Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: Trading A Defenseman

The Canucks signed Swedish defenseman Philip Holm this week, increasing speculation about the future of the Canucks’ D core. Talk of trading Chris Tanev in particular has intensified, but Ben Hutton and Alex Edler have also been bandied about as possible trade chips. The rumour is that the Canucks would like help at forward, but they could also use to accumulate other assets as well, so it’s easy to make the case for moving one of their defensemen.

So, this week’s question is multi-layered. Would you trade one of the Canucks defensemen? If so, whom? And what would you like to see in return? Try to keep returns within the realm of reality. Ben Hutton isn’t landing you the third overall pick.

Last week I asked: How would you approach goaltending this offseason?


I’d only re-sign Miller if there was trade for Marky.

If there is no trade to be made – due to rebuild gotta let Markstrom take over next year and let Miller sign in California.


I see 3 choices:
1) Try to get an asset to pickup one of Dallas’ goalies.
2) If you think Markstrom is ready then sign a cheaper goaler to a two years contract like a Elliot, Mason, Ward, Bernier..etc
3) If they don’t think Markstrom is ready re-up Miller for two years.

I’d like to see option 2 if option 1 doesn’t work out.


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It’s time to move on from Miller. Find a decent and reasonably priced backup for Markstrom and use the salary to find a decent center for some depth.

You need to play Markstrom for two years to figure out if he is a stater or a backup which then gives Demko time to develop.

If Markstrom turns out to be a dud — then you have another contract to bury, buyout or hope to trade for a late-late round pick.

If he turns out to be good then play him.

Miller has been a good asset for three years, but paying him another 5-6 mil for another 1-2 seasons makes little sense when you’re already paying nearly for mil to Markstrom to be a backup.

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I think Condon (late of Ottawa) should be in the conversation as well here. He’s an UFA, of an age with Markstrom, and, if the pro scouts & the goaltending coaches think that he could be a fit, might be an excellent pick-up if offered Markstrom’s contract & term.

The other option, as noted by Mbossy, would be to take one of Dallas’ goalies back in a trade for #3 as a salary dump. Lehtonen’s limited NTC could affect this, obviously; but we might be able to get around that if we sent Anaheim Miller’s rights for a 6th, say, and he signs for anything north of $3.5 mill. If that could fall into place, we might be able to sell Lehtonen on Vancouver as a stepping stone to his last good contract in a year. As per what we send over, I thnk he’s right to choose Edler. Edler partnered with Klingberg at Worlds, and that worked out well. Klingberg raved on record about Edler’s game. If the owners can keep their egos out of it, that could be a good deal for both teams.


Step 1: Don’t re-sign Miller.
Step 2: Anything else, so long as it’s cheaper than re-signing Miller, and lets Markström play.

  • Bud Poile

    Holm fills in for the loss of Tryamkin and/or Sbisa to Vegas-all lefties.
    If Olli can make the transition-lefty-the left side is ok.
    Losing Tanev is a hole Gudbranson willl be ordered to fill.
    The Canucks can have the option of taking a d-man if Tanev brings back an NHL top center.

    • Bud Poile

      Edler /NTC ain’t leaving any time soon.
      Benning isn’t going to trade the NHL’s best defensive player for a pick,unless there’s much more coming back.
      Tanev is the accelerated rebuild opportunity.

    • dtriemstra

      If by some miracle the Canucks are able to get the #3 and#5 picks they will definitely NOT pick two defenders! I would rather see a centre and a defender! Say Heiskanen and either Vilardi or Glass.

  • LeftToast

    I would trade Tanev to Dallas for the 3rd overall pick and take back Anti Niemi as a cap dump in return.

    Let’s just accept that our defense is going to be worse, much worse, next year. Losing Tryamkin to the KHL leaves us with a large hole on the D, and likely losing Sbisa to the expansion draft makes it even worse. Trading Tanev, our best defender is going to make this hole a gaping chasm. But if we trade Tanev, we won’t have to expose Sbisa in the expansion draft. I know Sbisa is not the most popular of defensemen, and in no way compares to Tanev, but he had a decent year in 2016 and let’s face it, we are not going to contend next year anyways. So our D would look like Edler, Stecher, Hutton, Gudbranson, Sbisa and Biega which is substantially weaker than Edler, Tanev, Stecher, Gudbranson, Hutton, Beiga.

    But the upside of the trade is that we end up with picks 5 and 3 in the draft, which could potentially be Mittelstadt and one of Liljegren/Heiskanen/Makar/Vilardi or Glass. We can also let Ryan Miller go via UFA and have Anti Niemi back up Markstrom.

    This is definitely a weaker back end, but we could very well get 2 core players for the future.

    We can address the weak backend with a mid-tier UFA for depth.

    • Donald's Hat Trick

      Benning is on TSN talking about how he wants Miller back and that Markstrom isn”t ready to be a starter. Who knows what Benning has planned for next year…

    • crofton

      Trading Tanev for a pick, ALMOST any pick, doesn’t make sense. There have been lots of top 5 picks over the years that have flopped. If you’re going to trade him, and I wouldn’t at this point ( I don’t relish the thought of trading him period, plus I assume his value would be more at the TDL), then he must bring back a top centre, and maybe a pick/prospect…depending on the actual names.

    • truthseeker

      Terrible Terrible Terrible idea.

      Do you have any idea of what top D men are worth in the NHL.

      One more time.

      Larssen for Hall. Tanev is WAAAY better than Larssen.

      Tanev should get us an already established young producing NHL Center. + a prospect and a pick.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Decisions around defense and goaltending go hand in hand. If you don’t sign Miller and anoint Markstrom the starter, then keep Tanev until at least the deadline so that Markstrom has a chance to win a few games and is less afraid of making a mistake. That would also allow some sort of trade with Dallas for Niemi or Lehtonen to extract a draft pick or prospect. If you trade Tanev, then bring in Miller to ensure stability in goal and provide some confidence and leadership for a young developing defense. As for value, I do really like Tanev to Tampa for Drouin and Callahan. If Tanev goes, then draft Liljegren at #5 and the best available C at #33. If Tanev stays, then draft Mittlestadt or Glass with #5 and the best available D at #33. Edler has NTC and limited value so will likely remain.

      • Cageyvet

        I agree that a trade for Drouin+ would be a fair return. Let’s accept the fact that an Edler trade isn’t going to happen. I’ll risk the impact on the D and the leadership/mentorship factor to get some high-end offense on the team. Pittsburgh is showing Nashville that the D isn’t all you need to win a championship. I think Drouin has proven he can be that high-end talent, and showed up in the playoffs in a big way for Tampa as well. If we can scoop him with added value in the trade, I’d make that deal.

  • beerduck

    The idea the canucks could get the 3rd overall pick for Tanev or Edler is ridiculous, it would take much more than that. I think canucks fans are extremely overvaluing canucks assets which will just lead to a great deal of unwarranted critism of management should a deal for those players ever take place.

    • truthseeker

      I think you have no idea what D is worth.

      It cost a Hall to get a Larssen. Tanev is WAAAAAAY better than Larssen. You’re insane if you think the bloody 3rd pick is worth Tanev. Good thing you’re not the canucks GM.

      Check out the return for Shattenkirk. Virtually a rental. A prospect who not long ago was in the top 20 prospects in the entire NHL, plus a first round pick AND a second round pick. lol. And you think Tanev for the third is ridiculous. You have no clue about value in the NHL.

  • The_Blueline

    If possible trade Edler, Tanev, Sbisa, and Guddy for prospects and picks. Hire veteran D on cheap 1 year deal if necessary to support young D. Flip them at TDL

  • I’d say that only Juolevi and Stecher are untouchable. I’d trade any other defenceman but only for a premium return (e.g. minimum 1st round draft pick plus A-prospect for Tanev, a bag of pucks for Sbisa, etc.).

  • Ranger2k2

    My dream scenario would be to trade Gudbranson and Tanev.

    I think if you could trade Gudbranson at the draft either as a package to move up late in the 1st round or for a young underachieving defenceman (say a player along the lines of Derek Pouliot or Ryan Pulock) then you pull the trigger. I realize that you would be only getting 50 cents on the dollar for an asset that you only got the year before, but Gudbranson is going to be super expensive for a player that has the ceiling of Roman Polak.

    Tanev on the other hand I would try to pry Drouin out of Tampa but I think a more reasonable deal would be with a team like the Buffalo. Trade Tanev for Sam Reinhart and Buffalo’s 2nd round pick. I know that the rumor is the Canucks are worried that Sam wouldn’t do “well” playing in his home city but I’d take a chance on a kid with his talent.

    Ultimately if the Canucks trade any D-men they need to get youth or picks coming back. I know they already have glaring holes on the back end and trading two NHL defencemen would completely blow it up but this team needs to think more about 4 years from now and not next year. In reality Benning trades Hutton and a 2nd round pick for Ryan Strome.

    • truthseeker

      Drouin is worth no where near Tanev. Not even close. Not in a million years.

      Larssen brings Hall.

      Larssen ain’t no Tanev and Drouin ain’t no Hall. An absolutely terrible terrible trade scenario for the canucks.

      Now, the Reinhart deal….that makes more sense, but probably not from Buffalo’s perspective. Not that Tanev isn’t worth that….he is…and again…I’d say you are undervaluing him again. It should be minimum Reinhart and their First rounder.

      But I don’t think they do that deal simply because their timing is a bit like ours. Tanev’s market is “win now” (like Dallas/Caps etc) or “win very soon” ( like Oil/Leafs). I don’t think the Sabres are in that position.

  • Puck Viking

    Id trade both Edler and Tanev and get this rebuild going the right way.

    Edler to Tampa for 14th and Cobourn(cap dump) – Edler waives for a chance at a cup with his buddies Hedman and Strolman, Tampa gets vegas to garrison in the expansion draft and trades Drouin for a Rdman perhaps vatanen or barrie. Coburn can be used on the 3rd pairing and for vet leadership, hopefully move him at one of the next two deadlines for scraps. With 14th pick hopefully take suzuki, Necas, Valimaki, Liljegrin.

    5th overall and Tanev to Coyotes for 7th overall, 23rd overall and 2018 1st – Coyotes need a top pairing Rdman to play OEL they then move up in the draft to get their pick of Makar or Liljegrin at 5. Coyotes have nice depth on the left side but need immediate help and future help there and helps to put them in win now mode as they have one of the deepest prospect pools in the league. Canucks move back to 7th will still get one of Vilardi, Glass or Mittlestadt. This allows the canucks the chance to at 23 to fill a hole on defense or take another center depending on what they pick at 14. This also gives them 2 chances in the lottery next year with both their 1st and the coyotes, hopefully get one of Andrei Svechnikov or Rasmus Dahlin.

  • defenceman factory

    The defenceman that needs to be moved is Gudbranson. In the short term he isn’t a strong enough player to provide some cover for a young player. Longer term he is going to cost too much for a bottom pair guy. Canucks have lots of options for that part of the line-up. Edler and Tanev are still reasonable top 4 players. Edler isn’t tradable and there is no better spot for a high end D prospect than next to Tanev.

    Package Gudbranson with one of the 4th round picks for a late 1st or early 2nd round pick. Instead of adding a pick take back a bad contract. Lots of ways to structure a deal around Gudbranson for something decent in return.

    I realize moving Guddy now will be viewed as an admission Benning overpaid for him in that trade. He probably did however by how much depends on the value you attribute to McCann. Maybe the spreadsheet jockeys are right or maybe McCann will never be an impact player.

  • Kanucked

    A little off topic, but the Canucks should get one of the greatest defensemen of all time. I believe Larry Robinson is no longer an assistant coach with SJ. He would be an excellent addition to the coaching staff. He already knows Doug Jarvis and has done some exceptional work with defensemen in the past.

  • TheRealRusty

    People. Keep in mind that the worst time to trade for a draft pick is before the draft. Teams are enamoured with all the shinning prospects and costs to acquire will be high. The best (and cheapest) time to load up on draft picks is at the trade deadline, when teams are feeling the pressure to make the playoffs or the make a deep run for the Cup.

    Personally i will explore options to convince Edler to waive his NTC (let him know he won’t be re-signed and that he will be looking at limited playing time). Failing that, I will keep the defense intact until the 2018 trade deadline and see what the market is then.

    • beerduck

      Best return will be at the trade deadline to a team in the playoff hunt than has injuries on the the back end. Even then would be extremely lucky to get a first, which most likely would be in the 20-31 range for any of the canucks defensemen.