The Vancouver Canucks have no choice but to find appropriate replacement for their two departed superstars, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who hung up the skates - the two pairs of them - at the end of the regular season. The big issue, besides the fact that one of the greatest leaders won't be there to guide the young and rebuilding team - is that the Canucks will also need to fill the void left by one of their only three 20-goal scorers this season - Daniel, who will never play again. This is why the report that Vancouver could place restricted free agent winger Sven Baertschi on the trade block is shocking.
First, let's take a breather. JD Burke of The Athletic has indeed suggested the Canucks make a bold move, like perhaps trading Baertschi “before he takes them to the cleaners for a contract that won’t move them any closer to contention.” Here is how Burke explained it:
Baertschi has developed into about a 40-points-per-82-games player, which comfortably puts him in second-line territory. When one adjusts for ice time, the 1.69 points per 60 Baertschi is accumulating at 5-on-5 places him in the top quarter of the league among skaters with 800 or more minutes played over the course of his first three full seasons with the Canucks. He's a good hockey player.
But now, as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Baertschi is looking to get paid accordingly.
Let's not panic and see what it could mean going forward. One of the main reasons why the Canucks could afford to move the young forward is that it seems like they have already uncovered Baertschi’s replacement. When the Canucks traded a second-round pick to acquire him in 2015, Baertschi had tallied eight goals in 66 NHL games. Nikolay Goldobin has now scored 12 goals in 61 games. See where we are going here... Both players had have quite similar seasons this past year as the stats show it all: Goldobin produced 1.71 points per 60 minutes played at five-on-five and Baertschi, 1.71.
Baertschi is a proven commodity and could be used as a phenomenal trade bait heading into the NHL Draft in June.
Burke would also be surprised if defenseman Ben Hutton is still with the Canucks when training camp opens in September, but doubts the blue liner will get much in return for Vancouver on the market. If ever the Canucks look to move a defender, they could get better out of Chris Tanev. He also wonders if they can convince defenseman Alex Edler to waive his no-movement clause to accept a trade to a Stanley Cup contender.
Lots of action coming up this summer in Vancouver!