Welcome to the Vancouver Canucks best trades series. In this series, we at The Hockey Writers look back at the Canucks’ trading history with every NHL team and pick what we believe to be the best transaction between them and the other 31 organizations. This article focuses on their trade history with the San Jose Sharks.
The trade history between the Canucks and Sharks may be short, but it did produce one of the biggest steals in Vancouver’s history. In fact, without one of these trades, it could be said that the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final would not have happened. Here is a look at that trade as well as one more that fans in Vancouver hope will be as beneficial in the future.
Canucks Steal Christian Ehrhoff Away From Sharks
Heading into the 2009-10 season, the Canucks were looking to fill the hole left when defenceman Mattias Öhlund signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the offseason. The Swedish defender had played his entire 11-year career in Vancouver up until that point and departed as the franchise’s leader in goals and points. With the Canucks still wanting to stay a contender, they looked to division rivals in San Jose to replace their star defenceman.
In what turned out to be one of the biggest steals in franchise history, Vancouver sent defenceman Daniel Rahimi as well as forward Patrick White to the Sharks in exchange for defencemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich. While neither player San Jose received played a game in the NHL, both Ehrhoff and Lukowich played games during the 2009-10 season, with the German defender becoming a top-10 defenceman in the league during his two seasons in Vancouver.
During his time with the Canucks, Ehrhoff recorded 94 points in 159 games, which to this day is still the 27th most by a defenceman in franchise history. He also finished top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in both seasons, recorded his only 50-point campaign of his career, and had the opportunity to represent his home nation of Germany at the 2010 Winter Olympics. During the 2011 postseason, he was also able to show just how valuable he was to the organization, leading all defenders on the team with 12 points in 23 games while also logging an average of 22:27 per night.
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While his time in Vancouver was short, Ehrhoff was a massive reason behind the team’s success. He provided great support on the power play and was able to provide goals from the blue line, which is something the Canucks had struggled with in previous years. Looking back, it is easy to see why this trade is considered one of the best in franchise history.
Canucks Move Hansen for Goldobin
At the 2017 Trade Deadline, the Canucks were faced with some tough decisions. With the playoffs out of reach, the organization needed to decide whether or not they would move on from forward Jannik Hansen, who had been in Vancouver for the past decade. In the end, general manager Jim Benning decided it was best to move on and found a deal that sent him to San Jose.
Over the next season and a half, Hansen played 61 regular season games with the Sharks, posting 21 points during that span. He also suited up for six playoff games, collecting one assist. After a tough 2017-18 season which saw him play only 46 games due to injuries and being a healthy scratch, he signed in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), playing one season before retiring from hockey.
In exchange for Hansen, the Canucks received Russian winger Nikolay Goldobin as well as a fourth-round pick in the 2017 Draft. That pick was subsequently traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth-rounder that became defenceman Kristoffer Gunnarsson, as well as a sixth-rounder which Vancouver used to select Petrus Palmu. Neither played in the NHL, with both currently playing over in Europe.
As for Goldobin, he bounced around between the American Hockey League and the NHL during his four seasons in the organization. In the end, “Goldy,” as he was referred to in Vancouver, played 114 games in a Canucks uniform, scoring 18 goals and recording 44 points before heading back to Russia at the start of the 2020-21 campaign. While he may not have lived up to expectations, it is safe to say the Canucks won this trade, as they did get more value back than what Hansen was able to provide for the Sharks.
Canucks’ Best Trade With the Sharks
While both trades provided some value to the Canucks organization, the clear winner was the Ehrhoff trade. In the end, Vancouver received a top-pair defenceman for two prospects that never panned out. While the trade did not have long-term benefits, it can directly be linked to Vancouver’s run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.