Grantland and ESPN’s Bill Simmons recently published his 2013 edition of his top 50 NBA trade value rankings. I “borrowed” the idea last year and ranked the top 50 NHL trade values, and will be doing the same in a few months once the Stanley Cup has been awarded.
And I’m going to use the same rules and factors to rank the top trade values in the Vancouver organization. What I am taking into account:
- Age matters
- Contracts matter
- Position matters
Read on for the list, some honourable mentions, and a few other thoughts.
I’ll preface my top five with a few notes. Alex Edler is a very honourable mention here, and we may get to find out what his trade value actually is this summer. The Canucks may be smart to move him for a young center (say… Sean Couturier), as this would allow Jason Garrison to slide back to the left side. Edler is a good defenseman who is sometimes great and sometimes awful. He would have a lot of value – arguably more to a team like Philadelphia compared to the Canucks.
Thomas Drance and I are going to debate some bold moves in the coming weeks, and an Edler trade is definitely one of them. There are some intriguing names out there that Edler may fetch – Couturier and Bobby Ryan are two of them.
One more note – I received a lot of submissions on Twitter that included Chris Tanev, Zack Kassian, Frank Corrado, and Nicklas Jensen. Don’t overrate age/youth. Four good young players, but none of them are great. I highly doubt any of them would fetch any of the below five players in a one-for-one trade. Again, this is my opinion, and I am expecting some disagreement.
5. Dan Hamhuis
Contract: Three more years left at $4.5 million per season
Hamhuis is a top 20 defenseman in the NHL. He can do it all, and on the Canucks, he does. He logs the toughest minutes, he makes all of his defensive partners look good, and he doesn’t make many mistakes. He had a poor first round by his elite standards, but he is far and away the best defenseman on the roster. And he’s locked up for three more years at a very, very manageable cap hit. If Hamhuis was given offensive duties, I have zero doubts that he would approach the 40-45-point mark with regularity.
Will he get traded? No. Even if the Canucks go for a minor rebuild or retooling, Hamhuis has many good years of hockey left. He is a great skater and keeps himself in fantastic shape.
4. Cory Schneider
Contract: Two more years left at $4 million per season
I debated putting Schneider ahead of Kesler, but there is so much uncertainty with the NHL goaltender market (which we have seen time and time again over the past year, unfortunately). Roberto Luongo is available. Mike Smith, too. Ryan Miller and Marc-Andre Fleury could both be on the move.
Schneider is young, and he has proven he can carry the load of a starting goaltender. He had a poor showing in Games 3 and 4 of the series against the Sharks, but he probably shouldn’t have been starting in the first place coming off a tweaked groin and eight days off the ice. His cap hit is great, too.
Will he get traded? Very doubtful, unless Gillis goes against his word and keeps Luongo, or if he ships both of them in separate deals and brings in one of the other available goaltenders. Imagine that?
Proto was bang on with my top three:
@anguscertified People that don’t put Kesler, Henrik, and Daniel 1, 2, 3 (in any order) are wrong.
— _Proto (@_Proto) May 11, 2013
3. Ryan Kesler
Contract: Three years left at $5 million per season
Ryan Kesler of 2010-11 would rank as the top player on this list. But I have trouble seeing that player returning any time soon. Kesler has undergone two very significant surgeries since that time (torn tendons in the hip and shoulder area), and he has been unable to stay healthy or play at an elite level with any sort of consistency. He went beast mode for about 40 minutes in the series against the Sharks, and it was quite apparent that his conditioning wasn’t where it needs to be (and that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how little hockey he has played over the past two years).
Would the Canucks move Kesler? Doubtful. But you never know, especially if they can somehow land a younger top six forward for him. I think Kesler’s long term future is on the right wing, but the Canucks need to find the right center for him. Derek Roy wasn’t that guy (what a dud he was). The Canucks are paper thin up the middle, especially if they let Max Lapierre walk as a free agent this summer.
I’d like to see Kesler play on a line with Jordan Schroeder next season. His cap hit is great for what he brings when healthy, but how often will that be? The Canucks seem to get hurt by injuries more than most NHL teams. How much of that is related to travel? Overtraining? I’m not sure, and I don’t want to speculate, but it is awfully tough to win in the postseason when your top guys are always banged up.
2. Daniel Sedin
Contract: One year left at $6.1 million per season
1. Henrik Sedin
Contract: One year left at $6.1 million per season
Like everything else with Daniel and Henrik, this writeup comes as a package deal. Would a team trade Daniel Sedin alone for a healthy Ryan Kesler? Maybe, maybe not. The Sedins are impossible to really “value” alone, as they will never spend much time apart (outside of an injury to one of them). And how many contending teams have $12.2 million in cap space (or the need for a top line LW and C)?
Their respective track records speak for themselves – 1-2 in organizational scoring, a Hart for Henrik, an Art Ross for each of them, and a Lindsay for Sedin. They had their best two-way season in 2013, at the age of 32. I don’t see the Sedins aging like typical skill forwards, as they rely less on speed and physicality and more on hockey sense and intuition. Look at Teemu Selanne, Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr, and probably the best comparison of all, Daniel Alfredsson. I see them spending another two or three years as top liners before dropping back into a supporting role
Will they get traded? Not a chance. They are the leaders of the team, and they set the tone for the entire organization. They combined for zero gaols against the Sharks, but they played well. I understand, at some point, that production has to trump the underlying numbers (or at least back it up), but the Canucks were essentially a one line team this season. And the Sedins can’t carry an offense any more. They need help, and it is up to management to get them that. A supporting cast of Booth, Kesler, Higgins, Raymond, Hansen, and Burrows wasn’t good enough. It’s time for some upgrades.
Mike Gillis’ best move as Vancouver’s GM came in late June of 2008 when he decided to fly to Sweden to convince the Sedins to stick around. From what I have heard, it sounds like the Sedins are going to go the Selanne route and sign short term deals for the rest of their career. Let’s hope that comes in blue and green jerseys.