While Vancouver GM Jim Benning has been willing to move draft picks in recent years to bring in younger players, he told TSN 1040 in Vancouver (audio link) that he isn’t willing to do so this season.
Two years ago, the Canucks dealt a second rounder to Calgary for Sven Baertschi while this past offseason, Benning flipped their 2016 second and fourth round picks to Florida as part of the package to acquire Erik Gudbranson. They also dealt a fifth rounder away in the 2015 summer as part of the Brandon Prust acquisition.
Instead, it’s looking highly likely that the Canucks will remain quiet on the trade front this season. Vancouver has clawed their way back into a tie for the final Wild Card spot in the West but aren’t expected to be a serious postseason threat which is why Benning is planning to stay the course more than anything else (transcription courtesy of Fan Rag’s Chris Nichols):
“We’re going to just continue to monitor where we’re at going into the trade deadline. But like I’ve said all along this year, we’re happy with the development of our kids. Unless some of our older players with no-trade contracts approach me, we’re going to hold the fort and just go from there.”
Vancouver has quite a few players with no-trade or no-move clauses in their contracts which certainly has the potential to create a challenge in making any deals. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Loui Eriksson all have no-move clauses while Alex Burrows, Brandon Sutter, Jannik Hansen, Alexander Edler, and Ryan Miller all have at least partial no-trade protection.
If the Canucks drop out of the postseason picture in the next month or so, it’s likely that Burrows and Miller will start to come up in trade talks despite their trade restrictions. Burrows is the typical bottom six upgrade that many teams will seek out at trade deadline time and there is some doubt as to whether he’d have a future with Vancouver beyond this season; he’s 35 and a pending unrestricted free agent.
As for Miller, also a pending UFA, Jacob Markstrom is making a push for more playing time while youngster Thatcher Demko is viewed as their goalie of the not-too-distant future which could make him expendable. However, with a $6MM cap hit and the other goalie options out there, any return for Miller wouldn’t likely be too significant.
On the flip side, if Vancouver is in the playoff picture at the deadline, their unwillingness to move picks will make it more difficult to facilitate any ‘buyer’ deals as well. Either way, it’s looking like the Canucks won’t be particularly active on the trade market in the next six weeks.