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Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks / Twitter

What is Chris Tanev’s trade value now?

In an offseason that can shape the future of the franchise, the Vancouver Canucks might be moving on from some key members of their team’s recent history.

The time to move on from defenceman Chris Tanev has already passed, but he was kept by the team to at least appear to some people that they are going for it each and every season. Because when you can keep a roster together that has given you nothing but failure for the past couple of seasons, it is the smart choice to keep them exactly the way they were.

He once was held in high-regard across the league as a perfect shutdown blue liner for the modern era of the NHL. But as of late, his injuries have grown too severe and any offensive production that was there has now nosedived into a massive blackhole called aging.

Tanev will be turning 30-years-old in the middle of next season and is currently only under contract for that season with a $4.45-million cap hit. There are certainly less attractive contracts attached to worse players around the league, but it would be hard to see Tanev go without the Canucks retaining at least a solid portion of that cap hit.

As of now, the Canucks only have Roberto Luongo’s retained salary in a trade. A team is allowed a maximum of three retained salary transactions carrying over through the years, so they do have the option to withhold some of that cap in exchange for a better asset coming their way.

Profiled as an elite defender earlier in his career, Tanev’s performance has seen a sharp decline in the past three years. Previously averaging an on-ice 52.78 CF% at 5v5 in the first five years of his career, that number has sharply declined to 46.45 CF% at 5v5.

While his average time-on-ice has stayed steady with the Canucks around the 20-minute mark, he has seen his points fluctuate throughout the years. But in the games he did play last year, his primary assist rate number (0.4 A1/60) at even-strength is the highest of his career. Overall, with a 0.67 P/60 at 5v5, it was a respectable number and the fourth-highest rate of his nine-year career.

But that is about the only thing that has been a positive as of late for Tanev. He has kept his defensive reliability, but with a massive sacrifice to providing reasonable offensive production for his team. His goals above replacement per hour has never been lower in his career than last season — his overall contribution to the Canucks while on the ice has not been worse.

via evolving-hockey.com

This highlights that they have held on to the player for much too long for a trade to really be worth it at this point. The hypothetical package that they would have gotten for Tanev a couple of seasons ago could have set up this franchise for more future success than they already are heading towards.

Nevertheless, the Canucks are where they are currently and might look to move on from the player and get something back, other than having him walk for nothing.

Even though a player’s value historically rises at the trade deadline, there are some similar comparable trades for a one year of a defenceman that happened at this year’s deadline.

A similar defence-first player that was available in February was Nick Jensen. He ended up heading to the Washington Capitals from the Detroit Red Wings for failed prospect Madison Bowey, a 2019 fifth-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick.

He was arguably the best blue liner on the market and the Red Wings got a decent package of picks and a middling prospect that can be sold as a bounce back prospect project. If the Canucks decide to sell Tanev this offseason, it would not be surprising if they were able to get a familiar package.

Tanev has a much higher reputation through his career, so there is always a team wanting to acquire players on past performances, but mixing in the contract and injury problems, it would appear balanced.

On the lower end of probabilities but in desperation might happen, Adam McQuaid was acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the New York Rangers for defenceman Julius Bergman, a 2019 fifth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick. McQuaid has never been a good defenceman in the NHL, but he was somehow able to be traded for a couple of picks and a 23-year-old that will be playing in Sweden next season.

One other example of a possible comparable trade that happened last deadline is the Ben Lovejoy trade. He was sent from the New Jersey Devils to the Dallas Stars for Connor Carrick and a 2019 third-round pick.

Not the sexiest trade in the world, but Carrick is a solid young defenceman that can at least play in this league, and a third-round pick is exactly what it is.

These are all on the lower-end for potential value coming to Vancouver, but establishing an expectation on what Tanev is worth is difficult not knowing what current GMs truly think of the player.

Past performance does play a big role in some trades — no general manager trying to win should have acquired players like McQuaid or Lovejoy — so a solid package coming in for Tanev is viable, only if the focus continues to be on the future potential of the assets coming in.

Benning has shown at least a couple examples of selling players for picks and prospects, but getting the highest value for future assets might be limited. No team would realistically pay a first-round pick for Tanev, nor should they, but there are some GMs that are feeling desperate on the right-side of their defence.

Whether they trade Tanev or not, the prime opportunity has been missed and they will be getting pennies on the dollar for what they could have gotten a couple seasons ago. As long as the hypothetical prospects have some potential and the picks are at their maximum value, any package would be worth a declining defenceman that is on his way out.

See also: Trading Chris Tanev for a younger right-handed defenceman 

  • The Canucks said they would de-emphasize shot blocking next season so I’m wondering if Tanev and the rest of the D corp will be more healthy. It helps to have reliable goaltending, you can trust your goaltender to make the save and not constantly give up soft goals.

    • DogBreath

      That in itself might be an upgrade to the D. Edler and tanev’s biggest liability’s are their health. Improving that won’t be enough but is a step in the right direction.

  • Jabs

    Based on the stats provided, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that the Canucks have held onto a 30 year old RHD for too long.

    The anomaly was last year so wouldn’t it also be fair to assume that he is primed for a bounce back and likely has a few more years left in the tank?

    • Doodly Doot

      Speculation on my part, but I think Tanev would absolutely test the UFA waters next year. Play him until xmas and move him at the deadline. OR, get super creative and pro-active and trade him before the season starts for ‘plausible’ max value. Whatever the market says that is.

  • North Van Halen

    Considering the current right side depth chart and the fact Tanev’s value has never been lower than this very moment, trading him seems unlikely. Aquillini or Benning or whoever charts the course for this franchise (likely FA) has never been interested in weakening the team to add picks or prospects, I can’t envision a trade that make us better short term. Couple that with their stated desire to compete for the playoffs and the earliest your likely to see a trade or Tanev is the trade deadline, if they’re faltering.
    If the past is any indication, Benning would be more inclined to hold him and, if they’re in the hunt at the deadline, try to extend him or let him walk. Personally, I’d prefer he hopefully rebounds somewhat and they sell him for younger assets but I doubt that happens unless the team is well out of contention.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      I agree that he’s worth more here than he would be in trade, at least until the deadline. But its too bad, considering he probably would have brought a 1st round pick 2 years ago.

    • Erik Lonnrot

      I agree that selling low is rarely a good move. Unless they’re going to get something with some real value back, they’re probably better off holding on to him for now and hoping he improves next season and can be flipped at the deadline.

      • Defenceman Factory

        I’m sorry but I have to disagree. Selling low is always the right move if the asset is expected to keep shedding value. Tanev’s perceived value, based on his past performance, around the league is likely greater than his actual value and almost certainly greater than his future value. He should be moved now. Don’t wait for the deadline as he seems to be injured every deadline and can’t be moved.

        Personally I think Tanev is still a very good defenceman and still well regarded around the league. I expect he will have a better year next year but I don’t think his trade value will ever recover much. Keeping him another year may make the Canucks marginally better next year at the expense of acquiring another player who will be part of the future. If the Canucks end up in a playoff hunt there is no chance he would be moved. Without making moves to acquire more picks and young prospects the Canucks trajectory is to peak at a second round exit from the playoffs. They need to aim higher.

  • Rodeobill

    The question is will he bounce back or continue to break down? From an armchair GM standpoint, I would talk with trainers/ rehab and make a call from that, if we move him, just fill in with someone on their offside until a better solution comes along. In reality, I think they wont move him until maybe the TDL or maybe even resign him because we are so thin on RHD and they seem to have a track record of holing on to players until their value is gone.
    I honestly like Tanev, though, and think if perhaps he wasn’t asked to do so much on a deeper team he would probably bounce back a bit. Could be a steal by a team like that, not a bad gamble.

  • speering major

    I’ve been saying this for a couple years now but the Canucks need to load up on higher end picks ASAP. Impact players vs an army of longer term projects.

    I would move Tanev and look to sign a player like McQuaid short term. If the Canucks can get a 2nd and a 4th for Tanev then they should do that. Then package their own 2nd round pick with another second to move up in to the middle of the 1st round. Broberg + Boldy would be a huge win for the organization. I would try the same thing with moving Sutter but I’m afraid his injury issues have completely tanked his value

    Holding Tanev or resigning him does absolutely zero for the future of the org and he’ll be irrelevant by the time they’re competitive. Accumulating mid round picks and an army of prospects is great but the Canucks need guys that can compete for a roster spot ASAP. Players drafted in the 20-30 range compete for a roster spot in their D+2 season more often than not. Mid round prospects take 4-6 years to develop. I don’t think the Canucks should be that patient.

    Also there’s “bad contracts” to consider. A handful of teams need to relieve themselves of some short term contracts. This means they will entertain moving down in the draft to make that happen. Benning needs to get creative but I’m not sure this suits his style

  • IBT

    Unfortunately I am not optimistic that the deal makers will get anything done. Interesting to see Hamhuis, apparently without value and walked away for nothing, still played 57 games for the Predators this year. I expect nothing different in the case of Tanev. “I would rather take nothing than a low offer that makes me look weak” was the apparent reasoning. All it did was make Benning look incompetant.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s still speculation that Tanev would have reaped the kind of bounty that we hear about all the time — if only they’d moved him earlier we would’ve had Liljegren or a boatload of 1st and 2nd picks or whatever. Fanbases always hugely overestimate the value of their own players. I am sure that Tanev could have gotten something. I’m not really sure it would’ve made a huge difference right now. Regardless, the bigger question should be what is the value of a Tanev today. If you are integrating two young defensemen into the lineup in Hughes and (hopefully) Juolevi next year, I think you have to look at the plus of having a steady defenseman in Tanev and/or Edler in the lineup over the potential of a pick. Crying over lost futures/potential is pointless. What is the value of a Tanev on a rebuilding team, not one that’s being torn down or one that should have been at an earlier point?

    • Dirk22

      “I’m not really sure it would’ve made a huge difference right now” – PB.

      This is really something, PB. If there was ever a vague apologist like comment to defend Benning’s lack of vision this is the gold standard.

      • Bud Poile

        After all these years following Benning’s Bruins cup win you would think the Gillis apologists would have grown in humility.
        There were no NHL calibre RHD’s in the Gillis system.None.The system was empty.Hellllloooooo.

          • Bud Poile

            Bieksa,Hamhuis,Tanev and Biega weren’t prospects but were in the system.
            Here’s the list of RHD’s or LHD’s that can play RHD since Benning arrived.There must be some guys I have missed as the Benning regime has gone through close to 40 RHD’s:

            RHD trades:
            Luke Schenn
            Philip Larsen
            Erik Gudbranson
            Derrik Pouliot (can play either side)
            Adam Clendening (listed as a RHD on Comet’s website)

            RHD free agents:
            Mitch Eliot
            Brogan Rafferty
            Troy Stetcher
            Jaime Sifers
            Jalen Chatfield
            Dylan Blujus
            Jesse Graham
            Jake Linhart
            Colton Saucerman
            Travis Hamonic
            Joe Faust
            Frankie Simonelli
            Yannick Weber
            Taylor Fedun
            Bob Sanguinetti

            RHD draft picks:
            Quinn Hughes (can play either side)
            Jett Woo
            Matt Brassard
            Carl Neill
            Tryamkin (can play either side)

            I hear MacEneny will walk this summer.
            Other RHD’s that Benning has moved on from that were in the system:
            Bieksa
            Hamhuis
            Corrado
            Mullen
            Blain
            Shields
            Wrenn
            Subban
            Nilsson
            Baker

      • TheRealPB

        Let’s say Benning actually did sell high on Tanev in 16, 17 or 18 — at some point in those three seasons when he wasn’t actually injured (arguably 16 since he missed nearly half of each of the other two seasons and his stats weren’t nearly as good). What would we be looking at right now? The possibility of a decent prospect and/or picks. So my question remains whether or not it would benefit the Canucks more now to have more prospects or a reliable defender at this particular point in the rebuild?

        Having watched the tire fire that is the Canucks d when Edler and Tanev are out of the lineup the last couple of years the answer to me is clear. And a large part of the tire fire is Benning’s inability to evaluate the pro defenders as evidenced by Gudbranson, MDZ, Bartkowski, etc and others he’s acquired like Pouliot and Clendening not panning out. But by all means, attack me for being a Benning apologist. Always easier to do that than to actually answer the question.

        • james

          Edler and Tanev were many times split up to play with this cast of players ,to help turn the other players around ,leading to harder minutes, hurting stats .It gave more opportunity to get hurt playing more time in there end of the ice instead other parts of the ice less likely getting hit by a puck or creamed into the boards.

      • It’s ironic you accuse TheRealPB of being vague when I had to ask you 3 times what you would do in the offseason because your initial answers were vague fluff. And then you just spat out a “whatever” answer without any explanation or justification for your choices. How about demonstrating leadership and respond without being vague yourself?

  • Kanuckhotep

    Travis Green said it best. Until someone can take his job Chris Tanev will still be a Vancouver Canuck. I’m not a big fan of trading known, reliable entities for maybe/potential futures. QH is a slam dunk to play next season and we have guys like Juolevi, Rafferty, Teves and Chatfield already waiting in the wings with Jett Woo a couple of years away. Do we need more of the same if we don’t know if they can actually stick in the NHL? Too bad Tani and Eddie have been injured so much because together they are a very go-to D pair. Can’t see #8 going anywhere else soon unless some of these kids appreciably step up.

    • DogBreath

      When Edler and Tanev were playing, the D began to approach respectable. When they were out, it was a tire fire. Because they are injury prone, one of them has to move on to stabilize the D. I’d swallow a slight overpay of Edler to navigate expansion. It wouldn’t completely surprise me if some combination of Tanev, Hutton, Virtanen and picks are moved to solve the #1/2 RHD. Outside of Stetcher, all other RHD have serious question marks, with most current options filling next years #3RHD (at best).

      • canuckfan

        Tanev still has a lot of years left his injuries mainly have been from being hit by a puck no sense trading away players who can contribute for a lottery pick a trade that would make more sense as you would be going for a player that has proven themselves or has shown their abilities in the NHL

        • Captain Video

          I disagree. Tanev’s contributions the last two years have been modest. Instead, of a rapidly declining asset, the Club could have significantly accelerated the rebuild by trading Tanev a couple of years ago (and maybe tanked a little too). A cautionary tale of the dangers of holding onto a non-core player for too long.

  • Hockey Bunker

    I read many shirts writers from other Canadian cities and Tanev’s name appears pretty regularly, not as a must get but a serviceable option. These guys don’t make the trades but it indicates Tanev has some perceived value. Will be interesting to watch.

    • Cageyvet

      This is no surprise, the suggestion that he could only be moved by retaining a big chunk of his salary is ludicrous. So many of the team’s fans are prone to vastly overvaluing and undervaluing players, according to how much they like or dislike them on the Canucks. There are only so many players who can stick in this league, and there will always be a market for those who have proven ability, especially with obvious mitigating factors like injuries and playing for a subpar team.

      I don’t know what Tanev would bring back in a trade, but we wouldn’t be begging someone to take him off our hands.

  • BBoone

    there was an interesting take by Alex Auld last year . A goalie analytics firm headed by a former Ranger goalie saying that there research shows that NHL goalies who can see the puck from the initial shot rarely allow a goal. Ergo, do not block shots, simply clear the line of site . there is no reason for Tanev or anyone else to continually get hurt blocking shots.