Canucks need to be decisive and take advantage of market

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, just twelve short days from the March 1st NHL trade deadline. Things are about to get interesting.

The Canucks sit five points removed from the last wild-card spot and play the team they are chasing, the Calgary Flames, on Saturday. The L.A. Kings are hanging around, and have two games in hand. Coupled with a downright hostile schedule, it’s looking like the Canucks will be in tough to make the playoffs.

All this underscores exactly why the Canucks need to be decisive as they address the topic du jour. They need to sell what few assets they can, and let the season wind down to its inevitable conclusion.

Of course, they absolute could make the playoffs — probability isn’t destiny. Entering action last night, they had a 6% chance of securing a spot, though. (Source: Micah Blake McCurdy (@ineffectivemath))

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Even if they do make it, it would likely mean a first round date with San Jose or Minnesota. No way that goes well for the local team.

That’s just one of the reason’s why the Canucks would be wise to make moves to deal their pending UFA’s and most anyone else on the wrong end of their development arc. Another reason revealed itself during Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s interview on TSN 1040 yesterday. 

Everyone is focusing on the ‘We will see how the next five games go’ part of the conversation, and rightfully so. You shouldn’t base your decisions on a five-game sample size prior to one of the biggest days on the NHL calendar.

I want to focus on the following, though. Blake Price asked “would you agree that it’s a seller’s market?”, the response was as follows:

The problem is there isn’t a lot of teams’ selling right now because there is so many teams still in the hunt. Teams want to wait until right at the deadline to decide whether they are buyers or sellers.

Benning has effectively defined what a seller’s market is.

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Being privy to a seller’s market means any team who decides to sell early could have an advantage, as they will be the only chum in the water for the sharks. It can create a frenzy as there isn’t much with which the Sharks can otherwise sink their teeth. They can control the market, and angle it towards what suits their needs.

Even if they can’t get something done early, it allows them to be the first team on the dance floor. Teams may scoff at your original asking price, but they will circle back. That is under the assumption that there are more buyers than seller’s and they are stuck with what the market bares. Which may be true, if there continues to be parity.

There may only be a few true seller’s, thus getting into the market likely presents more chances than being a ‘holding steady’ team.

Obviously, Benning may not have adequately conveyed his thoughts. Still, this commentary buttresses the process of reflection wherein ‘waiting the five games’ to see how the chips fall, which should be fairly concerning.

Earlier this month, I talked about how moving Jannik Hansen this trade deadline makes sense. The move should happen now, instead of waiting until the offseason, for a multitude of reasons.

There is quite a bit of chatter of the Canucks moving Alex Burrows. It’s something the Canucks need to do, simply because Burrows isn’t going to provide a tangible WAR for the Canucks over the next few weeks that letting him walk away for nothing in July should be a no go. Even losing a few more games over the last couple of months is probably the best course of action.

The New York Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks went as far speculating that a 3rd round pick for Burrows might not be enough:

What does that mean? Good question, but the Rangers are going to have to give up something. A third-rounder probably wouldn’t get it done. One of their seconds next year, when they also own Ottawa’s No. 2? Oscar Lindberg, if the Blueshirts believe that Marek Hrivik could center the fourth line off his impressive 16-game audition earlier this winter?

Should the Rangers show interest in reuniting Burrows and his former head coach Alain Vigneault, it might cost them a second to facilitate it.

That same logic applies to Ryan Miller – the Canucks should move him for a pick, even if it’s a late rounder. They won’t, but they should. Elliotte Friedman suggested if he were Anaheim, he would make a play for Miller.

The accumulation of future assets for players that are likely on their way out for nothing in a few months is the prudent thing to do. Add that it’s currently a seller’s market, and will probably stay that way due to parity (genuine or otherwise), the Canucks have to take advantage of that.

The Canucks hold five picks in the 2017 NHL Entry draft, with the chance of a sixth if Columbus provides their 2nd round pick. That isn’t enough. Ideally, the Canucks can get proactive and enter this draft with picks that they can use to add to the prospect pool and peddle on the trade market following the expansion draft.

Another trade deadline with the Canucks finding themselves at the altar with nothing wouldn’t play well in the market. It’s imperative the Canucks are decisive, take advantage of this market and make some moves.

  • apr

    All of this is predicated that Hansen, Burrows, and Miller waive their NMC. Similarly to last year, where any bounty from Vrbata and Hamhuis had NMCs.

    When Vrbata submits his trade list to non playoff teams, or when Hamhuis provides a list of 2 teams – well, what do you do? How can that be different this year, if Hansen, Burrows, Miller provide a list including Colorodo, Phoenix, and Carolina. Yes, Jim has asked players to waive their no trades – but what does not get reported enough is that the players have the hammer. Bieksa and Garrison waived their no trades in the off season – easier to up-root your family in such cases. If Benning fails to make a move its because he gave a NMC to Miller, and he’s still dealing with Gillis NMCs. Unless we really want to see him move Tanev, Bo, Ben, and other players without a NMC. Too bad Gudbrandson is hurt.

    Its frustrating when everyone and their donkey is saying that Benning has to hit a home run in the trade deadline when he’s stepping up to plate with no bat. That said, gawd trade Megna…please…

    • Freud

      Then why has Benning not approached these players yet to discuss possible moves?

      Is waiting until the last moment to approach them the best course? If they are concerned about uprooting themselves, how is giving them no notice on top of it all a good idea? Would players not like some notice or time to discuss a move with their families or plan?

      Would you as a manager not want the time to sell them on a destination if they are apprehensive.

      If trading players with no NMCs is better in the off season, why was Vrbata not approached the summer of 2015, when his value was quite high after a 31 goal season?

      It’s also been reported Dallas made their first offer to Vancouver for Hamhuis and Vancouver asked for more. They didn’t appreciate it and chose to go to Calgary with the same offer.

      • SaneCanucker

        I am not sure where to start.

        First of all, you don’t know if Benning has spoken to Hansen or Burrows. No one knows but the parties involved. Also, why on Earth would you burden Hansen with the news that you are being shopped? Everybody knows he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Benning is speaking to teams now gauging potential return and interest. When potential teams are identified Benning will ask the players if they will waive.

        The deadline is weeks away. Both Burrows and Hansen know they will likely be asked to waive. They aren’t naïve like the majority of this fanbase.

  • SaneCanucker

    Come on Ryan…Benning clearly says there aren’t buyers OR sellers presently. How can you ignore the 2nd part of his quote? You then go onto define a sellers market? Are you familiar with supply and demand aka the first thing you learn in econ 101?

    Anyways, no chance Miller gets traded (no market) and no chance Burrows returns a 2nd. Hansen is the key as I believe he can deliver a 2nd. A 3rd for Burrows would be a home run.

  • SaneCanucker

    Ryan, a good idea for a blog would be to project what forwards and D various teams will protect. This would help identify possible trade targets for the Canucks at the deadline and prior to the draft. It would also shed some light on who will be in play at the deadline. cheers

  • Bud Poile

    Here we go again with Freud’s revisionist history tirade.

    Freud,Benning has addressed your concerns. He stated twice that he would let the five game string play out before talking to any of his players about moving.

    As he has addressed this topic twice now,why aren’t you listening or acknowledging it?

    As for trading Vrbata,another fantasy Freud scenario. When you sign a player and they play to your expectations you generally think they will play that way on the final year of their contract. Vrbata stunk.

    As for Hamhuis,give it a rest. Reporters report many half-truths that you are wont to repeat for your anti-Benning mantra.

    “We were in with Dallas and they kind of circled back to us at the end, but it was a deal that didn’t really make sense to us,” said Benning. “We were talking a similar deal (that Calgary finalized with Dallas) but they went with the other player (Kris Russell). In this year there weren’t a lot of buyers and it was going to be hard to get value for players.”

    Benning also said he didn’t a single offer from eight teams on Radim Vrbata’s limited no-trade clause list — not even a palatable draft choice.

    “We didn’t get a concrete offer,” said Benning, who was willing to take back money to move Hamhuis and Vrbata. “If you asked me at the start of the year if we were going down this road — and it’s a different year — and it’s frustration. We gave our players opportunity to go to teams and have success. And it would have been nice to recover some picks for them and people knew we weren’t going to move our younger guys.”

    • Freud

      You are one simple dumbass.

      My concern is Benning waits too late to start trying to arrange trades. It’s also a concern clearly mentioned in this post. It’s a concern from last deadline. Do you even read these posts or do you run straight to the comments section to make things up ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jim Nill gambled that he could get both Russell and Hamhuis last season. He figured he could low ball Benning given that Dallas was his only trading option. Because other teams were in on Russell, he paid the price. The NMC was absolutely a factor. If I’m Nill, I probably try the same thing. If I’m Benning, I also refuse. Selling players below value sends a message to every potential trade partner in the future.

  • tyhee

    Jim Benning: Five games before deadline to decide where we’re at; will talk to NTC players during upcoming break
    — TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) February 17, 2017 ”

    I see no reason to wait the five games to decide to plan for the future. The Canucks have a team that is extremely unlikely to make the playoffs and even more unlikely to last a round if they get there.