10 potential additions to the Canucks’ blueline from the 2024 Trade Deadline market, Western Conference Edition

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
4 months ago
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It’s less than two weeks ‘til the 2024 Trade Deadline, and we’re still not entirely sure what the Vancouver Canucks are going to do.
Last time we talked, it was all about the many potential scoring forwards available on the market. Both POHO Jim Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin had indicated in interviews that they may be looking to add something more to their top-six, even after the acquisition of Elias Lindholm and the courting of Phil Kessel.
But perhaps the approach has changed since then.
The Canucks have been having a rough February by many measures. As of this writing, they’ve lost more than they’ve won in the month, even as they hang on to a partial claim on first place in the league. They’re also still the top-scoring team in the NHL.
It’s the goals against that have been getting them. Through February 24, the Canucks had allowed 37 goals against in the month of February, tied with the Arizona Coyotes for the most.
So, maybe a scoring addition gets put on the backburner for now, and Allvin and Co. start looking to supplement their blueline.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered for you a big list of defenders that we believe may be on the block over the next couple of weeks.
Here’s what we were looking for:
-Genuine upgrades: The Canucks already have at least eight NHL defenders on hand. Playoff-bound teams always need depth, but right now we want to target players that will constitute real improvements upon what they already have.
-Workable cap hits: The Canucks can still squeeze about $1.8 million in deadline cap space, which means they can acquire some pretty expensive players through the magic of retention. But the financial numbers have to work.
-RHD preference: The Canucks have Quinn Hughes, Ian Cole, Carson Soucy, and Nikita Zadorov on the left. They’ve got Filip Hronek, Tyler Myers, Noah Juulsen, and Mark Friedman on the right. If there’s one side to focus on for that upgrade, it’s probably the right.
-Playoff-ready: The bigger, more physical, and more defensively-steady, the better.
With that, let’s get to the list, sorted in relatively random order.
Update: As is often the case, this list wound up being a little on the long side, so we’ve split it into two. Today, we tackle the Western Conference targets. Tomorrow, the East!
Chris Tanev, Calgary Flames
RHD, 34, 6’2”, 197lb
$4.5 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Has anyone thought yet about the possibility of bringing Tanev back to the Canucks? We certainly haven’t heard any talk about it, which is surprising, because the fit is obvious. Not only is Tanev everything the Canucks are looking for in a postseason blueline addition, he’s affordable enough to fit under the cap with retention and already familiar with many of the players and staff.
Anyway, kudos to us for kicking our list off with this wholly original trade idea!
Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames
RHD, 27, 6’1”, 214lb
$4.55 million, expiring in 2026 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
What if, sentiment aside, the best defensive fit for the Canucks on the Flames’ roster wasn’t Tanev? That’s quite possibly the case, because for everything Tanev brings to the table, Andersson might bring it better.
He’s younger. He’s bigger and far more physical. He’s got much more offensive ability. He currently plays about five more minutes per night, on average. All that, for a cap hit that is just a smidgen over Tanev’s own.
All those added benefits, however, come with added cost. Andersson, firmly within his prime and signed to a bargain contract for two seasons beyond this one, holds more trade value than Tanev. That is even more true when one considers the cost of any potential retention, which would have to last until 2026. We do think it’s possible that Andersson moves at this deadline, but only if a high price is met…and we’re not sure the Canucks will want to pay what it takes.
Noah Hanifin, Calgary Flames
LHD, 27, 6’3”, 215lb
$4.95 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Might as well lump all the Flames together here, and might as well mention perhaps the best Flames defender on the market of all: Hanifin. He’s a top-pairing defender with a wide range of high-quality skills, and he’s a pending UFA, so the added cost of lengthy retention isn’t a factor.
That said, Hanifin will still go for a high price, and as a left-hander, he’s not exactly an ideal fit for what the Canucks are looking for. He might be worth a tire-kick, but someone is going to be willing to give up at least a first and a good prospect for Hanifin, and the Canucks should not want to do that.
Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings
RHD, 28, 6’1”, 200lb
$3.15 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Taken on an individual basis, Roy might be the singular best RHD option available to the Canucks. He’s a no-nonsense, quietly effective defensive defender who has been getting the job done behind Drew Doughty in LA for several years running now.
And as a pending UFA with a $3.15 million cap hit, Roy is excessively affordable.
Here’s the rub: he might not be available. A solid month has the Kings back in the playoff hunt, and they won’t move Roy if they’ve still got a chance of making it. What needs to happen for him to be available is for the Kings to hit a rough patch here, fall a little ways out of contention, and decide to make some selling moves at the deadline. If that’s the case, the Canucks should swoop in and hope that they can land Roy for about a second round pick and a decent prospect.
Matt Dumba, Arizona Coyotes
RHD, 29, 6’0”, 180lb
$3.9 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
There was once a time where it seemed every other Canucks trade proposal revolved around bringing Dumba to Vancouver. But things have changed. The Canucks got a lot better, and Dumba plateaued.
He hasn’t done much of note in Arizona this year, aside from eat minutes. But Dumba remains a fine middle-pairing option who always has the potential to blow someone up with an open-ice check out of seemingly nowhere.
He’s not an ideal trade target, but there’s some stuff to like about him, especially if one can convince the Coyotes to deal him for a relatively cheap price, like perhaps a third round pick and change.
Ilya Lyubushkin, Anaheim Ducks
RHD, 29, 6’2”, 201lb
$2.75 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Lyubushkin seems to be settling into the role of “defenseman who always gets traded at or near the deadline.” This year, he signed a one-year deal with the Ducks that he had to know made him a prime deadline candidate, and indeed he will be. Lyubushkin is big, physical, cheap, and right-handed, so there will always be suitors for him.
He’s gone for a second rounder before, but only a fourth last year. He’s worth keeping in mind as a backup plan for added depth, but the question here is whether he would really outperform the likes of Myers or Juulsen on a nightly basis. That’s up in the air.
Sean Durzi, Arizona Coyotes
RHD, 25, 6’0”, 188lb
$1.7 million, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
This past summer, the Coyotes picked up Durzi for the cost of just a second rounder, largely a result of the LA Kings needing to cut cap and Arizona being one of the few teams with some to spare. Since then, Durzi has played a top-pairing role in Arizona all season long, and on both sides of the ice. Much of their early success can be attributed to his two-way play, and he’s still younger than most of the other players on this list at 25.
If the Coyotes are worried about Durzi putting forth a strong arbitration case this summer, that’d be a reasonable fear, and it could lead to his being shopped around. One has to think that the Coyotes will set the bare minimum price at the second rounder they already paid, and will probably expect more than that. The question becomes if he is enough of a fit to justify that cost.
Alexandre Carrier, Nashville Predators
RHD, 27, 5’11”, 174lb
$2.5 million, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
As of this writing, the Predators are still on the cusp of a playoff position, but word on the street is that GM Barry Trotz is savvy enough to know his team is not a contender, and is still willing to sell on his UFAs.
At this point, Carrier seems like the best of the bunch. He plays a multi-faceted game that has been described as tough to play against, despite his smaller stature. Chances seem good that enough teams are going to be interested in Carrier’s services that the Canucks, who seem to have a preference for larger defenders, are likely to be outbid by someone who simply wants Carrier more than they do.
Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators
RHD, 25, 6’0”, 189lb
$2.5 million, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
It’s entirely possible that the Predators deal out three RHDs this deadline, including Tyson Barrie, who we did not include on this list.
Fabbro, as a local product, is the name that Canucks fans are most familiar with. But he’s taken a few backward steps in his development, and he’s not longer the sure-thing top-four RHD he once was.
If the Canucks believe that Fabbro can rediscover his game closer to home, he’s an intriguing buy-low option. That assumes, however, that Nashville is willing to sell low. A third rounder or so for Fabbro could be seen as a low-risk, low-reward sort of endeavour. Anything more than that is pushing it, based on his performance the last couple of seasons.
Will Borgen, Seattle Kraken
RHD, 27, 6’3”, 196lb
$2.7 million, expiring in 2025 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
The Canucks might not have to look that far to find a competent and capable RHD. The Kraken are almost out of the playoff picture, and while they do have some pending UFAs to sell, they could feasibly look at shopping around some of their 2025 free agents, too.
Borgen has been one of the best value selections to come out of the Expansion Draft, and he spent a good chunk of last season on an ostensible second pairing with Carson Soucy. This year, he’s mostly stayed in the Seattle top-four.
Borgen is a solid puck-mover, he’s physical, and a bit of a pest to play against. Combine that with his prior chemistry with Soucy and his cheap cap hit, and Borgen starts to make a lot of sense as a potential acquisition. That assumes, of course, that the Kraken don’t institute a rivalry tax of some sort in the return.
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