The Canucks stayed pat with the ninth selection in next month’s draft but it appears that they’re at least open to listening to offers for the pick. While GM Jim Benning acknowledged that the likeliest outcome is that they make the selection, he told reporters including Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province that he will explore his options:
We’re going to look at everything. We’re going to call other teams and I know we’re going to get a real good player at No. 9. We’re going to have to get a young player who we feel is worth trading the pick. We’re going to keep all our options open.
Last season, the Canucks didn’t have a pick in either the first or second round so their prospect pool could definitely benefit from the boost that a top-ten selection would provide. However, with their stated intention of trying to win with this core, adding another proven player to the roster could also be a palatable option, especially if the flat cap makes some higher-quality players available.
More from the North:
- Still with Vancouver, Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic suggested on the latest Donnie and Dhali show (Twitter link) that the Canucks have Kirk Muller on their radar as a potential addition to their coaching staff as an assistant coach. Muller was with Montreal to start the season before being let go at the same time that Claude Julien was fired in late February.
- While the Maple Leafs have some calls to make on their pending unrestricted free agents, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox posits that an even more important one that needs to be made now is on defenseman Morgan Rielly. The blueliner is set to become a UFA next summer and will undoubtedly be seeking a raise on his current $5MM AAV. If they’re able to get him locked up – no talks on an extension have occurred yet – that will greatly impact what else they can do this offseason knowing that they will have another expensive deal on the books in 2022.
- Still with Toronto, one somewhat notable absentee from their first-round loss to Montreal was winger Nicholas Robertson. The 20-year-old saw action in the bubble last summer but as it turns out, he was unavailable due to a concussion sustained in the minors late in the season, relays Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). He was on the verge of being cleared had the Maple Leafs advanced to the second round.
- Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo missed Friday’s second game against Montreal and it appears he’ll miss at least a couple more. Head coach Paul Maurice told reporters, including Postmedia’s Ted Wyman, that the blueliner is dealing with a soft tissue injury and will be out for at least a week. Jordie Benn replaced DeMelo in the lineup last night although youngster Ville Heinola could get a look at some point as well.