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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Trade Speculation Edition

The short answer is it depends on whether or not there’s a market for either of them. Teams are always looking for defensive depth at the deadline, so I could see them getting calls on Michael Del Zotto. I wouldn’t expect much in return, but I could see them getting a late pick back if nothing else. I’m not sure we can say the same for Nilsson. The salary is too high for the performance he’s given over his time here and the goalie market is non-existent. I wouldn’t expect him to get moved unless a goalie on a contending team suffers a surprise injury heading into the deadline.

My guess is he’d get his ass handed to him. Virtanen’s no delicate flower, but Lucic is probably the toughest player in the league. That’s not just me blowing smoke, either. There are a few NHLers who have gone on record about it.

The truth is, I don’t really want Jake fighting anyway. He’s got some warts, but he’s skilled enough to keep a spot in the lineup without getting into any shenanigans. Sure, he should be a physical player, but he can keep it between the whistles.

Unless of course you’re literally talking about dancing, in which case I’d imagine the lead-up would be quite different, but the outcome would be about the same.

Colton Parayko. The Blues are selling and he would give the Canucks an excellent young core to build around along with Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes. He’s only 25, which puts him right in the age range the Canucks should be looking at, and with a few more moves that could put the team back on the upswing. Unfortunately, the price tag is probably prohibitive, but you never know.

It’s certainly possible. Hutton’s really turned things around this year and has come up alongside some of their other young players. He seems like a nice guy and a good teammate and I’ve never been given a reason to believe otherwise, and at 25 there’s no reason the Canucks would have to make a trade if they believe in him.

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That having been said, it’s obviously all about the return. He was talked about as a potential piece going back in a deal for Tyson Barrie not too long ago, obviously there wouldn’t be any objections if that happened.

This is always a tough question to answer this early because we have no idea where players will be drafted and where they will fit into their team’s plan. Plenty of good players spend more time in junior or in the minors than they ought to while others are rushed, depending on the context of where they were taken and by which team.

If I had to guess, I’d say Dylan Cozens probably has the best shot of playing next season given that he’s got size and speed on his side. I’ve also heard the same case made for Kirby Dach, but I’m less convinced he can make the jump.

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They’re undefeated in regulation over their past six games, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that before their recent run they had lost 12 of 13. I think it’s too early to really say whether or not they’ll be comfortable moving Sutter although will say that Adam Gaudette’s emergence as a legitimate option at centre means it’s on the table now. I don’t think I would have said that a year ago.

The Canucks aren’t a good team, but then again you could say that about at least half the teams in the Pacific Division right now. I’d say Vegas and San Jose are pretty much locks to make the playoffs, and Calgary is looking tough to catch right now, although obviously a lot can change. With Edmonton’s recent surge under Ken Hitchcock, I’m not seeing an easy path to a playoff berth right now. But it’s possible. All it would take is for one team in the Pacific to hit a run of bad luck and the Canucks could find themselves in the mix.

As far as if they actually get there? They’ll get trounced, no question. I don’t think there’s single team in the playoff picture at the moment that they could be expected to beat in a seven-game series.

If Jim Benning can pull that off he deserves the award for GM of the year. That would be a significant underpayment for Burakovsky, who’s young, has draft pedigree, and a proven if somewhat underwhelming track record at the NHL level. If they’re going to get him, a guy like Ben Hutton or Nikolay Goldobin makes a lot more sense. I’d imagine the Capitals are looking for a good return, and for that reason I’d pass unless they’re willing to take a veteran in return.

Unfortunately I think Pettersson is still slightly below that level. I see him more as a guy like Evgeni Malkin or Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Backstrom. He’ll be talked about as an elite player of his era, but not quite as a generational talent. There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously. I just think only one or two players per era can really have the “generational” label attached to them, and with guys like McDavid, Matthews, Laine, Dahlin, and Eichel all already in that conversation we’re already in danger of defining the term out of relevance entirely.

Sven Baertschi for Andre Burakovsky straight up. I’m not sure why the Caps would do it, but we’ve definitely seen more lopsided one-for-one trades in recent memory. Burakovsky and Baertschi have the same amount of points over their careers, but Baertschi’s scoring pace has been a bit better. The Caps get a player who’s in his prime right now and can probably slot in on any of the team’s top three lines. The Canucks get a player who might not pan out to be quite as productive offensively, but who’s younger and will still be in his prime when they’re competitive. Baertschi would have to prove he can stay healthy first, though.



  • crofton

    Lucic is the toughest player in the NHL? Does that include always running smaller guys but not say, Gudbranson? What about Dalton Prout? Would he agree Lucic is the toughest?

  • Goon

    Any trade deadline speculation should always come with the major caveat that the most likely outcome, based on past behavior, is that Benning does nothing, and if he makes a move, it’ll be for a roster player or prospect. He’s never brought back a pick at the deadline and damned if he’s starting now.

    • Mattias

      Historically sure, but previous drafts weren’t held at Rogers Arena.
      The barrage of tweets from Aquilini [email protected] #Club500 are probably already being written- I’m sure he is pushing for maximum publicity.

      If Benning can find a way to upgrade the D with Edler, Sutter, Baertschi+, I’d be happy to see them miss out on an extra pick. Besides, you could send Brackett/Benning to a draft with a couple scratch n’ wins and they’d still come back with something, so what is the sense in criticizing the Canucks drafting acumen?

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        I dont believe anybody was critical of Bennings drafting acumen. Everything above has been critical of his trading/negotiations/ability to comprehend that a rebuilding org needs to maximize the accumulation of draft picks in order to maximize the statistical probability of one or more of those picks materializing into legit NHLers at some point.

        The last 4 yrs have yielded a grand total of ZERO picks accumulated above the alloted picks given to each team. That statement alone speaks VOLUMES on the current GM and his ability/competence in his present role.

    • crofton

      I’m not sure that other than the fact the draft will be held in Vancouver with all the attendant PR, that it makes a positive difference if you take a prospect rather than a pick. I haven’t searched this but it just seems off the cuff that fewer draft picks play 200 games in the NHL than do prospects.

  • North Van Halen

    This generational thing is thrown about way too loosely. In my lifetime, I’ve seen 3: Gretzky, Lemieux & Orr. That’s it. Each of those guys did things that were leaps ahead of their peers. Orr winning scoring races as a dman. Gretzky winning 8 scoring titles in a row by as much as 60+ points. Lemieux doing the same as Gretzky, just at the same time. Thats generational. Heads and shoulders better than your peers.
    Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid, Matthews, they are all really good, I mean I’d love to have any of them on my team. Until one of them wins say 5 or 6 scoring titles in a row by 20+ points, they aren’t ‘Generational’ just really frickin good.

      • Dirty30

        You’d think a guy who played the game across decades would be considered ‘generational’ just for the duration of his playing career. Played longer than anyone ever did, with his sons, and gave us the earliest hockey meme: The Gordie Howe Hat-trick!

    • Cageyvet

      I agree completely. Is there something wrong with superstar as a label, if you must have one? Every healthy league needs a good dose of those at all times. Well above the next tier, but not standing alone above all.

      • wjohn1925

        I think in some ways you might be right. They actually affected how the game was played (cycle game etc) as opposed to some of the others listed, but their talent was elite but not unique, which separates them and others from Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux and Howe. I don’t think anyone now playing, including Mcdavid is ‘generational’ – at least not yet.

    • Silverback

      A generation is defined in time to be about 30 years. In my opinion to be considered generational, you would need 10 to 12 years of consistently outplaying your peers by a wide margin, like a Gretzky or a Lemieux. By that definition, there are no generational players currently in the NHL. There are superstars, but no generational players…yet.

      • Erik Lonnrot

        I guess it depends if we go by the demographic definition of generation or we use something shorter to indicate a generation of NHL players which I would suggest is around 15 years.

    • Erik Lonnrot

      If the term is Generational then I think each generation gets one. A generation in the NHL is say 15 years with a bit of room around the edges. So that would leave us with: Howe (who gets way more than 15 years), Orr (who gets a bit less), Gretzky, one of Lemieux or Jagr, and then one of Crosby/Ovechkin/ McDavid.

      If you want to define “generation” as shorter you could include both Lemieux and Jagr as well as McDavid on top of Crosby or Ovechkin.

      • North Van Halen

        Generational can’t be defined by time. It’s defined by talent. As in this talent comes along once a generation. There is no one that can currently be defined that way. Lebron, MJ, Tiger, Jack, Brady, Wayne, Mario. What these guys have done/did is so far ahead of their peers they is ‘one’ in a generation – those of us lucky enough to watch hockey in the 80’s/90’s saw 2 at the same time.
        Another will come and there will no doubt. If you have to debate whether a player is generational, he is not.

    • speering major

      Yeah I think the media’s job just creates an environment that makes hyperbole necessary. The discussion should be directed towards franchise players. They type of players that you build a championship team around.

      McDavid is one of many franchise players. He is an absolute freak show and you can compare his skills to the best of all time. That said, he’s not the scoring leader. He will win scoring titles but not by a large margin. He hasn’t lead the league in goals. His team missed the playoffs. You can build a franchise around him and there’s probably nobody on earth better to do that, but he isn’t irreplaceable. If you traded Mcdavid for Mathews right now you would lose the trade but you would be ok. If you traded prime Gretzky for anyone at that time you would have got murdered. Gretzky for the next best player would have been worse than Hall for Larsson by a long shot. The only guy you could trade Gretzky for would eventually be Lemieux. You could trade McDavid for a handful of guys and not lose that badly

  • KearnsScoredOnHimself

    Instead of tangling avec Lucic mbe Virty could have a Brain cramp and do something dumb next time Marchand or Brown or Keith are on the ice.

  • Defenceman Factory

    I don’t understand the questions about trading for Burakovsky. The Canucks don’t really need a 35-40 point winger. They have two serious needs to develop into a contender; a 60-70 point LWer and upgrades/system depth on D. Those are difficult pieces to trade for without giving up picks and prospects.

    Trading veterans should be for picks which can be packaged at the deadline or at the draft for the pieces Canucks need most. An example might be trading Sutter or Edler for a late 1st rd pick. At the draft that pick could be packaged with Leivo or Baertschi to bring back a solid D prospect. The same could be done with Tanev next year.

    Before anyone gets excited about trade value it was just an example. The point being the tradable pieces the Canucks have need to be used wisely toward filling the greatest needs.

    • jaybird43

      Factory, I think that’s correct. Moreover, they’ve started to show they’ve got some offense, and could trade some for solid ~20 year old defence prospects. That’d be where I’d focus if I was Benning.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Agreed. He’s big, but shouldn’t there be a red flag when considering trading for a guy who’s stats haven gotten worse in each of the last 3 years?

    • If the Canucks traded for Burakovsky, the idea would be that he could still become a Top 6 scoring winger with more opportunity, as projected in his draft scouting reports. Over the last 5 years, he’s only played between 11:36 (this year) to 13:50 (last year) with minimal PP time, which is bottom 6 TOI (albeit, he did play with Backstrom for some of that time). That being said, with the exception of this season, his Corsi and Fenwick has been between 50.83% to 55.27% and his PPG was been between 0.41 to 0.55. OwnThePuck projects him to be a Top 6 forward.

      If that’s what Burakovsky can get with sub-optimal opportunities, 34-55 projected points plus +50% Corsi/Fenwick, imagine what he could get with Pettersson, Boeser and Horvat. He may be a 22-38 point winger there but could become a 50-70 point player here. Plus he’s Swedish so he’d fit right in.

      • Defenceman Factory

        I think you’ve done a reasonable job of rationalizing why you might do it but is it the right thing to do? Baertschi scored 2ppg in junior in his D+1 year so his projections were promising as well. Maybe Burakovsky is a marginal upgrade. Projecting him to 70 points is optimistic. The focus I think is better placed on landing the key pieces to move the needle and shift the focus from rebuilding to competing.

        • I wouldn’t trade Baertschi now. If you asked me that prior to this year’s preseason, I would have rolled the dice on a project like Burakovsky or a high draft pick. But I see Baertschi has figured out how to play a power forward-type game that fits his stature, I’ve upgraded my ceiling for him from middle 6 to top 6 scoring LW. It’s a shame that he can’t stay healthy (which isn’t his fault).

          I can’t see Goldobin getting traded as I see Burakovsky and Goldobin as the same thing, a high potential player that hasn’t proven himself (defense/work ethic issue?). I’m not sure what roster player we could offer to Washington that makes sense. The only thing I can think of is a prospect like Kole Lind, contrary to reports that Washington wants a roster player.

          What I meant by the post was that I could see Burakovsky as more than a 35-40 point winger, based on his stats and metrics. I haven’t seen him play but the numbers all point to a guy that did very well based on limited PP/TOI and could reach his draft ceiling in a different environment.

        • Whoops, misread your comment about Baertschi. I think at age 23, Burakovsky is in the right age group to be a core piece rather than a rebuild prospect. It’s early for Leivo but maybe Burakovsky can be the same and become a good Top 9 player if he came here.

  • BC SPORTS FAN

    Great game by the Canucks. If we can trade Gudbrandson and MDZ at the trade deadline as we are not making the playoffs this year. If we could win the ping pong ball this year and get Hughes the future would be bright.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Even as we speak all GMs are fully cognizant of the upcoming Seattle expansion draft in 2021 and are (or should be) planning the right strategies/ contingencies as to lose significant talent from rosters. every move Benning makes is crucial even some 30 months ahead of time. The wrong amount of ELCs or FA signings could do some damage because regionally speaking you know Seattle would like to select a Canuck. You only lose one guy but Benning just has to leave guys unprotected no one wants. Even this TDL and next July 1st require more savvy than usual. Mgmt just has to get, and protect, the right guys to build a contender.

    • Nuck16

      The Seattle expansion draft getting bumped back a year sucks for us. There are a bunch of players that will now be eligible as a result (Petey, Olli, (maybe Hughes if he signs end of season), Dahlen, Lind, Jasek, etc..)…so now Benning’s focus will be to keep what we have rather than going after someone in a trade in the lead up, since we would have had 1 or 2 protection spots available for a 2020 exp draft.

      • Defenceman Factory

        You have a point about Hughes but I don’t think the expansion draft moving out a year changes the situation for any of the others. Pettersson, Juolevi, Dahlen and Jasek all played pro hockey last year in Europe. Only 1st and 2nd year pros are exempt and it doesn’t matter where your pro experience is from. Not sure about Lind. He did play in Utica at the end of last season.

        • Nuck16

          I’m going off 2nd hand information from Canucks Army pundits when it was brought up last year…it was said that all those guys would have been exempt from a 2020 draft. There is a rule, apparently, which exempts European pro experience, which is why Anton Rodin and Tryamkin didn’t need to be protected from the Vegas draft. It was also stated that any of the players joining the Comet’s late last season would not have that counted as a year of pro experience.

    • Killer Marmot

      The only thing that should be a priority is this: No No-Movement Clauses between now and then! Otherwise, build the best team you can and don’t worry about it. Trying to predict the situation 2.5 years from now is too complicated. Players you think will be valuable won’t be, and players you thought would be so-so will be vital.

      June of 2020. That’s when to start worrying about it.

      • canuckfan

        I agree just build the best team and not worry about the expansion draft you only lose one player and obviously won’t be the best player on the team. There is enough to worry about such as salary cap implications in the future and how that will effect the team. Look at Toronto they are living that right now. Build a good team through the draft those prospects that excel will then be looking to get paid putting the Leafs in the situation they are in now. Canucks have a couple young players with Pettersson and Brock who will be in for a raise when the time comes. Salary cap issues are much more pressing and need to be thought out more than who they could lose in an expansion draft.
        If we get a certain big left winger in the draft who can score the Canucks could be set for awhile.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks aren’t a good team, but then again you could say that about at least half the teams in the Pacific Division right now.

    Well that’s an upgrade on “The Canucks aren’t a good team – full stop.”

    • Beer Can Boyd

      LOL. I would also suggest that Winnipeg, Nashville and San Jose would no doubt smoke the Canucks in a 7 game series, but that they would have a fighting chance against any other Western Conference team. Playoffs = goaltending, and it often comes down to who gets hot. Remember Richard Brodeur!

      • North Van Halen

        Brodeur played 3 teams with worse records than the below .500 Canucks, then got stomped once they met a better opponent. You’re right though, we’ve all seen underdogs find the right system, get a hot goalie and go on a run, saying otherwise is silly. That said, there’s no way this club is ready to do that for 4 straight series so I’m still hoping for a good draft slot

        • Kootenaydude

          The first round is where all the upsets are. I love the first round of the playoffs, because you know one of the favourites are going to get knocked out!

        • Beer Can Boyd

          What you say is true, those teams had sub .500 records. But both the Flames and Hawks badly underachieved that year, and both were expected to beat the Canucks. Brodeur stood on his head in all 3 series, and was certainly not the reason they lost to the Islanders. Which was my point.

          • North Van Halen

            He was not but he truth is once the Canucks played a team that was much better, they lost, despite Brodeur standing on his head. In the other series the teams were close to even, Brodeur was the difference.

  • Kootenaydude

    This team is not deep enough to lose centremen. We lose Horvat, Pettersson, or Beagle and Sutter. Canucks go on another losing skid. If we trade Sutter and one of those three centremen get injured. Canucks are screwed. If we trade Sutter. We better make sure we get a decent return. Never thought I would say this, but I’m liking Gudbranson playing with Hutton. He’s picked his game up. I like having a big guy for when we have to face other teams with their goons on the ice. It’s a good insurance policy for the youth.

    • Cageyvet

      I gave up on Guddy, but he’s changing my mind. He’s not a world-beater by any stretch, but half my frustration came from him not playing a punishing physical game. That’s changed significantly, and he’s getting some shots on net as well. We need some toughness on the back end, and he’s keeping his spot in the lineup by bringing that. The Guddy-Hutton pairing we hoped for when we acquired him is finally a decent combination instead of the unmitigated disaster we witnessed before.

  • LACANUCK

    I don’t see why you must pair down a list of names from generational talent… perhaps the talent is just there?

    The only difference right now with EP and say McDavid and Mathews when they stepped on the ice was their physical attributes. EP is 6’2 and slight but his hockey IQ, stick handling, vision, play making and shot are second to none! He will fill out his frame in time, but he is in the conversation.