Welcome to the post-trade deadline edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors. The Canucks had an eventful two days as the club traded Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators and acquired Travis Dermott from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, and then traded forward Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers on Monday. There’s also some insight on why the club decided against trading Luke Schenn. Lastly, two American Hockey League (AHL) players may get an opportunity to play in Vancouver soon.
Dermott in, Hamonic Out
The first two moves president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin made with the Canucks came on Sunday. The organization traded veteran defenceman Hamonic to the Senators for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Hamonic is in the first year of a two-year deal with a $3 million cap hit. The Canucks offloaded the 32-year old’s contract without retaining any of his salary. Meanwhile, the third-round pick the Canucks acquired was their own, which they traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for Nate Schmidt in the 2020 offseason.
The second trade came as the Canucks added Dermott from the Maple Leafs in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The draft pick originally belonged to the Winnipeg Jets, which the Canucks acquired when trading Schmidt to the club this past offseason. Similar to Hamonic, Dermott is a bottom pairing defenceman. Unlike Hamonic, he is 25 years old and is on a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.5 million. He has speed but is more defensive than offensive.
The two trades were big wins for the Canucks. Not only did the organization offload Hamonic and his contract, but they also added a young mobile and versatile bottom pair defenceman for half the cap hit.
The Canucks traded Motte to the Rangers, the only trade the organization made on Monday. The club acquired a 2023 fourth-round pick in exchange for the depth forward. The return for Motte was less than what most expected, but the Canucks were better off trading the forward after being unable to come to an agreement on a new deal. Allvin decided to take the 2023 fourth-round pick due to the quality of the draft class (from ‘Canucks deal Tyler Motte to Cup-contending New York Rangers for fourth-round 2023 draft pick,’ The Province, May 21, 2022).
“It was a little bit of both I would say,” Allvin said. “For myself, in talking to a lot of teams and feeling out with what they were thinking about our players, that’s where we wound up with the fourth-round pick. There were some teams checking in on him, but we felt the draft in 2023 was a little bit better. And when it was clear we couldn’t sign him, we had to maximize our return.”
Motte reportedly wanted a deal similar to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly. Kuraly is signed to a four-year deal with a cap hit of $2.5 million. The Canucks decided against extending the forward at that number and ended up with a fourth-round pick in a quality draft.
Canucks Keep Schenn
Heading into the trade deadline, Schenn was one of the players expected to be traded due to the amount of offers coming in for him. The 32-year-old is signed through next season on a cheap deal with a cap hit of $850,000. He’s spent a majority of the season playing alongside Quinn Hughes. Allvin discussed the team’s reason for keeping the veteran defenceman on Monday:
“I have a lot of respect for Luke Schenn as a player, and more as a person, and what he means to this club off the ice in terms of being a winner, the culture, the commitment he has to be a pro every day,” said Allvin. “For me, it’s extremely important for this young group to have a guy like Luke Schenn here.”
The Canucks value Schenn as a leader on and off the ice. He’s won two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning and has played in the NHL for 14 years.
Lockwood and Rathbone Will get Future Opportunity
Allvin stated William Lockwood and Jack Rathbone are two young players ready to fight for games in the NHL as the season winds down. Many believe both players have deserved an opportunity to play on the main roster since the start of the season.
Rathbone played nine games on the main roster this season before being sent to the AHL to regain his confidence. The defenceman missed in Abbotsford due to a few injuries but has looked impressive when healthy. Throughout 25 games, he scored seven goals and posted 25 points this season. As for Lockwood, he has played in 45 games with Abbotsford, scoring nine goals and posting 24 points. The right-winger has only played two games in the NHL, so the lack of experience may hurt the forward at first.
Canucks Claim Richardson
The Canucks claimed Brad Richardson off waivers from the Calgary Flames. He has played in 27 games with Flames this season, scoring two goals and posting four points. He is a pending free agent on a one-year deal with a cap hit of $800,000. This will be Richardson’s second tenure with the Canucks, as he previously spent two seasons with the organization from 2013 to 2015. The 37-year-old will likely be a fourth-line forward for the club through the remainder of the season.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.