Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen had a career season in 2015-16, making this the perfect time to trade him.
Jannik Hansen is a hard-working winger who has became a part of the Vancouver Canucks’ system in 2004, when the club drafted him 287th overall. The Dane has since appeared in 601 games for the Canucks and had a career year in 2015-16, recording his all-time high 22 goals.
Because of that, his value seems to be at an all-time high as well. Most rebuilding clubs would waste no time to put Hansen on the trade block to acquire a draft pick or prospect.
But the Canucks are not like most rebuilding clubs.
All the Sedins Need
J.D. Burke — Canucks Army: Should the Canucks Trade Jannik Hansen?
"It’s not so much an issue of whether the Canucks can or cannot live with Hansen in their lineup. He makes the team better and relative to his contract (Hansen makes just $2.5-milllion annually) might be among the team’s best bargains. Losing Hansen is a net loss. Let’s get that out of the way.His contributions aren’t irreplaceable, though. And that’s at the crux of many a hockey decision, Canucks or otherwise."
Jannik Hansen didn’t only prove he can score goals. He also showed us all that he is really all the Sedin twins need on their top line. A hard-working winger who battles for pucks, drives the net with speed and knows how to bury their passes. And the Canucks are not the only team where speedy grinders work well with highly skilled line mates.
Conor Sheary — Sidney Crosby — Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz — Evgeni Malkin — Bryan Rust
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Those are two of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup-winning lines, centered by two of the best and most skilled centers in the world. The top line has Patric Hornqvist on the right wing, another highly talented and skilled winger. But on the left side, it’s Conor Sheary, and undersized but energetic forward. On the Evgeny Malkin line, we have Chris Kunitz — a career top-six player — on the left wing and Bryan Rust on the right — another quick-skating and hard-working forward.
Stacking one line with skilled players like Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson is great, but it might not actually be the best option. On the power play it sure is, but on even strength, a Jannik Hansen is all skilled players need. Plus, Hansen is a strong two-way player while the Sedins aren’t as responsible in their own zone as they used to be.
Long story short, Hansen is a great player for the Canucks. But… there is always a but.
Back in February, I wrote a post listing three reasons why the Canucks should trade Hansen: he was never a true first-line player, his value is at an all-time high and his roster spot is needed by players like Jake Virtanen. All of the above is still true, and trading Hansen for a draft pick or prospect really wouldn’t be that bad. As well as might play with the Sedins, it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be replaceable.
Still, things have changed since February. Back then, the Canucks were unlikely to make the playoffs and a deadline deal could have brought them a first-round pick from a contender. But then, they traded Jared McCann, a talented center, to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Erik Gudbranson, and signed Loui Eriksson.
The Vancouver Canucks made clear they want to make the playoffs no matter what.
Now here’s the deal. Trading Hansen would make the roster worse. He is replaceable on the top line, but his departure would weaken the team overall. If they want to make the playoffs, trading a 22-goal scorer is not a smart move.
Whether you think the Canucks are a legitimate playoff candidate or not, trading Hansen just doesn’t fit the current philosophy.