The Vancouver Canucks had a disastrous NHL Trade Deadline, no arguing that. But there’s still things to be excited for.
When February 29th and the NHL Trade Deadline passed and it was all said and done for the Vancouver Canucks, it amounted to losing Adam Cracknell on waivers, trading Hunter Shinkaruk for Markus Granlund, and giving up a draft pick to acquire the rights to Philip Larsen from the Edmonton Oilers.
Not exactly groundbreaking. Not exactly what anyone was expecting.
Dan Hamhuis is still here, Radim Vrbata is still here, and six of the “Garage Sale Seven” are still here. Epic fail. Although, Canucks GM Jim Benning was pretty adamant that they tried to make deals but in the case of Hamhuis, nothing made sense. And in the case of Vrbata, there literally wasn’t a single offer.
So while we may have wasted a morning frantically hitting refresh on our Twitter feeds to ultimately be left with it all amounting to nothing, there’s still pieces in place for Canucks fans to be excited for.
Even if it doesn’t seem that way.
The Youth Will Be Served
When asked about how Vrbata, who’s not expected to return next season, affects the lines for the remainder of this season, Benning replied it would be up to head coach Willie Desjardins, but also that the Canucks would be calling up more youth and that the young guys would be played more for the remainder of the season.
If that’s the case, that’s bad news for underperforming veterans like Alex Burrows (two goals in last 29 games played) and Vrbata (three goals in last 30 games played) and hopefully good news for Jared McCann, especially since he no longer has to compete with Cracknell for the fourth-line centre position.
If youth are going to get a chance and more youth will be called up, logic would suggest that Burrows and Vrbata are the guys who would see time on the bench.
Logic would suggest, anyways. If there’s any of that left anymore.
Ideally, I’d love to see a lineup at some point something like this:
With Zalewski getting another look too.
And on defense, I’d love to see Andrey Pedan brought up in place of Yannick Weber. Weber has already cleared waivers, what have you got to lose?
And Then There’s Next Season
First priorities should be resigning pending restricted free agents such as Emerson Etem, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, and Andrey Pedan. Add Mike Zalewski, Linden Vey, and Ronalds Kenins as possibilities too. Albeit slim possibilities.
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Then getting those European players over here such as Nikita Tryamkin, Anton Rodin, and especially new acquisition Philip Larsen should be the next priority. Especially considering two of those three are expected to be Canucks roster players next season.
And, of course, looking to get NCAA stand-outs Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko under contract if they’re ready to sign.
There’s more than a couple of intriguing names there, right?
So far, next year’s roster looks something like this:
I left Burrows out on purpose. I just can’t see him lasting through the off-season.
The same goes for Hamhuis. When you consider Pedan will be waiver-eligible if re-signed, there’s no room for an aging left-handed veteran defenceman. A right-handed free agent though? Well, that’s a different story. But a story for another day.
Add in a free agent wherever you see a weakness since the Canucks should have at least $7 million or $8 million of cap remaining after resigning and signing this projected roster.
The Special Teams
Guys like Larsen will help the powerplay. Or should. It’s not like it could get much worse.
Expect a new first powerplay unit of something like this:
With a second unit something like:
That’s honestly a couple of units I can see finding success. Larsen scores, just look up his stats. Same with Rodin.
There’s also the penalty kill. That should do pretty good as well.
Maybe a first unit of something like:
And a second unit of something like:
Those are both decent-looking units as well.
Then your 3-0n-3 overtime.
There are some decent looking units there too.
I don’t think anyone is expecting a Stanley Cup next season. This would be a good start in building towards something though.
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When you consider potential, there’s whole lot of it. Regardless of how disappointing this trade deadline was, there’s still a future to look forward to. Both next season and beyond. Dont forget, the Canucks also have two of the most intriguing prospects in the entire NCAA in Thatcher Demko and Brock Boeser, who Canucks fans should get to see in the next couple of seasons either on the Canucks roster or on the Utica Comets.
Did I mention Demko is nominated for both best goalie and best player in the NCAA while also breaking the all-time shutout record in a season for Boston College set by former Canuck Cory Schneider?
Or that Boeser has now tied the rookie scoring record for Washington Capitals forward T.J Oshie and still has games to go? While also being named player of the week and player of the month on a few occasions this season.
Yeah, Boeser might end up being better than Oshie. Let that one sink in for a minute.
The right now sucks, I cant argue that. The future though? Well, there’s a lot to get optimistic about.
And don’t forget how active Benning has been in the offseason these last two years as opposed to the deadline. Mr. “I Love Draft Picks” still has a chance to get some there.
Maybe, just maybe, we can put our pitchforks and torches away. At least until September.