The Canucks should make a trade with the Bruins

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins have a well-documented rivalry, but the two sides should put that aside and try to make a trade.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has a difficult salary cap situation to work around as he prepares to make difficult decisions regarding several key free agents.

If goalie Jacob Markstrom leaves in free agency, Benning will have to find a suitable veteran backup to complement Thatcher Demko. If forward Tyler Toffoli leaves, Benning might be in the market for another top-six forward.

And if veteran defenceman and fan favourite Chris Tanev leaves, which sounds likely at this point, Benning will certainly have to find a reliable top-four defenceman.

If Benning doesn’t decide to pursue Torey Krug or Alex Pietrangelo — the top defencemen in this year’s free agent market — he’ll have to find that top-four blueliner via the trade route. And that would certainly mean giving up at least one quality forward.

Which brings us to the Boston Bruins.

Citing a source, Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now recently reported that the Canucks and Bruins “have engaged in trade talks.”

Although it’s unclear which players may have been brought up in discussions, Murphy mentioned Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen and Brandon Carlo — noting that the Bruins need more scoring. And of course, Vancouver would want a blueliner if they were to part with a scoring talent like Boeser.

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The cap-strapped Bruins will likely lose Krug in free agency, and captain Zdeno Chara is a pending UFA. It’s unclear at this time if the Bruins will re-sign him, however.

Even if Boston loses both Krug and Chara, they still have Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk on the blue line. General manager Don Sweeney can afford to trade one of them, especially if Krug or Chara end up returning.

But up front, the Bruins’ long-term outlook is a major question mark.

Patrice Bergeron is 35, Brad Marchand is 32 and David Krejci is 34 and entering the final year of his contract. David Pastrnak (24) is one of the league’s elite scorers, but he’s not going to be able to carry the offence on his own once the other three forwards are out of the picture.

The Canucks are the complete opposite. They’re stacked with scoring forwards in Boeser, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Bo Horvat, Tanner Pearson, Virtanen and Toffoli (if he re-signs). Not to mention that top prospects Vasili Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander figure to play prominent roles when they eventually make it to the NHL.

On the blue line, only Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers have long-term futures in Vancouver. Alexander Edler and Jordie Benn are free agents after next season. And if Tanev and/or pending RFA Troy Stecher leave, there will be gaping holes on defence.

So yes, the Bruins need a young forward that can complement Pastrnak long-term. The Canucks need a proven top-four defenceman to help out Myers and Hughes. This is what makes the two clubs ideal trade partners.

Would Carlo for Boeser be enough to get the deal done? I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston asked for more, perhaps a draft pick or a quality prospect of some sort. What about Carlo and another roster player or draft selection for Boeser and Virtanen?

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There are several possible intriguing trade scenarios here. The bottom line is that when you add it all up, a pure “hockey trade” between the Canucks and Bruins makes too much sense.