It’s Boxing Day, which means the hockey-obsessed among us will be settling in to watch the World Juniors. It also means we’re all hungover, so I’ll spare you the hypotheticals and just ask a straightforward question this week.
Aside from Quinn Hughes, who are you most excited to see in action at the WJC and why?
Last week I asked: Would you trade for Andre Burakovsky? If so, what would you give up?
If the Canucks are going to acquire a winger, they should aim a little higher than Burakovsky. They’ve got plenty of guys on the team now, or in the minor coming along, who project to be middle-six wingers who can pot 30-40 points a year. In fact, that’s probably the position at which the team has the most depth, with Goldobin, Baertschi, Gagner, Granlund, Eriksson, Leivo, Virtanen, Roussel, Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich, Boucher, and MacEwen all either capable of playing that role now, or projecting to in the future.
If the Canucks are hankering to make a trade, they should be targeting defensive depth. If they really feel they need another winger, they should be looking to add someone with first-line upside, not another guy who’ll play on the third line and move up to the second when injuries hit.
The best time to make a trade is when the other team is a motivated seller. Dubas trying to prevent Leivo from being claimed on waivers is a fine example.
From the sounds of it, the Capitals are not desperate to part with Burakovsky, even though he has been a healthy scratch. They surely recognize that they could use his services later in the season, and they would like to take another run at the cup. Further, half the teams in the league have probably made a bid for him now.
This suggests that the Canucks are not likely to get a good deal. Make an offer — a little on the low side — but don’t hold your breath.
Burakovsky is likely to be a cap victim (no pun intended) next year if he stays in Washington. I’d be looking to trade a rental defenseman like Del Zotto (salary retained) and a prospect not named Demko, Gaudette, Juolevi, or Hughes. Let’s say DiPietro, fresh off a WJC bump…
I should have qualified that, adding that if the Canucks pro scouts are involved, I’d be fine sitting this one out.
I think this is the type of player the Canucks should be looking at. That said I don’t think giving up futures is the way to go. If the Caps have a playoff rental they would be interested in, then there could be a deal there. You could maybe justify at 2020 pick but I don’t think 2019 should be on the table unless it’s a late rounder and I don’t see the Caps biting on that.
I’d make an offer based around Sutter with 50% retained salary for the rest of the year. It gives the Capitals a versatile bottom 6 player that fits under the cap. If the Capitals want something to sweeten the pot, they can have some call-up depth like Boucher. Otherwise, we really don’t have anything on the roster that makes sense other than Granlund but I’d like to keep him. (Besides, the Capitals just drafted another Sutter this summer so it’s a place of familiarity for them.)
The Canucks already have a ton of forwards like Burakovsky- talented players who haven’t quite yet fulfilled their potential: Leivo, Goldobin, Dahlen, Virtanen, and they have a few others waiting in the wings, like Lind and Dahlen who have a good chance to play in the NHL one day. They will probably pick a forward in the first round in June, too.
The big weakness in the Canucks’ prospect pool is defense- especially on the right side, but Juolevi’s injury raises questions about the left side as well. If I were Benning, that’s what I would try to address.