 15 minutes to get a second one. Those who resisted the urge, the results said, had a better quality of life outcomes in follow-up reports a decade later.

If you’re familiar with causation compared to correlation, you probably already know how later tests went. Because it ends up that when the tester was unreliable, the kids were less likely to believe them. Which is better: a marshmallow now or a marshmallow that might not exist sometime in the future?

And now we’re at the Filip Hronek trade.

The Canucks current list of talent on the right side of the blue line – as of Wednesday night, March 1, 9:20 PM – is sparse. With Schenn gone, Myers leads the way. He’s followed by Kyle Burroughs and Noah Juulsen.

There is a pile of injured players, including Hronek himself, who will be coming back. That list isn’t one to strike fear in the hearts of enemies: Ethan Bear, lefty Travis Dermott, and Tucker Poolman. Poolman might not return at all.

The draft picks that went could have gotten Vancouver a good prospect on the right side. Maybe. It isn’t a strong year for defence – or, more to the point, the offence is completely overshadowing other positions. Available talent might have made getting a defenceman a huge stretch and the waste of a premium pick.

There was, however, a right-side defenceman available here and now, with no waiting needed.

Why a Hronek Trade Now

There is a saying in the military: make your plans, but don’t forget the enemy has a say. There is more than one team in any trade, and Detroit wanted to make a deal now.

Wanting to wait until the Summer to pick up a very useful player might have been preferred by Vancouver. Indeed, every logical thought leads you that way. But Detroit has its own reasons for getting those draft picks, and we might see them today.

Indeed, given how the week/month has gone, those reasons may have happened by the time you read this. After consecutive losses to the Ottawa Senators, dropping the Red Wings behind four other teams, going into seller mode isn’t a bad idea. But that doesn’t mean they won’t snag what assets they can along the way.

Trading Filip Hronek now instead of waiting gives them some leverage during the wildest trade deadline in years. As for Vancouver wanting to get the defenceman, there are zero reasons to believe he’d be available then. He was available now.

The other lesson the researchers discovered during their study of kids and marshmallows is obvious in retrospect but didn’t occur to them. The poorer kids were more likely to eat the marshmallow in front of them without waiting.

Because they were the ones who didn’t know if they’d ever get another chance.


*55 games that season

Main Photo: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message