Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: Sales! Sales! Sales!

It’s still Boxing Day as I sit here and write this, so let’s stick what that theme, why don’t we? The festivities never end here at CanucksArmy!

If it’s Boxing Day and you’re involved, you’re either a buyer or a seller. There really isn’t any middle ground. It’s a lot like the NHL’s trade deadline. The way things are shaping up, it’s looking like the Canucks’ profile is teetering closer to that of a seller. They’re five points out of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, and even if they were healthy, which they’re not, it would be hard to envision a scenario where they’re playoff competitive right to the end.

We’ve heard that the Canucks are already looking to move Erik Gudbranson sooner than later. Thomas Vanek, on a one-year deal, is an obvious candidate for renting out to a deadline buyer. But who else goes? That’s where things get tricky. Aside from those two, they don’t have any unrestricted free agents on the horizon that are feasible rental candidates.

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The Canucks do have a glut of middle of the lineup wingers and bottom-four defenceman, though, and at some point, they’re going to need space for incoming prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks moved a pending restricted free agent, for example, to clear the logjam.

So, if the Canucks come out of the Christmas break and continue to trend towards the sellers part of the market at the trade deadline, who do you see getting moved out? What would you do if you were in charge at the deadline?

Last week I askedWhat do you think the Canucks best course of action is to fix their goaltending woes before this season veers into disrepair if it’s not already at that point.


Markstrom and Nilsson both started the season strong, and have had bad stretches recently. I don’t think it’s too much to expect them both to return to roughly league-average over the longer term.

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What’s causing consternation is that they’ve both hit a rough patch at the same time, which is just bad luck. If Markstrom had been struggling and Nilsson had been playing well, or vice-versa, we wouldn’t be talking about this.

They’re both competent goalies and they’ll both return to form. No need to freak out and ship one of them off for nothing, call up Demko before he’s ready, and cause a real mess.


Mathematically, the Canucks are now apparently at a 1% shot of making the playoffs. So I don’t think shoring up the goaltending should really matter all that much for this season, and certainly wouldn’t be worth surrendering any assets. Both guys have looked stellar at times this year – I think these blowouts have more to do with team weakness in their current battered state than they do goaltending as such.

Ragnarok Ouroboros:

I think the Canucks missed having Hutton and Tanev take the puck out of their end zone. The Canucks defense were turn-stiled too often. That said, Nillson let in a lot of garbage goals that game that should not have gone in. I’m talking about all those point shots that had no business of going in. Canucks should have won that game but could not get a timely save at all. I would put Hutton back in and sit Del Zotto, and play Gubrandson until he can be traded.

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Forever 1915:

The blowouts are a function of the team strategy. Green is having his team play a high-risk/reward aggressive game which means odd man rushes. Since the Canucks are mostly comprised of bottom 6 / AHL players who can’t score, I’m not surprised at the results. But then again, the alternative is to play a boring, destined-to-lose-anyways defensive game – I’m glad we’re not seeing that. Doesn’t help that Nilsson gives up a 50 footer or Boucher flubs the 6-on-5 at the offensive blue line but stuff happens. When we get regulars like Horvat/Baertschi/Sutter back this season and start injecting more Top 6 scoring talent over the next 2 years (e.g. Pettersson, Dahlen, Gaudette and possibly Gadjovich and Lind), this season will be a distant memory. Too bad we’re not seeing veterans like Eriksson or Gagner step up or getting more consistent production from veterans like Vanek in the meantime.

defenceman factory:

Management should do nothing. Now is not the time to spend assets to try and upgrade goaltending.

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The coaching staff however, should be working hard. I don’t know how to coach a goalie but these two guys need some. There is also work to be done with the forwards.I’m sure game tape from the Montreal game produces some prime coaching opportunities. Too many missed assignments and too many high risk passes in the offensive zone.

 Doodly doot:

So…. at least the hockey isn’t boring.

    • Puck Viking

      I would look to deal him to a team who might need scoring and have a couple D prospects in the pipe line. For example maybe a MTL – Josh Brooks or Canes – Roland McKweon.

      But yes if they dont see a fit for him move him ASAP while he still has value.

  • Ginner Classic

    Gudbranson and Vanek as soon as there is a good fit, and unlike Benning’s past moves, picks are better than prospects you did not really want in the first place (Goldobin). Toronto may be the best current fit for Gudbranson, and there should be more than a few parties interested in Vanek.

    Speaking of Goldobin, if you don’t like what you see, you trade him. There are plenty of teams that are looking for scoring upside from the wings. Florida is one that jumps to mind. It makes no sense to let the asset depreciate or lose hope in finding opportunity here.

    I’d consider moving Nilsson if there was an offer that made sense. Again, the objective would be to acquire a pick (or a prospect you actually want). I’d look at Tampa for a third-tier D prospect like Hajek, the Islanders for a pick (they have lots), Edmonton (pick), Calgary (Rasmus Andersson), or wait for an injury to crop up and find a compelled buyer. It’s also just fine to keep him.

    Beyond those names, I’d certainly be listening on any offers for Granlund (RFA), Sutter, and Biega (UFA). Eriksson, Gagner and Del Zotto have negative value. We are stuck with those horrible contracts. Edler would be the ideal trade candidate for a rebuilding club but it sounds like he will never agree to a trade. Tanev would generate the most interest but the return would have to be massive (Liljegren + 1st,
    or Heiskanen, or Foote and a 1st) to even consider the absolute destruction of our defense for the foreseeable future.

    What I fear Benning will do: Trade Hutton, re-sign Gudbranson to another boat anchor contract (because he’s good in scrums), and/or trade for Evander Kane.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Good comment, and I really hope your fears are unjustified. I disagree about Granlund( too soon, his upside is still huge) Sutter (would be hard to dump that contract) and Biega (not worth enough to justify moving a perfect 7th D man). I do think that Gagner might bring something, I could see him going back to Columbus. But the elephant in the room is Edler. He’d bring a ton in return, and has kind of worn out his good will in Vancouver. Vanek and Gudbranson are complete no-brainer trades, and I hope the team loses a few more before Bo comes back to really take them out of any playoff hallucinations.

      • Ginner Classic

        I think it’s hyperbole to suggest Granlund has huge upside. Biega is a UFA and if we don’t intend in re-signing him (no idea what the plan is) you move him for pretty much any pick.

        Agree on management’s hallucinations. They have had an incoherent strategy since they got here. Their unwillingness to undertake a proper rebuild as soon as they as they got here bled assets (Forsling), multiple draft picks, caused them to draft by need twice (Virtanen size and Juolevi position) and led them to target near term returns on trades. Ironically, if they had gone for the patient, deep rebuild we would probably be a lot closer to the playoffs today. Their delusions about the quality of the team at the start of every season has been nothing short of shocking.

        They were trying to compete and finished bottom 3 in consecutive seasons. This year we are probably even-money for a three-peat.

      • Puck Viking

        Id move Sutter and retain 50% salary to up his trade value. Maybe pack to the pens.

        Gagner is going no where. He just is not good at all. Although I hope you are right. I think Edler might be moved next season, they just have to approach him months in advance so they dont leave it last minute like Hamhuis.

  • Sandpaper

    Goldobin to Caps for Lucas Johanson. Goldobin could learn how to be a better floater by the best floater in the league, Ovechkin.
    Tryamkin for A 2nd(Fla) from Caps. Washington becomes Team Russia.
    Either one of the goalies could go at tdl

  • Rodeobill

    I would like to see Goldy a little more before I gave up on him, but if the right trade came along, sure. Sell anyone on the team that is not going to be part of this core in 3 years if the right price comes along. I would also not be opposed to seeing Vanek come back UFA this summer if the conditions were right after getting dealt TDL to a contender for a bit. He’s entertaining, and whenever the camera pans in on him I imagine a big exclamation point over his head. Makes me laugh.
    It all comes down to putting as many chips into the next few drafts without losing too much “winning culture,” which apparently spoils the batch.

    • truthseeker

      Vanek has certainly seemed like a pretty good signing. I’m with you on that provided we have the space to fit him in next year.

      People say “winning culture” but I think that’s the wrong choice of words. Obviously the canucks aren’t doing much winning lately. I think what most people mean by that is just having a good group of hard working veterans around that instill some pride and work ethic into the younger players. Not much of an issue for guys like Horvat and Boeser who obviously already have it, but it’s important for some of the others who are on the fringes with a lot of talent but maybe lacking in execution. JV, Sven, Goldy types for example. Guys who could be pretty great but need some help.

      Would anyone deny the impact Naslund, and Bert had on the Sedins? Those things do matter. And I think it is one of the reasons the oilers had so much trouble getting over the “culture of losing” that plagued them for so long. No real quality veteran presence.

  • truthseeker

    It’s a good question.

    Move Guddy for whatever they can get. Move Vanek for whatever they can get.
    If they could get Edler to waive I’d be interested to see what we could get. He’s still got some pretty decent value I think. Maybe Goldy thrown in with him as a sweetener to get back a promising young D. (Don’t think Edler has the pull to bring back a good young D prospect on his own)

    Aside from that I’d say keep what we’ve got and let it play out. It’s either guys who are to valuable (Tanev), guys who’s value sucks (Gagner), guys who could be solid producing cheap players (Granlund), or veteran leaders who are actually important to young development (Twins).

  • Cageyvet

    Move Gudbranson, entertain offers for Hutton, move Vanek, move Edler whenever you can which is probably not soon, and Gagner is expendable, I’m not concerned in the least about the return for a free agent signing if we could actually swing a deal.

    I don’t understand the push to move Goldobin at all, it’s far too soon to make that call……if you support that, I’m wondering why you don’t want to move Virtanen….maybe because it takes some time to see what you’ve actually got? Goldy showed some sick puck skills and poise on a memorable play against St. Louis, when I see a player do that I give him plenty of rope. As if the rookie should be held accountable for a defensive standard that damn few veteran Canucks can manage right now……..

    • truthseeker

      for me it’s not so much about wanting to move Goldobin, but that he is probably the most easily replaceable piece that could be used to enhance another deal. As I mentioned above, with say an Edler to bring back a higher prospect or maybe even young NHL ready D with potential. Plus we’ve got more young wingers on the way so it’s a position of strength. Virtanen’s potential is to me more attractive in terms of what he might bring to the table when/if he puts it together. Goldobin might be a good goal scorer but he’s never going to be a force on the ice. We have Sven and Granlund and Boeser plus Dahlen and a few others on the way who are kind of non physical scoring wingers in the same mold. I’d rather trade Goldobin than any of those at this point if he’s needed to bring back a better return.

      I do agree that it is a bit early in terms of knowing what we really have with him, but we do know what we have with the others (especially Sven and Granlund who fit a winger throw in for a trade).

      It just depends on the deal.

      And yeah…I’m with you on the short leash Green seems to have for some of the players and not for others. Green gushes about how Al Arbor made him the person he is today but to me it’s just 40 year old out of date philosophies about managing people. The NHL is still an old boys club filled with guys who have antiquated notions about rookies and veterans and all that stuff, and probably have a very limited education with regards to player psychology and people management. It’s one of the big problems with apprentice based education. New ideas are sloooooow to creep in.