Over the past weeks, there were several rumors about the Vancouver Canucks’ trade options, including the shopping of core players.
Let’s be honest here. Nobody knows where the Vancouver Canucks are going. The club’s owners and management know where they want to be, but they don’t know whether they have any chance of getting there this season. Which puts everyone in a difficult position.
Because of that, it is completely logical that everyone, fans and writers, think about possible solutions to the organisation’s issues. Plus, of course, the offseason is long, and trade options are a fun way to fill the boring summer days.
But trading Alex Edler or Chris Tanev? Come on, guys.
Back in July, Jason Botchford of The Province explored whether the Canucks could or would trade Tanev. He came to the conclusion that it is an option “the Canucks should be exploring, if they’re not already.” Really?
Then there is the option to trade Edler, Tanev’s partner on the top D-pairing, which has been floated around by several fans and writers over the past weeks. Most recently, it was discussed by Nick Bondi of The Hockey Writers.
The two writers had very different approaches to the situation, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the same thing.
While Botchford suggested the Canucks could have dealt Tanev and the fifth-overall pick in the 2016 draft to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban, Bondi set Edler’s value at “a first or second–round pick, plus a mid-level prospect.” So, while Botchford kept the Canucks’ playoff plans in mind, Bondi went in the full rebuild direction most fans seem to favour.
But either way, it doesn’t make much sense.
Playoffs vs. Rebuild
The Canucks want to get better and reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. So, the only imaginable scenario in which they could trade a core player would be in exchange for a better one. Like trading Tanev for Subban. However, trades like that also require draft picks or prospects to sweeten the deal for the trade partner — like sending the fifth-overall pick to Montreal.
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While the Canucks do want to get better and make the playoffs, they also need to keep an eye on the future. The club’s Stanley Cup window closed a few years ago, and things might get even worse when the Sedin twins retire or regress over the course of the next few seasons. If they don’t manage their assets right, they could end up being a bottom dweller with a shallow prospect pool and no draft picks.
After trading Hunter Shinkaruk to Calgary and Jared McCann plus a second-round pick to Florida, the Canucks need to stock up their prospect pool again. Right now, Thatcher Demko, Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi are the only blue-chip prospects in the system, and the latter wouldn’t even be here, had the Canucks made Botchford’s trade for Subban.
But, again, management is simultaneously trying to improve the team and be competitive, so trading a top-pairing D-man for draft picks is not an option either.
The Vancouver Canucks are in a very difficult situation. Most objective fans and writers are sure the Canucks will finish the 2016-17 season at the bottom of the Pacific Division standings — far away from a playoff spot. Meanwhile, they are trying their best to move up the standings again. As said before, nobody knows where they are really going.
In a situation like that, they really have just one option: role with what they have. Keep the core together, slowly add younger players into the mix, keep as many draft picks as they can, and simply see where it goes. If they are far out of playoff contention at the trade deadline, they can still get rid of guys like Edler or Jannik Hansen.
It just won’t happen right now.