Report: Canucks won’t meet asking price for Vermette, and other trade chatter

Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette would look great in a Vancouver Canucks uniform, but the ship on the club adding him has sailed. It sailed three years ago, when the club opted to deal for the wrong defense-first Columbus Blue Jackets centre and ushered in the short lived and woefully unsuccessful Samme Pahlsson era. 

Let’s get into this, and round up a variety of Canucks related trade chatter.

We all know the situation and the score. The Canucks have limped through the past two months, and are struggling to drive play enormously. Their power-play is misfiring, and they’ve been buoyed by stellar goaltending over the past eight weeks – which has served to unconvincingly mask the club’s structural issues.

The biggest of those structural issues? A lack of top-end talent, and a popgun top-six forward group.

So it should come as no surprise that general manager Jim Benning and Vancouver’s new management team has prioritized adding some scoring punch ahead of the March 2nd NHL trade deadline.

“Vancouver is looking for scoring,” TSN’s Darren Dreger said during an appearance on TSN 1260 on Tuesday morning, via NicholsonHockey.com. “I know that they’ve had ongoing discussions – up until last week, anyway – on Bartkowski and the Boston Bruins because of the Bieksa injury. But what I also know is that Vancouver is not willing to move out some of the assets that they’ve worked hard, the younger players, to add over the years.

“To get the pieces, maybe Vancouver has to give a bit more.”

Well yeah. The problem with having significant top-six issues is that there is generally no quick fix. Adding pieces like Radim Vrbata in free agency is helpful, certainly, but you don’t generally add top-end offensive talent unless you do so through the draft. If you’re trying to acquire it in a trade, it’s going to cost you. 

There’s also the fact that adding top-end talent through the draft requires you to be really bad for several years, something the Canucks’ ownership group has never been down with. It also requires you to pick skilled players rather than guys with primarily defensive or physical value when you get a top-10 pick, but that’s a matter for another day.

So Vancouver is looking for scoring and help up front, but isn’t willing to move quality futures. That doesn’t leave Benning with a bountiful set of assets to play with, so it makes sense that the club isn’t likely to meet Don Maloney’s auction price for Vermette.

“The price on Vermette, for example, is going to be a first round pick,” TSN’s Bob McKenzie told the Morning Show in an appearance on TSN 1040 on Tuesday, via NicholsonHockey.com. “Maybe as high as a first round pick and a young prospect. The Canucks are not going to do that. I just can’t see it.”

So it would seem that, reportedly, the club’s first-round pick is off of the table too. As it should be, since this team could very realistically still miss the playoffs.

We know that ‘Trader Jim’ Benning likes to wheel and deal, but he’s clearly short stacked here. We know he has some depth goaltending to move, the club could surely afford to part ways with a quality depth winger (of the Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins variety), but otherwise? It’s a barren cupboard.

Not that it’ll reportedly stop the club from making moves, and possibly making them soon.

“I am expecting more trades to happen, and probably one sooner than later,” said Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province during his Tuesday appearance on TSN 1040.

“I think that there is a market for Chris Higgins, I’m not sure that there’s a market for Zack Kassian, there is some sort of market for Eddie Lack, but it’s goalies, it’s never a hot market, especially these days in the NHL,” Botchford continued. “So maybe you can start looking at some of the guys, like a Forsling type deal, where they were able to sell high on a 5th round pick…

“I just think they’ve got to change the makeup somehow, it’s not easy…”

No, it most certainly is not. 

We’ll have to see what Benning can accomplish, with one hand tied behind his back, to potentially bolster the fortunes of his flagging club. Based on what the informed are saying about this club’s trade posture, it would seem he’ll need to get extremely creative if he hopes to pull the trigger on a deal that moves the needle. 

  • So it Kassian basically a writeoff now? It’s tough to see a guy with top 6 talent sit on the bench while the team struggles to score.

    I know he’s had ample opportunities in the past, but given Vancouver’s predicament, you’d think they’d give him another shot because god knows their current lineup isn’t doing it and it won’t cost you anything to give him a long look.

  • “There’s also the fact that adding top-end talent through the draft requires you to be really bad for several years, something the Canucks’ ownership group has never been down with.”

    Well so much for sending all of the grammatically challenged bloggers to the new Nation Network editor in chief…

  • I just read a clip from sportsnet – and god know how much truth there is too it – that the Canucks are interested in Martin Hanzal (because the price for Vermette was too high) and the cost would potentially be Horvat and a pick. If they have to give up that much to get Hanzal they might as well pony up the rest to get Vermette.

  • The Canucks are 49.9% SACorsi on the season and 53.4% in their last ten games. They’re not a dominant puck possession team anymore, but being a .500 puck possession team is hardly “struggling mightily”.

    Benning needs to take a page from the Mike Gillis handbook and play Kassian a bunch if he’s planning to move him out. Leaving him in the press box depreciating in value is just foolish.

    • Mantastic

      the only way you can pump his value is by playing him with 2 other good players, and the Canucks aren’t deep enough with skilled players to even do this. CoHo was insulated with good wingers, was given high OZ starts and played soft comp

      playing him with blackhole possession players or players that can’t finish isn’t going to benefit him. and it’s been proven he can’t play with the Sedins and that they’ve also lost several steps.

    • Chungus

      This is the Mike Gillis handbook:

      http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?disp=1&db=200910&sit=5v5&pos=skaters&minutes=200&teamid=0&type=individual&sort=ishots60&sortdir=DESC

      Do not be delusional…

      The weak return of Kassian should make it abundantly clear that CoHo’s value was hardly inflated with the Ozone starts.

      Vancouver’s best option is to accept Kassian as a 3rd line winger with a slight chance to someday be more than that…

      • FredTheCaveman

        Friends don’t let friends make GMMG trades.

        In all seriousness though I am much happier have Kassian today than CoHo. I agree with holding onto Kassian. I really do like a lot of things about his game, I think realistically he’ll be a career middle six like Higgins.

        Just doesn’t seem like the Canucks really have many possible good moves to make this season. None of our young kids have really developed enough for them to be worth trading away.

  • Xax

    At what point in time will management decide that we need to have a major culture change.

    Now that it has happened in the management do it in the dressing room and give the twins a chance at a cup somewhere else.

    D Sedin has now played on over 80 powerplays with no goals – that is what he is getting paid for.

    Go Trader Jim

  • Xax

    The draft isn’t the only place to get high end talent. One shouldn’t have to cite history to anyone with the internet.

    The canucks are in limbo. He’s a good kid but
    let’s stop pretending players like Mike santorelli are really going to help right now.

    Let’s also stop pretending that the canucks are going to win a cup in the sedin’s tenure.
    And when they retire from the NHL to play for MODO
    there will be no “soft rebuild”.

    We need a new franchise player and the cost can’t be too much because we’re 4 identical feet from the killing room floor to begin with.