The Vancouver Canucks and General Manager Patrik Allvin announced that the Canucks would be acquiring forward Sam Lafferty from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick.
Lafferty, 28, was first acquired by the Maple Leafs from the Blackhawks on Feb. 27 in the trade that also sent a first-round pick to Chicago for Jake McCabe, among other moving parts. Lafferty has a cap hit of $1.15 million and should slot into the Canucks’ bottom-six right away. The Hollidaysburg, PA native scored 21 points in 51 games with the Blackhawks, and six in 19 games with the Maple Leafs. In the playoffs, he recorded one goal and two assists across nine games.
With the American forward now in the fold, the Canucks made the decision to waive Jack Studnicka, who is not waivers-exempt. Christian Wolanin will join him on the journey to Abbotsford, while Akito Hirose will pass them heading the other way. That would suggest Guillaume Brisebois, Noah Juulsen, and Cole McWard have made the Canucks in the wake of the Carson Soucy injury.
Edit: The Canucks sent Nils Aman down to Abbotsford as well
The Canucks hade not yet revealed the nature of Soucy’s injury, but The Athletic‘s Rick Dhaliwal has heard that it isn’t expected to be serious. If that is the case, it would then appear that McWard’s time in Vancouver would be short-lived, assuming that he serves as the seventh or eighth defenseman with one of Hirose or Brisebois filling in for Soucy next to Juulsen on the third pairing.
This is definitely an unexpected trade for the Canucks, but they’ve certainly added some speed to their bottom-six. Lafferty is an upgrade offensively over Studnicka as well, but it’s fair to wonder if this is also an indirect assessment of Ilya Mikheyev’s current condition too. The blueline is still messy and crowded with Hirose now joining the picture, but that should be ironed out relatively quickly.