The Vancouver Canucks have wanted a left winger for a long time, but a top defenseman sure wouldn’t hurt either.
While the Vancouver Canucks seem to be happy with their defense the way it is, the Winnipeg Jets might have to change something soon. According to Jacob Trouba‘s agent Kurt Overhardt, Trouba requested a trade back in May and wants to leave the club.
In the past four months, the Jets didn’t have to worry about trading Trouba too much, but things are getting serious now. Trouba is a restricted free agent and it seems like nothing will change his mind. He will not attend training camp and wants to go into the season with a different club.
The Canucks might not have the assets, but they should make a serious pitch nonetheless.
Trouba, a 22-year-old defenseman, is going into his fourth NHL season after being drafted ninth overall by the Jets in 2012. According to Overhardt, there is just one simple reason for the trade request:
"“The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.“To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.”"
What He Could Bring to Vancouver
But, a bigger role on the right side? Canucks fans will say Vancouver can’t offer that. Objectively, however, they definitely can.
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Chris Tanev is one of the most underrated shutdown defensemen in the NHL, but that honestly makes him nothing more than a great second-pairing player.
Likewise, Erik Gudbranson, the newest Canuck on the blue line, is a pure shutdown defender. In 322 career NHL games, he had 11 goals and 32 assists. Even if he ends up being a shutdown player that can convince the analytics community, he will never be a two-way player teams want on their top pairing.
The Canucks currently have enough players on the right side — but they really aren’t that great. A depth chart of Trouba-Tanev-Gudbranson, on the other hand, is the kind of group that can carry a team to a deep playoff run (and get them there in the first place).
So what does it take to get him?
There is no way to sugarcoat it, the Canucks don’t have the assets. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying.
Those trades didn’t have fair value, but here’s to hoping the Canucks can for once be on the receiving end of a trade like that.
A decent comparison for what we can hope for is the trade that sent forward Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. Here is the complete deal:
If we ignore the scraps, that’s basically Seguin for now-Canuck Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Joe Morrow. Or, Seguin for an aging veteran, a good forward who isn’t as good as Seguin and a D-man who still needs to prove his worth.
So how about this package?
Trouba, a young top-pairing defenseman, for Jake Virtanen, Brendan Gaunce and Nikita Tryamkin.
At the first glance, that will look like overpayment to Canucks fans. If not, it will look like another typical Benning trade that sends three future roster players away for just one player in return. But, let me assure you, Jets fans would hate this trade even more.
Jake Virtanen has top-six scoring potential, but might not be able to translate his scoring to the NHL level. Brendan Gaunce had 20 scoreless NHL games last season and projects as a career third liner. Last but not least, Nikita Tryamkin could become a good two-way or shutdown defenseman one day, but he is still far from being that full time in the NHL.
The value probably isn’t fair here. Jets fans wouldn’t like it, Canucks fans wouldn’t like it. But it’s the closest to fair value the Canucks can get without giving up Horvat or Ben Hutton.
Vancouver Canucks fans are craving for a deal that would have the entire league scream “Vancouver wins”. Things don’t usually work that way, but trades like Hall for Larsson give Jim Benning hope it can happen.
The Trouba situation also isn’t like most others. Winnipeg is in an extremely difficult situation. They don’t want to sell Trouba for a bag of pucks, but they also don’t want him sitting out 50 games before they find a trade partner.
In the summer of 2015, the Colorado Avalanche traded forward Ryan O’Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher, and the No. 31 pick in the 2015 draft. The value wasn’t fair, and the Sabres are probably happier than the Avalanche today, but that’s the way things go sometimes.
The Canucks don’t seem to have the assets to pull of a trade. Because the players with potential don’t have have much value a to this point.
But making a pitch sure doesn’t hurt — you never know.