Don’t look now but we are less than a week away from the 2023 Trade Deadline and the Vancouver Canucks have yet to move rumor mill residents Luke Schenn, Brock Boeser, and Conor Garland. With any luck, they will trade a least a couple of these players and have several more draft picks, prospects, and maybe even a young player or two added to their coffers once the closing bell rings at 3 pm on March 3.
Related: NHL Trade Bait List for the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline
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The Minnesota Wild have been busy in the trade market as a third-party broker to facilitate trades involving Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Acciari, Dmitry Orlov, and Garnet Hathaway. Retaining salary left and right to acquire draft picks, it remains to be seen if they plan to add any actual players to their roster ahead of the deadline. If they do, the Canucks have a couple that could interest them, namely top-six wingers in Boeser and Garland. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some targets the Canucks should be asking for in return.
In an effort to retool instead of rebuild, the Canucks are reportedly looking for players around 25 years old rather than just simply prospects and draft picks. Jordan Greenway falls into that category and at 6-foot-6, 231 pounds, would add some much-needed size and physicality to the lineup. He is also on a relatively budget-friendly deal at $3 million in average annual value (AAV) for the next two seasons.
A key piece of the Wild’s fan-favorite GREEF line alongside Joel Eriksson-Ek and Marcus Foligno, Greenway put up 10 goals and 27 points last season and looked poised to break out in 2022-23. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistency have plagued the big forward this season, resulting in a mediocre two goals and six points in 41 games. That being said, he’s still in his prime at 26 years old and has shown flashes of becoming a mean power forward that can score 30 goals. His brute strength along the boards, soft hands around the net, and lethal wrist shot have been on display throughout his time in the NHL, and it’s only a matter of time before it all comes together and he starts dominating the league night in and night out.
While Todd Bertuzzi started his ascent to stardom a lot earlier than Greenway – he scored 36 goals when he was his age – there are a lot of similarities between the two. The Canucks already have their Markus Naslund in Elias Pettersson, could Greenway be the Bertuzzi and help create a new West Coast Express alongside Andrei Kuzmenko? If the Wild actually are shopping Greenway, Patrik Allvin could potentially make that a reality.
The Canucks could also go the route of asking for a prospect in a trade involving Boeser or Garland. In the case of the New Jersey Devils, it would be Seamus Casey. With the Wild, it should be Brock Faber, but since he was the centerpiece of the recent Kevin Fiala trade, I doubt they will want to give him up so soon after they acquired him. So, I am going with Plan B: David Spacek. Drafted all the way down in the fifth round in 2022, it’s hard to imagine him being in the same realm as Faber (who was a second-rounder in 2020), but he is – at least in this writer’s opinion.
Currently playing for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Spacek is having another phenomenal season with nine goals and 42 points in 46 games (on pace for a career-high 53 points). He is also coming off an MVP-like performance at the 2022 World Juniors where he led Team Czechia to a silver medal and was arguably one of their top defencemen both offensively and defensively. Finishing with three goals and eight points in seven games along with an impressive plus-7 in the plus/minus column, he shot up the charts and should be considered one of their best defensive prospects right now.
Son of longtime NHLer Jaroslav Spacek, David has the tools to become a solid two-way defenceman capable of playing with offensive dynamos like Quinn Hughes. Known for his hard shot, good first pass, and ability to contain forwards one-on-one, he could turn out to be one of the steals of the 2022 Draft. He’s also a right-hand shot, something the Canucks are making a point of targeting in trades leading up to the deadline. Unfortunately, his rising stock might also mean the Wild will be reluctant to give him up for just Boeser or Garland.
Canucks Fans Hoping For a Busy Trade Deadline
With several players seemingly on the block, the Canucks could be one of the busier teams at the trade deadline. They could also do next to nothing and end off March 3 with only a Schenn trade. That’s the nature of the salary cap era. It’s difficult to move money around especially when players with $6.5 million AAV contracts are involved.
I’m sure Allvin would love to trade his most tradeable assets in Garland, Boeser, and Schenn, and find suitors for Tyler Myers, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and J.T. Miller, but the reality is, there aren’t a lot of teams that are capable of taking on that type of salary. So, all Canucks Nation can do is wait and see if he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and make some trades to set this franchise up for a bright future built around Pettersson, Kuzmenko, and Hughes. Only less than a week to go until we find out if he can do just that.