The Vancouver Canucks have an opportunity to offload a few of their highly paid defencemen as the Ottawa Senators are looking to add to their blue line. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noted general manager Pierre Dorion said the club is very active in the trade market amid the team’s struggles. The Senators have a 6-9-1 record as their blue line continues to be one of their weak spots.
On the 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Jeff Marek mentioned he wouldn’t be surprised if the Senators made a few phone calls with the Canucks. The organization also has $4.204 million in cap space, which is enough to make a deal with the Canucks.
Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the chances of a trade involving Tyler Myers between the Canucks and the Senators. Friedman noted Myers has a partial no-trade. Although he adds the Senators could be on his 10-team no-trade list, there is no guarantee he wouldn’t waive in case of a trade to Ottawa. Rick Dhaliwal noted Myers has not rejected a trade to the club, but a deal between the two teams has not been close.
Myers has two years left in his five-year, $30 million deal. The Canucks are also interested in moving the 6-foot-8 defender, according to Ottawa Sun writer Bruce Garrioch (from ‘GARRIOCH: Erik Karlsson will return to his home in Ottawa, but not the Senators’ lineup,’ Ottawa Sun, Nov. 17, 2022).
“There’s also been talk the Vancouver Canucks are willing to move defenceman Tyler Myers and the Leafs have been among the teams kicking tires there.”
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Although Myers has been unable to near his career-high 48 points, which he reached in his rookie season, he still has some offensive ability. He posted six goals and 21 points in each of his first two seasons with the Canucks, but struggled to produce last season with the addition of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Additionally, Myers is a top-minute defenceman. He has averaged 20:59 time on ice (TOI) for the Canucks this season in 14 games. He’s also averaged over 20 minutes in TOI throughout his 14-year NHL career.
The Senators could use help on the right side of their blue line. Jake Sanderson and Thomas Chabot have played well on the left side. Travis Hamonic hasn’t been bad on the right side for the club, either. However, the Senators placed Nikita Zaitsev on waiver last week. Therefore, the organization could use Myers, a right-shot defenceman, to play meaningful minutes and bolster its blue line.
This will upset most Canucks fans, as Luke Schenn has become a favourite in Vancouver. Although Schenn may not produce as much as Myers, he plays a physical brand of hockey, as he leads the league in hits with 76. The defensive defenceman has proven to be a reliable partner for Quinn Hughes and could do the same playing alongside one of the Senators’ young left-shot blueliners.
Schenn is a cheaper option to improve the Senators’ blue line as he has a cap hit of $850,000. Dhaliwal noted on Donnie & Dhali there will be a lot of interest around the defenceman.
“The Canucks could talk with Schenn’s agent along with a trade partner to see if he’s a rental or a re-signing,” Dhaliwal said. “Don’t believe they’ve talked to his agent yet about a new deal. Last year’s deadline, the Canucks got a ton of calls on Schenn. They’re going to get a ton of calls on Schenn again, this is a player that is coveted. I’m already hearing about Schenn and some teams.”
The Senators have an opportunity to jump on Schenn before other teams start to make calls on the defenceman. Adding him will provide the club with depth on their ride side.
Ekman-Larsson & Poolman
Aside from Myers and Schenn, the Canucks have a few other defenders they can move in Ekman-Larsson and Tucker Poolman. However, both players make it difficult for the Canucks to do so.
The Canucks attempted to find a trade market for Ekman-Larsson six months ago but could not move him largely due to his no-move clause. If the Senators are interested and the Canucks are able to entice the veteran defender into waiving his no-move clause, a deal could be made. It is also difficult to trade Ekman-Larsson because he has five years remaining on his contract with a $7.260 million annual average value. However, he’ll be a useful addition as he can pitch in offensively while helping out on the defensive end.
As for Poolman, he is on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). However, if he returns from LTIR before the trade deadline, the Canucks could move him to the Senators. Poolman will be a helpful right-shot defenceman for the Senators when healthy, while the Canucks can offload his $2.5 million cap hit.
Canucks Have an Opportunity to Move Contracts
The Senators are interested in adding to their blue line, which is great for the Canucks. The club has three high-cap hit contracts in Myers, Ekman-Larsson and Poolman, and the Canucks can use this opportunity to move one of them. Myers is the easiest contract to trade as he has two years remaining, while Ekman-Larsson is the hardest player to move due to his no-move clause and the term remaining on his contract.
If the organization cannot move any of the three players, trading Schenn for a draft pick will be smart. The Canucks will likely have to add a contract for the other three defenders, but not a big one, as the Senators have $4.203 million in cap space.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.