We’re already three weeks into the month of January and the Canucks are still in the playoff picture. They sit tied with Colorado for the final wildcard spot, with Colorado edging them out simply because they’ve played less games (49 to Vancouver’s 50).
This throws a wrench into the team’s plans, to say the least. Most expected 2018-19 to be another year where the team would bottom out and hopefully sell off a few assets at the deadline and get another high draft pick. Instead, the conversation has turned to making the playoffs, and the possibility the team could even be buyers:
Dreger: "I'll tell you this: I think Jim Benning and the Vancouver #Canucks would love to get their hands on Micheal Ferland, either through trade or as a free agent because of what he brings. He can be a top-six player, and he is as tough as nails." #Canes
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) January 22, 2019
The Canucks haven’t really played sound hockey at even-strength this year and there’s a strong case to be made that they’re only in the playoff picture right now because of how uniquely bad the bottom of the west is this season, but this market has been so starved for playoff hockey over the past half-decade it’s hard to blame anyone for wanting to see the Canucks squeak in, regardless of what it means for their future.
I think most readers know where I stand on this, but what about you? Are you team playoffs or team tank?
Last week I asked: Would you like to see the Canucks trade for Jesse Puljujarvi? If so, what would you give up?
One should be cautious of overpaying for players merely because of their draft pedigree. See: Gudbranson, Erik.
That said, Puljujarvi has a lot of potential, and while the Canucks have tonnes of wingers in the system, none outside Boeser have Puljujarvi’s upside.
The Oilers are desperate for help on defense and Chiarelli has been fleeced many times – I’d see if a package could be built around Erik Gudbranson. Would Chiarelli go for Gudbranson and Dahlen in exchange for Puljujarvi? It’s worth asking – Edmonton gets a bad defenseman who Chiarelli probably covets, who has that draft pedigree they want, and they get a solid prospect winger in exchange for a winger with draft pedigree and tonnes of upside who hasn’t put it together at the NHL level yet.
The Oilers are desperately in need of secondary scoring, and they seem to be constantly in the market for 6th/7th defensemen.
To that end, I’d trade them Baer, Goldobin, and either Gudbranson or Pouliot (or both if we can get a moderately better low-end D returned).
The only piece I’d miss would be Baer, and while he’s good for secondary scoring, players of his calibre are fairly easy acquire. It seems likely Puljujarvi’s ceiling is at least as high as Baer’s, and possibly much higher.
I’d send Goldobin for Puljujarvi plus a draft pick (e.g. 2nd or 3rd round). I’d be happy with a 1-for-1 swap but because we’re talking a desperate Chiarelli, we could try to get a draft pick back (for the Larsen mistake).
Puljujarvi was rushed into the NHL by Edmonton, he has the size and individual skill set to succeed. But he needs to be able to translate his European game to NHL size and speed. He looked good in pre-season when he was playing against lesser competition (4 goals in 5 games). Plus he’s part Swedish so he’ll fit right in.
No I don’t think the Canucks should trade for Puljajarvi. Amassing more middling wingers isn’t what the Canucks need to be doing right now. The assets given up to get Puljajarvi would be better spent trading for defence prospects or draft picks. The Canucks will not be a contending team without upgrading their D. They will not stay a contending team until replacement strategies are in place for Tanev and Edler.
The Canucks have the following players who can play right wing:
Boeser Virtanen Eriksson Leivo Motte Granlund Gagner Lockwood Jasek Lind Palmu
It’s crowded even if even assumes Gagner will be traded. There’s no assurance that Puljujarvi will get ice time. Further, it’s better to trade with a club with a surfeit of talent that they are under-using, and that doesn’t describe Edmonton. The Leivo trade with Toronto is what to look for.
So let this one slide, and find a club with more good right-shooting defensemen than they can use.
I wouldn’t offer anything substantial for Puljujarvi. Here’s why:
1. At this point, he’s kind of a reclamation project, and the Canucks have several of those: Goldobin, Dahlen, and Leivo.
2. Benning should be able to pick another good forward prospect in June. Maybe someone like Alex Newhook.
3. The Canucks do not have an oversupply of prospects at any one position.
If they took Tanev or Edler for P, I could see it, but not if it means creating weaknesses elsewhere in their prospect pool.