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Photo Credit: © Dominique Belanger-Gagne - USA Today Sports

Exploring The Trade Market For The Canucks’ Extraneous Forwards

Much has already been written about the glut of forwards on the Vancouver Canucks roster, and the potential consequences thereof. As it stands, the Canucks are essentially faced with a decision between trading a veteran forward—most likely Markus Granlund or Sam Gagner—or risking a young player like Nikolay Goldobin or Brendan Leipsic on waivers. While most fans prefer the veteran-trading option, GM Jim Benning could also look to deal one of Goldobin or Leipsic to recoup some value instead of losing them for nothing. Either scenario, however, requires a trade partner, and that brings us to the current Trade Market: Extraneous Depth Forward Edition.

To make it on this Trade Market, a team must have a desire to be competitive this year and a lack of forward depth heading into preseason. In the specific case of Sam Gagner, having a little extra cap space doesn’t hurt. Each of these teams has young players knocking at the door and less-established veteran hopefuls competing for spots, but they also have enough grey area on their roster to suggest they may trade for a forward before opening night.

 

Anaheim Ducks

 

Established Forwards:

LW C RW
Rickard Rakell Ryan Getzlaf Ondrej Kase
Andrew Cogliano Adam Henrique Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie (RFA) Ryan Kesler (inj.) Corey Perry
    Patrick Eaves

Knocking On The Door: Sam Steel, Kevin Roy, Troy Terry

 

Competitive This Year?: Anaheim has a defense corps in their prime, but their offensive stars are aging quickly, and the closing of a competitive window is likely on the horizon. Ryan Getzlaf only has a couple of years left as an offensive centerpiece, and the Ducks are probably going to keep aiming for the playoffs until he’s firmly on the decline.

Why Them?: With Ryan Kesler potentially on the IR to start the season, the Ducks are hurting for reliable forward depth—and flush with emergency replacement cap space. Even if Kesler is ready—and RFA Nick Ritchie signs—Anaheim remains a little shallow for a playoff contender, and a versatile bottom-six forward like Granlund might just fit the bill.

 

 

Buffalo Sabres

 

Established Forwards: 

LW C RW
Jeff Skinner Jack Eichel Kyle Okposo
Conor Sheary Patrik Berglund Sam Reinhart (RFA)
Vladimir Sobotka Johan Larsson Jason Pominville
  Zemgus Girgensons  

Knocking On The Door: Casey Mittelstadt, Evan Rodrigues, Tage Thompson, Justin Bailey

 

Competitive This Year?: The lean years are finally over in Buffalo, and the burgeoning young core of Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, and Rasmus Ristolainen is ready to compete. The Sabres might not be a playoff team this year, but their days of languishing in the basement are over. Expect Buffalo to make a serious run at the postseason in an attempt to start Dahlin’s career off on the right foot. (No Brett Hull pun intended).

Why Them?: The Sabres are a team trying to better themselves as quickly as possible, and that requires depth. Several of the established veterans are questionable producers and multiple rookies will make the team, so a dose of consistent scoring in the form of Gagner could be enticing. Alternately, a Goldobin type could make for a more interesting linemate for Casey Mittelstadt than Conor Sheary or Jason Pominville.

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks

 

Established Forwards: 

LW C RW
Brandon Saad Jonathan Toews Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat Nick Schmaltz  
Chris Kunitz Artem Anisimov  

Knocking On The Door: Dylan Sikura, John Hayden, Victor Ejdsell, David Kampf

 

Competitive This Year?: The Blackhawks missed the playoffs in 2017/18 and, in the ultra-stacked Central Division, it seems entirely likely that they do so again this year. That being said, the Blackhawks still have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook on the payroll, so a rebuild isn’t an option. Chicago has no choice but to continue trying to make the best of the core’s remaining productive years. 

Why Them?: The Blackhawks are probably the non-rebuilding team with the biggest question marks on their roster. Multiple players with limited experience are pencilled into the lineup, and some added stability would be a welcome addition. Although the Blackhawks have been traditionally cap-strapped, the trade of Marian Hossa’s contract has opened up some room—more than enough to accommodate Granlund or Gagner’s contracts with ease.

 

 

New Jersey Devils

 

Established Forwards: 

LW C RW
Taylor Hall Nico Hischier Jesper Bratt
Marcus Johansson Travis Zajac Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood (RFA) Blake Coleman Stefan Noesen
Pavel Zacha Brian Boyle  

Knocking On The Door: Blake Speers, John Quenneville, Joey Anderson

 

Competitive This Year?: With the reigning Hart Trophy winner in Taylor Hall and a recent first overall pick in Nico Hischier, the New Jersey Devils will be attempting to better their wildcard performance of last year. The Devils will have a tough time busting into the top three of the Metropolitan Division, but they’re certainly going to give it a shot. 

Why Them?: The Devils have a lot of middle-six forwards, but are short on skilled wingers to stick with Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier. With their incoming youngsters more suitable for bottom-six roles, New Jersey could be very interested in a talented reclamation project in Goldobin or Leipsic—especially if the cost is low.

 

 

Ottawa Senators

 

Established Forwards:

LW C RW
Ryan Dzingel Matt Duchene Mark Stone
Mikkel Boedker Chris Tierney Bobby Ryan
  J-G Pageau (inj.) Tom Pyatt

Knocking On The Door: Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Nick Paul, Drake Batherson, Logan Brown, Rudolfs Balcers, Alex Formenton

 

Competitive This Year?: The Senators are in a unique position. With the loss of Erik Karlsson, they’re almost certainly a basement team, but they don’t own their first round pick. That gives Ottawa an incentive to be as competitive as possible this year, lest they sacrifice a lottery pick to the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve literally got nothing to lose! 

Why Them?: The Senators roster is an utter mess, and they can use all the help they can get. They may also have a vested interest in keeping their talented rookies away from a guaranteed tire-fire season. It’s questionable whether the notoriously frugal Eugene Melnyk would be open to taking on Gagner’s contract, but any of Granlund, Goldobin, or Leipsic could find a permanent home on the barren wasteland that is the Ottawa forward corps.

 

 

Vegas Golden Knights

 

Established Forwards:

LW C RW
Jonathan Marchessault William Karlsson Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty Paul Stastny Alex Tuch
Erik Haula Cody Eakin Ryan Reaves
Tomas Nosek Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Ryan Carpenter

Knocking On The Door: Cody Glass

 

Competitive This Year?: Nobody expected the expansion Golden Knights to be competitive last year, but then they went and made the Stanley Cup Finals. With an opening act like that, Vegas has little choice but to continue operating as a contender—anything less would be an insult to their enthusiastic young fanbase.

Why Them?: The Golden Knights went to the Finals and then replaced James Neal and David Perron with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny—and that might lead one to believe that their forward depth is just fine. However, Vegas got very fortunate when it came to injuries in 2017/18, and that saved them from having the kind of rail-thin depth chart that comes with being an expansion team exposed. Any significant injury to a forward will have the Knights begging for a fill-in, and that makes them a stealth team for one of the Canucks’ extraneous forwards.

  • Killer Marmot

    A few injuries and the “log jam” dissipates like morning fog. If, however, every forward is healthy at the start of the season and Benning is bound and determined to try to preserve his depth, he could send Gagner to Utica. Gagner’s generous contract would likely prevent him from getting claimed, and if he did get claimed, well that’s not the end of the world. It’s a risk worth taking.

    • Fortitude00

      I know Gagner is brutal defensively and slow but he finished 5th in team scoring last year if you minus the Sedins. he was brought in to be a PP specialist so he should see increased time with Sedin retirement. Gagner may return to the 40-50 point mark again which this team needs. There isn’t many other players who can put up those kind of offensive numbers. For that reason I think he is on the team.

    • There’s just no way a team this starved for offense is going to waive a player being paid $3 million who is likely to score around 40 points.

      It is simply not happening – Aquelini’s not going to stomach it, and the team isn’t deep enough offensively.

      • Killer Marmot

        I don’t think Gagner is likely to score 40 points. And if the team is going to be successful, it can’t just look at offense. It has to look at the complete package. At any rate, it would be a temporary assignment.

        So if Benning wanted to preserve his forward depth and there were no injuries, what would you do? What is you plan?

          • Killer Marmot

            I can guarantee that I never said the Canucks had a good chance at the playoffs last year. I might have said they had a long shot if they didn’t have serious injuries, but that’s not going out on a limb. I think that’s true for this year as well.

            But what’s creepy is that you (mis)remember this crap so as to throw it in people’s faces a year later. You really have to get out of your parent’s basement more. Get some fresh air. Go on a date with a real life girl.

      • PQW

        Oh look guys – Goof crawls back out from under his rock after getting his a$$ handed to him after telling us Erik Karlsson to the Sharks is a great deal for Ottawa! Beat it kid, you have humiliated yourself enough without trying to pretend that you are now some kinda Aquilini confidant! Nexttttt

      • Holly Wood

        I consider Gagner to Utica as a progressive move. We have better top six options prior to injuries creeping in and he does not provide the grinder option that many of us still think applies at some level. Losing him on waivers is not going to cripple team.

    • Macksonious

      In response to Killer Marmot’s comment at the top:

      Assuming roster space is needed, waiving Gagner would be the ideal solution if a trade can’t be worked out. However, as Goon pointed out, the Aquilini’s may not be on board with that plan.

  • PQW

    Guys, the focus here should be purely on the DIVISION and it makes ugly reading for long suffering Canucks fans again ffs.

    Let’s see,
    LA adds Kovalchuk and Phaneauf
    San Jose adds Erik Karlsson and re-signs Evander Kane
    Vegas adds Patches and Stastny
    Calgary adds Neal, Hanafin and Lindholm
    Desert Dogs add Galchenyk and Grabner… ALL proven NHL quality…

    meanwhile the Ca-sucks have lost the Sardines and added Beagle, Schaller and Antoine Roussel!!!??? whilst adding NO ONE to a league worst D-corp… absolute NIGHTMARE. Smell the coffee eh boys…

    #noscoring
    #worst_defence_unchanged
    #noplayoffs_again
    #mug_fans_in_denial
    #worstinthedivision

    • Green Bastard

      There’s PQW pretending to be one OF the “guys”. Blah blah blah, wake up AND smell your own vinegar and water breath. I would say you got your a$$ handed to you AGAIN, but your head IS stuck in there. Bon appetite

    • lolthisguy

      lol, holy mary. Okay, if you expected or wanted the Canucks to compete this year then you should just stop following hockey for a while because it means you clearly haven’t been paying attention and have no idea of the state of the Canucks at the moment. Canucks will and should suck this year you snowflake. Lighten up… every reasonable hockey pundit and fan knew that 9+ years of Sedins and dominating the NW division would lead to a period where they sucked, so what were you wanting or expecting? Idiot.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Trade Sutter for a less expensive 3rd line C as the guy has hands of stone and the worst offensive awareness.
    Trade Eriksson for a bag of pucks for all I care.
    Trade Granlund cause he isnt good enough to warrant top 9 mins and isnt good enough defensively to be a bottom 6 forward.
    Trade Nilsson for anything (1/2 a bag of pucks?)
    Trade Gudbransson cause he straight up sucks and always has.
    Trade Shaller & Roussel cause they simply aren’t needed.
    Trade Tanev before his value plummets (like all others mentioned above….oh wait, that ship has sailed cause its not 2016 anymore).
    Demote Benning to head of scouting and hire somebody with previous experience to fill the vacancy.
    #letthedamnkidsplayalready

    • Killer Marmot

      Trade Shaller [sic] & Roussel cause they simply aren’t needed.

      Attrition can be horrendous. The Canucks played 25 different forwards last season. Although they have many promising prospects in Utica, it’s not clear that guys like Dahlen, Lind, and Gadjovich will be ready for the NHL when injuries strike.

      No, the Canucks need that forward depth. It might be tricky avoiding putting valuable players through waivers at the beginning of the year, but if they can manage it then it will be worth it.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Discussing trading partners seems like a fruitless endeavour considering our GM/President regularly finds himself getting taken to the cleaners in trades, contract signings, and evaluating pro talent.

  • Hockey Bunker

    Can’t see any trade with a meaningful return for any Canuck waiver eligible player before the season starts. Same for all teams I’m sure. Teams just have to cherry pick the wire to fill a need as few players stand out. Lots of similar players will be on waivers because they aren’t good enough to win regular jobs.

  • Steamer

    Hey Canucks Army: how about taking out the trash? ‘PQW”s responses to ‘Killer Marmot’ are rude, idiotic and unacceptable. If ‘PQW’ wants to comment, fine; but insulting others because their opinions differ is immature & denigrates all those who have genuine opinions to share. Canucks Army has been far too lax for far too long vis-à-vis trolls & nincompoops. Get rid of those whose only contribution is insulting others.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Heres some truth. No matter how many points he may or may not put up, Gagner is a terrible fit for the Canucks right now, and is taking a roster spot that a younger player needs. Trade him, waive him, cut him, doesn’t matter. If anyone wants him off waivers, its a win, if he goes to Utica, then he’s “veteran leadership”, and a “playoff callup”, and if he goes to Switzerland, he’ll be a hero. The only losers are the hockey fans of Vancouver if he’s on the opening night roster. I feel the exact same way about Eriksson, but Canucks will have to buy out that contract if they want to see him gone.

  • Dirty30

    Ship Eriksson to Ottawa for the cost of airfare to get him there. Retain salary to make it happen. Throw in Gaunce or Boucher or both if that helps.

    Ship Gagner to Utica — he can pay his own way.

    Put Nilsson on waivers.

    Trade Sutter to Anaheim.

  • lolthisguy

    lol, holy mary. Okay, if you expected or wanted the Canucks to compete this year then you should just stop following hockey for a while because it means you clearly haven’t been paying attention and have no idea of the state of the Canucks at the moment. Canucks will and should suck this year you snowflake. Lighten up… every reasonable hockey pundit and fan knew that 9+ years of Sedins and dominating the NW division would lead to a period where they sucked, so what were you wanting or expecting? Idiot.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Trades are all find and dandy. But who is going to contact a 29th or 30th place club interested in their cast offs? You’ve got to give up something to get something and the Canucks don’t have the depth presently to make significant impact trades.

  • speering major

    I don’t think any of these players can be traded right now. If some of them are having a good season they can be moved at the deadline or when other teams have injury troubles

    Granlund might have a place to get moved for a bag of pucks if he’s having a good season and a team has injury trouble down the stretch and

    If Sutter stays healthy they should move him at the deadline for a nice return. Same with Tanev.

    There’s nobody willing to take Gagner and his contract. Even if he has a good season he will be hard to move. Nobody wants his contract for the next season.

    Eriksson is untradeable. I could see the Canucks getting rid of him in the expansion draft. I’m not sure about the contract rules but I believe his cap hit will be far greater than his salary. An expansion team like Seattle will have lots of cap space and can probably squeeze a decent asset out of Vancouver for taking him off their hands

    Nobody is going to give anything up for players about to be placed on waivers. I think the Canucks best shot is to hold on to everyone for a few months since injuries will hit and roster spots will be free. Other teams will have injuries and then be willing to pick up one of the mentioned players from the Canucks

  • Defenceman Factory

    This is a great article. There are some teams perhaps a bit shallow on forwards where potential markets exist but not many. It is interesting to dig a bit deeper to see if those teams have extra pieces they might want to move. Maybe you get a late draft pick for someone like Granlund but if the other team needs to move a bad contract the draft pick changes from a 5th rounder to a 2nd.

    I would really like to see an article like this on where potential future right D prospects might be had and what the price might be. This remains a large gap in the prospect pool and looking at current draft rankings the Canucks are taking a forward in the 1st round in 2019.