11 potential top-six deadline additions for the Canucks in a post-Lindholm, post-Kessel world

Photo credit:© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
As we approach ever closer to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, now just two-and-a-half weeks away, we continue to try to prognosticate the moves of GM Patrik Allvin and the Vancouver Canucks.
We said another center was the top priority, and Allvin landed Elias Lindholm more than a month ahead of the deadline. We suggested another top-six addition on top of Lindholm would help balance the forward corps, and Allvin lured Phil Kessel out of pseudo-retirement.
With Lindholm at four goals and five points in seven games as of this writing, and just recently showing immense chemistry with Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander, the first trade is already paying off nicely. The Kessel situation remains decidedly more unclear, and will take some time to resolve as the 36-year-old tries to shake off the rust and get back into game-shape.
Where does that leave the Canucks and their quest for another forward? We’re not quite sure. It’s possible the front office is now satisfied, and will more or less stand pat from here on out. It’s also possible that they’ll look for another small-scale acquisition to act as a backup plan for Kessel in case he doesn’t work out.
It’s also possible that the Canucks will still look to make another big-ticket trade up front, leaving Kessel as the backup plan to whoever they manage to land. Remember that, even with Lindholm and Kessel in the fold, the Canucks should be able to squeeze around $1.8 million in deadline cap space, which is enough to land a player with a salary up to four times that amount ($7+ million) with maximum retention.
There are a lot of potential outcomes here, and we’re going to use this article to lay them all out.
The Stand Pat Option
There are those who believe the Canucks are done tinkering with their forward corps, and that any further moves will involve the blueline. There’s reason to believe those people are correct.
The Canucks are the top-scoring team in the league, or near enough, and their forward corps look decidedly more balanced now that Lindholm has settled in.
He, Pettersson, and Höglander might just stick as a unit. That leave JT Miller and Brock Boeser to find a third linemate to round out the top-six, with Pius Suter, Ilya Mikheyev, Phil di Giuseppe, and, eventually, Kessel as the primary options.
That keeps the line of Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, and Dakota Joshua intact, and makes for a strong fourth line with some combination of Suter, Mikheyev, di Giuseppe, Sam Lafferty, and Nils Åman.
When healthy, this lineup necessitates the scratching of at least two of the aforementioned forwards, meaning there are hands on deck to rotate through and adequate injury coverage. As of the playoffs, more depth could arrive in the form of call-ups like Arshdeep Bains, Linus Karlsson, and Vasily Podkolzin. The ability to try out different players and different combinations in the top-six is a plus; for example, coach Rick Tocchet already has at least four he can rotate through Miller and Boeser’s wing in search of the hot hand.
The Minor Addition Option
The Canucks could reason that while they’re mostly happy with the forward corps, they’d ideally like someone else in their top-six mix who could knock the Suter/Mikheyev/Kessel crowd out of that awkward, ill-defined sixth spot.
Without even involving retention, they’d have about that $1.8 million in cap space in order to target just such a player. The challenge lies in finding someone who constitutes a genuine upgrade at that price, but we’ll make the following suggestions:
Danton Heinen, Boston Bruins
LW, 28, 6’2”, 195lb
$775K AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
With news this week of the Canucks scouting the Bruins, we see local guy Heinen as one of the few reasonable fits. He had to work his way into a league-minimum contract but is usually always good to score at about a 20-goal pace. For those reasons, it makes sense for the Bruins to just hang on to him, but if they move enough bodies in to risk waiving Heinen, maybe they look to flip him for a mid-round pick instead.
Jordan Greenway, Buffalo Sabres
LW, 27, 6’6”, 231lb
$3 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
We’ve written more than enough about Greenway and his connections to the Canucks’ front office, who have apparently had their eye on him all season. He’d require some form of retention or salary dumping in order to land, and his point totals this season are lacklustre, but the prospect of adding a power forward to the team without having to pay a premium is exciting.
Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers
C/LW, 29, 6’1”, 190lb
$3 million AAV, expiring in 2026 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
As the Flyers begin their predictable slide down the standings, some players could become available who were not earlier, including someone like Laughton. He’s having a down year and signed for several more, so Philadelphia may wait on moving him, but he’s a versatile talent that could fit anywhere in a competing team’s lineup, and that should demand a fairly high price at the deadline. He wouldn’t be worth the Canucks paying more than, say, the equivalent of a second round pick for.
Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals
LW, 35, 6’2”, 217lb
$4 million AAV (with bonuses), expiring in 2024 (UFA) [NMC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
With Pacioretty having missed most the year and still shaking the rust off, to say nothing of the possibility of another injury, it’s hard to know what you’re getting in him. That said, he’s got a long history of producing big numbers and can be nabbed for a low cap hit and a presumably low-ish asking price. A high-risk, high-reward sort of target.
Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers
RW, 23, 6’2”, 206lb
$2.1 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
The Rangers have reportedly been taking calls on their beleaguered former second overall pick, who has developed into a dependable middle-six winger but has yet to see that offensive pop that was once expected of him. If the Canucks want to target someone with a little more long-term potential, and still see upside in Kakko, he could be an intriguing option, so long as the asking price isn’t anything silly.
Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks
LW, 33, 6’1”, 207lb
$5.25 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Silfverberg’s cap hit would require double-retention to fit, but he might not cost all that much on top of the retention price at this point in his career. The Ducks would be looking to send him somewhere with a chance of going on a run. His scoring days seem behind him, but Silfverberg is still very dependable in his own end and could provide solid depth on a playoff team. More of a last-ditch option.
Alexander Kerfoot, Arizona Coyotes
C/LW, 29, 5’11”, 186lb
$3.5 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA) [M-NTC]
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Another local-ish player, Kerfoot has been consistently putting up numbers without much fanfare for several seasons running, and does offer major versatility as a forward who can play every position and nearly any role. He’s been a 1C at times for the Coyotes this year, so his points might be a bit inflated, but Kerfoot can do a lot for a team and do it at a very reasonable price. The Coyotes will be looking to sell after falling out of playoff contention.
Yegor Sharangovich, Calgary Flames
C/LW, 25, 6’2”, 196lb
$3.1 million AAV, expiring in 2025 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Sharangovich has turned out well for the Flames, scoring above a 30-goal pace and currently serving as their 1C. Is that a good opportunity to sell high on him? If so, the Flames will be looking to cash in on something like a first round pick in return for one-and-a-half seasons of his services, and that’s probably too rich for the Canucks to justify. Still, it would be worth sniffing around to see if they could land him for any cheaper.
Anthony Duclair, San Jose Sharks
LW, 28, 5’11”, 197lb
$3 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (UFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
Duclair has a recent history of success in the playoffs with Florida going for him, and a cheap cap hit, and that’s about it. At this point in the list, we’re approaching players of whom the Canucks’ in-house options are probably better fits.
Eeli Tolvanen
RW, 24, 5’10”, 191lb
$1.45 million AAV, expiring in 2024 (RFA)
 GamesGoalsAssistsPointsAvg. TOICorsi
One more young option. The Kraken might not want to risk an arbitration case with the goal-heavy Tolvanen, and that could lead to them selling him at the Trade Deadline. For a mid-round pick, he’s got skill and scoring ability enough to be worth a look.
Okay, folks, Quads says that’s enough rambling for one day, so we’re going to have to split this article in two! Tune in tomorrow for the next set of potential top-six targets!

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