Canucks Could Trade 4 Major Players Before 2023 Trade Deadline

Since starting the 2022-23 season 0-5-2, Vancouver Canucks fans have had to deal with rampant trade rumors from hockey insiders Elliotte Friedman, Pierre LeBrun, and Darren Dreger, among others. That’s unfortunately the nature of the beast when a team struggles to find its footing at the beginning of a campaign.

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Even though the Canucks have found their game a bit and are now 12-13-3, the rumor mill keeps on churning. From Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, and Conor Garland, to Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, it seems like no player is safe from it. It remains to be seen how many of them are actually moved before the trade deadline, but here are the four major – and most probable – players that could be traded based on all the rumors out there.

Bo Horvat

After reportedly rejecting the Canucks’ latest and seemingly final contract offer, Horvat appears to be firmly on the trade market. But don’t expect him to comment on it further, as he released a statement on Dec. 13 saying, “I am focused on this season and playing for the Vancouver Canucks, helping the team in any way I can. I will not have any further comments this year about my future.”

Related: Canucks Chose Wrong Player to Extend Between Horvat & Miller

According to Rick Dhaliwal and expanded on by LeBrun, the Canucks will now “[focus] on the trade market between now and March 3.” It’s a tough turn of events for Canucks Nation considering their captain is having a season for the ages right now. With 20 goals in 28 games and on pace for an absurd 59 goals, he could conceivably finish his tenure in Vancouver with a franchise record under his belt.

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Horvat’s newfound goalscoring prowess along with his leadership, elite faceoff abilities and emerging two-way game will make him one of the biggest commodities at the trade deadline. Unfortunately for the Canucks, his value might be limited since he will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Unless it is a sign-and-trade, teams will be hesitant to give up premium assets for fear of losing him in free agency. Having said that, high-end rentals have fetched a pretty penny in the past, so I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Canucks could get something substantial.

Brock Boeser

When Horvat was drafted in 2013 and Boeser in 2015, they were expected to be two pieces the Canucks could build around on the heels of the Henrik and Daniel Sedin era. While they both have racked up the miles and climbed the all-time scoring list, playoff success has mostly eluded them. Now, the duo could be traded in the same season. Not exactly the future many Canucks fans envisioned when Boeser was ripping it up in his rookie season and Horvat was named captain in 2019.

Related: 3 Potential Trade Destinations For Canucks’ Brock Boeser

Since being driven into an unlatched door at the bench during that same rookie campaign, Boeser hasn’t looked like the player that was picking corners at the 2018 All-Star Skills Competition and beating Carey Price with a laser point-blank. He has had three 20-goal seasons since then, but fans have not seen a lot of his one-timer from the left circle or that sniper-like accuracy very often – at least not as frequently as in 2017-18.

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Don’t get me wrong, Boeser is still a legitimate top-six winger on most teams in the NHL. In a perfect world, the Canucks would be getting a return package in the Horvat/J.T. Miller range, but considering his injury history and $6.65 million average annual value (AAV) cap hit, that just won’t be the case. Unfortunately, they will probably have to take a lesser package of draft picks and mid-range prospects.

Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boeser’s agent has been talking to a number of teams trying to drum up interest in his client. There is one team rumored to be very interested, but only if the Canucks retain some salary, which is something they don’t want to do. All in all, this story will be something to watch in the coming weeks and months, as just like Horvat, it’s not a matter of if he will be traded, but when.

Luke Schenn

Luke Schenn is the Horvat on defence – at least when it comes to trade value. The difference is, he is almost 100 percent a rental to any team that gets him, as he’s expressed a desire to remain in Vancouver long-term. So even if he does get traded, he will likely sign back with the Canucks on a retirement-based contract once the offseason hits.

I got some roots down here with family … it sounds a little crazy given everyone sees me as a veteran, older guy but to be here long-term is my goal.

Luke Schenn (from ‘Luke Schenn wants to re-sign with the Canucks. Should they extend him?’, The Athletic, 12/10/22)

At 33 years old, Schenn has aged like a fine wine, arguably becoming the defenceman everyone thought he was going to be when he was drafted fifth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2008. Now the NHL’s all-time leader in hits with 2,957, there was a time not that long ago when it looked like his career was over. Toiling in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the San Diego Gulls, the Canucks acquired him in 2019 for Michael Del Zotto and gave him a chance to play with a youngster named Quinn Hughes. And while he left in the offseason to join the Tampa Bay Lightning and eventually win two Stanley Cups, it was that experience that vaulted him back into the NHL spotlight.

Luke Schenn Vancouver Canucks
Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Of course, the rest is history as Schenn has become probably the NHL’s biggest bargain ($850,000) for a top-four defenceman. If the Canucks in fact put him up for sale at the deadline, almost every playoff contender will come calling. Could they get a first-round pick or high-end prospect for him? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

Conor Garland

Despite signing a long-term contract with the Canucks shortly after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, Conor Garland has found himself in trade rumors more often than not. First, it was at the trade deadline last season, then in the offseason, and finally, amidst the team’s 0-5-2 start to 2022-23. Unfortunately for him, I don’t see that changing as we head toward the deadline this season. After all, he’s still one of the Canucks’ most marketable assets at forward because of his age (26), contract ($4.95 million AAV), and versatility to play up and down the lineup and on both special teams.

Conor Garland Vancouver Canucks
Conor Garland, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Having said that, Allvin and Rutherford probably regret not trading Garland sooner – like last season when he had a career-high 52 points. This season he’s on pace to have his worst campaign since 2018-19 when he put up 18 points as a rookie shuttled between the Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners. Unless he can turn things around and ramp up the production, the Canucks might be looking at another Boeser situation where they have to settle for a lesser package in return.

Will the Canucks Find Suitors for Ekman-Larsson, Pearson, or Myers?

Horvat, Boeser, Garland, and Schenn are the bait almost guaranteed to get bites. Ekman-Larsson, Myers, and Tanner Pearson, not so much. Out of the three, I think Pearson (once he’s healthy) will be the easiest to move. He only has one more season at $3.25 million after this one and he’s still a relatively useful player in the bottom six with tons of playoff experience. I’m sure at least one or two contenders could be enticed with that type of resume. The Canucks will probably only get a mid-level prospect or late-round draft pick for him, but that still means his money is off the books.

Tanner Pearson Vancouver Canucks
Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As for Myers and Ekman-Larsson, I am not holding my breath. Ekman-Larsson controls the narrative in any trade and I’m not sure many teams are going to want to take on four more seasons at $7.260 million AAV even if he does agree to waive his no-movement clause. Myers could be traded – and almost was – but he still costs $6 million AAV and might require a sweetener to get a deal done, which is not ideal. In the end, it’s going to be really tough to move any of these overpriced veterans for anything of value.

Change is Coming to Vancouver

If all the rumors about Horvat are true, then the Canucks will be sewing the “C” on someone else’s sweater next season. Whether it will be Elias Pettersson’s remains to be seen, but nevertheless, they will have a new leader ushering in a new era of hockey in Vancouver. We will have to wait and see what other changes management has in store but in the end, this team could look a lot different when the puck drops on the 2023-24 season.