With just about a week and a half until the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline, the trade rumor hot stove has been cranked up to 10. It seems that with each passing day there are more and more trade rumors out there. Playoff teams are jockeying for position and looking to upgrade in any way they can. Meanwhile, rebuilding clubs are just hoping to maximize their assets and cash in now for future considerations. One such team looking to move out veteran players for picks and prospects is the Vancouver Canucks.
After failing to fully adopt a rebuilding strategy, it appears now that the Canucks are willing to part with some players, namely veteran forward Thomas Vanek and, depending on who you ask, rugged defenseman Erik Gudbranson. There have even been rumors surrounding 24-year-old blue liner Ben Hutton, as well.
On last night's Saturday Headline's segment during CBC's Hockey Night in Canada though, Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman dropped a bomb on the Canucks fanbase. The team is looking at trading #1 defenseman Chris Tanev.
“He’s hurt right now, which could potentially complicate matters, but what I’ve been told is that the Canucks have told teams — including, I believe, Toronto — ‘If you’re serious, it’s going to take a special offer to do this,’” Friedman said just last night.
“I think the Canucks realize still that even though they are rebuilding, you want to give your young players a chance," Friedman followed up. "And you’ve got to be serious, really serious, if you want to get Tanev out [of Vancouver].”
Wow... if Canucks GM Jim Benning ever wanted to make a splash and declare to the rest of the league that the Canucks are serious about rebuilding, what bigger move than to trade your best defenseman? While Gudbranson and Vanek may fetch a decent return, Tanev is sure to fetch a bounty on the trade market. And, trade assets aside, a big, franchise altering move may be just what the Canucks franchise needs right now. The question is, who's interested and what's the return?
As Friedman points out, Tanev may not be as high profile as some of the other defensemen on the trade market like Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson or talented Arizona Coyotes blue liner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he's still a very capable and valuable defender who teams will line up their offers for.
For a rebuilding team like the Canucks, a first round pick AND a prospect has to be a serious consideration. For as good as Tanev is, will he really be part of the puzzle when this team is ready to contend once again? He's already closing in on 30-years-old and the Canucks look nowhere close to competing for a Stanley Cup anytime soon. Is it time to cut bait and look to the future?
If so, who are the potential suitors? Friedman mentions the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it's believed that the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets are all in the hunt for another defenseman, as well. The Bruins and Lightning, in particular, have a plethora of good, young players they could offer up. The question is... will Benning and the Canucks pull the trigger? Time will tell.