The Vancouver Canucks need plenty of help on the blue line. P.K. Subban is the perfect trade target, but what would he cost in a possible trade?
But the same cannot be said about a blue line that simply hasn’t performed well over the last five years. Right now, only 2018 first round pick Quinn Hughes and Richmond, B.C. kid Troy Stecher have long-term futures in Vancouver.
Alexander Edler is a pending UFA, and there’s no guarantee he re-signs right now. Guys like Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton will likely be wearing new uniforms in 2020-21 if they don’t bounce back next season. That’s assuming general manager Jim Benning doesn’t trade them this summer, too.
Well, Benning is fortunate in that some of the NHL’s better teams are facing salary cap woes, and they could be forced to move out some big-time talents on the back end. This could include Nashville Predators All-Star blueliner P.K. Subban, who carries a $9 million cap hit for three more seasons.
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They would then shift the focus towards Nashville and see if a deal could be hard for Subban.
Nashville must re-sign captain and top blueliner Roman Josi, after next year. The Preds don’t need to carry four top blueliners.
And that brings us to the Canucks.
Benning already has one future star blueliner in Hughes, and there’s still hope that Olli Juolevi will grow into a top our defenceman.
If you add Subban to the mix, the Canucks have a championship-caliber defensive unit — and one of the final pieces in their Stanley Cup puzzle.
But what would it cost to pick up a future Hall of Famer and Norris Trophy defenceman? Subban is only 30 years of age, and their aren’t many elite rearguards in the NHL these days.
What a deal would look like
Well, the Canucks would hopefully not have to give up the No. 10 selection in this year’s draft. But a starting point would probably have to be their 2020 first rounder.
That said, the Canucks made progress this season, and if they picked up Subban, it’s unlikely they’d have a top 10 pick in next year’s draft anyway. The risk would be worth it. Vancouver would definitely have to offer another draft pick as well, perhaps a future second rounder.
Now you get into the roster players and picks. Maybe the Predators are intrigued by the skill set of Nikolay Goldobin and Jake Virtanen? Perhaps they’d like to take on a more affordable Tanev or a prospect with some upside like Juolevi? The Predators might also want one of Vancouver’s few quality forward prospects, such as Kole Lind or Tyler Madden.
My guess is since the Canucks would most certainly make Horvat, Boeser, Pettersson and Hughes unavailable, the Preds would want at least four significant assets in return.
I’d guess a 2020 first and 2019 or 2020 second rounder, Juolevi and one of Lind, Virtanen, Goldobin or Madden. The Preds are getting to early round selections, a potential top four blueliner and a young roster player. If they wanted more assets on top of that, the Canucks would need to get an extra pick or roster player in return.
That may seem like a steep price, but blueliners as talented as Subban aren’t easy to find. This is a player with four 50-point seasons and a career 52.4 Corsi For percentage on his resume. Guys like Subban come at a steep price. That’s just how it is.
It’s important to remember that the Predators haven’t said they’re shopping Subban (yet). And for all we know, the Canucks might not even have that much interest in him, and maybe other teams will be able to top anything Benning offers.
But could you imagine pairing Subban with Hughes? Those two on the back end? With Pettersson, Horvat and Boeser? That would be one of the deepest and most star-studded cores in the NHL, and the Canucks would be ready to compete for a Stanley Cup in such little time.
If Subban becomes available, Benning has to take his chance and see if a deal can be had. Subban wouldn’t come cheap, but he’d be worth it in every way. After all, the Canucks have never had a Norris Trophy blueliner in their history.