Vancouver Canucks: Exploring a Chris Tanev trade

Mar 25, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev (8) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Canucks defeated the Wild 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev (8) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Canucks defeated the Wild 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Chris Tanev is undoubtedly the Vancouver Canucks’ best trading chip right now, but does it make sense for the team to move its top defenceman?

As the Vancouver Canucks continue to “rebuild,”  speculation persists as to whether or not general manager Jim Benning will trade away some of his veterans for younger assets this offseason.

No Canucks player is more attractive on the trade market right now than Chris Tanev, who is by far the team’s best defenceman. The only question right now is if Vancouver should look at trading Tanev or if they should keep him around during this transition stage.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently shared the latest on the Tanev trade front:

"“There’s been a lot of talk about Chris Tanev and the Vancouver Canucks The one thing I’ve heard is other GMs who say they’ve reached out to Vancouver have been told this is no guarantee and if Chris Tanev is going anywhere the price is going to be very high for him. He’s got three more years under contract. He’s a good player at a good price. I don’t think Vancouver is looking to do this unless it’s a great deal.”"

Of course, it’s worth nothing Benning denied that he was looking to trade Tanev last week.

But, general managers say this all the time about their best players. Take Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens, for example. He said he wasn’t looking to trade away star blueliner P.K. Subban — but he dealt him to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber just days later.

So assuming Benning actually does receive strong offers for Tanev, should he really do it?

Trading Tanev could help the rebuild

The Canucks happen to have one of the NHL’s best and most reliable stay-at-home defencemen in Tanev. Quality blueliners don’t come cheap these days, either. Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli had to surrender a former first overall pick in Taylor Hall just to land a No. 3 defenceman in Adam Larsson.

Imagine what the Canucks could get for Tanev. You’re easily looking at two or three helpful and young assets in return. Perhaps something around a young roster player, a B-level prospect and a first or second-round selection could bait Benning into making such a deal.

Related Story: Canucks won't trade Tanev or Edler this offseason

Vancouver is also enriched in young blueliners with the likes of Troy Stecher, Ben Hutton and Olli Juolevi. Trading Tanev for future roster players (especially goal scorers), may be in the Canucks’ best long-term interest.

Trading away best players for pieces that can help during a rebuilding stage is the trend for general managers these days. If Benning gets the right offer, then he should take a look at it.

Tanev could be vital to Canucks future

On the flip side, the Canucks should just reject any trade offer for Tanev and keep their best blueliner around.

He’s only 27 years of age and is a bargain at $4.45 million for three more years, per Top-pairing defencemen don’t grow on trees, so retaining the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Tanev may just be the safe call.

You can never have enough blueliners these days — just ask teams like the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild — who have built their rosters around young and speedy puck-moving defencemen.

A Canucks blue line that consists of Tanev, Stecher, Hutton and Juolevi down the road would easily be one of the best in hockey. Defence wins championships, and Vancouver would have more than enough of it down the road.


At the end of the day, it may be smart for the Canucks to just hold onto Tanev for the time being.

He’s not even close to 30 years of age, and he’s still a few years away from free agency. There is no rush on a possible trade, and his value will remain increasingly for quite a while.

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Unless Benning is being offered a top-five pick or a 30-goal scorer player, there’s zero need to pull off a Tanev trade now. The Vancouver Canucks should keep their stud blueliner for at least another year before thinking about a blockbuster move.