Canucks acquire defenceman Nate Schmidt in a trade with Golden Knights

The Vancouver Canucks made a blockbuster move on Monday evening, acquiring veteran defenceman Nate Schmidt from the Vegas Golden Knights.

It didn’t take long for Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning to make another big offseason move.

On Monday evening, the Canucks announced that they have acquired defenceman Nate Schmidt from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick.

This trade was announced shortly after Vegas signed former St. Louis Blues captain and All-Star defenceman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year contract worth $61.6 million. It was imperative for the Golden Knights to clear cap space and room on the blue line, and general manager Kelly McCrimmon wasted no time doing so.

Benning faced immense criticism after seeing Jacob Markstrom (signed with the Calgary Flames) Chris Tanev (Flames) Troy Stecher (Detroit Red Wings) and Tyler Toffoli (Montreal Canadiens) all depart in free agency.

He replaced Markstrom by signing former Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby in free agency. But after losing two of his top-five blueliners, it was pivotal for Benning to find a suitable veteran to fill the void.

And Schmidt fits the bill nicely.

Schmidt is signed for five more seasons with a $5.95 million cap hit, per CapFriendly.com. That may seem like a little much at first, but the market for capable top-four blueliners is at an all-time high.

The 29-year-old Schmidt has hit the 30-point mark in each of the past three seasons. In 2019-20, he had seven goals and 24 assists in 59 regular season games. On top of that, Schmidt had two goals and seven assists in 20 playoff games, helping Vegas reach the Western Conference Final.

Schmidt spent his first four seasons with the Washington Capitals. He was selected by Vegas in the 2017 expansion draft, and his offensive production increased from there. All three of Schmidt’s aforementioned 30-point seasons happened with Vegas.

Simply put, this is an impactful addition by Benning. Schmidt will fit nicely into the top-four, and it’s a bonus that he carries five more years on his contract. The Canucks are somewhat covered if Alexander Edler and/or Jordie Benn leave next year. Both are entering the final season of their respective deals.

We’ll see if the Canucks make any more blockbuster moves in the coming days.