The Vancouver Canucks are a big step closer to getting a notable piece back into their lineup. Patrick Johnston of The Province reported Tuesday that injured goalie Thatcher Demko returned to practice for the first time since he was injured making a save against the Florida Panthers on December 1, 2022.
While Demko’s long-term standing in the Canucks organization remains unknown, his return could provide benefits. If Vancouver does opt to keep their once-named “goalie of the future” after a horrid start to 2022-23, a return to the ice makes a return to form a possibility for Demko, which should come with added confidence. Even if a trade is in the cards, a hot streak between now and the deadline for Demko would likely boost his trade value, giving Vancouver more assets to work with as they retool for future seasons. Hopefully, for Demko and the Canucks, he can make his 3-10-2 start to the season a distant memory.
- The New York Islanders have a distinct pattern of trading away first-round picks, and they did so again by dealing their top-12-protected 2023 pick to Vancouver in the Bo Horvat trade. It’s such a distinct pattern that Islanders fans have been wondering if the team can still trade their 2024 first-round pick, despite its potential transfer to the Canucks if New York ends up with a top-12 pick this season. The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports clarification from the NHL that says yes, they can. If their 2024 first-round pick is transferred to the Canucks after being traded in a second deal, though, the pick in the second trade would automatically slide to 2025. It’s something other general managers will keep in mind at this deadline if the Islanders deal their 2024 pick in an attempt to load up even more.
- Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could look to reward his team’s strong performance this season with a trade deadline move, NHL Network’s Steve Konroyd and Mike Johnson said this morning. They called out the Columbus Blue Jackets as a potential trade partner, with names like Boone Jenner and Vladislav Gavrikov available. However, they stopped short of saying any discussions between the two parties actually occurred. With Gavrikov’s asking price rumored to be a first-round pick, however, it may be too early in Buffalo’s ascent to competitiveness for Adams to make such a major splash.