The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are two very proud Canadian franchises at two very different stages heading into the 2018-19 season. While the Leafs are looking to take things to the next level and build off of two consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances, the Canucks have fully embraced the rebuild in the past calendar year and are likely looking at another NHL Draft Lottery finish.
Part of rebuilding means turning your roster over and according a report from Sportsnet broadcaster and Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal, that’s exactly what Canucks general manager Jim Benning is planning to do this offseason. Dhaliwal reports that Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev is “in play for sure” and that the Leafs reportedly have interest in acquiring him.
Source : Tanev is in play for sure. The Maple Leafs still have interest. Offers for Tanev not great but could improve this weekend.
The 28 year old blue liner has been limited to just 42 and 53 games the past two seasons due to injuries, but when he’s healthy there’s no denying his one ice impact. He may not put up points or drive offensive play, but Tanev is one of the best pure defensive defensemen in the game and has true #1 shutdown ability. He’s a right handed shot and signed to a team friendly $4.45 million deal the next two seasons. In other words, he’s a perfect fit for the Leafs.
The question is, what’s the asking price from the Canucks? Surely Benning and company would like to recoup a draft pick, likely a first rounder, and a young roster player or a prospect in exchange for Tanev. Fan speculation seems to point toward the Leafs shipping their first round pick (25th overall) and a prospect like 2017 NHL Entry Draft selection (17th overall) Timothy Liljegren to the Canucks in exchange for Tanev.
Liljegren had an impressive rookie season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, capped off with a Calder Cup championship. The Swedish defenseman was steady on the back end for the Marlies and managed 17 points in 44 games as an 18 year old playing his first season in North America.
Don’t be surprised if Tanev is in play this weekend at the draft and don’t be surprised if we see him suit up for his hometown Leafs in 2018-19.