Four crowded position groups on other NHL teams that the Canucks could target in a trade
Photo credit:© Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
By Noah Strang7 months ago
The Vancouver Cancucks enter this offseason hoping to re-tool their roster without significantly increasing the team’s salary commititments. After another dissapoitning season that ended with no playoff games, changes will need to be made to make the postseason in the near future.
Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford have made it clear, both through their words and through their actions, that this is not going to be a full tear down. They want to challenge for the playoffs next season while also working to steadily improve the team’s long term outlook. One way that they hope to do this is to add young players that are either playing in the NHL or are just on the cusp of doing so.
“We want to continue to add players, preferably 25 and younger,” Allvin said when he made an appearance on After Hours earlier this season.
The Canucks had success doing that last season with the arrival of players like Dakota Joshua, Nils Aman, and Ethan Bear. They all were acquired for relatively cheap and made enough of an impression that they have earned a role in the team’s short term plan.
If the Canucks are looking to trade for more players that fit this description, targeting teams that have a surplus at one position group is a good way to go. Teams with strong NHL depth charts and multiple prospects often have trouble letting the younger players naturally develop into larger roles, leading to frustration.
These four organizations have a position group that is overloaded. If the Canucks are looking to facilitate a trade, targeting one of these teams would make things easier and potentially result in a better haul.
Los Angeles Kings defencemen
NHL Regulars: Drew Doughty (33 years old), Matt Roy (28), Sean Walker (28), Sean Durzi (24), Mikey Anderson (23)In the Pipeline: Brandt Clarke (20), Tobias Björnfoot (22), Helge Grans (20), Jordan Spence (22)
The Los Angeles Kings have done an amazing job at restocking their prospect cupboard in a short time frame. As it stands today, they have one of the most intruging collections of young defencemen between the ages of 20-27. With only five NHL spots available after considering the presence of legend Drew Doughty and his $11 million contract, there isn’t enough opportunity for all of these players.
While the Canucks are divisional rivals with the Kings and thus are not natural trade partners, there are so many quality players in this group that the Kings will need to move off at least one eventually anyways.
A natural target for the Canucks could be Jordan Spence. He had 45 points in 56 AHL games this season, finishing sixth among all defecenman in points per game depsite still being just 22 years old. With Doughty, Roy, Walker, Durzi, and Clarke all also right handers, it will be difficult for Spence to grab the role he needs in Los Angeles.
Minnesota Wild top-nine wingers
NHL Regulars: Kirill Kaprizov (25), Mats Zuccarello (35), Ryan Hartman (28), Matthew Boldy (22), Marcus Foligno (31)In the Pipeline: Liam Öhgren (19), Danila Yurov (19), Adam Beckman (21)
The Minnesota Wild have a lot of really solid wingers in their lineup from top to bottom. The names above do not even including pending unrestricted free agents like Gustav Nyquist, Marcus Johansson, or Oscar Sundvist, all of whom have proved themselves to be legitimate top-nine NHL wingers.
Before the Wild even do anything to replace those players for next year, they already have the makings of a solid lineup. Once they add another name or two into the mix this summer, no matter if that’s re-signing players like Nyquist and Johansson or going in a different direction, they’re going to be deep on the wings.
Kaprizov and Boldy have spots in the Wild’s top six for the next five years at least. Öhgren and Yurov are both elite prospects that have top-line potential, though it will take them a while to get there. In the meantime, players like Zuccarello and Foligno will keep those spots warm. That leaves someone like Adam Beckman on the outside looking in and a potential target for the Canucks.
Beckman played mostly in the AHL this season, recording 24 goals and 36 points in 53 games for the Iowa Wild. However when he got his nine game trial in the NHL, he was held completely off the scoresheet. A former third-round pick, Beckman projects as a solid scoring middle-six winger and power play weapon.
New Jersey Devils defencemen
NHL Regulars: Dougie Hamilton (29), John Marino (25), Jonas Siegenthaler (25)In the Pipeline: Luke Hughes (19), Kevin Bahl (22), Simon Nemec (19), Seamus Casey (19),
The New Jersey Devils have three strong defencemen signed long term in Hamilton, Marino, and Siegenthaler. They all have at least four more years under contract after this one, meaning that the Devils have their defence core set. This leaves only three regular NHL spots up for grabs over the next four years unless something drastic changes.
As you can see above, the Devils also have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to defence prospects. They already traded Shakir Mukhamadullin to the San Jose Sharks earlier this season and still have plenty of exciting prospects coming through the system. Nemec and Hughes especially are considered two of the most promising defencemen outside of the NHL and will need regular minutes at the highest level within the next 12-24 months.
Kevin Bahl is 6’6″ and oozes potential but has failed to make his way into the Devils lineup on a full-time basis. He’s played in 66 games over three seasons and is a restricted free agent this summer. With veteran players like Brendan Smith and Damon Severson likely departing this offseason, there will be more room for Bahl to play next year. However, if he doesn’t take full advantage, there will be other prospects nipping at his heels.
Los Angeles Kings centres
NHL Regulars: Anze Kopitar (35), Phillip Danault (30), Blake Lizotte (25), Quinton Byfield (20)In the Pipeline: Rasmus Kupari (23), Tyler Madden (23), Alex Turcotte (22), Francesco Pinelli (20)
The Los Angeles Kings make a second appearance on this list with their centre depth. To start, the trio of Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault, and Quinton Byfield gives them a great presence down the middle for the next few seasons. As Kopitar rides off into the sunset, Byfield should be evolving into one of the best pivots in the league.
However, the depth at the position group goes beyond just those three. There are four players between the ages of 22-25 including former Canucks prospect Tyler Madden, Rasmus Kupari, Blake Lizotte, and Alex Turcotte that will be competing for one spot over the next 2-3 years until Kopitar decides to hang things up.
Lizotte and Kupari could be interesting targets for the Canucks. The former had 34 points in 81 games this season and has another year left on his deal at $1.675 million. Despite being just 5’9″, Lizotte never stops moving and is a great bottom-six centre. On the other side of things, Kupari has struggled to consistently perform at the NHL level. However, at just 23 years old, he does have 130 NHL games under his belt and some untapped potential that could be made better use of with a fresh start.
Recent articles from Noah Strang