Why the Vancouver Canucks would benefit from a Chris Tanev trade

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 17: Christopher Tanev
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 17: Christopher Tanev /

The Canucks need a major shake up on their blue line and moving their most valuable trade chip might be the way to do it. This rebuild needs more draft picks and Chris Tanev can obtain them.

Of the many problems plaguing the Vancouver Canucks, defence may be the biggest mess of all. The team’s blueline collectively can’t defend, can’t score and can’t accomplish much of anything. Jim Benning has put it off for long enough. Significant changes must be made to the back end.

Unfortunately, there is very little value among the eight defencemen that suited up for the Canucks this year. At least Philip Holm was able to fetch Brendan Leipsic at the trade deadline. However, the team needs far more than that.

Vancouver needs draft picks. It’s funny how a supposedly rebuilding team is so quick to dispense draft picks like PEZ. Jim Benning has been reluctant to move his most valuable veterans, but with the departure of the Sedins, maybe he can finally make wholesale changes. After all, he and Trevor Linden loved to scapegoat the duo to avoid the rebuild.

Chris Tanev is the only defenceman on the Canucks roster that has value and is likely willing to waive his limited no-trade clause. If asked to waive, Tanev would need to submit an eight-team “no trade” list. With 22 other options on the table, the ease of trading him is there.

Why the time is right now

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Honestly, Tanev should have been traded at last year’s draft with the rumours that were flying around. He is certainly worth at least a first round pick and a prospect for his shutdown ability and stabilizing action on any pairing.

Tanev is 28 years old with two years left on his current deal. He should be allowed to chase a championship and that won’t happen in Vancouver. For a top pairing defenceman, his contract is more than manageable and a certain team in blue and white could use someone like him on the right side of their defence.

However, if the Canucks want to pretend that they are rebuilding, then that’s on them. Trading Chris Tanev will prove that they are serious about looking towards the future. The only way to do that is with draft picks. Jim Benning struggles in the acquisition department, but as long as he is not setting the price too high, it should be easy to harvest draft picks for Tanev.

It’s a drum I keep beating, but important nonetheless. Benning needs to actively shop Tanev. The rest of the league has caught on to him and good he can be. A trade won’t fall in Benning’s lap, so he needs to put the work in. I don’t want to hear that he’s just sitting there, twiddling his thumbs going, “Woe is me” instead of making phone calls.

Keeping Tanev is not as important as you think

Now, I know the main reason people want to keep Tanev is so he can mentor Olli Juolevi. If Tanev stays, do you honestly think that will happen? Travis Green started the year with Chris Tanev and Alex Edler on the top pairing. That’s what he wants. The only times our top two defencemen were paired with younger players was when injuries hit.

To be frank, the Canucks don’t develop players. Instead, they expect them to show up as finished NHL players like Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. If by some miracle Juolevi does make the team (i.e. forced on), don’t you think he would receive the same treatment as Ben Hutton? Things won’t suddenly change next year. Green was already unhappy with Juolevi at last year’s training camp.

Additionaly, there is the argument for keeping Tanev is so the team is “competitve.” Another meaningless phrase. Does that really matter? Vancouver finished in 26th place this year, 29th last year and 28th the year before. Tanev is just delaying the inevitable sink to the very bottom.

If the team wants to sell the idea of building through the draft, they will need draft picks to do it. Not mediocre veterans out of free agency or yet another average to terrible cast off from another team. Chris Tanev will not only fetch draft picks. A trade involving him will get good ones.

The Vancouver Canucks only have six picks this year. That’s not good for a rebuilding team. They need picks in the top 90. People tell me to trust the scouts, but maybe someone should tell Jim Benning that.

Next: Why Sam Gagner has to be traded

He makes their job harder than ever, giving them limited chances to find impact players. The Vancouver Canucks can’t fear change anymore. It is time to move on from Chris Tanev. Moreover, it’s time to finally look to the future instead of dragging their feet in the present.