Vancouver Canucks Tanking 101: A Plan of Action

Feb 13, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev (8) reaches for the puck after a shot on net by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 13, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev (8) reaches for the puck after a shot on net by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 15, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen (36) waits for the faceoff in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Next Level: True Tanking

Shipping out the pending UFAs is not enough to tank properly. Adam Cracknell would draw into the lineup, and he has got to be an upgrade to Radim Vrbata, the way Vrbata has been playing lately. Pedan might be an upgrade to Bartkowski and Weber!

Motivated kids and veterans like Cracknell who is trying to find the second prime of their careers can be really tough to win against, you know.

So what do the Canucks do if they truly need to tank? Ship out more veterans. Hopefully, everyone agrees that shipping out the kids is not an option.

Here we go.

1. Alex Burrows

Burrows is the most natural option to consider trading away. After the no-trade-clause rumbling over the weekend, his name should have surfaced on a few of the GMs’ minds around the league. And especially after this, the 34-year-old and his $4.5 million contract might be up for grabs.

This is an obvious choice. I have felt that Burrows has backed away from the gritty part of the game this season following the Patrick O’Sullivan allegations. In fact, after averaging two minutes of penalty each game from about 2007 to 2010, his past few seasons have plateaued to average just one minute a penalty each game.

This year, Burrows now has 32 penalty minutes in 54 games. That is less than .60 penalty minutes per game. Seems that dropping production isn’t the only reason that Burrows has got to go.

2. Ryan Miller

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This is also a common thought that has surfaced on Twitter a few times this season. With Markstrom making a strong case for the starting role and Miller being equal to the task, one has got to go sometime. That was going to be the summer of 2017 after Miller’s six million dollar contract wears off.

But with Markstrom seemingly ready to handle the number one job already, isn’t selling high on Miller this season the best thing to do?

The Canucks would get even more cap space for this summer and give Markstrom more minutes. No need to worry about a poor goaltending performance to be the cause of an early playoff exit — there will be no playoffs if this is the course of action that Vancouver takes.

3. Jannik Hansen

Now this is where the real pain comes to tanking.

When all these names are gone, Vancouver has just one valuable name not spelled Sedin left on the Canucks that is on the wrong side of 27. And off-loading Hansen makes sense, given how poorly the team would need to play in order to lose the most. Take out the best player that you can touch!

That player on the offence is Jannik Hansen. To be honest, who would be the one name that gets traded to spell “TANK” in Vancouver? The Honeybadger, right? 16 goals and 28 points sure sounds like some trade value to me.

If the Canucks trade all these names in addition to the pending free agents, they would have almost $30 million in cap space for this offseason.

Imagine what $30 million could do.

So what does real tanking bring to the Canucks? An accelerated learning curve for Jacob Markstrom, a lost honeybadger, and not much more. Again, not much left of the Vancouver Canucks to actually try to tank out.

On the other hand, a lot of cash to spend for Mr. Jim Benning and his over-the-top free agent deals.

Next: Day One Bottomline