Vancouver Canucks need to trade veterans this summer


Daniel and Henrik Sedin are now retired, but that doesn’t mean the Vancouver Canucks should be aggressive buyers this summer. Instead, the front office should ship out a handful of veteran players.

Thanks to the retirements of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks will have $14 million more in salary cap space — but that doesn’t give general manager Jim Benning a good excuse to spend away this summer.

There’s always a temptation for general managers to spend right up to the salary cap when they have this much space. But Benning is in a unique situation, and he’d be better off actually ctrying to create more cap room.

Young players like Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser stepped up and will now carry the torch as the next franchise icons, unless Elias Pettersson and their 2018 first-round pick are ready to step up immediately. Don’t bank on that yet, though.

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Besides Pettersson, other prospects like Jonathan Dahlen, Olli Juolevi and Thatcher Demko could all be NHL regulars in 2018-19. Adam Gaudette and Jake Virtanen are other young players that will see plenty of ice time from here on out.

So with so many young players to inject into the lineup, what should Benning do about it? The answer is obvious: Trade away a handful of the veterans. Clear more cap space and make more room for the kids.

Goalie Anders Nilsson has to go. Demko and Jacob Markstrom will most certainly be the tandem next year, and there’s no point in carrying three goalies.

Fortunately, Nilsson shouldn’t be hard to move. He only has one year at $2.5 million left on his contract. There are teams like the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames that could use another goalie. He can probably be had for a mid-to-late round pick.

Meanwhile, blueliner Michael Del Zotto couldn’t fit the scheme of head coach Travis Green. However, he’ll only be 28 next year, can skate fast and only has one year left at a $3 million cap hit. Teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs need blueline depth. Del Zotto could be had for a mid-level prospect or mid-round pick.

Though the Canucks haven’t showed a willingness to move out Alexander Edler or Chris Tanev, Benning could change his mind if the right offer comes along. I’m fine with both players staying, but the Canucks can’t just ignore all calls for either defenceman.

Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter have untradeable contracts, unless the Canucks want to swap either for an underachieving player carrying a similar deal. Not seeing what the point of that would be, though.

It’d be ideal if the Canucks could find a taker for Sam Gagner — who’s signed for two more years at $3.15 million a year. But they haven’t hinted yet that he’s on the trade block, so don’t get your hopes up too high.

Finally, that leaves Ben Hutton — a frequent healthy scratch who’s signed for one more year at $2.8 million. Considering he was often criticized by coach Green, it’s logical to believe Benning will move him out.

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I’m not suggesting that Benning trades every single one of these players mentioned, but it would be wise if he could move out two-to-three. He’d clear more cap room, leave the roster spots for the young players and could secure more draft picks.

*Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference and contract details via*