The past couple days have seen many trades in the NHL. Some teams are looking for a spark (St. Louis, Colorado), others are looking towards next year (Toronto), and still others are strengthening for the playoffs (Boston).
Vancouver is in this latter group. I am not sure they will do anything at the deadline, but all this dealing made me wonder what would they be looking for if they were planning to make a trade before the February 28 deadline.
The Canucks are pretty much up against the cap, though with the recent rash of injuries GM Mike Gillis has about $1 million to work with. Going forward, the Canucks have several Unrestricted Free Agents heading into the summer, most notably Bieksa, Salo and Erhoff. Given this, I expect any move Gillis may make would be for another UFA, so that the team is not strapped with more contracts for next year when they already have several players that will need to be resigned (if, in fact, Gillis wants to resign them).
Thus, I have scoured lists of UFA’s in search for players the Canucks may be looking at before next week. Most of the players listed could probably be gotten for draft picks, but some of the higher profile players might return prospects (I doubt Gillis would be willing to subtract from his current roster, given the success and chemistry of the squad).
FORWARDS: If the Canucks are going to do anything, I think it will be to look for more grit and playoff experience up front. Scoring would help, too, you can never have too much of that, either. Given the UFA’s available, here are forwards that might be targets for the Canucks:
Ryan Shannon (OTT): Former Canuck who is versatile (can play either wing), experienced (won Cup with Anaheim), and responsible defensively (sits at a plus/minus of zero on the awful, awful Senators).
Zenon Konopka (NYI): Tough as nails and a guy who will walk on fire to help a team-mate, his sandpaper mentality could be useful if an opposing team decides to take liberties with the Sedins or Luongo.
Adam Mair (NJ): Fourth line winger/center who can take face-offs, penalty kill, and will mix it up with the other team. Has played in 35 post-season games.
Marty Reasoner (FLA): A possible third line centre who has some scoring pop, has changed his game in recent years to become more responsible in the defensive zone.
Jamie Langenbrunner (DAL): I know Dallas just picked him up this season, but if they continue falling in the standings, they might part with this multiple Cup winner, who has a knack for scoring big playoff goals.
DEFENCE: Given all the Canucks recent injuries on the blue-line, it may seem reasonable to expect they will be looking for back end help. But the d-corps will be healthy by playoff time, so I do not think this need is as pressing as at first glance. But if Gillis is looking for d-help, these might be the suspects:
Brent Sopel (ATL): A return to Vancouver? If Atlanta keeps sliding, they may be willing to part with half their roster. A Stanley Cup winner last year with Chicago, Sopel would add needed experience and grit to the team.
Andy Greene (NJ): Unlikely if New Jersey keeps playing like they do, but a couple of losses next week and this might be in play. Greene is a stay at home guy who can eat up big minutes. A stay-at-home type.
Radek Martinek (NYI): Experienced d-man who has been stuck on the Long Island his entire career. Might flourish with a change of scenery.
Chris Phillips (OTT): Solid defender with a ton of experience (12 seasons plus 97 playoff games). Probably able to acquire him from Ottawa for a 2/3 round draft pick.
Andreas Lilja (ANA): Might be available after the Ducks traded for Beauchemin and with the emergence of Cam Fowler as a dependable top-4 guy. Has Cup experience (with Detroit), but also has a history with injuries. Buyer beware.
Adam Foote (COL): Why not? I know he’s currently out with a leg injury, but if you can get someone who’s fought in as many battles as Foote, you have to consider it. This might be his last kick at the playoffs. He wouldn’t be a regular, but if one of our guys goes down, who better to throw into a playoff series at a moments notice than Foote (even if he is nearly 40).
Sheldon Souray (EDM): Just kidding.