11 NHL players that might actually be worth trading the Canucks’ 11th overall pick for

Photo credit:© Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Okay, so, we’re coming into this article a bit like the average Whopper patty at your local Burger King: we’re prepared for a flame-broiling.
We know that most fans and members of the media wish for the Vancouver Canucks to just use their 11th overall selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft to, you know, draft a player.
Or, if not that, some others want the Canucks to exchange that pick for other picks, either higher or lower in the draft.
Very, very few people want to see the Canucks trade the 11th overall in exchange for an already-established player. There was a sizeable backlash when GM Patrik Allvin sent the New York Islanders’ first round pick and an additional second to Detroit in exchange for Filip Hronek, and Hronek was basically the perfect fit for the team’s blueline.
Were they to deal out an even higher pick for a player that might not be quite so perfect a fit? The reaction would be a strong one, to say the least.
But this is the Canucks we were talking about, and making moves against the grain of the common consensus is kind of what they do. So, we all definitely need to at least consider the possibility that their trading away of the 11th overall is on the table.
And once we’ve considered that, we can’t help but start to wonder: for whom?
Below, you’ll find a collection of 11 different players that we believe A) might be available on the trade market and B) could be considered close to fair value for the 11th overall pick. And this is all, of course, under the assumption that some Canucks cap space has opened up via one of a few rumoured sources.
So, would any of these deals be swallowable?
Clayton Keller
LW/C, 24, 5’10”, 178lb
2022/23$7.15 million AAV until 2028 (UFA)8237498648.9%
We start our list (sorted alphabetically by team) with the singular best player available: Keller, who seems to have made an unofficial trade request via his father on Twitter, if you can believe it. Keller just put up his second breakout season in a row, and did so on one of the worst teams in the league. One has to wonder what he might be able to do with more talented teammates.
On the whole, the fact that Keller is undersized and perhaps a better fit on the wing than at centre makes him a less-than-ideal fit for the Canucks. That said, if Keller is available for a price anywhere near the 11th overall pick (say, the 11th, Brock Boeser, and a sweetener) then he’s almost too good to pass up. Chances are, however, that other teams would be able to beat Vancouver’s best offer here.
Brandon Carlo
RHD, 26, 6’6”, 218lb
2022/23$4.1 million AAV until 2027 (UFA)753131650.2%
We won’t bore you with the details here, because it feels like we’ve been talking about Carlo as a potential fit for the Canucks for about a decade already. He’s enormous, he skates well for his size, he’s physically-demanding, and he focuses primarily on the defensive side of things, which is part of the reason he went +44 this past season.
The Bruins simply must cut cap this offseason, and they’ve already got Charlie McAvoy locked in at RHD and a few intriguing prospects looking to break through. Carlo could be a cap casualty, but he won’t come cheap, and the 11th overall pick looks like it might be around the perfect price range for him. The fit and timing may finally be right.
Rasmus Andersson
RHD, 26, 6’1”, 202lb
2022/23$4.55 million AAV until 2026 (UFA)7911384953.2%
Who really knows what direction the Flames are going to head in under rookie GM Craig Conroy? Chances seem pretty good that they’ll attempt to compete for at least a little while longer, but if they do look to start dismantling the roster and transitioning into a rebuild of sorts, Andersson is the prime piece that the Canucks should look to pilfer.
Andersson is a big, mean, two-way threat that fits neatly onto pretty much any team’s top-pairing. He’d bring a perfectly-filled-out checklist of basically everything the Canucks are lacking on their current blueline, and he’d do so at a bargain rate for the next three seasons running. The 11th overall pick might not be near enough for him, but it should at least get the conversation started if he does hit the market.
Devon Toews
LHD, 29, 6’1”, 191lb
2022/23$4.1 million until 2024 (UFA)807435054.7%
Toews is a tricky one. On the one hand, he’s probably the single-best defender we have on this list. On the other hand, he’s a pending UFA after this season.
Make no mistake, the Canucks would absolutely love to add Toews to their blueline, even if he primarily plays on the left side. A LHD combo of Quinn Hughes and Toews would be nigh-unstoppable. And as a Lower Mainland local, the odds of Toews extending in Vancouver seem high.
All that said, Toews isn’t even eligible for an extension until July 1, which takes place after the 2023 Entry Draft. So, it technically isn’t possible to trade the 11th overall pick in exchange for an already-signed Toews. There’d have to be either a handshake agreement in place, or the Canucks would have to take a huge risk in the deal. Neither seems particularly likely. Toews might make more sense to pursue as a UFA in a year.
Alexis Lafrenière
LW, 21, 6’1”, 195lb
There’s been so much buzz around Vancouver and Lafrenière over the past year that we almost had to include him, but he sticks out like a sore thumb as easily the worst-performing player on this list. There have been brief flashes of the potential that once made Lafrenière a first overall selection, but they’ve been far too few and far between, and he’s particularly struggled in the postseason.
On the one hand, swapping an 11OA for a 1OA makes sense, so long as the long-awaited Lafrenière breakout actually occurs. If not, then the Canucks have given up a fantastic draft pick for the next Nail Yakupov, and now potentially have yet another overpriced winger on the roster.
Lafrenière is tempting, but probably best passed on.
Jonas Brodin
LHD, 29, 6’2”, 196lb
Brodin does seem like a Minnesota lifer. The smooth-skating defensive pro is as steady as they come, and signed until near the end of the decade. But the Suter and Parise buyout penalties are already causing issues for the Wild, and will continue to for some time. Changes and cuts are inevitably coming, and with a veritable bounty of D prospects waiting in the wings, it does make sense for the cuts to come from the blueline.
Captain Jared Spurgeon doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Next in line could be Brodin, so long as he agrees to waive his NMC. He does seem to fit the profile of a traditional Vancouver defender, so maybe he’d be willing to give it a try. The 11th overall for Brodin seems eminently fair if this is the direction that the Wild choose to go in.
Artem Zub
RHD, 27, 6’2”, 200lb
2022/23$4.6 million AAV until 2027 (UFA)53371049.9%
The Senators did seem to commit to Zub via that lengthy contract extension, but they also seem to be a franchise particularly in flux. With a bunch of young defenders busting onto the roster, Zub’s role is still important as the tried-and-trusted steady hand, but the Sens could also be interested in selling high on what could be seen as a position of strength.
Big, unflashy, and ultra-dedicated to his own end and to moving pucks out of there, Zub would be absolutely perfect for the Canucks. The real challenge comes in convincing the Senators. They honestly might be more willing to give up Thomas Chabot.
Anthony Cirelli
C, 25, 6’0”, 189lb
2022/23$6.25 million until 2031 (UFA)5811182952.0%
If the Canucks are looking for the perfect addition to their centre depth chart, look no further than Cirelli. Still shockingly young for a two-time Cup Champion, Cirelli has already proven capable of shutting down top lines in the playoffs and contributing a second line centre’s worth of offence at the same time. Just imagine opposing teams having to face off with at least one of Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, or Cirelli at all times. That’s a staggering trio.
So why would Cirelli even be available? Well, for one, because the Lightning only have about $1.5 million in available cap to sign about six players for next season, so there’s that. Cuts are inevitably coming to Tampa Bay.
Then there’s the fact that Cirelli’s big contract extension is about to kick in, but without any trade protection for the first couple of years. While Cirelli continues to perform about the same as he has his entire career, he hasn’t taken that expected step forward offensively, and some of the Selke hype seems to have worn off. If the Lightning get cold feet on their commitment, trading Cirelli for a high draft pick pretty much solves all of their cap problems in one fell swoop.
Timothy Liljegren
RHD, 24, 6’1”, 192lb
Liljegren wouldn’t be quite as risky an acquisition as Lafrenière, but they’re in the same ballpark. Both of preposterously-high former hype, Liljegren has thus far put up the better NHL track record of the two, but still found himself a healthy scratch in the playoffs this year.
Whoever takes over for Kyle Dubas in Toronto is going to feel some pressure to be aggressive and attain immediate results. That could mean giving up on Liljegren while he’s still young in exchange for something more certain.
Obviously, that’s not the 11th overall pick. But we could imagine a series of trades in which Liljegren comes to Vancouver (perhaps with a lower pick attached), the 11th overall goes to Toronto, and then the Leafs ship the pick out to someone else for some veteran help.
We could, of course, just as easily imagine that not happening, too.
Shea Theodore
LHD, 27, 6’2”, 197lb
2022/23$5.2 million until 2025 (UFA)558334151.0%
The Golden Knights are well on their way to yet another Stanley Cup Finals appearance, but Theodore isn’t necessarily receiving all the same accolades for it as his teammates. His uncharacteristically spotty play has been a talking point all playoffs long, and with Vegas always in need of cost-cutting manoeuvres, it could be seen as the perfect time for the two to part ways.
Theodore is a LHD who plays more often on the right, but can realistically fit pretty much anywhere on a team’s blueline, and certainly Vancouver’s. He’s one of the better D point producers in the league, and his defensive play ranges from “superb” to “fine enough.”
He’s only signed for two more seasons, and not currently eligible for extension discussions, which makes a trade for the 11th pick kind of awkward. But he is from Langley, so the Canucks would at least have a hometown angle on their side in any future negotiations.
Pierre-Luc Dubois
C/LW, 24, 6’2”, 205lb
At this point, it seems all but certain that Dubois will not sign a long-term deal in Winnipeg. It’s widely-believed that he prefers a homecoming in Montreal, but maybe that’s not something he’s absolutely dead-set on.
Either way, the Jets have a limited period of time in which to operate here. This upcoming season will be Dubois’ seventh, which means he becomes eligible for UFA status as of next summer. That allows him to just take his $6 million qualifying offer now and walk himself right to the free market.
So, unless they want to sell him as a rental, they need to trade him between now and when qualifying offers become due in June. That’s where a team like the Canucks could step in and perhaps snag him for a lesser value than his scoring totals should incur; ie, the 11th overall pick. This would, of course, be contingent on a new, long-term contract being in place.
Dubois is a massive power forward centre not entirely dissimilar to a beefed-up Bo Horvat. With Pettersson emerging as a Selke-worthy centre, the thought of Miller and Dubois feasting on lower opposing lines all night long is definitely a tempting one.
Chances are best, however, that Dubois winds up too pricy an option for the Canucks unless the circumstances fall exactly right.

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