When the Feb. 26 trade deadline nears, there are several things that can change the direction a team will take in the market. Even at the last minute... The recent speculation surrounding the Vancouver Canucks is a big one. And it could potentially ruin the team's plans ahead of the trade deadline.
According to Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet, Henrik and Daniel Sedin are still wondering if they will return next season - and this could change the Canucks' entire strategy on the market.
"The Canucks approached the Sedins’ agent, J.P. Barry, last week and asked if the Swedish forwards might provide a hint at their intentions ahead of the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26, so that GM Jim Benning’s management team would better know how to deal with the balls being juggled," MacIntyre writes.
Now, if the Canucks had a better idea if the Sedins are returning for another season, it could be easier to exact maximum return on unrestricted free agent Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline.
Vanek, who is used to move at the deadline, has tallied 13 goals and 32 points in 47 games, could give several Stanley Cup contenders an interesting option on the wing.
If the Sedins retire, the Canucks could entertain extending Vanek to help fill a leadership and production void instead of trading him.
"The twins have played really well the last couple of months," Barry said. "But we still need to meet, we still need to have a discussion. There hasn’t been any decision made about next season."
And now Benning might have to change his plans...
"We’re not going to hold them to anything now," Benning told Sportsnet. "But for planning purposes, what they might want to do could affect decisions we make at the deadline."
The Canucks have six pending unrestricted free agents, including Erik Gudbranson, and five restricted free agents with little contract leverage, including Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund who have arbitration rights, while Derrick Pouliot, Jake Virtanen and Troy Stecher have had mediocre seasons.
their most valuable expendable asset is Gudbranson to trade off before the deadline, and Vancouver might have to seek a good return to fill the big holes at forward near the top of the roster, especially if the Sedins don't return.