With a young roster, a prospects cupboard fully stocked and the 7th overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in hand, it appears that the Vancouver Canucks are now full embracing the rebuild. While it took a couple years for the Canucks rebuild to start in earnest, the departure of longtime leaders Henrik and Daniel Sedin this offseason seems to have sparked a full-on youth rebuild in Vancouver.
At least… that was the narrative until all this John Tavares talk came about… now Canucks fans are left not knowing what’s going on.
Fearful of another Loui Eriksson or Erik Gudbranson addition, Canucks fans enter the 2018 offseason with a lot of trepidation. Reports yesterday that the team is meeting with pending free agent John Tavares of the New York Islanders was met by Canucks fans with mostly mild amusement. Sure, it’d be great if Tavares joined the team… but not at the price he’ll likely command. And wouldn’t he just talk away a roster spot from one of the team’s emerging prospects?
Well, put the Tavares speculation aside, Canucks fans because Sporstnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that the Canucks may have interest in another star center: the Buffalo Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly.
On his recent appearance with Sportsnet 650 radio in Vancouver, Friedman wondered aloud about not only the Canucks getting in on O’Reilly trade talks, but also about them inquiring on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin:
“I think that Hanifin is obviously the one. I know the O’Reilly stuff is really starting to get out there too.”
Friedman’s counterpart over at TSN, Bob McKenzie, echoed a similar sentiment when he was on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver, as well:
“We know that Vancouver has expressed interest in Hanifin. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vancouver has at least expressed some interest in veteran center Ryan O’Reilly out of Buffalo. So I’m sure the Canucks are doing their due diligence on a lot of different players and they’re probably looking at enough veteran players in free agency, or close to it, that will get the market all in a tizzy because people will say, ‘I thought we were rebuilding!’
That’s an awful lot of speculation from hockey’s two biggest insiders… you have to figure that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Whether or not the Canucks can swing a deal with either the Hurricanes or Sabres remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the rebuilding club is looking to make a big splash this offseason.