5 Potential Win-Win Trades for NHL Playoff Contenders and the Vancouver Canucks
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Bo Horvat goes to be traded this season, it is only a matter of whenDerek Cain/Getty Pictures
To say issues are grim for the Vancouver Canucks lately can be doing an amazing disservice to info.
The Canucks have been dysfunctional all season lengthy and we’re solely midway via it. Coach Bruce Boudreau’s firing has felt imminent for a pair months, and now one of many individuals on the planet that loves hockey greater than something got emotional when requested in regards to the rumors swirling about his how his tenure could quickly be coming to an finish.
The gamers are sick of the losing. They’re buried within the Western Convention standings sitting 12 factors behind the second wild card spot and 17 again of third-place Los Angeles within the Pacific Division. They don’t seem to be going to the playoffs until numerous groups in entrance of them are dispatched to the Phantom Zone by Jor-El of Krypton.
The dour air across the workforce has been obvious for fairly some time. When the Canucks got here to Buffalo in mid-November, a month into the season, gamers’ heads have been down, Boudreau’s temper was as if somebody ran over his canine, and a number of Canucks gamers regarded like they’d fairly be wherever else within the universe than within the locker room. Dangerous vibes, man.
To vary this up, I’ll discover new locations for 5 Canucks gamers to name dwelling by way of commerce through which not solely with the workforce buying them wins, but in addition Vancouver can come away happy as effectively.
Workforce president Jim Rutherford mentioned they’re not rebuilding, however I am tearing this all the way down to the studs by eliminating them. Properly, most of them anyway. Onward!
Ilya Mikheyev to Tampa Bay
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The Tampa Bay Lightning do not want numerous assist, let’s be actual. Their offense is once more clicking, Steven Stamkos scored his five hundredth purpose lately (towards Vancouver, no much less), and Andrei Vasilevskiy is busy reminding the remainder of the league that he is probably the greatest goalies within the league as soon as once more.
The Bolts are excellent, however they’re additionally in the identical division because the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs and already seem fated to face the Leafs within the first spherical of the playoffs. Elliotte Friedman says the Lightning are on the lookout for a player with an edge to their sport in the identical vein as previous deadline acquisitions like Blake Coleman or Nick Paul. Who higher to usher in to frustrate the Leafs to their very core than a man who had simply spent the earlier three seasons in Toronto?
Tampa Bay including Ilya Mikheyev to, presumably, their bottom-six ahead group would give them a participant who, no less than whereas on excellent Maple Leafs groups, was very good with puck possession and will assist out on the penalty-killing items and even get the occasional shorthanded purpose (he had 4 final season).
Mikheyev is not a typical model of gritty participant. He would not ship numerous hits and he would not block a ton of photographs, however he comes extra from the trendy college of the way to frustrate opponents by the use of forechecking like a madman and enhancing the power of opposing skaters to make errors.
There are some roadblocks to creating this occur, nevertheless.
Mikheyev’s contract has a $4.75 million cap hit via 2025-26 and the Lightning are one in every of many, many groups digging into LTIR for cap house. The Canucks may eat a few of that cash, but when the worth was a first-round decide to get him (it should not be, thoughts you), Tampa would not have a first-round decide till the 2025 draft after dealing their 2023 and 2024 first-round picks for Brandon Hagel. Additionally they haven’t got a second-round decide in 2023.
Pay attention, I am simply an thought man right here, OK? Mikheyev has all the texture of being a Lightning-like participant and in a vacuum, he can be a strong match.
Brock Boeser to Minnesota
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There are some absolute truths in life. One is that everybody loves an amazing homecoming story, and the opposite is that the Minnesota Wild love to usher in gamers from the State of Hockey. Having Brock Boeser go the Wild would accomplish each of these issues.
The Wild are in a spot the place they will completely problem for the Stanley Cup this season, however their offense leaves a bit to be desired. They’re within the bottom-half of the NHL in objectives scored and fortuitously for them, scoring objectives is among the issues Boeser does very effectively.
In 4 of his first 5 seasons, Boeser scored 20-or-more objectives with a career-high of 29 again in 2017-2018. His goal-scoring tempo this season is the worst he is had in his profession scoring 0.25 goals per game. That quantity is out of line with most of his earlier seasons, which indicators a bounceback may occur quickly. Add in the truth that Boeser is a decent puck possession player, and you have got somebody that must be enticing to most groups within the league.
Boeser comes with a $6.65 million cap hit that runs for 2 extra seasons after the present one which, sadly, is similar period of time the Wild has with the stiff cap penalties accrued after they purchased out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the summertime of 2021. Getting dinged for $14.7 million in useless cap is one thing the Wild must be ready for since it is a mess they obtained themselves into within the first place, however it will be a significant factor into how they may herald Boeser.
The Wild have picks to dangle to make a deal, however they’d want to maneuver out a contract of some variety to assist make it simpler. Coincidentally, soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Matt Dumba who has a $6 million cap hit has been a healthy scratch lately out of the blue. Simply saying.
Thatcher Demko to Los Angeles Kings
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Jeff Vinnick/NHLI by way of Getty Pictures
The Los Angeles Kings are having maybe an unexpectedly nice begin to the season. They’re beating groups by spreading the wealth on offense and operating scorers out from nearly all 4 traces (when wholesome). They’re proper within the combine with Vegas and Seattle within the Pacific Division, they usually’ve obtained a evident weak point in purpose.
Vancouver goaltending has not been nice this season, with Thatcher Demko at first enjoying poorly and now coping with a lower-body damage and Spencer Martin getting pressed into regular motion because the interim No. 1 with Collin Delia backing him up.
The Canucks are a catastrophe on ice, and the Kings may use some solidification in purpose for the long term with Jonathan Fast, 36, not getting any youthful and Cal Petersen getting his sport again within the AHL. It positive looks as if a good time for Vancouver to grab the day and make a deal the place it will possibly get the return it’d most need, and the Kings may resolve their goaltending for now and seasons to return.
Demko has been excellent over the previous few campaigns, and his play in 2021-22, together with coach Bruce Boudreau’s arrival, helped the Canucks almost get to the playoffs after a depressing first half. Sure, his numbers are unhealthy this season, and he is working his method again from damage. However there’s loads of hockey left to play.
The Kings are usually not missing in prospects or draft picks, and if the Canucks need a goalie again within the deal, one would most likely be instantly obtainable to ship the opposite method if L.A. is bringing in a brand new potential No. 1.
Bo Horvat to Carolina Hurricanes
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Jeff Vinnick/NHLI by way of Getty Pictures
Full transparency: My thought to have the Carolina Hurricanes make a run at Bo Horvat occurred method earlier than the group announced Max Pacioretty tore his Achilles’ tendon once more and would miss the remainder of the season. You do not have to imagine me, and also you most likely will not anyway. However holy smokes it is an amazing thought.
The Hurricanes are in a combat with the New Jersey Devils atop the Metropolitan Division, and each groups will control the Boston Bruins in case they arrive again to earth (not going to occur) to consider dwelling ice all through the playoffs. That ought to result in an arms race between the ‘Canes and Devils, and any good roster arms race wants a very good rental commerce. And Horvat can be that man.
Horvat makes a ton of sense for Carolina as a result of not solely has it misplaced Pacioretty for the remainder of the season, however whereas Paul Stastny is a strong veteran centerman, additionally having Horvat play between Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas is the form of factor fantasy hockey rosters or video video games are product of.
Horvat is because of be an unrestricted free agent this summer time, which makes him an excellent rental commerce candidate. And given how poorly contract-extension talks have gone with Vancouver, the potential of a Horvat commerce by March 3 grows stronger by the day and with each Canucks loss.
The fee to amass him can be excessive, however because the commerce deadline attracts nearer, the strain can be on the Canucks to do one thing, particularly if Horvat will not signal there.
Including Horvat would give Carolina maybe probably the most harmful and potent offense within the NHL, and there can be the chance they may retain him too, since they will have almost $30 million in cap space this summer. Granted, they will have a number of different holes to fill.
Quinn Hughes to Montréal Canadiens
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The Montréal Canadiens have an thrilling group of younger forwards they’re constructing with, and whereas they’ve a number of younger defensemen who present promise in Kaiden Guhle (age 21), Justin Barron (21), and Jordan Harris (22), they do not have a puck-carrying offensive menace to jump-start the likes of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and Juraj Slafkovsky.
Getting aggressive and making a pitch for Quinn Hughes would handle that.
Ought to the Canucks have any purpose to commerce Hughes? If they are a severe group, no, however given how they have been appearing this season (and arguably some time earlier than this), they do not appear that severe about issues. That makes them the right mark for what can be a shocking blockbuster commerce.
Hughes’ offensive sport from the blue line is excellent, and he is nonetheless rising into the function regardless of being in his fourth full marketing campaign. He is leading all defensemen in assists over the previous 4 seasons (together with 2022-23), and his worth as a distributor on the ability play is sky-high.
If Vancouver have been to maneuver Hughes, it will sign it’d really wish to do a full rebuild, which might imply the group would demand future property from Montréal to get him.
Fortunately for the Canucks, the Habs have stockpiled picks from earlier trades. They’ve the Florida Panthers’ first spherical decide in 2023 and a conditional first-rounder from Calgary in 2025 together with their very own firsts. Montréal additionally has a reasonably strong stockpile of prospects in line behind its present spate of youth.
The Canadiens have heavy cap commitments over the following few seasons; nevertheless, a few of these (like Carey Worth) can be on the spot LTIR cap-space creators. That makes taking over Hughes’ $7.85 million cap hit via 2026-27 loads simpler.
If the Canadiens wish to be the following New Jersey Devils or Buffalo Sabres, with their younger gamers main stunning resurgences, including Hughes would nearly guarantee it.
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