The 6 most valuable pieces the Canucks can put on the table at the NHL Trade Deadline (aside from their rumoured untouchables)

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
Folks, this is it.
After spending literally weeks counting down to it, we’ve now arrived in the week of Trade Deadline 2024. No matter what, this Deadline Week promises to be the most consequential one for the Vancouver Canucks in over a decade, and while we don’t know exactly what to expect, we definitely expect something.
The rumours, of course, are flying around like Raffi Torres in the early 2010s – recklessly. We do know that GM Patrik Allvin and Co. are seeking out some additions to their team. And if the latest round of speculation is correct, we have at least some idea of what they’re not willing to give up in return.
On Monday, Rick Dhaliwal noted that “I asked this morning if the Canucks are in on Guentzel, and I was told that they’re still poking around on everyone. They don’t want to trade [another] first-round pick, so how do you get a big name without trading a first-round pick? Well, what you do is you put more prospects into a deal that is [for] a bigger name.”
Dhaliwal went on to reiterate his earlier reports that the Canucks were also unwilling to trade their two biggest-name prospects in Tom Willander and Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
Now, at this time of the year, it can be tough to separate fact from fiction. But let’s take what has been stated as true:
  • The Canucks are big-game hunting, with names like Jake Guentzel and Tyler Toffoli on their radar.
  • The Canucks are unwilling to trade their three most valuable future assets in Willander, Lekkerimäki, or their 2025 first round pick.
This raises an immediate question: what can the Canucks put on the table at Trade Deadline 2024, if not the aforementioned pieces?
Below, in what can serve as both a general primer for the deadline and a predictive piece for any specific trade targets, we’re going to run through the best of everything else the Canucks have to offer…and see if there’s the makings of a compelling package in the system. 
The 2025 First Round Pick (But Protected)
Confusingly enough, we begin our discussion with an item that rumours indicate is already off the table, and that’s the Canucks first round pick in 2025.
It makes sense that the Canucks would be loath to move this pick, having already dealt their 2024 first and one of two 2023 firsts last year, along with plenty of other picks in recent seasons. But maybe there’s some wiggle room to be had here via trade protection. Are the Canucks willing to put their 2025 first on the table if it is top-ten protected? Or maybe top-five? Doing this prevents the Canucks from giving up a high pick, but it does require some knowledge that the team is going to stay competitive for the foreseeable future.
If the pick is not for sale even with protection, we’re on to less valuable assets.
The 2025 Second Round Pick (and more)
The Canucks do have some lesser draft picks available. They’ve got their second round picks in 2025, 2026, and every year beyond that. They’ve got a conditional third rounder in 2024, and plenty in other years. And then all the mid-round picks one could shake a stick at.
Of these, the 2025 second is probably the most immediately valuable, and it’s not really something that can be called a primary piece in any major trade deadline deal. Second rounders from teams who hope to be in a playoff position are usually more trade ballast or sweetener than anything, but perhaps combined with other assets it could add up to more. 
Any Active Roster Pieces?
Before we delve into the prospects, a brief pit-stop on the active roster to explain why we’re not discussing many, if any, tradeable assets from the current Vancouver Canucks.
In short, almost the entire active roster is composed of either players the Canucks either don’t want to part with or that would be of no interest to selling teams, or both.
You’ve got the core untouchables, like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Filip Hronek, and so on that aren’t going anywhere in-season.
You’ve got a bevy of pending free agents that are of no interest to a team not going to the playoffs, including Elias Lindholm, Ian Cole, Nikita Zadorov, Dakota Joshua, Teddy Blueger, and Casey DeSmith.
Who’s left? Nobody, really. The one player the Canucks might actively choose to part with is Ilya Mikheyev, who can’t be counted on as an asset at this point. At best, the Canucks might be able to get someone like the Pittsburgh Penguins to take on Mikheyev as a neutral addition in a trade due to the Kyle Dubas connection, but even that’s not certain.
There could be some interest in, say, a Carson Soucy, under contract for two more seasons, but the Canucks aren’t in a position to be selling off effective blueliners.
The only feasibly-tradeable active roster piece that should be, and reportedly is, drawing interest from other teams is Nils Höglander. And, indeed, if the Canucks were willing to put him on the table, he’d constitute a sizeable offering.
But they should not. As we and others have covered all season long, Höglander has become one of the most effective 5v5 goal-scorers in the entire league this season, and is already signed to a $1.1 million contract for next season. For the cap-strapped Canucks, Höglander is still more valuable in-house than he is on the trade market.
And because of that, we’ve got to dip into the lower shelves of the prospect cupboard.
Elias Pettersson II
If Willander and Lekkerimäki, as the clear-cut #1 and #2 prospects in the organization, have been specifically named as NOT FOR SALE, that would seem to indicate that the best piece actually available is the #3 prospect. For most, that’s the other Elias Pettersson.
Not that the Canucks should want to move him, by any means. He’s a unique asset in the system as a rough-and-tumble, defence-first defender, and he turned heads both figuratively and literally at the World Juniors this year.
All the more reason for other teams to ask for him in a trade. The Canucks drafted Pettersson II at 80th overall two years ago, and we’d estimate that he’s only gained value since then. Right now, he might reasonably be considered as valuable as a second round pick.
He’s still not a blue-chipper, but he might be the best the Canucks can offer up without taking from the top shelf.
Vasily Podkolzin
The notion has been floated that Vasily Podkolzin’s latest call-up was as much about showcasing him for a potential trade as anything, and we can see the logic in that. While Podkolzin has rebounded nicely enough in Abbotsford after a Training Camp cut, his personal value has obviously dropped well below the 10th overall draft status he once enjoyed, and he’s no longer anything near untouchable.
To some suitors, Podkolzin’s seasoned nature might actually be a selling point. The Penguins, specifically, are said to be looking for prospects ready to step into the NHL right now, presumably for the purposes of supplementing a few more runs before Sidney Crosby retires.
As far as a prospect that is “good-to-go,” Podkolzin is about the best that the Canucks can put forth.
Aatu Raty
There are some real similarities between Aatu Raty and Podkolzin as assets. Both used to be hyped a lot more, but have seen that hype die down as a result of uneven development. Both have played well enough in the AHL this season, but Raty might be considered the more valuable of the two at this point due to his being one year younger, and due to his ability to play the centre position.
It’s tough to put an exact value on either, but we’d estimate both Raty and Podkolzin to be in that range that Raty was originally drafted at: the mid-second round. Of course, that depends on what any other teams and their pro scouting departments think of each player.
Arturs Silovs
Sorry, Quads, we’ll try to remember to delete this part in the final draft.
Look, the fact of the matter is that Silovs is probably next in line when it comes to listing top Canucks prospects. And while goalie prospects don’t normally carry a lot of value, if a team is specifically looking for future help in net, they may look at Silovs as being a more desirable piece than, say, a Raty or a Podkolzin.
Here, we have to imagine the Canucks would be more hesitant, as they themselves are a little low on organizational goalies and probably have some designs on Silovs backing up as soon as next year. But for the right trade, he is and should be moveable. 
Arshdeep Bains
They couldn’t, right?
Trading a hometown kid who busted his hump to make the Canucks, and to do it right after he made his debut, would seem odd. As an asset, there’s nothing to say that Bains should be anywhere near untouchable. But the vibes of trading him are way off, and it just doesn’t seem likely to happen. Bains is the classic case of a player who is more valuable to his current organization than he would be for other teams. Just because the reasons we’re saying so are largely intangible doesn’t mean they’re not good reasons.
Anything Else?
In the immortal words of Tim Robinson: “Yeah, not really.”
It’s not that the Canucks don’t have other prospects. Our own Dave Hall is currently working on counting down the top-ten, and we haven’t hit them all in this list.
But the further one gets into the cupboard, the more they find the kind of players that either other organizations already have plenty of, or that are too far off and have too many question marks to hold much value, or both.
Prospects like Kirill Kudryavtsev, or Sawyer Mynio, or Max Sasson do hold some value, but not enough to really count as a difference-maker in a trade for anyone that the Canucks are expecting to be a difference-maker on their 2023/24 fortunes.
So, what does that leave us with?
The Canucks do have some pieces available with which to make at least a compelling offer. Between the actual second round picks they’ve got on hand, and the various prospects that each hold about the value of a second, they’ve got the ability to put together a quantitative package.
Would, say, a Pettersson II+a 2025 second be enough to land a Toffoli from New Jersey? It’s about what they paid for him the first time around.
Would Podkolzin+Raty+Silovs+a 2025 second be enough for a Guentzel? That is the rough equivalent of four second rounders, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. We could see it being within the realm of possibility.
Here’s what we will close with saying, however: while the Canucks can put together valuable packages that don’t include Willander, Lekkerimäki, or a first round pick, those do remain their only blue-chip assets. And in the world of hockey trades, quality typically tends to win out over quantity. That means that, whatever the Canucks offer up, they’ll be prone to having their offer beaten by any team that can and will include at least one blue-chip asset. That’s just the way it is.
That leaves the Canucks with three options: they can put more on the table, or they can readjust their targets, or they can hope that the bidding stays low and they’re able to land a big piece with a lesser package.
At the very least, we won’t have to wait long to find out which path they ultimately choose.

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