It has been no secret that Zack Kassian is available for trade before the March 2 trade deadline. But now Shawn Matthias is reportedly available too? What? From ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
The Vancouver Canucks have been looking all season to make a deal for a top-six forward, and not surprisingly, it hasn’t been easy to pull off. But it remains a top priority.
I would also suggest that with top defenseman Alexander Edler "week to week," as general manager Jim Benning announced Monday night -- joining Kevin Bieksa out long term and Chris Tanev day to day -- the Canucks would also like to add some defensive help.
But it’s a tricky thing for Vancouver. The Canucks aren’t sure of making the playoffs, and certainly there’s zero desire to trade any top future assets in terms of Grade A prospects or a first-round pick.
If Vancouver makes a move, it’s either for lower picks or in the form of a traditional hockey deal where they move a roster player for two back in return. Those believed to be available include Zack Kassian and Shawn Matthias, among others.
I read somewhere that one of the "others" could be Chris Higgins. Eddie Lack? Well, Jim Benning already said that he would likely resolve the goaltending situation at the Draft, most likely. I tend to take him at his word at this point. But then again, it really all depends on the current situation. It's not just Edler and Tanev we are missing. There's also Kevin Bieksa. I have lose count on his time status for a return. 3-4 weeks now?
If Benning envisions a playoff berth for this club, then a lot is going to ride on how the call-ups on defence like Alex Biega and the new acquisitions like Adam Clendening perform over the next couple of weeks. How will the club perform as a group? If the Canucks play as a cohesive unit and put up a good win-loss record over the next 2 weeks then why would Benning make any big moves at all? Well, except I do think the bosses are adamant about moving Kassian.
What I don't get is why Matthias' name comes up. If Kassian is on the block, then don't we want to keep the beast named Matthias? How much of this is tied into Matthias becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer? Matty has 13 goals and 20 points in 52 games with the Canucks this season. He is one goal away from tying his best NHL season total in goals (14 in 48 games in 2012-13 with the Panthers.) So maybe Benning looks at Matthias' current $1.85 million salary and sees a raise that both parties are not going to agree upon and so should sell high. Speaking of salaries, the Canucks' summer with re-signing free agents is gonna be a big task. Take a look.
I have a question for you: Where do you see Matthias headed? More than 20 goals? Ever? At 26 years of age do you project more from him?
Let me ask another question: Out of any player not named Sedin or Vrbata (maybe Burrows) doesn't it seem like every other forward is a bottom 6 forward with no predictable upside? Yes, I am including Nick Bonino in that. Don't get me started.
I have another question. If Bo Horvat is already up against top opposition and faring well, then why not make him our new second line center between Vrbata and (insert name here).
Damn it, this Canucks team is so full of question marks...but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. I guess I answered my own question though. Is Benning going for a top 6 forward? Yes? So then wouldn't anybody not named Sedin, Burrows, Vrbata and Horvat be available? Makes sense don't it? Damn it, I just really like Higgins and Matthias.......I shouldn't get so attached.