With the trade deadline just a month away, the Vancouver Canucks appear to be gearing up for another year of selling. Here are the latest rumours about possible trades involving the team.
The Vancouver Canucks are on their way to a third-straight season of missing the playoffs, which means general manager Jim Benning is surely getting ready to sell again at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
After hitting home runs last year by acquiring young talents in Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin in separate trades, the front office must feel inclined to once again sell off veterans for young assets.
When it comes to which players could be on the move, sniper Thomas Vanek and 6-foo-5 defenceman Erik Gudbranson dominate the rumour mill. Both are pending free agents, and both will be attractive targets for seems seeking depth heading into the playoffs.
Though the Sedin twins are pending UFAs, there are zero indications that they want to leave. Alexander Edler‘s no-movement clause makes him a difficult choice to move, and the Canucks seem keen on holding onto the 31-year-old.
Now, Michael Del Zotto‘s name is entering the trade rumour mill. According to John Jaeckel of The Rink, the Chicago Blackhawks have looked at the 27-year-old Del Zotto:
Del Zotto has been a major underachiever in his first year with the Canucks. He has just two goals and 14 points on the season, with a woeful 44.9 Corsi For percentage.
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Vancouver would probably be happy to clear his salary, though the return from a cap-strapped Chicago team is going to have to be minimal.
Friedman doesn’t expect the Canucks to shop Tanev, unless “it ever gets to the point where the Canucks aren’t sure they can keep him.”
As for Vanek, Friedman reported that other clubs believe the Canucks may try to retain and extend him. Friedman isn’t certain on that, however.
Extending Vanek may be a smart call for the Canucks, as he’s generated ample offence with 13 goals and 32 points thus far.
Vanek has been an excellent leader for the younger players, and could probably be extended on a short-term deal. If Benning doesn’t think he’s receiving a fair offer for Vanek, keeping him may be the only option.
As for Tanev, Benning has already made it clear last offseason that he doesn’t have any intentions on trading Tanev (per Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province). He’s far-and-away the team’s best defenceman, so the Canucks shouldn’t be listening to offers for him at this time.
Right now, Gudbranson seems like the most likely to get dealt. He’s a pending UFA and has struggled in his short two-year tenure with the Canucks. But given his size and physical edge, other teams may look to add him. Guys of his caliber can be difference makers in the playoffs.
It remains to be seen which Canucks get traded at the deadline, but we won’t have to wait much longer to find out. But it does seem likely that at least one or two players will be packing up their bags in a month’s time.