Canucks lack tradeable assets

The hockey season is almost upon us, and there is reason to be excited. The Canucks made some changes over the summer, which gives the majority of fans a reason for optimism and excitement.

However we don’t have any idea how the season will go. If everything falls the Canucks way, there is a chance they are in the mix for a wild card spot, however as we saw last season, a couple injuries here or there and the season could go off the rails.

Regardless of what happens, it’s always good to look ahead and ponder what can happen with the team?

If they are in a playoff spot, will they be in a position to add to give them a better chance? Or alternatively, if they are out of it, do they have assets they can peddle for futures?

Starting with draft picks, the Canucks current situation looks like this:

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  • The 2017 5th round pick was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Philip Larsen, with conditions that can turn that pick into a 4th round pick. At this time, those conditions are just known as ‘performance based thresholds’ for Larsen.
  • Their 2017 6th round pick was traded to the New York Rangers with Nick Jensen for Emerson Etem. 
  • They are still owed a second round pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets for the hiring of John Tortorella – which at the choice of the Blue Jackets choice, is either 2017 or 2018.

Already, the Canucks will be entering the 2017 NHL Entry draft with 5 picks instead of the normal 7. It is possible that the Blue Jackets will surrender their 2017 selection, which would give the Canucks another pick. But there is no guarantee of that, so we have to operate under the assumption that they will be only making 5 selections.

Given that, the Canucks should not be moving any more draft picks from the upcoming draft. For a team that is in transition, it is key to keep the flow of young players from below. It’s also an expectation that Brock Boeser, Olli Juolevi and Brendan Gaunce will be challenging, if not securing, roster spots for the 2017-18 season. That graduation will strip the prospect system of first round talent players. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it is something that they need to be aware of.

Furthermore, GM Jim Benning has shown a good track record (thus far) of being a good eye for amateur talent. So keeping the picks is likely a worthwhile venture to ensure that he gets to keep doing what he is best at.

Looking at the prospects in the pro ranks, there are quite a few players who are just joining the organization who likely won’t be peddled (Troy Stecher), players who had off years (Cassels), players who project to be a big part of the team going forward (Thatcher Demko), or prospects who lack value.

If we turn our attention to pending free agents, again there isn’t a lot of room for movement. Ryan Miller, Alex Burrows, Philip Larsen, Chad Billens, and Jaysen Megna are the only pending UFA’s. There is a plethora of pending RFA’s, but they are big parts of the team going forward or lack any tangible trade value. If the Canucks do explore the option of trading Ryan Miller or Alex Burrows, if there is a market, it likely wouldn’t produce any sufficient return. They may actually be able to recoup those missing picks, but likely not much more. It’s unfortunate that the Canucks were unable to peddle Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata into future assets, because at the beginning of last season, they looked like the best bets to help supplement this re-tool.

That brings our attention to players on the roster that the Canucks could move. Here is how I see it:

  • Forwards not moving: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Brandon Sutter, Jake Virtanen, Derek Dorsett
  • Forwards either making an impact, or low value: Anton Rodin, Emerson Etem, Brendan Gaunce, Markus Granlund

The players listed in not moving are there for a variety of reasons, many are clear, others are due to contract or due to the teams commitment to them.

The only player that realistically has value in the forward ranks is Jannik Hansen, but they have stated that they do not want to move him.

The ‘forwards either making an impact, or low value’ – if Rodin is scoring a decent clip and providing depth scoring for the Canucks, then they would like to keep him. If he isn’t, he likely isn’t attractive to other teams. Same can be said for the other players. Looking at the defenceman:

  • Defenceman not moving: Ben Hutton, Nikita Tryamkin, Erik Gudbranson, Alex Edler (NTC)
  • Forwards either making an impact, or low value: Philip Larsen, Andrey Pedan
Chris Tanev appears to be the only piece that they can freely trade, because of Edler’s NTC, to get a good return back. I would advise strongly against the move, as any player coming back likely will not provide the same underlying performance that Tanev provides. 

When you take stock of what the Canucks have, it becomes clear that they do have some tradeable pieces available. But any of the moves would cause a serious impact to the lineup, such as trading Jannik Hansen or Chris Tanev. I would believe that any return would not equal what they provide, but at this point, what else do they have to trade?

Does someone like Jordan Subban become available for help in the current lineup?

Essentially, the Canucks are not in a position to move more draft picks for immediate help, nor do they have players that have value that would not cause a hole in the lineup. The argument can be made that Hansen and Tanev provide more value to the Canucks then what they could return on the trade market. Lastly, the pending UFA’s that they do have, would bring minimal return, even at the deadline.

If the Canucks are exploring trading the Jordan Subban’s, or Brendan Gaunce’s, or whoever else is currently in the prospect pipeline – that’s a very bad road to be going down. 

No matter what, it’s clear that the Canucks are lacking moveable pieces that can improve this team this year and going forward.

  • Whackanuck

    I’m wondering why you’ve included Tryamkin as one of the ‘d-men not moving’?

    I’m asking a legit question (not criticizing).
    Is it because you feel he’s so highly thought of, or because he falls into the category of he either does so well we won’t trade, or fails so bad he’s not tradeable?

    My inclination was that because he can choose to go back to the KHL if he’s not fitting in/contributing with the ‘Nucks, he could still be someone that another team might trade for…

    • Ryan Biech

      I meant not moving – as in they aren’t trading him.

      If he doesn’t make the team this season, which is unlikely, he would go to the KHL and then likely come back next season.

      I think the current Canucks management is invested in his development and would want to see it through.

  • chinook

    If a team that expects to perform well in the post-season loses their #1 goalie to a long-term injury (such as Montreal / Carey Price last year) then Miller would have high trade value.

    Canucks won’t make the playoffs and won’t trade away any draft picks – book it Dano.

  • chinook

    I think you are overvaluing the players that won’t be moved. Benning has traded Shinkaruk, McCann, Lack, so clearly he has no problem in trading away young prospects if he thinks what he is getting in return is more valuable.

    The only true untouchables I see are the Sedins and Erickson. Everyone else is fair game.

    Take for example Edmonton. With McDavid their #1 center, one of Draisaitl or Nuge will become the defacto #2 leaving one available for trade. (unless you build a team with like 22 million plus in 3 centers). If one of Nuge or Draisaitl became available would you give up someone like Tanev?

    Good players come available a couple of times a year, the question then becomes will the Canucks part with some of their young established talent in key positions like Center or Defense in order to get a hot your propect (Left Winger or Future first line center)

  • Bob Long

    Really there’s only one trade that makes sense, and that’s Sbisa for either Hartnell or Kane. Otherwise its all lateral or less moves, unless Sacik has a mini-stroke and decides Tanev for Lanseskog looks good.

    And we really don’t need to trade Sbisa to be competitive. There’s no need for JB to panic and make a bad deal, and the more time goes on the less I think he’ll make a big blunder. Better to wait for some D injuries on other teams and maybe move Sbisa or some other guys for decent picks.

    • Bob Long

      I’m actually pretty pumped about Doug Jarvis being on the bench with WD. He’s got a hell of a resume of NHL success, and might be a bit of a mentor for Willie and get the PP back to basics again.

    • chinook

      Were you complaining about the coach when he took an old, yet healthy team to the playoffs in his first year? Its disconcerting that many people forget, or that they blame WD and his coaching approach when they got bounced in the playoffs to Calgary, age catching up to said old team (and Lack proving he is not a legit NHL #1 goalie) aside. In his two years, he has made the playoffs once, and stewarded the development of Bo, Baer, Ben, and Markstrom. Perhaps the owners should have shelled out $50 million for Babcock to steward a last place team.

      Of course WD is not the best coach in the league – but it does not help when the locals pile the crap on WD because that’s what the eastern media has been doing with anything related to the Canucks for the past few years.

      Canucks were a media punching bag after the Torterella year, and were laughed at for bringing rookie President, GM, and coach. It was absolutely crickets in the regular season when the Nucks made the playoffs and Sedins were top 12 in scoring. Crickets. And then the garbage turned up again after they got bounced in the playoffs, as if they were actually expected to go deep. It was/is pathetic.

      • Dirty30

        His success in his first year could have been as much about a team responding to a new Coach as to the simple fact he wasn’t Torts.

        Lots of people complained when AV didn’t adapt but when he did he started winning … All the way to game 7 and I don’t blame AV for losing that game.

        Nothing wrong with lighting a fire under a Coach to try different looks, strategies or even borrow something successful from someone else.

        And paying Babs $50 mil? If Canucks ownership wants to do that what do you care? It’s their money.

        Did they get the better Coach? Not last season. Let’s see what happens this year.

        • chinook

          WD’s first year success can be attributed to a healthy team for the most part, as well as the Sedins being a year younger. Last years train wreck can be mostly attributed to injuries…mostly. I will give some credence to the new coach theory. The players responded to the change quite nicely in WD’s first year.