11 potential Canucks shake-up trades ranked on the Richter scale
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
It’s no secret that changes are coming to Vancouver. It’s no longer a question of if or even a question of when. At this point, it’s a question of “how soon?”
And the answer is “very.”
Most have already come to grips with the impending firing of coach Bruce Boudreau, but the changes almost certainly won’t stop there.
Whoever replaces Boudreau will be the Canucks’ fourth head coach in five calendar years. By now, it’s the core players on the team that might require a shake-up, and that’s only really possible via a major trade.
But what would shaking up this core even look like? How much uprooting and disturbance can be borne without completely committing to a tear-down, and what other benefits might the Canucks get out of such a deal?
For answers, we turned to the best scientific measure of “shake-ups” available to us: the Richter magnitude scale.
(And for our older readers, don’t worry. This has nothing to do with Mike Richter.)
Richter Scale: 2.9 (Minor)
At this point, Myers’ play and one year remaining on his contract beyond this one make him the most obvious veteran candidate for a trade. In other words, it would be hard to call a Myers trade much of a shake-up when he’s so clearly played his own way out of town. Still, Myers has been around for a few years now and does seem to be generally liked by his teammates, so this would have at least some impact in the room.
Teams Potentially Interested: Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa, Toronto
Because Myers is a RHD, there’s always going to be a limited market for him, at minimum. In a world where Travis Hamonic was tradeable for a third-round pick last year, Myers is moveable this year. If the Canucks were willing to retain up to half of his remaining contract, the market for Myers would probably double.
Potential Return: A third-round pick.
If retention happens, we can probably safely upgrade that to a second-round pick or higher. For now, a team has no reason to spend anything more than a mid-round pick for Myers’ services knowing the Canucks’ circumstances and Myers’ current level of play.
Richter Scale: 3.4 (Minor)
Pearson is a respected veteran, a Cup winner, and a mentor-type who has recently made a habit of stepping in to protect his teammates. The loss of his presence would have an enormous impact on the dressing room and team culture. That being said, Pearson has never been considered a true member of the core on the merit of his skill, and so it’s hard to think of trading him as being much more than a minor shuffling.
Teams Potentially Interested: Calgary, Carolina, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Washington
The additional year on Pearson’s contract makes things tricky. But there are enough contending teams out there in need of additional offence and experience that should be able to accommodate all or most of his salary. There should be some light competition for him if he hits the market, but not much.
Potential Return: A third round pick (or more.)
In trading Pearson, the Canucks are moving a player with on-ice value, but also with a questionably high salary. They can’t expect much back in return. Should they be willing to retain half of Pearson’s remaining salary, however, then they’d be offering him as a two-year rental at about a $1.6 million cap hit. Teams will pony up more for that.
Richter Scale: 4.9 (Light)
On the one hand, Garland is certainly closer to being a core player than the previous two we’ve mentioned. On the other hand, he still seems to be a little on the outside of team culture looking in, and certainly hasn’t been identified as much of a leader in the room. As such, dealing him gets the Canucks a little closer to legitimate shake-up territory, but not quite all the way there.
Teams Potentially Interested: Carolina, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York Islanders, Washington
Teams have been interested in Garland since before the Canucks acquired him, and that hasn’t changed much. He’s signed at a reasonable salary for his production and his 5v5 stats show that he still has some untapped offensive potential. Teams might not line up for Garland, but there will be plenty of tire-kicking.
Potential Return: A low first round pick (at best.)
The Canucks aren’t going to get the same 9th overall value for Garland as they ostensibly paid for him. That’s just the reality of their semi-desperate situation. But Garland is still definitively a positive asset, and that should garner a return somewhere in the range of a late first round pick or an early-ish second round pick. The Canucks may need to take back some salary in the act of moving Garland, which should increase their yield.
Richter Scale: 5.7 (Moderate)
As the Canucks’ highest-salaried player and a former NHL captain, Ekman-Larsson definitely has some pull in the Canucks’ dressing room. His level of play on the ice, however, does not really match with that pedigree. Moving OEL would have to be considered a “shake-up” in the sense of “how the heck did they actually pull it off?” But it’s hard to imagine that the players would see it as much of a shock.
Teams Interested: None.
No team in their right mind should be interested in OEL at his full (already-retained) salary, and few should be interested in him even with additional retention. This is one where the Canucks will have to pay to get rid of their player.
Potential Return: Negative value.
At his full remaining cap hit for this season and four more, the Canucks would rightly have to give up a first round pick, if not more, to sweeten the deal on Ekman-Larsson. Even retained, they’re probably adding something to his contract. Because of this, a buyout for OEL seems far more likely than a trade.
Richter Scale: 6.6 (Strong)
Sure, Miller is a leader on the team, one of their top scorers, and a somewhat dominant personality. Then again, he was already the subject of so much trade discussion in years prior that most players on the team probably got used to the idea of not having him around. Either way, trading Miller would have a demonstrable impact on team culture — and that statement can go either way, too. We’re finally in genuine earthquake territory here.
Teams Potentially Interested: Arizona, Boston, New York Islanders
With that massive extension already included, the market for Miller has undoubtedly shrunk. There are still some teams out there with a lot of salary off the books starting next year that could still be interested, but the bidding wars of seasons past will not be repeated. Look for a team that normally couldn’t attract major UFAs (Arizona) or an older team trying to get over the hump one last time (NYI, Boston) to be the only suitors for Miller.
Potential Return: A first round pick and a prospect.
Miller is still coming off a 99-point season and is again on pace for more than 40 goals. If teams are going to make him a part of their long-term plans, that means they should be willing to pay up something reasonable for him. The days of “Chytil, Lundkvist, and a first” are probably over and done with, but a first and a lesser prospect might still be on the table.
Richter Scale: 6.6 (Strong)
We really flip-flopped on whether a Miller trade or a Boeser trade constituted more of a shake-up, and so we left them in a tie. Miller is undoubtedly the better and more important player, but Boeser has also been around for longer and definitely has greater sentiment on his side. Trading Miller might have more of an impact on the ice, but moving Boeser could be a greater shock to the team off-ice — and if a shake-up is the desire, that’s what they’re looking for.
Teams Potentially Interested: Calgary, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, New York Islanders
Still goalless on the season, Boeser has clearly reduced his value. Still, he’s not that far off of some impressive production, and is young enough to be reboundable, so there will be interest in him. Look for a team on the rise or a team stuck in the middle to see Boeser as the finishing touch to their top-six, and watch some decent offers roll in.
Potential Return: A first round pick and a prospect.
The quality of the pick and prospect will probably be lower than those offered for Miller. But where Boeser lacks in skill, he makes up for in youth and contract flexibility. Value-wise, these two might also be a toss-up.
Vasily Podkolzin or Nils Höglander
Richter Scale: 6.8 (Strong)
Nobody wanted to see these names on this list. The Canucks are supposed to be getting younger, after all, so why trade the team’s two youngest players? Well, if the plan is to disrupt team culture, this would certainly do it. Höglander and Podkolzin have been around for a couple years and seem to be well-liked by teammates — Podkolzin in particular. Trading one of them sends a clear message that nobody is safe. This isn’t the direction of shake-up that most Canucks fans are hoping for, but it would be a shake-up nonetheless.
Teams Interested: Any.
Who wouldn’t be interested in a young scoring forward still on an ELC if the price was right?
Potential Return: A first round pick or equivalent D prospect.
At minimum, the Canucks would expect a first rounder or an equivalent prospect (preferably a defender) in any trade of Podkolzin or Höglander. Anything less than that, and such a trade becomes nearly impossible to justify.
Richter Scale: 7.0 (Major)
Sure, Schenn is probably not a true member of the Canucks’ core, at least on the ice. But he has been playing as a top pairing defender for two years running now, and he has become absolutely central to the few redeemable aspects of team culture. Trading him would be devastating to players and fans alike. But is this really the sort of shake-up the Canucks are looking for? Would they seriously want even less of the attitude that Schenn brings to the team?
Teams Interested: Any playoff-bound team.
What playoff hopeful wouldn’t be interested in adding a sub-$1 million Schenn as a bottom pairing defender or even an extra. Leading up to the Trade Deadline, Schenn will rightly be one of the hottest rental commodities.
Potential Return: A second round pick.
We’re calling our shot a little high on this one, but we remain confident that a bidding war would ensue for Schenn’s services, and we all know how wild those can get around deadline time. A team could safely offer up a second for Schenn and feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Richter Scale: 8.8 (Great)
Earthquake-wise, we’re finally onto the “massive structural damage” category with the potential trade of captain Bo Horvat. We probably don’t need to go into much detail as to why such a move would cause a drastic and permanent shift in team culture. It would simultaneously remove the team’s designated leader and its most reliable forward in one fell swoop, and it would clearly signal a brand-new era in Canucks hockey — for better, or for worse. That said, if Horvat really intends to test free agency, can they afford not to move him?
Teams Potentially Interested: Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Toronto, Washington
As a rental, there aren’t many playoff-bound teams that wouldn’t at least kick the tires on Horvat. The above teams, however, could all be looking at Horvat as someone worth renting and then re-signing. Either way, the market should be ample. Keep a particular eye on the Islanders and Toronto, who could be looking at Horvat as a top-six winger solution.
Potential Return: A blue-chip prospect and a 2023 first round pick.
The Canucks should have a very high minimum price on Horvat, and it should start with a de facto blue-chip prospect and a first round pick in the vaunted 2023 Entry Draft. Anything less than that, and they’re just simply not exploiting the available market to the fullest.
Richter Scale: 9.3 (Greater than Great)
You won’t find the likes of Quinn Hughes or Elias Pettersson on this list, which means that the top spot gets handed off to starting-goaltender-in-crisis Thatcher Demko. With Demko being a clear-cut part of the team’s innermost core, this would probably be the shakingest trade they’d be willing to make. Sure, Demko is struggling in the current moment and there are legitimate fears that he won’t return to his previous standard, but that previous standard is so high and there are so many teams in need of steady goaltending that the market would be immense for his services.
Teams Interested: Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, Toronto
Demko isn’t just an established goaltender, he’s still only 26 and is signed for three more seasons after this one at a below-average cap hit of $5 million. He would instantly become the top goalie available for trade, and teams would be bowling over each other trying to get in line for him.
Potential Return: A blue-chip prospect and a first round pick.
A goalie has never really gone for a return resembling the one we have listed above, but we stand by it. Cory Schneider was once flipped for the 9th overall pick straight-up, but that was in a situation where the Canucks clearly needed to move one of their goaltenders. With no immediate impetus to trade Demko, the Canucks can simply sit back and wait for the right offer to come their way — or just hang on to Demko long-term. Either way, the smartest move is to let him build back up some of his value before considering a trade.
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