In recent days, droves of NHL clubs have demonstrated a willingness to pay premium prices for rental players, and it would seem that the 2015 NHL trade deadline is shaping up to be a seller’s market.
Though the prices are sky high, the Vancouver Canucks won’t be dabbling in selling any veteran assets on expiring contracts, Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed to Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun. So don’t expect the Canucks to sell high on Shawn Matthias, or cash in their chips on Derek Dorsett or Brad Richardson.
Actually, don’t expect the Canucks to do much of anything. This could be a very quiet deadline for Vancouver’s NHL club.
“That’s a fair assessment,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning told MacIntyre this week, in response to a question about it being unlikely that the Canucks make a significant move.
“But the other thing is we’ve been really happy with our group, how on any given night they show up and compete. I really do like our team.”
It would seem that the likelihood of the Canucks doing anything significant at the deadline has decreased as a result of the club hanging tough through a multitude of significant injuries. From MacIntyre’s piece:
You don’t really know what you have with your group until you face adversity. Losing our top two defencemen plus Kevin Bieksa, who’s an emotional leader on our team, and losing two of our top three centre-ice men for a period of time … was really tough.
Our guys have stepped up. Young players bring energy to your room every day, and I think that has energized the whole group. You see the way (rookies) Bo Horvat and Ronnie Kenins are playing every night, and Bulldog (Alex Biega) on defence … these guys are working and competing so hard for us. Right through the team, players have bought in. In Boston, you could see the Sedins (Henrik and Daniel) standing up for themselves, pushing back in the scrums. It’s a really good group.
That’s not to say I’m not going to be active. I’m going to continue to talk to teams and stay involved so I know what’s out there, but I’m less inclined to do anything.
We’ve probably all known, on some level, that the Canucks were going to have a quiet – or at least quiet-ish – deadline ever since they didn’t seriously push for Evander Kane. Perhaps we didn’t quiet understand how quiet it might be.
Benning, who MacIntyre quotes as describing draft picks as ‘gold’, suggested last week that he’s unwilling to give up draft picks. Not his first-round pick. Not a high pick. He suggested that he wouldn’t be willing to move any picks whatsoever.
“We’re going to talk to teams about players, but like I said, we don’t want to give up draft picks and our good young players who have a future with our team going forward,” Benning said during an appearance on the TSN 1040. “We don’t want to trade those players.”
They also don’t want to trade veterans for more gold though.
MacIntyre doesn’t share the quote, but Benning appears to have told him that Richardson, Dorsett, and Matthias will not be moved before the deadline. All three players will be in for a raise this offseason, and it could be difficult for the Canucks to retain them.
Based on the prices we’ve seen of late, it seems likely that Matthias could net a second-round pick on the market. Dorsett and Richardson would surely command decent mid-round picks if they were to be made available. That’s a decent amount of gold.
This club has never wavered though. All year they’ve been lobbying for an invite to Lord Stanley’s annual, bloody gala, and doing so in the competitive Western Conference necessitates the retention of players like Richardson, Dorsett and Matthias. That the Canucks looking to make the postseason while keeping their eyes firmly on a few years down the road necessitates the club hanging on to draft picks and prospects.
Though a hockey deal of sorts could still be in the offing – perhaps the Canucks will finally find a taker for Zack Kassian – as the clock strikes midnight on the NHL trade window, the Canucks’ long standing habit of both going for it while concurrently attempting to rebuild could result in deadline-day paralysis.