Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Meet the Sellers: Two players from the Anaheim Ducks the Canucks could target in a trade
11 days ago
The end of the regular season is fast approaching, and the Vancouver Canucks have a clear goal before that day comes: to build a Stanley Cup favourite as fast as possible.
Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford will certainly be among the biggest shoppers in the NHL’s trade market, and there are a number of potential sellers they’ll be talking with before the March 8th NHL trade deadline. So many, that we simply can’t break them all down in one article.
That’s why we’re doing a series at CanucksArmy profiling a few of the teams with the highest-profile players in the trade market, starting today with the Anaheim Ducks. Over the next few weeks leading up to the trade deadline, we’ll be bringing you new teams and players to keep an eye on before the clock strikes 12 on March 8.
Why the Ducks are selling
The Ducks are a team with plenty of future potential. Led by a core of up-and-coming stars like Leo Carlsson, Mason McTavish and Troy Terry, Anaheim is looking forward to a long window of Stanley Cup contention, but that day is still many years away.
The Ducks currently hold a record 18-30-2 and 38 points, just five more than the last-place San Jose in the Pacific Division and eight more than dead-last Chicago in the overall league standings. Last season, the Ducks owned the NHL’s worst record and hoped to land Connor Bedard for their troubles; instead, the Blackhawks won the lottery, and the Ducks drafted Carlsson as their consolation prize.
That’s why Ducks GM Pat Verbeek is more than prepared to offload pending UFAs — and in some cases, players with term — for the right draft picks and prospects. Fielding a competitive team takes time, and it goes without saying by the time that season arrives, the majority of players on the Ducks’ current roster will not be there to see it.
As far as the Canucks are concerned, there are only a few players that could potentially meet their needs, and both of them are forwards.
Adam Henrique is the kind of player that just about any team would give their left foot (or a high draft pick) for, which is probably why Daily Faceoff has him in the number 3 spot on their latest Trade Targets board.
Henrique’s 33 points in 49 games is third among Ducks players, taking on a heftier role with Trevor Zegras, Alex Killorn, and Max Jones all missing significant time. Henrique would provide a team with a strong presence in the faceoff dot and is a player who can take a lot of reps on both special teams units.
The 34-year-old also has the intangibles that teams crave, particularly in the playoff experience department. In 2012 as a member of the Devils, Henrique did his best Martin Gelinas impression with two series-winning goals en route to the Stanley Cup Final.
Failed to load video.
Granted, those goals might be a distant memory now and he’s played just four playoff games(!) since. But NHL GMs love a wise veteran who can keep younger players focused in the postseason.
The Canucks could always use another centre, and a few weeks ago, might have been a frontrunner for his services. But after acquiring the top centre available on the market in Elias Lindholm, they’re very likely out on Henrique unless the price drops significantly.
Frank Vatrano’s rise from ‘overqualified bottom six winger’ to NHL All-Star has been quite the journey.
After bouncing around from Boston to Florida to New York, Vatrano arrived in Anaheim after signing a three-year deal in 2022. Last season, Vatrano posted a career-high 41 points in an expanded role with the Ducks. As of today, with around two months left in the season, he’s just five points away from matching that mark.
The 29-year-old has spent most of the season on a line with Mason McTavish, though lately, Vatrano’s been skating alongside Bo Groulx and Troy Terry. Vatrano’s numbers have sparked many contending teams’ interest in shoring up their scoring depth, but his contract’s expiration date in 2025 might prove to be a sticking point.
Vatrano carries a cap hit of $3.65 million into next year, meaning any interested party will have less space to work with in the offseason. For a team whose championship window is starting to close, that’s probably an easier pill to swallow. But if the future is a little more foggy, like with the Canucks, committing those dollars would be a big ask.
Are the Ducks the right trade partner for the Canucks?
Not all that long ago, the answer would’ve been a strong yes. But after Elias Lindholm’s arrival, the Canucks have a few less key assets to offer Pat Verbeek and much less need for forward help.
Still, Vatrano’s contract certainty next season could make him a player worth looking at. Allvin and Rutherford will still want to leave as much room for signing Elias Pettersson to a contract extension as possible, and make sure not to give up any blue chip prospects like Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Tom Willander. But if the price for Vatrano isn’t super high, he could provide some insurance for free agency if players like Lindholm, Teddy Blueger and Dakota Joshua all get raises elsewhere.
Recent articles from Lachlan Irvine