Canucks news: Defenceman Chris Tanev says he wants to stay

In an interview with Sportsnet, veteran rearguard Chris Tanev made it clear that he hopes to stay with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Vancouver Canucks will return to the ice at some point for a best-of-five qualifying round series against the Minnesota Wild.

After the 2019-20 season, general manager Jim Benning will prepare for his most difficult offseason yet. With limited cap space, he has to find a way to retain several key contributors who are slated to enter free agency.

Goalie Jacob Markstrom is the most notable free agent, followed by blueliners Chris Tanev (UFA) and Troy Stecher (RFA). Trade deadline acquisition Tyler Toffoli is also scheduled to become a UFA, but it’s hard to envision the Canucks retaining him.

Forwards Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette are also pending RFAs, and both are due for nice raises after enjoying their best seasons yet. Needless to say, Benning has a lot of work to do as he tries to keep his core together.

During an interview with Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre, the 30-year-old Tanev emphasized that he hopes to stick around with the only NHL team he’s ever known:

I’ve been here now for 10 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. There’s definitely a trust between me and management and the ownership group, which has been awesome to me. Whether it’s one year or many years (on the next contract), I’d love to play my whole career here. Who knows what’s going to happen? But I love it here, I want to stay here, I think the team is going in the right direction and if we come back to play this year, I think we’re going to have a real good shot at competing and going far. I’d like to be part of that in the future.

Tanev is in the final season of a five-year, $22.5 million extension that he signed in 2015. Although he’s had a well-documented history with injuries, Tanev has outperformed his contract, especially over the last three years.

He’s arguably Vancouver’s top stay-at-home rearguard, and losing him would be a big blow to the blue line — especially when you consider that none of the Canucks’ defenceman prospects are ready for the NHL.

But at the end of the day, business is business. There’s clearly some mutual interest in keeping Tanev here, but the cap-strapped Canucks will have to make some difficult decisions. They can’t afford to keep everybody.

Last month, Markstrom expressed his desire to stay in Vancouver, noting that he’s “comfortable” and “proud” to be a Canuck.

It’s obviously a good sign that Tanev and Markstrom want to stay on the west coast. But for now, the focus is on the eventual resumption of the 2019-20 season. The Canucks have plenty of time to think over their offseason plans.