Canucks Weekly: Playoff & Trade Deadline Watch

The Vancouver Canucks had a short week, as they played two games against the Winnipeg Jets. Aside from the two games this week, there was also a change made for Canadian teams, which may help teams make trades. 

The Jets blew the Canucks out in both games this week. On Monday, they won 4-0, which included a two-goal performance from Adam Lowry. Aside from being shutout, the Canucks had a scare as captain Bo Horvat, the only starting centre available to the team on Monday, took a slap shot to the foot and did not return for the remainder of the game. 

Luckily for the Canucks, Horvat returned to play on Wednesday night. The result of the game, however, was the same as Monday night. They were blown out by the Jets 5-1, thanks to forward Andrew Copp’s four-goal night. Nils Hoglander scored the team’s lone goal, assisted by Horvat and Brock Boeser. 

Playoff Watch

The Canucks sit two points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the fourth seed in the North Division, but the Canucks have played six more games. 

Elias Pettersson, Carey Price,
Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson moves in on Montreal Canadiens Carey Price (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

The Canadiens have cooled down from their great start, which was a good sign for the red hot Canucks, who had won eight games in March. The two losses for the Canucks against Winnipeg were tough for the team and may have hurt their chances at making the playoffs. 

After Wednesday’s game, the Canucks will not play until the upcoming Wednesday. With a week off, most expected a better idea of where the team stands as the Canadiens would’ve made up the games played differential between the two clubs. Unfortunately, Montreal had four games postponed as forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were placed into protocol on Monday. 

Quarantine Rule Change

Last week, the Canadian government waived the mandatory 14-day quarantine period and approved a seven-day quarantine with daily testing instead for players arriving in Canada.

This is big for the Canucks as the April 12th trade deadline approaches as they can expand their list of players they receive in return. Although they should be trading players such as Tanner Pearson and Brandon Sutter, they can now acquire a young player in return who can play for the team this season. 

Most Canadian teams were hesitant to make a trade with American teams, as the only trade, which involved the Jets acquiring Pierre Luc Dubois had its flaws. Dubois was stuck in a two-week quarantine and had a tough time catching up.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks here, getting back into shape and then getting injured and trying to get back into shape again. It was a muscle injury, something that isn’t too devastating but you also want to be fit to play and now that I’ve practiced and worked out and had a couple team skates here, I’m ready to go again.”

Dubois said about the injury he suffered after quarantining for two weeks.

A one-week quarantine should help newly acquired players remain in playing shape, which in turn could lead to more trades involving Canadian teams.

Gaudette Trade Rumours

Adam Gaudette has been featured in trade rumours all season long. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman stated there have been talks around the forward, and the Canucks are trying to work something with him. 

Adam Gaudette Vancouver Canucks
Adam Gaudette, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Earlier in the season, there were reports the Nashville Predators had an interest in trading for Gaudette. THW’s Matthew Zator listed Mattias Ekholm, Luke Prokop and Nick Cousins as targets in a trade for Gaudette. Out of the three players, Prokop may be the favoured target in a trade. The 2020 third-round draft pick has played 10 games for the Calgary Hitmen this season, posting two goals and three points. He is a right defenceman, something the Canucks need. With defencemen such as Quinn Hughes, Jack Rathbone and Olli Juolevi on the left side, the club needs young right-handed defenders. 

Gaudette is a player the Canucks could move on from. With Elias Pettersson and Horvat in the top-six, Gaudette is the team’s third-line centre. With Kole Lind playing at centre to the start the season with the Utica Comets, the Canucks can move on from the 24-year-old. Lind should be ready for a main roster spot to start the 2021-22 season.

Canucks Return to Action

With almost a whole week off, the Canucks return to action on Wednesday night to take on the Calgary Flames. They end the week with a back-to-back. First, they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and then the Jets on Sunday night. 

The Canucks will hope to have an April similar to their March. They had their best month, minus the upcoming game against the Flames on Wednesday, they have an 8-4-1 record in the month. 

Who’s Next?

  • March 31st vs. Calgary Flames
  • April 3rd at Edmonton Oilers
  • April 4th at Winnipeg Jets