For the second consecutive year the Vancouver Canucks appear to be in the sellers category ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. Though they sit six points out of a playoff spot, and are technically labeled “sellers”, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to sell.
General manager Jim Benning finds the team floating in familiar waters. Ahead of the 2015-2016 deadline Vancouver sat near the bottom of the Pacific Division (24-24-12), at the 60 game mark. Many suspected a fire sell. However to the dismay of the Canucks fan base no moves were made; despite carrying two expiring contracts of some value in Dan Hamhuis, and Radim Vrbata. Both players could have added value to a contending team, the Canucks did nothing and subsequently lost both players in free agency. For a team that is in desperate need of picks and other young assets, the team failed to build the prospect pool, especially in (what was considered) a deep NHL entry draft. This lack of movement represented a major mis-calculation by ownership and management. To make matters worse Vancouver relinquished their second round selection to the Florida Panthers in the Erik Gudbranson deal.
Yard Sale- Time for Vancouver Canucks to Sell at Trade Deadline
With the 2017 deadline just under a week away Vancouver has almost the exact record as a year ago. The bottom line is that Trevor Linden and Benning need to learn from their mistakes, and trade away the expiring assets for pieces that can help the team in the future.
Vancouver ranks 24th in the league in goals for, and rank in the bottom of league possession numbers sporting a 48.5% Corsi. Their roster simply isn’t good enough to be competitive. Management threw Loui Eriksson a six-year, $36-million contract in hopes that he would rekindle some of the magic he found with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin at the international level. It has not worked out. While Eriksson has produced decent Corsi numbers (51%). He is on pace for his lowest points per game percentage of his career at 0.39, further solidifying the fan bases plea for a youthful rejuvenation.
Word is Linden and Aquilini went to LA on separate business. Team adamant it is NOT trade deadline related whatsoever #Canucks
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) February 22, 2017
Time to get Full Market Value out of Ryan Miller
On July 1st, 2014, goaltender Ryan Miller signed a three-year-deal, with an annual value of $6 million. Since joining the Canucks, Miller has posted a save percentage just above .910. There are many teams that could benefit from an upgrade in goal. The Los Angeles Kings have been without Jonathan Quick all season long, but have managed to stay a float in Western Conference standings. Peter Budaj was brought up from the minors to stabilize the net, and truth be told, he has preformed well above expectations. However, he does not provide a reliable solution heading into the post season. Miller has been the buoy that has kept the Canucks from sinking to the very bottom of the west. He contains a pedigree that could push a Kings team, (that currently sits on the bubble of a wild card position), into possible contention.
Then there was Alex Burrows & Jannik Hansen
In prior trade deadlines contending franchises have been known to overpay for expiring contracts in hopes that it will bring them one step closer to a championship. Teams have become much more cautious in recent years.
The more successful formula as of late for contending teams has been the veteran pieces. That is exactly where Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen come into the equation. Hansen is epitomizes the versatile forward role. His career CorsiFor% isn’t what’s appealing (50%), but rather his ability to move up and down the line up seamlessly. Hansen burns teams with his ability to burst up the wing. He also scored a career high 22 goals last season.
As for Burrows, he is a shell of his former self. For half a decade Burrows rode shot gun with the Sedins scoring over 20-goals on a yearly basis. His value in large part comes in the form of playoff experience (34 points, 70 career playoff games), he could provide a contending team with a strong veteran presence.
The Canucks aren’t ready to contend any time soon, and 2011 was a long time ago. Daniel and Henrik Sedin are nearing the end of their career and should be used to help mentor the young players coming through the pipeline.