Vancouver Canucks: Chris Tanev’s trade valuable going up

WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 21: Christopher Tanev
WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 21: Christopher Tanev /

A handful of this year’s NHL playoff teams have been exposed miserably on the blue line, and it could mean more valuable trade offers for Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning.

Coming off yet another non-plaoyoff season, the Vancouver Canucks will have plenty of difficult decisions to make this offseason — in both the trade and free agent markets.

With the Sedin twins retired, $14 million in cap space opens up for general manager Jim Benning. He could either stand pat and keep that space for the long run, or he can try to make a big splash or two.

On top of that, Benning must decide if he wants to load up on more draft picks by trading away veteran players. Obviously, top defenceman Chris Tanev‘s is this team’s best trade candidate — despite his long injury history.

Though the front office has yet to show they’re interesting in moving out the 28-year-old, Tanev’s trade value can only be increasing during the 2018 playoffs. Just look at how miserable the Toronto Maple Leafs defence has been through the first two playoff games against the Boston Bruins.

Jason Brough of TSN 1040 had this to share as the Leafs got rolled in Game 2:

Tanev was linked to the Leafs at the trade deadline, but the Canucks were seemingly never close to moving him. Boy, does Toronto general manager Lou Lamoriello wish he found a way to make a deal happen.

The Leafs have a world class group of forwards in Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, James van Riemsdyk and Patrick Marleau, among others. That’s still not enough to win playoff games, and a player like Tanev would change the dynamic of this team.

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But it’s not just Toronto that could use a player like Tanev, and they’re not the only team with young assets that can offer up a solid deal for him in a trade.

The Minnesota Wild have also been horrendous on the blue line without Ryan Suter, who’s done for the season with a fractured fibula.

The idea of he and Tanev as a defensive pairing would scare the rest of a stacked Central Division.

You also wonder if the Anaheim Ducks — with their Stanley Cup window rapidly closing — would make an offer for Tanev. T

hey’re down 2-0 in their series to the San Jose Sharks, and another blueliner could be needed as their core players wear down. The Ducks just don’t have the mobility to keep up with the younger and faster Sharks right now.

Also, might the Colorado Avalanche or Philadelphia Flyers consider a move for Tanev? Both teams are loaded with 20-goal scorers, but they could certainly use a shutdown defenceman like Tanev in future playoff campaigns.

Yes, we’re only in the early stages of the opening round in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. But players like Tanev can take a club from “playoff team” to “Stanley Cup contender.” He shuts down the opposition’s top line, brings plenty of physicality and doesn’t make the mistakes that teams like Minnesota and Toronto have made thus far.

For the Canucks, it may be hard to trade away a talented defenceman like Tanev. Players of his caliber don’t grow on trees, but 2018 playoff teams are probably going to target him this offseason.

Next: Canucks: Benning has options on draft day

And if the offer is too good for Benning to pass up, the Canucks may have to deal their top blueliner if it means bringing in a package of young assets that will help them build towards the future.