Which Canuck will be traded?
THE National Hockey League trading deadline is at noon on February 27th. The rumours are already flying fast and furious. Do not believe most of them. Whether it be online bloggers and tweeters, television and radio talking heads or mainstream media, most of the reported trade speculation is just that - speculation. Be careful who you listen to. My general rule of thumb - I trust TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos and online trade rumour guru Lyle Richardson (aka Spector).
Let's take a look at a few of the rumours out there concerning the Vancouver Canucks:
Mason Raymond, Cory Schneider and Keith Ballard/Cody Hodgson to Anaheim for Corey Perry. Yeah, right. Anaheim will give up the league MVP for an overpaid defenceman, an at-best second line forward, and actually take on salary in order to land Cory Schneider. Last I checked Anaheim had a pretty damn good goalie in Jonas Hiller locked up until 2015 at $4.5 million a year. Sorry Canucks fans, it will take more than that to land Corey Perry. Sorry Canucks fans, this one just ain't happening. The Ducks will be looking for a lot more than support players in return for their best player.
Shea Weber from Nashville - There is a better chance the Canucks will trade for Steve Cullis of the Terrace River Kings. Not going to happen, folks!
Mason Raymond or Cody Hodgson to Tampa Bay for Ryan Malone. Malone is having an off year, and a change of scenery could do him well. He's a big banger but more important he is a top six forward who can contribute offensively. His salary cap hit of $4.5 million would necessitate the need to move a roster player to Tampa, though I think the Canucks made their top 6 move when they acquired David Booth. The Canucks definitely should not sacrifice their future (Hodgson) for Ryan Malone.
Travis Moen from Montreal - This is a very credible rumour. It makes a lot of sense, as Moen offers a lot of what Vancouver lacks up front. He can add grit and size up from the third line, and has Stanley Cup pedigree. They can add him under the salary cap without dropping a player off their current roster. With his contract up this summer he is a pure rental, and the Canadiens will be looking to sell. Detroit is also said to be very interested. If the Canucks are going to land this rental player, expect them to have to overpay.
Adrian Aucoin from Phoenix - Aside from grit up front, the Canucks most pressing concern is depth on defence. Aucoin, another rental player, is a perfect target. Right handed veteran who can eat up some minutes on the power play. He could be a tight fit under the salary cap. Phoenix is still in the playoff race and therefore it is uncertain if they will be a seller come late February. Again, there will be lots of tire kicking in the desert, so expect to overpay.
Matt Gilroy from Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay will be having a fire sale. Gilroy, another rental, isn't the most experienced guy, but is a right handed shot. Mike Gillis was bullish on Gilroy when he broke into the NHL three years ago as a college free agent. He'd be cap friendly but not a lot of upside.
Jeff Carter from Columbus - Carter wants out of Columbus and the Blue Jackets want to unload his contract. Carter with the Jackets was just a bad fit right from the get-go. He is definitely available, and Carter playing on the power play with the Sedins would be deadly. How desperate are the Jackets to move him is the interesting question. A lot of teams want nothing to do with that $58 million contract, and the Canucks have no salary cap room right now, unless they make a major shake up which is unlikely.
Now I am going to get WAY ahead of myself now, but I almost guarantee that if Carter remains in Columbus past the deadline (a real possibility), the Carter to Vancouver rumours will fire up as soon as the Canucks exit the playoffs. Luongo for Carter? The dollars and salary cap numbers are nearly equal, and Columbus badly needs a goalie. Perhaps Schneider for Carter, with Columbus eating one of the Canucks unfriendly contracts like that of Ballard or David Booth? Or lets get even crazier - Former Ohio State Buckeye Ryan Kesler for Carter? Kesler has a lot of miles on his banged up body.
My February trade deadline prediction for the Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks will look to add depth, but make no major moves. As much as a depth defenceman is necessary, any hopes of another run to the Stanley Cup final may rely on the addition of a hungry foot soldier with a Stanley Cup pedigree to set the tone in playoff battles. Cody Hodgson will remain a Canuck. The long awaited goaltender move - be it Schneider or Luongo - will not happen until the NHL draft in June.
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