The Vancouver Canucks have made another deal with a divisional opponent. They’ve acquired the rights to defenseman Philip Larsen from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Vancouver’s 5th round pick in 2017, according to a report from TSN’s Darren Dreger.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Vancouver intends on giving Larsen a NHL contract on Jul. 1 and having him on the NHL roster for the 2016-17 season.
The 26-year-old Danish defender was a 5th round pick of the Dallas Stars back in 2008. He was moved to the Oilers in July 2013 as a part of the deal that sent Shawn Horoff to Texas.
Larsen spent one season with Edmonton, grabbing 30 NHL games with three goals and 12 points. In total he played 135 NHL games split over five seasons. After the single season with the Oilers he left North America to play in the KHL, where he’s been for the last two seasons.
Wednesday’s trade was made possible by then general manager Craig MacTavish giving Larsen a qualifying offer as Larsen headed to the KHL. It cost the team nothing and ensured that they retained his rights. That makes this a pretty good deal for Edmonton. They turned a player that they have the rights for, but isn’t doing anything for the organization, into a draft pick.
Additionally, McKenzie reports that the Vancouver draft pick turns into a 4th round pick if Larsen hits certain performance thresholds in the NHL with Vancouver.
For Vancouver, it’s a bit of risk, but they’ll bring Larsen into an organization where there’s some level of familiarity. Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins coached Larsen while both were with the Texas Stars, AHL affiliate of Dallas.
There’s also reason to believe that Larsen is in his prime, both between his age and some solid production in the KHL. This year with Jokerit Helsinki, who is currently in the first round of the KHL postseason, Larsen put up a good deal of points from the blue line. His 12 goals and 38 points in 54 games rank third on the team.
While the Canucks are committed to building for the future, taking on Larsen may make sense. He could be a solid third pairing guy with some offensive upside. He also may have power play utility. The Canucks will need some fresh bodies with it being reported Wednesday that the Canucks are sellers at the trade deadline. Even aside from the deadline, they have three defensemen who will be UFAs on Jul. 1.
Third pairing defensemen are available, but with Larsen there’s familiarity, upside and he’ll likely sign a deal that’s on the cheap side.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.