Vancouver Canucks Rumours: Market Slowly Heating Up

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The Vancouver Canucks could use some help on the tradefront.

With the Vancouver Canucks trying to keep their heads above water, they might have to get active on the tradefront. After long weeks of silence on the NHL trade market, the first of many trades to come fell through, between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Let us use this opportunity to open up the trade possibilities for the Canucks. The Canucks have three obvious holes in their line up. Vancouver lacks a good top-four defenceman who can cover for Ben Hutton as he grows into that top-four role — they need what we call a “top-three defenceman”. The Canucks also lack secondary scoring from second-line wingers, on both sides of the wing. Lastly, the Nucks would love to have a legitimate scoring threat on the right side of the Sedins.

Sure, assets can come in over free agency. But with the Canucks not really looking like a competitive contender and with the Canadian dollar low, Vancouver might not be able to lure in the key players they desperately need. For a few weeks now — and even since before the beginning of the regular season — the Vancouver Canucks were expected to ship out their UFAs and their crumbling ancient core. Radim Vrbata’s name was out there, and so was Dan Hamhuis’s.

But with the team now struggling so mightily and the kids slowing drowning in the long 82-game NHL grind, they might have to apply some patchwork to the ship before it sinks — quickly.

The Round-Up

The Roster Freeze

The Holiday roster freeze is effective from Saturday, December 19th, to Sunday, December 27th. Can we expect the Canucks to seek immediate help while Brandon Sutter, Dan Hamhuis, and even Luca Sbisa are out over the roster freeze phase? Personally, I cannot see it happening, but the Canucks do play six more games from today to the end of the roster freeze…

Local Boy Ryan Johansen?

As the Columbus Blue Jackets move the struggling centreman to the wing in hopes of keeping him productive, one can easily toss his name into the rumour mills — and link him to his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks. The Blue Jackets are seeking defensive help. Could Hamhuis be an option for Columbus? Would Johansen be a good fit with the Canucks?

More from The Canuck Way

Although logic says that Ryan Johansen, just removed from a 71 point season, would love to play for the Canucks, I cannot imagine GM Jim Benning looking to add more down the middle. Henrik Sedin, Brandon Sutter, Bo Horvat, and Jared McCann all clog up the middle, and unless you want to move McCann or Johansen to the wings, there simply is no room for Johansen on the Canucks.

However, Ryan Johansen is just such an intriguing name. Still just 23 years of age, and a massive presence at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds. Though under former Canuck bench boss John Tortorella, the Vancouver-native forward is struggling mightily, and Lord knows how much he could fetch in the trademarket. Lyle Richardson from The Hockey News notes that “Johansen would undoubtedly fetch a top-two blue liner (and maybe a high draft pick or top prospect as well)”. Hamhuis would be the only thing close to that, and to add more to that would be to shoot yourself in the foot, if you were the Canucks.

Milan Lucic content on staying with the L.A. Kings?

Another local boy who has quietly settled in, is power forward Milan Lucic. His season thus far has been a decent showing, with 20 points in 30 games played in an L.A. uniform. If Milan Lucic is ever coming to Vancouver to play for the Canucks, he will likely do so in free agency and not via trade. Why not come to your old Boston boss, Jim Benning? Milan would play with the Sedins, should he come to Vancouver via free agency this summer after his contract expires.

Travis Hamonic is still on the move.

Related Story: The Case for Travis Hamonic

The Vancouver Canucks were way up there in the list of teams that Travis Hamonic, the New York Islander top defenceman, would like to be traded to. I got a little excited then, too. And with his name slowly sifting down in the rumour mills, I just can’t help but wonder if the Canucks’ search for a top defenceman should be complete by acquiring the young defenceman. But obviously, the Canucks did ask and came back dejected and empty-handed.

I still think that the Canucks could revisit the NY Islanders with an offer, now that the Islanders know that the market cannot bear such a high price tag for Hamonic. Although this is highly unlikely, I suggest names such as Hamhuis, Chris Higgins, Sven Baertschi, and Yannik Weber.

Next: Week 11 Outlook: The Uphill Momentum

So what do you think? The Canucks would be wise to not chase these lofty names, but could they still pull off a major move, even before the roster freeze kicks in?

In the coming installments of the weekly trade front round-ups, we will recap the news and rumblings on the NHL trade front and see how the Canucks could potentially be involved. Comment below or tweet us @FSTheCanuckWay, @JanikBeichler, or @dave_NuckyJ with your ideas, speculations, and opinions.