Vancouver Canucks: Players Jim Benning should trade for


Some NHL teams are still trying to hammer out long-term extensions with key players and will lose significant cap space. This could give Jim Benning the chance to make a big move.

The Vancouver Canucks may be in the midst of a “rebuild”, but it never hurts to trade for veterans that can make the team better. As a number of teams head to arbitration hearings with their top players, general manager Jim Benning has a golden opportunity to take advantage of them.

Vancouver is fortunate in having plenty of salary cap space — $8.812 million according to Assuming the Sedins either re-sign for much less or don’t return after 2018, then the Canucks will have more significant money coming off the books.

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So this is where Benning can afford to add one or two solid veterans from other teams who will need to create cap space if they are to sign long-term deals with their top RFAs.

For example, the New York Rangers are working on extending Mika Zibanejad, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the two sides are slightly off in negotiations:

A deal will most definitely get done between the two sides. But the Rangers only have $8.4 million left in cap space, so they will have to clear out space.

Larry Brooks from the New York Post speculates that the Rangers could buy out defenceman Marc Staal, who has for more years on his current deal that’ll pay him $5.7 million a season.

I hope Benning read Brooks’ report.

Staal could solidify Canucks’ defence

Staal has been a reliable shutdown defenceman over the last few seasons. He’s posted a plus-rating in each of the last three seasons. When healthy, he’s capable of posting 80-120 hits a season. Staal also has 340 hits over his last three seasons. He’s the ideal stay-at-home defenceman the Canucks need in a punishing Pacific Division.

Trading for Staal would be a huge risk for Benning — but it really could pay off. Remember, veteran blueliner Alexander Edler is bound to get traded at some point.

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The 31-year-old has just two years left on his deal at $5 million a season. He doesn’t have a long-term future in Vancouver, so perhaps the Canucks should propose an Edler-for-Staal swap? That gives the Rangers more long-term cap flexibility.

Perhaps the Canucks could package Derek Dorsett and a draft pick? Maybe the Rangers virtually give away Staal and offer to retain some of the salary? Either way, he’s worth a look for Benning.

Nyquist is worth a look

Also in the trade rumors is speedy Swede, Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings. Craig Custance from The Athletic (per Spectors Hockey) noted that the Wings need to clear cap space to re-sign Andreas Athanasiou. Detroit actually has NO cap space (per, so they do have to move out a high-salaried player.

Nyquist has two years remaining at $4.75 million a season, and indeed is a logical trade candidate. The Canucks should be in on this.

The 5-foot-11 speedster scored 28 goals in 2013-14, 27 the next but has just 17 and 12 over the last two seasons. He’s inconsistent, but he’s got insane wheels and a slick shot that could be a great fit in the Canucks’ top-six.

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Detroit’s in need of a defenceman, and an Edler-for-Nyquist swap would fix a need for both teams. The Vancouver Canucks should try to take advantage of the Red Wings’ cap crunch and find a way to make a deal for Gustav Nyquist, who could be a huge part of this team’s long-term future if he can find his old scoring touch.