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With the Vancouver Canucks transitioning to a rebuild with younger players, they could look to move out a number of their veterans at the 2018 trade deadline.
At the 2017 trade deadline, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning pulled off a pair of massive coups that helped this team move towards its rebuilding phase.
Benning traded away Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks for Nikolay Goldobin, before stealing prized prospect Jonathan Dahlen from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Alexandre Burrows. He restocked the prospect pool by trading away a pair of second/third liners, so why stop there?
The Canucks still employ a handful of quality veterans that Stanley Cup contenders could use to boast their chances. This is where Benning auctions them off for even more quality prospects and draft picks.
So which Canuck veterans could be on the move in 2018? Let’s take a look.
Envisioning Daniel and Henrik Sedin in another uniform is like imagining anybody but Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones. But we’ve seen many great players recently change teams late in their careers (hello Jarome Iginla and Daniel Alfredsson).
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Nonetheless, Canucks fans shouldn’t be all shocked if the Sedins and the front office decide it’s a good time to part ways. Daniel and Henrik will be 37 and are both in their contract years.
It’s entirely possible they decide to chase a Cup together, or the Canucks simply tell them they have to move on with the young kids.
Some say that no team would want to take on the Sedins. Remember, their combined $14 million cap hit will be significantly less than that at the deadline (since the regular season will be more than halfway finished).
Vancouver could also retain some of the money, or take on a bad contract to institute a trade. Another Stanley Cup contender would have to have the Sedins on their second or third line. A trade involving the twins is logical, should either the Sedins or front office initiate it.
It’s somewhat surprising that Alexander Edler has managed to stay on the Canucks this long, given how he’s strongly underachieved over the last three seasons.
Edler has two years left at $5 million per season on his current contract, according to CapFriendly.com. He’s 32 in January, and doesn’t have a long-term future in Vancouver when you consider all the youth they have on the blue line.
Though not quite the legitimate top-pairing defenceman he used to be, Edler could solidify another team’s top-four. He’s a solid power play quarterback and could be the missing piece for a lot of championship contenders.
Seeing how the Edmonton Oilers had to give up sniper Taylor Hall just for a stay-at-home defenceman in Adam Larsson, imagine what Benning could get for Edler. 2018’s the time to trade away Edler. His age, high salary and under performing of late doesn’t make Edler a logical fit in Vancouver long-term.
The Canucks would undoubtedly be a better team with Chris Tanev during this rebuild, but he’s by far their best trade chip. Sometimes it’s hard for a GM to keep one of his best veterans around when a trade offer is too good.
Tanev is one of the NHL’s elite shutdown defencemen, but is often overlooked since he doesn’t come with much upside. What else makes him valuable? He has one of the NHL’s best contracts at a $4.45 million cap hit over the next three years.
For what it’s worth, Benning already said he’s not trading Tanev. But just wait until the trade deadline, when a handful of fellow general managers could come with offers too good to refuse.
A player like Tanev could net Vancouver two or three significant pieces. At least a first round draft pick, an elite prospect (maybe two), and/or a young NHL-ready player. Tanev is the best defenceman on this team, and he’d net a huge return if Vancouver opts to trade him.