Here’s a trade the Canucks could make without giving up anything

What if I told you that the Vancouver Canucks could make an improvement to their roster, both now and moving forward, without having to give up a single player? Without having to give up any draft picks that are currently their property? Without giving up anything that, if prior situations played out today, that they’d even be able to get in the present? You’re probably looking at at me like I’m crazy right now, but hear me out.

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The trade is simple; John Tortorella for Kerby Rychel.

To be honest, my highlight of the season so far came on October 21st, when the Columbus Blue Jackets did the unthinkable and hired  Tortorella as their new head coach. It was already hilarious because, well, Torts was a massive failure here and few expected him to do much better in Columbus. So far, our suspicions have been confirmed. They’re winning a few more games, but that’s more about the goaltending moving from “historically awful” to “slightly below average”. Their possession numbers are down, the team remains undisciplined, and he’s doing a spectacular job of running Ryan Johansen out of town.

Which makes it all the more hilarious that the Blue Jackets are being forced to give the Canucks compensation for the move, in the form of a second-round draft pick. The league has actually gotten rid of hiring compensation as of last week, as it was mostly being used to hire people who had been fired but still had contracts to pay out. Previous hires weren’t reversed with the rule change, though, so the Blue Jackets owe the Canucks their pick in a draft year of Columbus’ choice; 2016, 2017, or 2018.

So, where does Rychel come into this?

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Rychel, a 21-year-old rookie winger from Torrance, California, is on the trade block at the moment. Unhappy with his playing situation, Rychel requested a trade from the Blue Jackets at the beginning of the year and has been playing with the Lake Erie Monsters. At the moment, he has 20 points in 21 games, good for a nice 69th place ranking in league scoring. This is despite having played fewer than two-thirds as many games of most of the players ahead of him. In the NHL, he’s yet to get to get his first goal but has six assists in his first 16 games despite averaging fewer than nine minutes per appearance.

Rychel exhibits many of the qualities that the Canucks are looking for in younger players at the moment. He’s decently sized at 6’1, 205lbs, and he’s not afraid to use his body for good or evil. He’s not a mindblowing skater, but he can make his way up and down the ice with decent pace. He’s got an eye for setting up plays, as evidenced by his abundance of (typically primary) assists at multiple levels.

The question becomes simple; can he be acquired for just a second round pick? Players with his pedigree tend to fetch a bit more than that in optimal situations, but seeing as the player has made it publicly known that he wants out, the shift in negotiating power has likely led to lowball offers. Now that the team hasn’t improved much after a coaching shift, the Blue Jackets might not be confident that they’ll be out of the woods by 2018, meaning that retaining a high second round pick might be the “close-enough” value they’re looking for.

As for the Canucks, this works out to be a now and later improvement. It’s not unreasonable to expect Rychel to outperform the likes of Derek Dorsett, Chris Higgins, or Brandon Prust; moving one of them down the lineup to add a much younger player with more talent and similar edge to his game seems like a solid move. You could even send back one of those players if Columbus is adamant about getting immediate help; if nothing else, it might force Willie Desjardins to play somebody else when the team is down a goal.

Canucks fans are likely fed up with the “lets trade a second-round pick for an early-20’s player”, but making these moves greatly boosts your chances of getting an NHL-capable talent out of that pick. Linden Vey wasn’t anything special last year, but he played more games for the Canucks last year than over half of the second rounders from his draft class of 2009 have in their career so far. Sven Baertschi, after some early struggles, is starting to show why he was selected 13th overall in 2011. Rychel appears to be better than both of them; it’s just matter of him finding a team that will play him.

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The Canucks could be that team, and all it would take would be for them to take him as compensation they shouldn’t be getting for a coach that they should’ve never hired. That’s a risk I’d be willing to take.



  • Dirty30

    The 2016 2nd rounder is not in play as it is practically a 1st rounder.

    The 2017 2nd rounder is not in play because it will have a greater impact on my job than the 2018 2nd rounder.

    And I can do much better than a 2018 2nd round pick considering Kerby is early in his entry level contract and is already scoring at a point per game clip in the AHL.

    Kerby can stew in the minors if he doesn’t like my organization.

    • Fred-65

      That should really help Murray Edwards get a better deal when he moves the franchise to Seattle later this year.

      Calgary is the next Barkerville. Get used to it.

    • Dirty30

      Who spends their free time trolling NHL standings and then google searching fan sites and then trying to ‘rub it in?’ Makes me wonder if any of you morons realize it just makes you look reeeeeaaaaally lame, while the rest of us just continue watching our team, as usual. All you’re really doing is proclaiming how you waste your time. Amusing part is, you’re so stupid, you smile and think you’re this genius. Really, super dumb. Good call, bud! *thumbs up*

    • pheenster

      Passing the Canucks in the standings? Until what, the next game Vancouver plays? I would not be at all cocky if I were a flames fan bud. With the amount of high picks and FA signings the Flames are clearly “trying” to move in a substantially different direction the Canucks are actually moving in.. A rebuild. Two presidents trophies and a game 7 Stanley Cup appearance is what the Flames need to achieve if they truly want to “pass” the Canucks. The truth is that Calgary should be 15 points clear of Vancouver by now but the heart of the Sedin’s and the woeful underperforming of Calgary so far this year is not allowing that to happen. Reel it in a bit eh?

  • Cageyvet

    Would be a pretty sweet move if Benning could make it, but as “Jarmo” noted above there is little risk for him in the 2nd round pick being pushed off to 2018 and so that’s what I think we’ll see. I love the insight shared on Rychel tho, I’d suspect after watching Johannsson’s half hearted effort on the face off with 15s left and an empty net behind him last night that there is a chance a team with a deeper stockpile of assets and a higher risk tolerance can get a heck of a deal on a trade that would rid Columbus of both Rychel and Johansson and let the BlueJackets and those players start over. I just don’t think Benning has the appetite to part with one of Horvat or McCann and another prospect to make it happen, he values the character of those players over the potential upside of disgruntled, potentially more skilled, players like Johansson. Remember which side of the Seguin deal he was on?

  • Dirty30

    “It’s not unreasonable to expect Rychel to outperform the likes of Derek Dorsett, Chris Higgins, or Brandon Prust; moving one of them down the lineup to add a much younger player with more talent and similar edge to his game seems like a solid move.”

    Is there a fifth line we are unaware of that Dorsett and Prust could be moved down to? Higgins can’t even be found on particle detecters these days.

    As for sending someone back, Higgins would be a great choice and he actually seemed to play well under Torts … maybe that would work for everyone.

    • Cageyvet

      If Benning could manage to ditch Higgins while picking up a young player for a 2nd round pick that could be far-off, I’d be ecstatic.

      I’m assuming the Canuck management thinks as much of Rychel as the columnist.

      I don’t think he’s perfect, but I’m not inclined to second guess Benning’s evaluation of talent, I see more good than bad.

  • Fred-65

    You’d think that Kekalainen would want another young roster player back like Baertschi or Shinkaruk instead of the draft pick. CBJ is pretty thin on left wing after Jenner. Hartnell, Campbell, Boll and Calvert aren’t exactly ideal 2nd scoring left wingers.

  • Fred-65

    That’s a horrible, imo dishonest but by any standard misleading headline.

    The Canucks have that 2nd pick from CBJ,though they don’t know when it will be. You’re proposing they give it up to get Rychel. That hardly qualifies as giving up nothing.

    I stopped reading at the end of the 2nd paragraph.

  • Andy

    I have a feeling that guys like Prust, Vrbata Higgins, and depending on health, Hammer will be dealt at the deadline for 1-3 rd round picks and Benning will take these picks and do something” Burkian” leading up to the draft.

    With players like Hunter/Gaunce/Grenier Subban/Pedan I , as a arm chair GM, could sell the public of reenergizing a team battling for a playoff spot while acquiring assists for the future. There are so many possibilities with FA and Salary cap issues…. Who knows who will be available around the draft.

    Benning has done a good job of setting salaries to drop off this year and next to acquire pieces around the young forwards. Add Cap space and picks and many things could happen

    No need to jump at another 3/4th liner who is disgruntled. I prefer my players Gruntled!

  • i think what brad is simply celebrating his team’s meteoric rise in the pacific and terrific division. if the flames play their cards right and hold off two of anaheim, san jose and phoenix, they will be sitting pretty. and then of course it’s an easy road through LA and probably the hawks or stars to the finals where they’ll get a chance to reach the 7th game and…mediocrity! Whoosh!!!

  • pheenster

    Lol, you guys are great. You have such little belief in your team that you have no answer to a wiseass remark other than to go on personal attacks. You know what the future is going to look like when he Sedins are gone( and I admire the Sedins very much, they are terrific hockey players ), bleak, very bleak. The future core that you expected to start showing their stuff this year has at best, fizzled. And who’ve thunk Bieksa really was your best defenceman. Linden has done nothing to instill any sense of confidence that he can put the organization on the right track. So don’t worry Nat, there is lots of season left and a good chance the Flames will finish 15 points ahead of you.

    • You’re arguing against yourself bro but if you need to let it out in order to feel better about yourself, we’re here for you. Just let it flow, tell us about all the horrible things life has dumped on you. But when all is said and done, just remember, the answer was inside you the entire time. Keep on trucking champ.

      Reality is Canucks fans know this is a transition period and by all accounts the Flames and Oilers should be higher in the standings. The fact that the Flames just moved passed them and the Oilers are still lower is really the sad story we should be discussing (especially considering how much higher both teams have drafted…for quite some time now).

      I do agree with your comment that the “Canucks 10 year run of mediocrity is soon coming to an end” b/c in two years the Canucks will once again be leading the division and the Flames/Oilers will be back in the basement (especially the Flames with Burke running the show…yikes, sorry bro).

  • Dirty30

    Nicklas Jensen for Emerson Etem. That’s a real hockey trade where each player could benefit from a change in scenario and it costs each team nothing (as each player is nearly identical from an age, position, development, salary stance). It would be worth rolling the dice on a potential power forward.