Trade deadline day is upon us, so it’s pretty much Christmas morning for hockey fans. The Canucks may well have made their biggest splash yesterday with the acquisition of Derek Roy and their near miss on Ryane Clowe, but it seems likely that they’ll still be "players" on deadline day in some fashion.
Could we see a long-awaited Roberto Luongo trade finally consumated? Could the Canucks ship off Mason Raymond now that they’ve re-signed Higgins as their long-term "seventh forward"? How about a three-way deal?
After the jump, we’ll summarize the latest chatter and reporting that’s out there in the ether.
According to Darren Dreger, the Canucks and the Leafs are still talking about Roberto Luongo, though Vancouver’s asking price remains a bit stiff for Nonis’ liking:
Tor and Van had additional discussions re: Luongo trade. Sounds like Canucks still want more than Leafs are willing to give. #tradecentre
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 3, 2013
Dreger then breaks down Toronto’s options:
Deadline day should be highlighted by Leafs interest and perhaps a decision between Kipper and Luongo. 3rd option…do nothing.#tradecentre
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 3, 2013
The Fourth Period has more on Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo asking price:
Canucks/Maple Leafs will resume Luongo trade talks today… Canucks asking about Kulemin or MacArthur to be part of a deal.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) April 3, 2013
Roberto Luongo would be a clear upgrade on James Reimer, but based on Reimer’s performance over the past three seasons, the cost of acquiring Luongo from Vancouver, and the long-term salary cap commitment his contract represents; I’d understand if Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs were reluctant to make such a deal. That said if Toronto’s kicking Kiprusoff’s tires still, then they clearly think they need a veteran goalie for whatever reason, and only one of Roberto Luongo or Miikka Kiprusoff would actually be an upgrade on Ben Scrivens and James Reimer…
LeBrun has an update on this situation too and describes how the Derek Roy trade changes the parameters of a Luongo deal for the Canucks:
I’m told the Maple Leafs had more dialogue with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday about Miikka Kiprusoff, but at the same time, the Leafs and Vancouver Canucks also conversed Tuesday regarding good ol’ Roberto Luongo, a source told ESPN.com.
For the Canucks, the dynamics have changed. They don’t need a center anymore after getting Roy from Dallas. So the Canucks can live with a winger, for example, in a Toronto deal if the Leafs wanted to make a move on Luongo.
No question the Canucks are well aware of Toronto’s interest in Kiprusoff and understand they need to make it clear over the next day just what they’d be willing to do, once and for all, on the Luongo front with Toronto.
Presumably it’s more than just Toronto in on Luongo at the moment. Pierre Lebrun reported that there were two clubs in addition to Toronto that were interested late last week, while Mike Gillis said the club had Luongo trade discussions with four teams recently (a comment, which I think we can safely take with several ounces of salt). Still, as we survey the media landscape on trade deadline day, it appears that the spectre of a Canucks and Maple Leafs trade involving Roberto Luongo is front and centre – as it has been throughout this process.
The Canucks Shopping List
On the Team 1040 yesterday, Laurence Gilman was fired up, and said we could expect the Canucks to make at least another move and maybe two. He elaborated as well on what the Canucks were targeting in particular: "a forward of some measure" and "a defenseman to upgrade our bottom pairing."
Based on the way the Canucks chased Ryane Clowe yesterday, not to mention the way this club has trended in terms of drafting and player movement over the past several seasons, I think we can presume that a big, physical forward would be a piece Vancouver would very much like to add.
Needless to say those types of players are tough to find in trades, but perhaps the likes of Raffi Torres or Eric Nystrom might fit the bill as rental players. A more exciting and expensive possible rental would be David Clarkson, who is on an expiring deal and hasn’t made headway with the Devils on a possible extension.
There’s also rumblings that Washington Capitals winger Jason Chimera might be available and though he’s not a particularly big guy, he’s a hell of a skater and a quality tough-minutes winger. If the Canucks can’t find a big winger to upgrade their top-nine forward group, then perhaps they’ll kick the tires on a left-handed face-off faceoff specialist like Boyd Gordon or Jussi Jokinen – who they’re reportedly interested in, despite not claiming off of waivers a week ago.
In terms of a defenseman who might "upgrade" Vancouver’s bottom pairing, I’d expect the Canucks to make a play for a right-handed shooter. Ryan O’Byrne is reportedly being made available and he could be a fit. So could Carolina blue-liner Jamie McBain (if he’s still available following Pitkanen’s injury) or Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris.
Then again, it’s possible that the Canucks do little of anything today. The Canucks already got the centreman they were really desperate for, so any further moves that don’t include a certain Strombonian goaltender would qualify as "tinkering."
Throwing a wetblanket on Laurence Gilman’s fun comments earlier in the day, Mike Gillis emphasized the extent to which the marketplace at this year’s deadline is dominated by sellers in his media conference call on Tuesday evening:
"There’s not a lot of players out there to acquire so we’re going through every possibility and seeing what we may need in our lineup and perhaps getting pieces we can maybe move forward with. We’re still looking to be active but like I said it’s a very different year."
Mason Raymond on the Block?
The moment Chris Higgins signed his extension, you could pretty much read the writing on the wall regarding Mason Raymond’s future in Vancouver. Harrison Mooney made an interesting, and familiar comparison while writing up the transaction over at Puck Daddy:
The Raymond and Higgins scenario seems somewhat similar to the summer of 2011, when the Canucks were attempting to re-sign both Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa. They offered both players the same below market-value deal. Bieksa took it. Ehrhoff took off.
If the club did the same for Raymond and Higgins, they were wise to complete that process in advance of Wednesday at noon, when they still had the option of getting something for Raymond instead of watching him leave in a few months for nothing.
If the Canucks do decide to sell on Mason Raymond, that would indicate that they’re not "all in" as Laurence Gilman said yesterday. It would suggest that the club is taking a "hybrid" approach at the trade deadline instead, and depending on the market price of a top-six rental like Raymond that might be an advisable gameplan.
Obviously Mason Raymond could help the Canucks down the stretch and into the playoffs, he is still leading the club in power-play goals after all. But if Vancouver can find some value in a Mason Raymond trade (and possibly really good value, depending on where the market goes between now and noon pacific time), then pulling the trigger makes good sense.
What do you think the Canucks need at the trade deadline? Will we see the team make any big moves, or are you expecting a quiet day after all of yesterday’s action?