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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Who might the Canucks trade before the deadline?

We are 11 days away from the NHL Trade Deadline and the rumours are fast and furious!

Canucks management has been particularly upfront of what their intentions are and that is to make hockey trades in an effort to not hurt the current team but help them in the future. You may not agree with that direction and think that selling off their remaining assets for futures is the best path but alas we don’t control that.

Let’s take a look at all the players who could be moved in the next 12 days, or have been rumoured to be talked about, and determine what’s the likelihood of them actually packing their bags.

D Alex Edler

The Canucks most valuable pending UFA is almost certainly not going anywhere.

It’s been clear over the last few weeks that the organization hopes to extend the 32-year-old defenceman to a new deal and haven’t really explored the option of moving him ahead of the deadline. Off the top, I mentioned this important part, “you may not agree but we don’t control it” and in respect to Edler, it’s probably more prudent to leverage a 32-year-old top four defenceman for futures but given Edler’s no-trade-clause is a huge limiting factor in this, it’s likely why they are exploring re-signing him.

Things could obviously change but it’s extremely unlikely given the management’s desires, Edlers’ contract, and the defencemen’s current injury that they end up moving him.

Moving: NO

D Erik Gudbranson

Although not a pending free agent, Gudbranson is someone who could be the odd man out.

It’s unlikely but if there is anything that has become clear over the last few weeks is that there have to be changes on the backend. You can’t just insert Quinn Hughes next season and come back with the same rest of the group. Despite his struggles this season, Gudbranson still has value around the league in terms of what he could provide in physicality, something that the Canucks lack otherwise. But it’s not something he does on every night and is a bit of a luxury piece for a team like the Canucks.

The Canucks clearly value him given the price they paid to acquire him and then extending him last year but there is valid reasoning to sell on the asset. Particularly if you want to make changes for the sake of it and maximizing the assets that they have. At the very least, they will get out from the two years left on his deal that the Canucks management signed him to.

Moving: Possible

D Ben Hutton

At the beginning of the season, I would’ve expected Hutton to be the odd man out for the reasons I mentioned above. The defence needs a change and it was believable that the Canucks deemed Hutton to be the moveable asset. Fast forward to now – Hutton has taken noticeable strides and has clearly moved back into more of the solution rather than the problem.

He and Troy Stecher have played well together and have also shown the ability to excel when playing with the other good defencemen in this group.

If there was a package deal presented to the Canucks that saw the organization put Hutton together with another couple of pieces for a tangible upgrade, then he could still be moved but that’s unlikely at the deadline and more of a possible summer move.

Moving: Unlikely

D Derrick Pouliot

If someone is wanting to take on Pouliot right now, I’m sure the Canucks would do that.

Moving: Maybe

D Chris Tanev

Like Edler, the Canucks have been abundantly clear that they don’t plan on trading Tanev.

It’s something that should’ve been done two years ago when his value was the highest and then those acquired assets likely would’ve been part of the current group but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Now, Tanev’s value has dropped on the trade market to the point where the organization feel that they justify not moving him.

Granted, the value that Tanev could provide as a defensive partner to Quinn Hughes is something to keep in mind. But it’s crazy to me that the Canucks have already made it clear publicly that they want to extend him past the conclusion of next season and thus killing any value left on the market.

Moving: No

F Nikolay Goldobin

The curious case of Nikolay Goldobin.

In one hand, Goldobin is an offensive player and the Canucks could use all the offence they can get. On the flip side, it’s clear that they have been trying to get through to Goldobin about his 200 foot play and it’s not quite where they want it. He does a lot of good things and then a bunch of frusterating things.

If the Canucks are looking to move a forward, Goldobin might be the guy that is the odd man out. Jim Benning has been clear about exploring hockey deals and maybe that means that Goldobin is the one moved with another asset for another forward or defencemen. It feels like the conclusion based on everything that has happened around the Russian forward over the past few months.

Moving: Possible

F Brandon Sutter

Another player that the Canucks likely could’ve sold near peak asset value in the recent past but has now seen his value drop to the point that it’s unlikely that he actually gets moved. Add the fact that he is now hurt and it’s setting up for the Canucks to keep Sutter.

With the emergance of Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat at centre, Adam Gaudette on the way, and Jay Beagle, it would seem like Brandon Sutter would be the odd man out but it’s unlikely that actually happens at this point. The fear of injuries will make it defensible to keep Sutter around for the duration of his contract despite his struggles to generate offence and redundancy in terms of defensive play.

Moving: Highly Unlikely

F Markus Granlund

Granlund has seen his role diminish under Travis Green and it’s clear that the coaching staff doesn’t know what to do with him on a regular basis. He can play the wing in a defensive role and centre in a pinch, but it’s not something that seems long term. With Gaudette likely deserving a full time NHL role, Zack MacEwen now up, and other prospects (like Jonathan Dahlen) going to need space sooner than later, do the Canucks be proactive with Granlund and move him now for any pick they can get.

Alternatively, they head into the summer with Granlund as a pending RFA and have his value dimish even further.

Moving: Possible

F Tom Pyatt

Pyatt has been good for the Utica Comets since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators.

A playoff bound team may look at Pyatt as a good depth option for a long run. He is already in the AHL and would be a minor cap hit ($75,000) to keep him there. Then just call him up in the playoffs as a depth forward.

Doubt the asset value is very high but it’s a good opportunity to possibly add the 7th round pick the Canucks had to move to solve their goaltending issue.

Moving: Possible

F Sam Gagner

Sam Gagner has been plying his trade in the AHL as well and has been doing reasonably well for the Toronto Marlies.

If the Canucks retain salary on the remainder of this season and next year, it’s entirely possible that a team would add him for depth this season and next season. It’s clear that the Canucks management has moved on from him, so why not leverage that last ‘retained salary transaction’ available to get something for him. You already have a cap hit of $2,075,000 cap hit next season to bury him in the AHL, so retaining 50% salary would actually free up money for them next season.

Moving: Possible

Possible other moves: Reid Boucher and Tanner Kero


What’s abundantly clear is that this deadline doesn’t appear to be setup to be an active one for the organization.

They have the players that they view as being long term solutions and then the others that they want to help protect the youth. They did sell off two pending free agents in Michael Del Zotto and Anders Nilsson, so they have been proactive in that sense but ultimately there is hope that there would be more.

Just because they are in the ‘playoff race’ doesn’t mean they also can’t have an eye on the future at the same time.

We’ll see how active the Canucks are – if they make bold moves, adjust around the edges of the roster, or nothing at all.

  • Killer Marmot

    A pretty fair assessment. I’m sure offers for Gaunce, Boucher, Biega, and Schaller would also be entertained, and a playoff-bound team that has holes to plug at the bottom of their lineup might be interested.

  • Goon

    I completely forgot Tom Pyatt and Sam Gagner were still Canucks.

    Curious about the possibility of Baertschi moving. The Canucks have a number of up-and-coming wingers who may push Baertschi out of the system, he’s been playing well, and is on a reasonable contract. Any interest from other teams?

    I’ve pretty much resigned myself to Benning doing nothing at the deadline as he has three out of four seasons with the team, but a man can dream.

  • apr

    Year in year out- there are calls for Canucks to trade Edler, Tanev, Sutter – year in year out – those three guys are hurt in TDL. This d core needs to be revamped. Its time to move on Guddy and get whatever you can. Hopefully the fight last night sparked some interest. There is no way that Schenn can play worse than Guddy. I’m sure a team like Nashville can do something with Pouliot – they made Weber into a regular NHL D.

  • Holmes

    I’m not sold on Virtanen. Kid doesn’t seem to know if he is a power forward or finesse player. I understand there’s some player development maxim that it takes power forwards longer to develop, or whatever.

    You hear names like Bertuzzi, Neely to support the idea but trying to think of a current-generation player where that’s still the case.

    I’d explore the market for Virtanen if I am in JB’s shoes.

    • bobdaley44

      They have no stiffness on that team and Jake is one of the only players on the team who provides that. Cant move on with the tools he has especially this team. Does he need to improve his offencive instincts and play reads? Ya sure, but if he can he could be a beast out there. And what do you think you’ll get back in trade when selling low? Tom Wilson. There’s your current player but with better tools.

    • Oh geez, when I think of power forward development for Virtanen, I instantly think of Michael Ferland. But Ferland got some limited AHL action over 3 years before he played an NHL game. Then it took about 3 years in the NHL for him to become the player that he is. Virtanen didn’t get the chance to develop in the AHL (stuck between a bad WHL coach or jumping straight to the NHL, from what I understand) and that really screwed up his development. Ferland only came into his own last year when he was 25 so Virtanen still has a few years to go.

      • Jamie E

        Ferland is a useful example, BUT Ferland ALWAYS showed a willingness to forecheck like a demon and hit everything that moved. It was the offence that came later. The ATTITUDE was always there. Virtanen only occasionally shows up physically, which is a shame because with his speed, he could be a heat seeking missile out there on the forecheck if he chose to.

  • Captain Video

    Tough to get much value at the Trade Deadline with injuries to Edler, Tanev, Sutter and Baertschi. Would love to see Gudbranson traded, but it will probably cost the Canucks a 2nd or 3rd round pick for another team to take on his contract.

    • Jamie E

      Nope, most teams would have no interest in Guddy, but any team that did would see value there. I don’t think he fetches a massive return, but I think he’s good for a 2nd and maybe a 5th if he’s traded for picks or straight up for a B+/A- prospect if Jimmy went that direction.

  • Kootenaydude

    I’ve said this a few times. Goldobin and Virtanen for a RHD or a skilled winger to play with Horvat. I think our veteran players will be moved in the summer.

  • With Chiarelli gone, I’d support a Goldobin-Burakovsky “change of scenery” hockey trade. Burakovsky costs more but he has historically had better stats and fits into the Vancouver-Sweden connection. A 1st line of Burakovsky-Pettersson-Dahlen would be interesting to see in a few years.

      • Puck Viking

        He would waive. He hasnt said he wont. He has a chance at a cup then comes back here in a couple months. Its the biggest no brainer move for benning since he got here. Which is why he will totally blow it thinking that a 34 year old Dman is the key to a cup in vancouver.

        • DogBreath

          He and his agent have been clear that they have no interest in moving. We’d all like him to be traded for 1st round draft pick and then re-sign in the summer, but that’s pure fantasy on our part… it ain’t happening.

  • Steamer

    What would be appreciated is if the ‘writer’ actually worked at his craft, instead of continually submitting sub-par work rife with spelling errors, tortured grammatical constructions, and run-on sentences. The fact that the author has been advised of such deficiencies, yet continues to make the same mistakes over and over suggests someone who takes no pride in his work. Readers deserve better that a ‘Tim Schaller’ approach to writing
    ( ie:’whatever’ doesn’t cut it ). Why remain a 4th line writer when with some work you could be better? All it takes is work,diligence and care.

  • Burnabybob

    Trading has not been Benning’s strong suit. Hansen and Burrows for Goldobin and Dahlen were probably the best trades he has made as GM, and even those have yet to bear fruit. Leipsic was a similar reclaimation project that didn’t work out. None of the key foundational pieces of the rebuild have been added through trades, and there were few big trades even under Mike Gillis. Ehrhoff maybe? In general there seem to be fewer big trades than their used to be in the pre-salary cap era of the NHL.

    • Killer Marmot

      Baertschi
      Granlund
      Leivo
      Motte
      Pouliot
      Brisebois (via a draft pick acquired from Carolina)
      Gaudette (via a draft pick acquired from Carolina)

      Are these “key foundational pieces”? Some might turn to be. The impressive thing is that — with the exception of Baertschi — Benning gave up very little value for the above players.

      Of course Benning has lost some trades too, and others we’re still arguing about. But the point is that Benning has had some success at the trade table.

  • NeverWas

    We are starting to see what the canucks look like with no edler and it’s not pretty. Resign him on a friendly 1 or 2 year contact and then sell him for whatever you can get at the end of the term.

  • Kanuckhotep

    I agree with the point of view made that it’s pretty hard to trade anyone when so many players are injured. The players mentioned have various levels of value but I’m wondering realistically who wants them, and who would the Canucks get for these guys. Personally I never imagine trades that never happen and also I can’t see an impact player coming at the TDL, unless you give up something good and would Benning do this? I’m guessing not.

  • Fred-65

    How about Mazanec ? when Demko retrurns from his injury we’re going to have a surplus in Vcr and a shotage in Utica. I’m thinking if they try to waive Mazanec they may in fact loose him