On Tuesday’s episode of Donnie and Dhali – The Team, Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Vancouver Canucks are receiving trade calls on Nils Höglander. Dhaliwal went on to say that the Canucks are not shopping Höglander and that Dhaliwal doesn’t see the Canucks moving Höglander.
The 21-year-old Höglander has not been seeing as much ice with Bruce Boudreau as he was beginning to become accustomed to in his NHL career. Höglander has averaged just 12:29 of ice time under Boudreau after averaging 15:07 in the first 81 games of his career. It’s not shocking that teams are checking in to see if the Swedish winger is available. Boudreau has been very clear when speaking publicly about Höglander. Boudreau believes that Höglander needs to work on his defence to be an effective NHLer.
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Boudreau is correct as we have seen multiple occasions where Höglander has had a defensive blunder that results in a prime scoring chance against. On top of the defensive deficiencies, Höglander’s scoring is down like 50 Cent after hanging upside down for eight seconds.
It should be noted that even though Höglander is producing less offence, he is shooting the puck more under Boudreau. The new coach in town is stressing that the players shoot the puck more and this can be seen with Höglander’s shots per 60 jumping from 8.67 to 10.03 with the new coach in town.
Boudreau is playing Höglander less and less because of the problems in the defensive zone but Boudreau also realizes that this is a kid who is struggling right now and has bigger plans for him once his luck begins to turn.
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In the 24 games under Boudreau, only Brad Hunt (91.43%) has a worse on-ice save percentage at five-on-five.
This lower save percentage makes Höglander’s defence look even worse than it actually is. Höglander is definitely a high-energy defender, it just feels as if he gets lost at times and gives defencemen a lot of room to walk into the centre of the ice or beat him by the boards to open up an easier passing lane.
Teams around the league should be calling about Höglander. He is a 21-year-old who jumped into the NHL and made an immediate impact on a top-six line that faced incredibly tough matchups all season long. Now, we are seeing more of what Höglander is going to be. He is an offensive-minded middle-six winger who can create a lot of offence at even strength but has a ways to go before he is trusted in his own zone.
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The good news is that Höglander is only 21 years old and has a coach that has made it very clear to him that he needs to work on his defensive game to play more minutes for the current coach. Höglander is a worker bee and from conversations with those in his SHL organization, he is going to work as hard as he can and work with the coaches to give them what they want.
A talent like Höglander is hard to find and the fact that the Canucks drafted him in the second round and got him to the NHL within 18 months of his draft day was very impressive. The only way a Höglander trade makes sense is if there is a right-shot defenceman or centre who has high potential in their own right.
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And guess what…
I’ve got a few examples of those players.
Moving Höglander would be a mistake in my eyes due to his scoring potential at even-strength but there are some names that I’m willing to listen to.

Connor McMichael, C/W, Washington Capitals

We know that Jim Rutherford loves speed and if you saw the World Junior Championships last year, you know that Connor McMichael has a ton of speed. He is a centre by trade but is spending more time on the wing after a tough start in the centre dot earlier this season. The Capitals are looking for more scoring from their forward group and may want the services of Höglander and attempt to milk his top-notch offensive analytics in a bigger role than the Canucks are playing him in.
McMichael’s future projects him as a centre but similar to Höglander, he has been demoted down the lineup. McMichael is averaging only 9:12 of ice time over his last 27 games.
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McMichael has seven goals and eight assists on the season. He has not spent much time on the power play but has the speed that Rutherford-run teams typically have.
With a draft pick balancing act, this could be a deal that benefits both teams.

Brock Faber, RD, Los Angeles Kings

If you are looking to move Höglander for a RD, the simplest, most even trade I can think of is doing a one-for-one with the Los Angeles Kings and acquiring RD prospect Brock Faber.
He’s got a great name and there’s a lot to like about the big body right-shot defenceman who is moving his way up the ranks and will make a strong push to turn pro after his NCAA season this year. The Kings are jam-packed loaded with right-shot defenceman and could move Faber with the depth that they have. After the Flames made a move to add depth scoring to their group, the Kings may look to do the same as they attempt to continue to hold down a playoff spot.
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The Kings have been slipping as of late and find themselves holding onto the second wildcard spot in a battle with the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. They may look to add to their group by moving some prospects because they have a strange cap situation with Drew Doughty (six years) and Anze Kopitar (three years) on the books for a combined 21 million dollars.
They may want to push and Faber is an extra RD that they could move on from.
It would hurt to play in the same division against Höglander, but a RD who has top-four potential makes a lot of sense for the Canucks moving forward.

Thomas Harley, LD, Dallas Stars

Thomas Harley is an extremely talented, big, smooth-skating defenceman. I don’t think Höglander straight across is enough to get a deal done, the Canucks would likely have to add. The Dallas Stars already have two excellent left-shot defenceman in Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen. They may want to add a middle-six scorer and Höglander fits the bill. Harley would be a huge boost to the Canucks’ lineup and brings some size to the left side.
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It would put Jack Rathbone’s future in question or bring up the possibility of Quinn Hughes or Oliver Ekman-Larsson moving to the right side. No matter the case, Harley would be a huge boost to the Canucks and could really jumpstart a retool on the blue line even if it costs the Canucks an additional pick.
The Stars are in the chase for the wildcard spot now and they could be buyers over the next five weeks as the trade deadline approaches.
Well, this wraps up the article about why the Canucks can’t trade Nils Höglander, unless it’s a player of similar quality in a position of need. Let me know what your thoughts are on these trade options and give me a couple of other names if you think the Canucks could move Höglander and not hate the deal.
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If you don’t think the Canucks should even entertain trading Höglander, let me know as well! I want to hear all opinions as I’ve laid out a couple of options and reasons why the Canucks shouldn’t trade him.