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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Immodest Proposals: Who To Sell At The Deadline, And How

Last week on CanucksArmy, the intrepid Ryan Biech highlighted all the potential players that the Vancouver Canucks might “sell” at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. Now, the Immodest Proposals crew is here to bang in the rebound by suggesting some possible destinations and returns for those assets—and by creating some voteable proposals for fans to consider.

With the Canucks certain to be in contention for a wildcard spot when February 25 rolls around, we acknowledge that it’s conceivable that GM Jim Benning won’t sell anyone at all—but with the overall lack of teams in selling mode this year, some enticing offers could still compel him to move some players.

The Concept

In past editions of Immodest Proposals, we’ve taken a look at more general concepts—like taking on cap dumps or acquiring reclamation projects. Things are a bit different this time around, as we’re trying to suggest deals for a multitude of players to a multitude of destinations.

It should be noted that these proposals are not necessarily meant to be predictions—though we reserve the right to brag if any of them do end up coming to pass. Instead, think of them as “ballpark” estimates that are meant to highlight the kind of return the Canucks could expect to receive if they dealt each player at the deadline.

Essentially, we’re picking a trading partner that seems like a fit for each player on the block, and we’re using that team’s assets to put together a package that seems like a fair deal. In doing so, we’re demonstrating what we think a likely return for each player might be.

Of course, in each scenario we’re still looking for the same sorts of assets that all rebuilding teams desire—draft picks and prospects. In particular, the Canucks should be looking to trade:

Sellable Deadline Assets For 2019 Draft Picks And Quality Prospects

The Rationale 

Ryan Biech did an admirable job of breaking down the potential reasons for dealing each player on the list, so we don’t need to spend too much time on it here. Instead, we’ll focus more on why each sellable asset would benefit the organizations we’re trading with on each individual proposal.

It should be noted that we won’t be including Alex Edler or Sven Baertschi on this list as both are unlikely to return from their concussion-related absences before the February 25 Trade Deadline. We’ll also have to replace Sam Gagner with Ryan Spooner for obvious reasons.

The Proposals

To Florida:

Erik Gudbranson

To Vancouver:

2019 2nd Round Pick (Pittsburgh)

2019 3rd Round Pick (Edmonton)

The Panthers’ interest in bringing back Gudbranson has been long-rumoured, but it’s hard to imagine even Dave Tallon giving up anything of significant value in return. The Canucks almost certainly can’t expect to bring back equal assets to what they dealt for Gudbranson in the first place, but Florida offers their best chance to recoup as much as possible—at the very least, getting that 2nd round pick back would be nice.


To Montreal:

Ben Hutton

To Vancouver:

Cale Fleury

2019 2nd Round Pick

The Canucks really don’t need to trade Hutton anytime soon, so any team wanting to acquire him will have to overpay. There are a number of organizations that could definitely use his services on the blueline, but his name has been attached to Montreal in the past—and they are in the midst of a surprising run to the playoffs. The right side of their defense is strong but their left is not, so the Habs could look to cash in a defensive prospect for an immediate upgrade. They’ll also need to throw in an extra to convince a competitive Canucks to go without Hutton for the rest of the year.


To Columbus:

Derrick Pouliot

To Vancouver:

Paul Bittner

As Ryan Biech noted, the Canucks should be open to trading Pouliot for any sort of asset at this point. Defensive depth is always in vogue in the deadline, and Columbus looks like a playoff-bound team with an organizational need for it. While a late draft pick is the most likely return for a player of his ilk, it’s more fun to swap him out for a longshot prospect like Bittner.


To New York Islanders:

Chris Tanev

To Vancouver:

2019 1st Round Pick

Kieffer Bellows

Jim Benning has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t plan on trading Tanev—and it’s become even less likely with the Canucks hovering around a playoff spot at the deadline and Tanev injured once again. One has to imagine that a team would have to truly blow Benning’s socks off with an offer to acquire Tanev’s services for the playoffs—and the additional season he’s signed for—but that’s not entirely infeasible. An offer that included a 1st round pick and a top prospect in an area of need just might do it.


To Dallas:

Nikolay Goldobin

To Vancouver:

Julius Honka

2019 3rd Round Pick

The fanbase remains split on Goldobin, but it’s continued to be apparent that coach Travis Green isn’t his biggest fan. If Ryan Spooner earns himself a permanent spot in the lineup, it’s quite possible the team looks to move Goldobin in a “hockey deal” for another talented young player with holes in his game. Dallas needs offense and Julius Honka is definitely on the market—though one would hope Goldobin’s statline this season justifies an extra throw-in.

To Carolina:

Brandon Sutter @ 25% Retention

To Vancouver:

2019 2nd Round Pick (Buffalo)
2019 2nd Round Pick

Sutter is unlikely to move until the offseason at the earliest, and his current injury makes such a deal even more implausible. That being said, center depth is always on the leaguewide wishlist and a number of teams could be interested in his services—especially if they came at a reduced cap hit. The team that drafted Sutter—and where he enjoyed his greatest success—is one such team, and Carolina has the kind of well-stocked prospect cupboard to justify moving multiple draft picks to acquire him.


To Pittsburgh:

Markus Granlund

To Vancouver:

2019 4th Round Pick (Buffalo)

2019 7th Round Pick (Vegas)

Granlund is probably the Canuck most likely to move at the 2019 Trade Deadline. He’s recently lost his consistent spot in the lineup after a so-so season thus far, and he’s also an restricted free agent at the end of the year with a large qualifying offer and might as well be a UFA. As a versatile player who can play each of the forward positions, Granlund is a prototypical playoff depth rental—the kind that competing teams trade mid-range draft picks for each deadline.

 

To Buffalo:

Ryan Spooner @ 33% Further Retention

To Vancouver:

2019 3rd Round Pick

Jack Dougherty

If Spooner finds any degree of success during his week in Vancouver before the deadline—and the Canucks are certainly putting him in a position to do so—there’s a chance that yet another organization rolls the dice on him. Spooner was just dealt for a negative asset in Sam Gagner, but if Vancouver retains some of his contract—bringing his cap hit down to the maximally retained $2 million—it could increase his value enough to return a mid-range draft pick and a longshot prospect.


To San Jose:

Tom Pyatt

To Vancouver:

2019 7th Round Pick

Every year, some no-name depth players are dealt at the deadline for miniscule returns. Tom Pyatt could be one of those players in 2019. Or he could not. Tune in to next week’s Immodest Proposals for our 2,000-word treatise on the subject.

 

 

    • You would be crazy to take just anything for Sutter. He’s had a rough season, but he’s a talented and valuable player. His performance last season was exceptional.

        • Last season, Brandon Sutter took more defensive-zone faceoffs than almost anyone in hockey, and was regularly matched up against the best lines in the NHL.

          He finished the season with a plus/minus of +8.

          Let’s see you statistics, “Wow”.

          • Sutter’s underlying numbers for last year and this year are virtually identical. The only thing that’s changed is he’s gone from an insanely lucky career-best 94% on-ice save percentage to a career-worst 89.5% on-ice save percentage.

            I know you think that Sutter does something to elevate on-ice shooting percentage, but even you have to agree that last year was an outlier (as is this year, in the other direction).

          • even you have to agree that last year was an outlier (as is this year, in the other direction).

            Sutter’s on-ice even-strength save percentages through his career is 93.1%. Thus 94.1% is better than average but not an an outlier. In fact, he had the same number in 2010-2011. 89.5%, on the other hand, is by far the worse of his career.

          • Going from 93-94 is a big jump. It’s even bigger when you consider his average over his four years with the Canucks (including that outlier season) is around .92. Both are outliers.

            This is not to take away Sutter. He’s a fine defensive centre. But he’s by no means extraordinary, and he is absolutely expendable when the Canucks have a similar defensive centre in Beagle, and a superior offensive centre in Gaudette, both pushing for that spot.

          • Going from 93-94 is a big jump.

            Over a career, yes. But over the space of a season it’s four or five goals, easily credited to puck luck.

          • P.S. I didn’t use the word “extraordinary”. I said “talented and valuable”. Don’t put words in my mouth.

  • Enjoy the process Stephan; but looking for more low level prospects is not in the Canucks interests. They have enough of those from the draft. We can only carry 50 contracts and need them for any potential free agents out of college, etc. much more interested in trading for draft picks or higher end prospects. Cheers

      • From my perspective: top ten doesn’t say much. The Canucks top 10 are considered decent compared to the rest of the league. Outside of the top two or three, what are the chances of these players being impact players in the NHL? Same for the other teams in the league. When i look at the top 10 on other teams (usually hockey news or something like) I barely recognize anyone after the first couple of names. And don’t need to..they’re never going to
        play in the big leagues. I think Harman’s article in the Athletic today points to the direction the Canucks need to go. Rather have draft picks 🙂 Thanks for the good work Stephan

  • There’s some deals there the Canucks would be crazy to turn down. Of course for another GM to make them he would also have to be crazy. Honka and a pick for Goldobin, where do I sign. If Benning brings back Keiffer Bellows in a Tanev trade he should be fired on the spot. Retaining salary on any return other than a good player or high pick doesn’t make sense unless there is a strategy to package those picks in another deal for a player they really need. Cale Fleury and a pick for Hutton only makes sense if you don’t think you can re-sign him. A pick or 2 for Granlund would be good and anything with potential for Poulliot is a decent gamble.

    This is an interesting series but it just seems to be too random. The Canucks are far enough along in their rebuild their transactions need to target filling the remaining gaps.

        • Not necessarily – that assumes another team wants to pay him minimum $1.5 million per season. That’s far from a given. If they want to move him, it makes more sense to move him at the deadline so his new team can get some play out of him and decide for themselves if he’s re-signing.

          • Using Capfriendly’s comparable tool, I cranked up Granlund’s sliders nearly all the way to the right and saw that there have been a few recent signings (e.g. Jaskin, Armia, Noesen) except generally Granlund’s point production was slightly higher and his AAV was slightly lower.

            Given how difficult it is to put together even a fourth line in today’s NHL, I see Granlund would get snapped up for his current AAV + 10% qualifier as a bottom-6 depth player. He’s not the scoring fiend one had hoped he would be after scoring with the Sedins but he’s a fairly capable all-round player: C/W, can chip in goals, can be defensively responsible, and is relatively inexpensive.

  • Guys that I feel could get moved for futures this year include:

    Granlund
    Biega
    Leivo
    Palmu

    I think most of the rest of the team would either be untouchable or would be hockey trade worthy (aka player for player).

      • Two 19 year olds joined the Comets this year and started by getting buried in the press box. They slowly have made they way into the line up and seen their opportunities and scoring rates increase as well.

        The same thing happened with 21 yo Palmu, but instead of sticking with it, he went back to Finland. More importantly he then trashed the coaching staff on live radio…teams tend to hate that. I have to imagine if another team came calling on the Liiga rookie of the year in the 1st year of an ELC, they’d deal him if the price was worth it.

    • Literally the only guy on that list that I think *may* get moved is Granlund. Even then, I don’t think Benning will do it (for whatever reason.)

      Biega is a perfect 7th/8th d-man. Don’t see any reason to let him go unless it’s a lopsided (lol) offer.

      Leivo has been great since coming over, would much rather keep him around.

      Palmu – why give up on the kid so early? Also, he’s probably way undervalued at this point so I don’t think this would make any sense.

      • Biega: I think they’d move him simply b/c of their other depth. I believe (its only a guess) that at some point, Chatfield or Brisebois will have to make the team. Neither are better than anyone of the current roster….except Biega.

        Leivo: same thing. He’s 25, cost controlled, and having a good season, but at some point they’ll have to make room for other guys and are already log jammed if everyone is more or less healthy.

  • It’s no secret Dale Tallon appreciates Gudbranson and for everyone’s sake would like to see #44 back with his original team. But I don’t think it’s happening at the TDL but maybe in the summer if Benning signs a good FA to replace Gudbranson. If someone can take his place then get anything you can for him, preferably a pick.

  • Even Dale Tallon isn’t a big enough idiot to do anything but buy low on Guddy with the tire fire of a season he is having. You are NOT getting two good draft picks for him. Not without taking a bad contract back.

      • I don’t understand thinking Gudbranson is having arguably his best season as a Canuck. He’s been healthier so played more games and has more points-but it is still only 8 points on the season.

        Meanwhile he’s got the worst +/- of his career at -25, the worst CF% of his career, the worst CF%Rel of his career and while there were early season reports about his play having improved, those reports are long gone. Reports of his play for the past couple of months have been negative.

        You may be right about his value. My expectation is that the value that was rumoured last summer has deteriorated and he would get less than what some Canucks fans expect.

        Sutter’s value is an interesting question. There were rumours of interest last summer and it was thought he could have brought something of value if the Canucks traded him then, though it wouldn’t be expected that Benning would trade him then as he’d just finished a strong 2017-18 season (as a shutdown center) for the Canucks and had a full no trade clause in his contract.

        This season has been different. He’s had an injury-plagued terrible season. It’s described somewhat in a Hockey Writers article at https://thehockeywriters.com/vancouver-canucks-sutter-should-be-traded/

        With his having come off a strong defensive season last summer and having had a really poor season since then, his value has to have dropped. The question is how much.

        There will be a variety of opinions about the likelihood of Sutter’s play returning to pre-2018-19 levels. Everyone will expect some bounce back because he’s been injury plagued this season. Some may expect him to almost completely bounce back, some won’t. I have a tough time guessing what is value would be. Two second round picks seems high to me, but maybe some GM would count on a bounceback and pay it.

        He’s a good candidate for Benning to try to move as there’s a good chance he’d be fighting for a job next season anyway with Pettersson, Horvat, Beagle and Gaudette able to handle the regular center duties.

      • Gudbranson is bottom-10 in the NHL in literally every relevant metric, including shots against, shot-attempts against, goals against, and high-danger scoring chances against among defencemen who have played at least 500 minutes, and every single Canuck with the weird lone exception of Sven Baertschi has been worse with Gudbranson on the ice.

        Gudbranson has never been good as a Canuck, but outside of two weeks of passable play in November, this season has been his *worst*, not his best.

  • Hutton is a no go until Hughes and Joulevi prove they are NHL talents.

    If Fleury is a target and they have lots of RHD and we have some LHD why not a Sautner or Brisebois for Fleury?

  • As much as I would love to imagine these kinds of trades (and I think you’ve got some intriguing ideas in here) I think in general you are overvaluing (by at least one round and one tier of prospect) the value of our players, especially guys like Granlund and Spooner and walking disasters like Gudbranson.

      • It is a sellers market if you have something to sell. The Canucks really don’t have anything to sell other than Markstrom. He would be the one piece that could get something. After signing Leighton, I could see this move. Others on the block are probably in no order Kero and Reid in the small pony show. In the big show it would be Bart, Granlund and Motte. I really don’t see them moving any defensemen.
        c

      • The tough thing is to figure out who is really in playoff contention and for who it is a mirage. With other teams now leapfrogging us with games in hand and the injury bug debilitating our defense again, it is hard to see that we will really make the playoffs. For who else is this a mirage of either recent good play or the effects of the turtle derby? Colorado and Dallas are one-line teams, Winnipeg, Nashville, STL, Calgary and SJ are too good to bother with our nonsense. I think the only teams who are going to fool themselves into thinking they are better than they really are (or should buy in order to strengthen themselves) are Chicago and Anaheim and possibly Vegas which is stuck in no-man’s land. Out East maybe Toronto or Columbus makes a move but I just don’t see our bottom players good enough to garner much interest and all of our top players are young and you don’t want to get rid of. Sutter and Gudbranson if you could get rid of I don’t think you’d see an appreciable drop off in our play but I also don’t think you’d get nearly as much as you’d like.

  • Overloading with picks means teams to make early judgements and this is where mistakes are made unless they are used as currency to pick up players further along in development.
    Trying to integrate too many players at once retards all their development.
    Or you have to cut players like a Lind if he doesn’t pan out quickly.
    Benning wants to make hockey trades, that means roster players traded for roster players or prospects. Sure there might be a pick or two but Benning doesn’t seem to want too many. If they ended up with a few extra, expect them to be packaged in a trade for a warm body or two .

  • One philosophy in trading is to preserve what is working and change what isn’t. The Hutton-Stecher pairing seems to work, and could be a defensive foundation for the Canucks for many years. Thus there is considerable risk in trading Hutton, even though the Canucks are short of right-shooting talent.

  • Overly optimistic on the potential returns and whether the Canucks players will be healthy enough to garner any interest. Hutton and Stetcher are the Club’s only young and NHL-proven defencemen, so they are off limits in my mind for the next couple of seasons until the rest of the defence can be replaced and blueline depth built up in Utica.