While the Canucks are presently holding down the final playoff spot in the West, don’t expect them to be chasing some rental players to help their postseason push. In an interview with NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger, GM Jim Benning indicated that he’s not going to give up picks and young players for short-term fixes and will instead continue on their current path which has focused more on drafting and player development in recent years. He did state that he feels that a playoff appearance would be great for their young core so even if they don’t pursue anyone on an expiring contract, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Vancouver looked to add someone that’s under team control beyond this season.
Elsewhere out West:
- The Stars could be a darkhorse candidate to land Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested in an appearance on Sportsnet 590 (audio link). Dallas has limited cap space at the moment but with Martin Hanzal and Stephen Johns out for the year and Tyler Pitlick out for a while yet, they could transfer them to LTIR to open up enough room to make a significant splash on the trade market. Dallas is in a tie for third in the Central Division and could certainly use an offensive upgrade as they have the fewest goals of any team currently holding down a playoff spot in the league.
- Minnesota plans to deploy defenseman Brad Hunt as a right winger at times moving forward, notes Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. The Wild have been hit hard with injuries as of late and while playing a blueliner up front is a strategy that doesn’t typically work long-term, it will allow them to keep using him on the power play, an area that he has specialized in. Out of the 28 points he has put up since last season, 18 of those have come with the man advantage.