10 more potential top-six forward trade deadline additions for the Canucks in a post-Lindholm, post-Kessel world

Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
 Last time around, we began our examination of GM Patrik Allvin and the Vancouver Canucks’ options when it came to tinkering with the top-six in the wake of the arrival of both Elias Lindholm and Phil Kessel. We looked at the “stand pat” option, and a series of buy-low-ish candidates that might just be sneaky-good additions.
Well, today, we’re done with the tinkering. These are all the “big gun” options we could find left reasonable on the table. To land any of these folks, the Canucks are going to have to bust out the retention and pay up in some way, but almost all of them could constitute an upgrade in the top-six and to the Canucks’ chances of making a run in the playoffs.
The Major Addition Option
Of course, one can never really count the Allvin Regime as being out on any big-game hunts. They’ve made more trades in general and more sizeable trades in specific than any other front office in the sport, and if a chance arises to make a blockbuster move that genuinely improves the team’s chances of winning a Stanley Cup, we have little doubt that they’ll jump at it.
Using maximum retention (involving two retaining teams, and reducing a player’s cap bit by up to 75%) the Canucks would be able to add someone to their roster with an average salary of up to about $7.2 million, though retention always incurs and additional cost.
They could also theoretically open up even more space than that, should they explore the trading of a high-salary player, like a Mikheyev.
In any case, if the Canucks are going big-name hunting, there are only precious few major difference-makers left on the market:
Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins
LW, 29, 5’11”, 180lb
$6 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
We’ve written and you’ve read enough about Guentzel at this point. With him injured and the Penguins likely to remain at least in the hunt for a playoff spot over the next few weeks, the odds of him being traded just plummeted, anyway. He’s the best forward available, but only if he’s actually available.
Frank Vatrano, Anaheim Ducks
LW, 29, 5’11”, 197lb
$3.65 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Vatrano played with several of the Canucks at the All-Star Game, and he’s in the midst of an all-star season, scoring at rates he’s never previously approached. The Ducks will likely look to sell high on him, and they’ll hope to exploit his cheap cap hit and lack of trade protection to cash in on at least a first round pick. He’s one of the few players left that might be worth that for the Canucks.
Tyler Toffoli, New Jersey Devils
RW, 31, 6’0”, 203lb
$4.25 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
This guy again? The Devils are still fighting for a playoff spot, but with rumours abound of them trading for a big-name goalie like Jacob Markstrom, they might need cap space, and Toffoli might be the one to go as a pending UFA. The Canucks know they have a fit there, the cap hit is very manageable, and the only question left is the cost. Ideally, it’s less than they paid a few years ago.
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders
C/LW, 32, 6’4”, 210lb
$6 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Nelson isn’t necessarily available. But if the Islanders do fall back in the playoff race, the shrewd Lou Lamoriello may look to get a jump on trading him before he enters his expiry year. An uber-consistent scorer these past several seasons, Nelson slides into any contender’s top-six with aplomb. With a year left on his deal, he doesn’t move for any less than a first rounder and probably more, but like Vatrano, Nelson is probably worth it.
Pavel Buchnevich, St. Louis Blues
LW, 28, 6’1”, 196lb
$5.8 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Here’s another one we’ve written lots about and won’t belabour. Buchnevich won’t move unless the Blues are out of a playoff spot. Currently, they’re slated to face the Canucks in Round One.
Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks
CLW, 34, 6’0”, 195lb
$5.825 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Add Henrique to the pile of versatile, two-way forwards we’ve already covered. He’ll be a sought-after rental at the deadline, and his ability to play center in a dry market will probably result in a bidding war. At this point, the Canucks would be wise to steer clear.
Claude Giroux, Ottawa Senators
C/LW, 36, 5’11”, 190lb
$6.5 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA) [NMC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
As we’ve mentioned in the past, Giroux’s NMC makes him master of his own destiny, and it seems very likely that he will just stay in Ottawa. To move all the way across the continent at this point in his career would be surprising, even if he is a great fit.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Ottawa Senators
RW, 32, 6’1”, 228lb
$5 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Tarasenko has had a solid year for the Senators and will move as a rental. Can he return what he did at last Trade Deadline? The Canucks would only be interested in him if they could get him for less than a first, but they would be interested. His size and shot alone make him intriguing.
Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals
RW, 29, 6’5”, 234lb
$5.7 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Mantha is bouncing back at exactly the right time to be traded as a retained-upon rental at the Trade Deadline. Previously, he was a total cap dump, but he’s likely got positive value at a reduced cap hit now.
Those low minutes mean it won’t be a first round pick, and maybe not even the equivalent of a second. For a couple of thirds and maybe a mid prospect, he’s well worth a looksie.
Jason Zucker, Arizona Coyotes
LW, 32, 5’11”, 192lb
$5.3 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Zucker has been Jim Rutherford’s big acquisition before. He’s not having a great year in the desert and ain’t what he used to be, but Zucker has history and is still a feisty competitor with some jam and speed. He’s not not an option, but he’s someone the team would be counting on for a bounceback.

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