Earlier this week, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced they would be sending this year’s second round pick (55th overall) to the Canucks as compensation for hiring John Tortorella in the summer of 2015.
Draft season will soon be upon us, but we’ll be saving the question of who the Canucks should select with their first for a later date. This week we’ll focus on the recently acquired 55th overall. What players in the 55th overall range do you have your eyes on? Who would you like to see them select?
Last week I asked: Would you trade one of the Canucks defensemen? If so, whom? And what would you like to see in return?
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.