In defence of the Vancouver Canucks’ trade for Filip Hronek

Photo credit:© David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Noah Strang
1 year ago
The Vancouver Canucks made a big trade on Wednesday, as they shipped the first round selection acquired in the Bo Horvat trade and a second round pick for defenceman Filip Hronek and a fourth round draft pick. The move came out of the blue, as there was no reporting that the Canucks and Red Wings were having any sort of discussions.
It’s a departure from the approach that we’ve seen the Canucks take over the past few months where they’ve been acquiring future assets. After dealing Riley Stillman, Horvat, and Luke Schenn for draft picks and prospects, it seemed as if finally, the organization was going to go about a rebuild the traditional way.
Instead, just a few days before the deadline, the Canucks traded two draft picks that will likely land in the top forty of this year’s draft for a 25-year-old defenceman. The trade was instantly criticized by many across the hockey world including Canucks’ fans, the local media, and even the national media.
While people have been quick to jump on Patrik Allvin for seemingly taking a shortcut, this seems like a smart player to use for said shortcut. Hronek is not only a solid defenceman, he’s the best one the Canucks have traded for in years. He’s under team control for a few more seasons and gives the organization another solid defenceman they can count on. You have to try to get better at some point and acquiring Hronek is the Canucks’ first step in doing so.

Hronek is a good player at a valuable position 

The Canucks have been looking for a capable right-handed defenceman for a long time. Ever since Chris Tanev left the team, the position group has been barren and the team’s half-hearted attempts at fixing it have all failed. Finally, the Canucks have paid up to acquire a proven right-handed defenceman.
Hronek has been one of the best defencemen on the Red Wings this season. His numbers look very solid despite playing with some weak partners in Olli Maatta and Ben Chiarot. Hronek has the second best GF% on the Red Wings this season at 5-on-5, even ahead of the heralded Mortiz Seider.
The fact of the matter is that players like Hronek are not available very often and when they are, they’re expensive to acquire. That’s reflected in the price that the Canucks paid, but the team should be excited about the player they’re getting in return.

Hronek is under team control 

Hronek is under team control for a few more seasons. He’s currently finishing his second season of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.4 million. He has one more year on this deal before he becomes a restricted free agent during the summer of 2024. He will have a qualifying offer of $5.28 million at that time.
This means that the Canucks have control of Hronek for at least the next few seasons. If he plays well over the rest of this season and the start of the next, they can ink him to an extension before he has a chance to take the qualifying offer. At $5.28 million, the qualifying offer isn’t a crazy number that will handcuff the team, especially if Hronek continues to perform as a top-four right-side defenceman.
With a messy salary cap situation, the Canucks need to be looking for players that can be kept at reasonable contracts for the next few seasons. If Hronek continues to play at the level of a 2/3 defenceman for the duration of this contract, he will over-perform his value.

The Hronek acquisition appeases Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson

The Canucks have two amazing young talents in Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. These players both have the potential to be top-five at their position and are about to enter their primes. They do not want to stick around for another four to five year rebuild and Hughes vocalized those feelings shortly after the trade was made.
After forcing Hughes to play with a rotating cast of characters over the past few years, this trade gives him a consistent partner that can keep up with him on the ice. Hronek will help provide stability for Hughes and the organization as a whole. While he’s not the piece that instantly makes the Canucks a contender, he does work towards them getting there.
It’s hard to find players like Pettersson and Hughes. Even with top ten draft picks, it’s very difficult to find players that can perform on that level. The Canucks still have their draft pick this year and the Islanders have been trending upwards recently. While it was a steep price to pay, the Canucks plug a hole that they’ve been trying to fix for years with this deal and add a quality defenceman with many strong years left.

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