The NHL’s Trade Deadline is just over a month away, but speculation has already begun. Whether it’s a team contending, pushing for a playoff spot, or looking to rebuild for the future, things will ramp up as the deadline approaches.
There have been a lot of rumours about big-name players on the Vancouver Canucks, most notably J.T. Miller. While the return would be substantial, there are others on the roster who would fetch a solid return and draft capital without taking away too much from the lineup. Here are three Canucks who should be dealt before the trade deadline.
Players like Tanner Pearson are mentioned almost every season at the deadline. He can chip in offensively, fits in well in the bottom-six, but can also step up and play a larger role if need be. Every contending team would love to have a player like him join their squad for a deep playoff run.
In 45 games this season, Pearson has 19 points while averaging 16:22 in ice time (TOI) per game. He’s already passed his point total from a year ago (18 points) and is just two years removed from posting 21 goals and 45 points during his second season in Vancouver. He also has two years remaining on his contract after this one with a $3.25 million cap hit. His term is added incentive for teams looking to add players.
Throw in the fact that he won a Stanley Cup in 2014 with the Los Angeles Kings and has put up 15 points across 35 playoff appearances, Vancouver might want to hear what teams have to offer if Pearson is brought up in conversation.
Let’s be honest, the Jason Dickinson trade with the Dallas Stars hasn’t worked out the way the Canucks intended. Brought over in the offseason in exchange for a third-round pick, Dickinson was supposed to solidify the third-line centre position and offer some defensive help. While that’s largely the role he’s played, the production hasn’t come with it.
This season’s production has been a far cry from what he managed in Dallas two years ago. Through 45 games, Dickinson has just six points while averaging 13:17 TOI per game, whereas he produced 21 points in 65 games, playing nearly 15 minutes per game in 2020. He even earned Lady Bing Memorial Trophy nominations, awarded to the player who “exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Vancouver has other options at the position. They could give Juho Lammikko, who has eight points on the year, a look on the third line or call up Nicolas Petan, who’s in the AHL with the affiliate Abbotsford Canucks. Dickinson still has two years after this one on his deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $2.65 million. With players like Brock Boeser and Tyler Mott possibly re-signing with the club, Vancouver could use that $2.65 million, especially if the Canucks can swing a solid return in the process.
Having defensive depth is integral down the stretch, especially come playoff time. With injuries and the possibility of playing a lot of games late in the season, it’s better to have more bodies available. Luke Schenn was a third-overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. After spending his first four seasons there, he has since bounced around six other organizations, landing in Vancouver for the second time after his first stint in 2019.
This season, Schenn has found a role and a home on the Canucks’ blue line after winning a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning a year ago. He has 10 points in 32 games, and he’s a plus-12 while averaging 16:47 TOI per game. That’s a significant improvement from his 2019 season when he posted just two points in 18 games with a minus-4 rating and playing 14:46 TOI. Though he might be one of the better bargains, making just $850,000, and has carved out a great role with the club, the Canucks might get an offer they can’t pass up for the 32-year-old.
The trade deadline is not until March 31, so the Canucks’ brass will have some time to evaluate where the team stands and what the market is like. Rumours about Miller continue to circulate, but if Vancouver wants to keep its core intact for next season while getting some assets this season, these might be the players that general manager Patrik Allvin and assistant general manager Cammi Granato could try to move.
I’m a London, Ontario based broadcaster and sports writer for the Vancouver Canucks. I’ve done work in the past reporting on the NHL, NBA and MLB. I’ve also covered the OHL including the Owen Sound Attack and am currently involved with the London Knights.