Vancouver Canucks acquire Mark Friedman from Penguins

New Canucks defenseman Mark Friedman prior to the 2023 Winter Classic. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
New Canucks defenseman Mark Friedman prior to the 2023 Winter Classic. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks and general manager Patrik Allvin announced early on Tuesday that the club would be trading prospects Jack Rathbone and Karel Plasek to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Mark Friedman and forward Ty Glover. The Canucks finally got some help on the back end, but it probably wasn’t what most fans had in mind.

The big fish for the Canucks is obviously going to be Friedman. The 27-year-old was a third-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2014, but since then, he’s managed only 65 games of NHL experience between them and the Penguins. Friedman also has 214 games of AHL experience, wherein he’s accumulated 11 goals and 67 points.

What this suggests is that the Canucks would probably rather have their extra defenseman be one who is a right-shot rather than a left-shot, especially with Noah Juulsen’s struggles in their most recent game against the Edmonton Oilers and Carson Soucy nearing a return to game action.

Rathbone was a once-promising prospect for Vancouver, having gone over a point-per-game in the AHL with Abbotsford in the 2021-22 season. The 24-year-old racked up 40 points in 39 games, but took a big step backwards in the 2022-23 season, posting only 14 points in 37 appearances.

Rathbone had only managed to appear in 28 NHL games during his time with the Canucks, and in Pittsburgh, he’ll now get a second chance at life in the NHL. The same can be said for Plasek, who’s almost exclusively played overseas since being drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round in 2019.

The Britain-born forward Glover came over to the pros from Western Michigan University last year, but went straight to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. He was slated to play for the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL this year, so it doesn’t seem like he’ll have much of an impact on the Canucks organization at this time.

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This isn’t a trade that will blow the doors off, but the Canucks did find an experienced reinforcement for their blueline. If Friedman doesn’t play much, that means Vancouver is staying healthy and playing well.