The Vancouver Canucks’ updated trade value tier list
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Noah Strang2 months ago
When discussing trades in the NHL, there are many factors to take into account. The most valuable trade pieces across the league are not necessarily the best players. Age, contract status, and other factors can play a huge role in determining a player’s value.
Just look at the Tanner Jeannot trade from this past season for an interesting example. Despite only having one semi-productive season, Jeannot fetched a massive haul in five draft picks and defenceman Cal Foote. His age and contract status helped drive that price up.
Considering their salary cap issues, the Canucks are going to have trouble upgrading through free agency. They need to be active on the trade market to open up cap space and add contributors that have fallen out of favour on other teams. Saying that, the Canucks are going to need to weaponize some of their assets.
The players below have been put into different tiers based on how Patrik Allvin and the rest of the management group would react if another GM called inquiring about a trade. From asking teams to take the player off their hands to hanging up right away, here are all of the Canucks best trade assets ranked.
As this is purely for determining the value of the players and not discussing hypothetical trades, no-movement clauses or anything of the sort have been ignored. In addition, draft picks have been excluded from the list even though they are some of the team’s best trade assets.
Take him off our hands
14. Conor Garland
If a team approached the Canucks offering something for Garland, the deal would have been completed by now. Garland is far from a bad player. He’s a really strong play driver that has continued to be one of the team’s best 5-on-5 scorers no matter who his line mates are or who the coach is.
Unfortunately, as a winger that doesn’t excel on the power play or penalty kill, Garland is the odd man out in Vancouver. With a cap hit of just under $5 million per season, the Canucks would like to get him off the books and reallocate that money somewhere else.
If the Canucks trade him, Garland will be a really strong middle-six winger on another team. At this point, they’d take almost anything that had positive value to make that happen.
We want to see what we have here
13. Elias Pettersson (D)
These players are the toughest to rank in the trade value chart because there is so much uncertainty. However, D-Petey has shown enough since being drafted that he does have positive trade value and could be an intriguing piece in any trade. The fact he was taken in the third-round so recently and the question marks around his offensive production mean that he’s not higher on this list, but Pettersson is a prospect that any team would love to have in their organization.
12. Jonathan Lekkerimaki
Lekkerimaki was another tough player to rank on this list. A top-15 pick just a year ago, he had a very tough season this past year as he struggled with illness, injury, and inconsistency. However, Lekkerimaki did show some flashes of greatness near the end of his season during the playoffs as he had five goals and 10 assists in 15 postseason games.
His value has gone down since draft day, especially as other players like Joakim Kemell who were drafted in the same range have thrived. However, Canucks management wants to give Lekkerimaki a fair shot and see what he can do without having to deal with the injury and illness issues he had last season. The offer would still have to be quite strong to pry the winger away from Vancouver.
11. Nils Höglander
When Nils Höglander broke into the NHL with the Canucks, he quickly impressed fans with his creativity and hustle. Just a few years later, Höglander has never really built on that early success of his rookie season and last year found himself playing in the AHL for a good chunk of the season.
His name has been tossed around in trade talks and a change of scenery might be exactly what he needs, especially with the logjam of wingers in Vancouver limiting his ability to move upwards. However, the Canucks have been trying to use the AHL as a development program and will likely wait and see for at least a few more months before rushing to any decision on Höglander.
10. Ilya Mikheyev
While it’s an entirely different situation than the other three players, Mikheyev is also a player that the Canucks will want to give another chance and see what they have in him. He was shut down last season due to a knee injury. It was later reported that he was dealing with the injury throughout the entire year, hampering his play.
Mikheyev plays a north-south game that new head coach Rick Tocchet appreciates. He’s lightning-fast on the ice and can pressure opposing defencemen by getting in on the forecheck quickly. The Canucks should wait to see what Mikheyev can do when fully healthy before entertaining any offers as even when injured, he looked quite impressive.
You’ll have to overpay
9. Tom Willander
The Canucks latest first-round draft pick Tom Willander plays the most valuable position in the sport. It’s just a fact across the NHL that a 6/10 RHD will fetch more in a trade than an 8/10 RW. This is not putting a ceiling on Willander’s potential but just acknowledging the fact that he’s going to have more value than a winger, even if he doesn’t turn out quite as good.
He has a savvy two-way game and skates very well. Those are both great traits that help defencemen shine at the NHL level. For any team to take Willander off the Canucks’ hands at this point, it would require a massive overpay where the trade could be graded as a win for Vancouver right away.
8. Vasily Podkolzin
Vasily Podkolzin is another recent first-round draft pick by the Canucks. He’s shown flashes at the NHL level that give cause to get excited but has also struggled to put it together for a full season. Podkolzin plays like a modern power forward and if he can find his game, could be a really interesting piece in the top-six.
This upcoming season is a big one for Podkolzin. It’s time for him to take a step forward and come into his own as a player. He needs to stick in the NHL full-time and ideally break the 20-goal mark, if not at least flirt with it. This is not an asset that the Canucks would want to give up on right now, especially with so many years of team control ahead of him.
We’re quietly hoping you’ll take him
7. Brock Boeser
Brock Boeser has been one of the most divisive players among Canucks fans in recent memory. He was the first of this exciting core to play on the team and captured the hearts of many with a brilliant rookie season. Unfortunately, no matter if it’s due to injuries or just opponent’s catching on to his style of play, he hasn’t been able to take the next steps and become that elite sniper everyone thought he would.
Boeser has two seasons left at $6.65 million. If he was being paid $4 million, the Canucks would love to have him on the roster and there would be much less trade chatter around his name. Unfortunately, his contract means that if another team approached them and offered something decent, the Canucks would likely jump at the opportunity to deal Boeser.
6. JT Miller
JT Miller has had his name heavily involved in trade talks for the past year. There was a moment when it seemed like he was going to be dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins at last year’s trade deadline, but that deal fell through.
At his best, Miller is a feisty and talented scorer that can fire up his teammates. At his worst, he’s lazy defensively and can give up on plays too easily. He’s starting a new extension that will cost the Canucks $8 million per year until the end of the 2029-30 NHL season. That’s a big contract for a player that’s already 30.
If the Canucks could find a trade partner, and Miller would waive his no-movement clause, this is a deal that they would like to get out of for the right price.
This better be a good offer or we’re hanging up
5. Andrei Kuzmenko
Andrei Kuzmenko beat even the most optimistic expectations for his first NHL season, finishing with 39 goals and 74 points in 81 games. He was a bonafide top-line winger and was rewarded with a two-year, $5.5m AAV extension as a result. He showed great chemistry alongside Elias Pettersson and could be a long-term fit on his wing.
There are still some concerns with Kuzmenko. He had a much tougher time earning the trust of Rick Tocchet than he did Bruce Boudreau. He found himself getting shuffled around the lineup and fighting to get regular top-six minutes. He also shot 27.3% last season, a non-sustainable number.
Another team would have to offer a pretty big package to take Kuzmenko away from the Canucks. The organization clearly believes in him and they wouldn’t entertain any trade offer that didn’t involve a sizeable package.
4. Filip Hronek
The Canucks gave up a large package to acquire Hronek last season and for good reason. The 25-year-old plays a position of need, already has three NHL seasons with 30+ points, and has shown the ability to chew up minutes. He’s a very good all-around defenceman that fits the timeline of the team very nicely.
The biggest question market when it comes to Hronek is his contract. He’s due for a new one next summer and will be getting a raise on the $4.4 million he’ll earn during the 2023-24 NHL season. However, he’s going to be a restricted free agent, meaning the Canucks will still have some leverage.
Allvin and the rest of the management team would be very hesitant to give away Hronek in any deal. He’s likely off the board in any trade that doesn’t return a legitimate top-four defenceman. While he’s new to the organization, his age and position make him one of the team’s most valuable trade pieces.
Don’t tell anyone, but we’re listening if you’ve got something really good
3. Thatcher Demko
When he’s playing his best, Thatcher Demko is one of the top goalies in the NHL. There are too many times to count when he’s bailed out the Canucks leaky defence with big save after big save. Now that the team has added some more defensive-minded players, hopefully, he won’t be asked to stand on his head night after night.
Demko is also the victim of overuse as the Canucks have routinely played him as much as any goalie across the league. Not only does he play a ton of games, he faces a lot of shots in those games, meaning that he’s constantly being worked.
Demko is a super attractive trade chip because of his contract which has another three years at $5 million. Any contending team would love to add Demko at that number as he can steal an entire playoff series with a few good performances. His asking price would start at a first-round pick and a player and go up from there.
2. Quinn Hughes
Quinn Hughes is the most talented defenceman in franchise history and likely will go down as the best once all is said and done. He’s one of the best offensive defenceman in the NHL and finished last season with 76 points in 78 games. He’s also a possession monster that single-handedly gets the team set up in the offensive zone.
He is also on an absolute steal of a contract with an AAV of $7.85 million. This is a player that will likely be a Norris Trophy contender for the remaining four years of this deal. With this contract, he becomes even more valuable to the Canucks as he’s a surefire bet to outperform that number.
The Canucks are not trading Quinn Hughes by their own will.
1. Elias Pettersson
It was a very difficult decision as to who to put first on this list. The certainty of Hughes having four more years on his contract while Pettersson is up for an extension next season almost swung this the other way, but at the end of the day, Pettersson showed too much this past year not to be on top.
He’s got a great shot, is a terrific passer, draws a ton of penalties, has shown the ability to kill penalties, is one of the smartest players in the game, and can play in all situations. He’s everything that you could ever want out of a top-line centre.
Pettersson is going to get paid next summer. It’s going to be the largest contract by AAV in Canucks history and rightfully so. He’s one of the best players in the league and if the Canucks can build a winning team around him, has the chance to be a Hart Trophy candidate.
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