Canucks “very active” in trade talks, looking for defencemen

This summer will be big for the Vancouver Canucks. Signing a young restricted free agent to a very important contract and utilizing their cap space well, will go a far way to hypothetical future success, but the team is reportedly looking to add on the back end via a trade.

According to Rick Dhaliwal, Jim Benning and his management team have been making calls all across the league and the general feeling is that they are looking for a defenceman.

As of right now, there are multiple rumours of several defencemen being on the market as teams look to shuffle their players around to prepare for the new season. The Canucks have already been reported to be in on Leafs defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, who requested a trade from Toronto earlier this month.

Another player that has been rumoured is Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere. The 26-year-old has four years remaining on his six-year deal, coming in at a cap hit of $4.5-million — a well-deserving number for a player that has arguably been one of the best young defencemen in the entire league.

Gostisbehere has a career 0.63 points per game and has been an excellent power play contributor for a mediocre Flyers team. At even-strength, he has been significant better at controlling shot attempts for the last three years — averaging a  3.87 CF%rel.

Benning looking to improve the defence makes sense. There is flexibility there as no current defenceman for the Canucks is signed past next season, giving management tons of options in trades or free agent signings. There will of course be upcoming contracts to think of — Boeser, Pettersson and eventually Hughes — but barring complete disaster, this team has room to add a significant player on a significant contract.

They have over $31-million in space to play with and only Boeser’s new contract to think about.

With the hometown draft coming up, that might change the mindset as to when this hypothetical trade will happen. There will most likely be important transactions next weekend.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    “Another player that has been rumoured is Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere. The 26-year-old has four years remaining on his six-year deal, coming in at a cap hit of $4.5-million — a well-deserving number for a player that has arguably been one of the best young defencemen in the entire league.” Uh… so why on earth would the Flyers want to trade him, and what could the Canucks possibly offer? Lazy journalism to speculate without explanation. Maybe they’re all in on McDavid as well?

  • speering major

    Goose would be a great addition but I don’t know what the Canucks can offer in return. Do they like Sutter? Hutton? I don’t even know where they would begin since Benning shouldn’t be shipping out his early picks

    I actually think Benning could make a good deal with the leafs. Zaitsev, Marleau, and Kapanen for Tanev. The leafs would be freeing up 10+ million in cap space next season and clearing Zaitsev off the books for the future. They would be getting an upgrade in the playoffs if Tanev is healthy and they are in win-now mode. The free cap space could be used to land a premium winger like Panerin. The leafs would be a much better team subtracting those 3 players and adding Panerin + Tanev.

    The Canucks could use Zaitsev as a steady depth D. Marleau will be off the books at the end of the season and could possibly be shipped at the deadline for a pick. His cap hit is much higher than his salary due. The key piece here is Kapanen who skates very well, can score 20 goals, kills penalties, and isn’t even in his prime yet. Both teams get better, that’s how trades come together

    I think the Zaitsev contract is of neutral value on the market. If anything, teams might give up a tiny bit of value to acquire him. Marleau is negative value. Kapanen has value but the leafs are very stretched to be able to sign him. Tanev has declining value but his contract actually fits the leafs situation very well. The leafs have 2 first round draft picks at RHD knocking on the door for a NHL job. Tanev could be a nice bridge for them. Maybe the Canucks would have to throw in something more than Tanev to get the deal done but those could be the core pieces of a deal imo

    • Goon

      This is a reasonable proposal. The only rub here is that I think the Leafs may be trying to get an asset back for Zaitsev. Kapanen and Marleau for Tanev might work by itself, freeing up about $3 million in cap space for the Leafs and giving them a reliable second-pairing RHD for one more season until Liljegren is ready for the NHL, which they desperately need. Canucks can run out Marleau’s contract, or retain some salary and send him back to the Sharks at the deadline for a 5th-round pick or something, and they get a guy who can play with Petersson on the first line.

      • speering major

        Marleau’s cap hit is over 6 million. Kapanen is at risk to receive an offer sheet for around 4 million. Tanev and Zaitsev are a wash + the leafs have that contract off the books and flexibility moving forward.

        The proposed deal free’s up over 10 million in cap space for the leafs next season and with Kapanen and Zaitsev having/deserving longer term deals while Tanev expires, It free’s up about 8.5 million per season in the years after.

        That clears the way for the Leafs to add a premium winger. They are in win-now mode. You don’t sign Tavares at that age and to that deal to be patient. This fits the Leafs short term goals, gives them flexibility on D, and it suits their prospect pool

  • Kanuckhotep

    Pay no mind to the absurd notion PHI would part with D building block Shayne Gostisbehere. The fact Benning has not signed Luke Schenn or Alex Edler speaks volumes in his intent to change personnel on the back end. Whether it is Zaitsev, Gardiner, Myers or someone else not speculated about by media and fans alike the blue line is definitely going to look different for the 19-20 season partly because the Canucks have ample cap coin to play with. Just be smart with your spending, GMJB.

  • speering major

    What is up with this article? They posted it and then immediately buried it. Was that intentional or a blunder?

    There’s no comments because it’s buried, right? I see 50+ comments on a dead horse topic like Kessler featured on the front page

  • Burnabybob

    Barring Pat Quinn-like wizardry, it’s hard to see the Canucks improving through trade at this point. They don’t have an excess of talent in any area of their roster, and they don’t have any veterans on expiring contracts. Improvement will have to come from the draft, players making the jump from Utica, and free agency.