While there has been plenty of trade speculation surrounding several of their veterans, Canucks president Jim Rutherford told NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger that their immediate goal is to get to the playoffs this season. Center J.T. Miller, winger Conor Garland, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak have all been mentioned as candidates to be moved but it would stand to reason that Rutherford’s preference is to give his current group more time together if he wants to see Vancouver get back into the postseason picture. The Canucks currently are seventh in the Pacific Division and are nine points out of the last divisional seed and six points behind Calgary for the final Wild Card seed although the Flames have four games in hand.
Elsewhere out West:
- The Predators plan to escalate talks on a possible contract extension for pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg, GM David Poile indicated in an appearance on ESPN 102.5 (audio link). The alternate captain is having the best season of his career with 38 points (including 24 goals) in 33 games and while he was speculated as a possible trade candidate earlier in the year, the fact that Nashville is soundly in a playoff spot (second in the Central) likely takes that option off the table. Forsberg has a $6MM salary and AAV and will be looking to beat that on the open market this summer.
- Postmedia’s Robert Tychkowski examines some of the storylines for the Oilers for the second half of the season and naturally, goaltending is among them. While he notes that Mike Smith will be able to return – a welcome addition – even that may not be enough to sustain their goaltending situation. Edmonton has 40 games remaining due to a lot of COVID-related postponements so they will need to rely on two goalies consistently, especially with Smith being 39 and just coming back from injury. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see GM Ken Holland try to shore up the backup goalie position over the next few weeks though they will need to offload Mikko Koskinen’s contract to be able to afford any newcomers.