In a bit of news that’s surprising to absolutely no one paying attention, the Vancouver Canucks are reportedly still trying to move Zack Kassian, per TSN’s Darren Drager.
Will they finally move the big winger? What will Jim Benning get for him? We’ll have a look after the jump
Canucks calling teams early in the day drumming interest in Kassian.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 2, 2015
It certainly seems more and more like the Canucks are simply content top move Kassian for the sole purpose of moving Kassian. If they’re actively trying to sell other teams on him, it doesn’t bode well for a potential return. Dreger elaborated about the Canucks’ efforts to move Kassian on TSN’s TradeCentre broadcast:
“I know the Canucks earlier in the day were contacting teams to see if they had any interest whatsoever. That’s a player… that’s generated at least some interest over the last couple of weeks.”
It’s become increasingly apparent this season that Willie Desjardins doesn’t trust the Big Guy, and that his future in the Canucks organization likely doesn’t extend into next season. Still, Kassian is 24 with offensive upside, and not exactly a surplus asset for the youth-strapped Canucks. Even if they’re trying to sell, Jim Benning can’t take a Kassian trade lightly, and needs to get a youthful return, which is what he seems to be focusing on, per TSN1040’s Matt Sekeres:
#Canucks are not in the rental market at all, and only looking at 22 to 26 year olds who aren’t already making big $. So very quiet in YVR.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) March 2, 2015
Trading Zack Kassian can make sense for the Canucks, filling needs both now and in the future, but Jim Benning has to seek a very specific type of return to make the deal worth it. While Vancouver has a surplus of non-top-3 wingers, they don’t have enough young NHL-ready forwards in the system to be able to make a Kassian trade for the sole purpose of addressing a short-term need.
This means that, most importantly, any return on Kassian cannot be older than the age Kassian is now. Vancouver has to be looking at getting younger and aiming to compete in the future rather than the present. Why? It’s really, really simple: because their team isn’t good enough to contend this season, and the core is aging and won’t be getting better.
The challenge is that smart teams aren’t really lining up to trade really good young players, especially for a guy they know three NHL head coaches haven’t trusted. GMs don’t act irrationally, and they won’t all of a sudden be knocking on Benning’s door with fistfuls of draft picks and prospects just because Kassian has 11 points in his last 10 games. In terms of Kassian trade targets, you’re likely looking for other guys perceived in the same way as he is: defective goods in one way or another.
Kassian also seems acutely aware of the discussion surrounding him, making this comment at Canucks practice this morning:
It was actually an existential question, totally unrelated to trade deadline RT @FarhanLaljiTSN Kassian just asked me, “am I still here?”
— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) March 2, 2015