Prez Trevor Linden and GM Jim Benning keep saying they won't sacrifice the future in a trade. But I often wonder how true they will stay to their word say, if the Canucks hit the toilet over the next few weeks (or less) leading up to the trade deadline on March 2. Prospects and draft picks sweeten trade offers and deals significantly. When the trade deadline hits, teams get into bidding wars over available players and the pot sweetens.
The Canucks do have a few players that can fetch a decent return, but many that don't. But that also depends on where Benning sees this team going this season. Playoffs? Near miss? Contenders? (no, but ya never know sometimes). The Canucks are not rebuilding. They are retooling. That's what our Lord and Saviour Trevor Linden said before the season started. Now, the team is barely clinging to a playoff spot and that excellent start to the season is long gone, if not forgotten. Maybe John Tortorella was right. Maybe the core is stale. Maybe it's time for a more-significant change. I wonder what Sir Bennington is thinking right now. Anyway, for a tad of insight on the matter, let's look at what the big-dude talking heads are saying in Rumorville. A rumor roundup, if you will.
Lack, Markstrom, Higgins and Kassian
Pierre LeBrun believes the Canucks prefer to keep Jacob Markstrom over current backup Eddie Lack…LeBrun also claims the Canucks have talks to several teams regarding struggling winger Zack Kassian. Though they’ve found no suitors, interest could pick up at the trade deadline….Darren Dreger believes the Canucks seek scoring and until recently had some discussions with Boston regarding defenseman Matt Bartkowski. The Canucks won’t part with their young assets.He speculates the Flames might move Curtis Glencross, perhaps for a defenseman. The Jets still seek a top-9 forward…Dreger also speculates there could be interest in Canucks forward Chris Higgins, though he’s not sure they’re ready to part with him.
Pierre LeBrun on Team 1040 earlier this week:
"I can tell you, I know of a couple of teams that are kicking themselves they didn’t just take Jacob Markstrom off waivers in September. That’s the one that’s biting everyone now when you look at year he’s having.
"The sense I get, from what I understand, I think the Canucks want to keep Markstrom now, frankly. I think that internally they view him as this sort of late-bloomer, almost Ben Bishop-type guy. So I’m not sure you’re going to see him move, but..."
So you think they’d be more interested in moving Lack?
"I think so. I mean, that’s my sense. Again, obviously Markstrom might fetch you the kind of offer that would supersede anything you get offered on Lack because of Markstrom’s age, his size. He’s starting to show this year in the AHL that’s maybe why Florida took him in the first round, right? It’s just taken awhile. So I don’t know. He’s an intriguing guy. If I was Vancouver, I’d be careful there when it comes to Markstrom."
Santorelli Back With The Canucks?
The Maple Leafs have reached out to pending UFA center Mike Santorelli regarding a contract extension. If unable to re-sign him the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers could be among those with interest.
There are several reports out there that Benning has contacted the Leafs about Santorelli.
How about Martin Hanzal?
"(Arizona GM) Maloney wants to beat the rush. If you make him the offer now, he will do it," Friedman said on (the Fan 960 earlier this week.) "I think Vancouver, for example, would be interested. They’re not going to pay what [Maloney] wants. I look at what Vancouver’s got, and I don’t know this for sure, but I guarantee he’s talking like [Bo] Horvat and a pick. And I just don’t think the Canucks are going to do that."
Antoine Vermette a Canuck?
Here's what TSN's Bob McKenzie thinks of that:
"The deals right now that Don Maloney is trying to do – the ones that are kind of front-burner for him – are his rentals. Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek. Sure, would one or both of those guys look good in Vancouver? Of course they would.
"But the price on Vermette, for example, is going to be a first round pick. Maybe as high as a first round pick and a young prospect. The Canucks are not going to do that. I just can’t see it.
"And not knowing what the cap is going to be next year, not knowing whether you sign a guy. Some of the teams that are in the running for Vermette think they’ve got a pretty good shot of getting him signed to a long-term deal and take him out of free agency. And if that’s the case and if you think you’ve got a reasonable shot of getting a guy for the next four or five years at a number you can live with, and works for you, then you can rationalize giving up a second pick or a first pick and a prospect for Vermette.
"But I don’t think a team like the Canucks can get into that at all."
I do find the Lack / Markstrom situation intriguing. If Markstrom turns into a stud, bye-bye Lack. It's as simple as that. But as quoted above, there's just not much return going to happen even if the Canucks packaged Lack and Kassian together in a deal. That's where prospects and draft picks come into play again.
Personally, I believe what Benning and Linden are feeding us in regards to retooling and not pissing away picks. As long as the Canucks are in the playoff picture the plan remains. They aren't going to blow their load on a rental player. If they lose 9 of their next 10? Geez, then I have no idea. But that's likely not gonna happen anyway. The Canucks will be in the playoff hunt the rest of the way. So, I don't expect a major deal or two from Benning unless the team falls off a cliff. I anticipate more Clendening-type of deals. Get younger, bigger. Santorelli does make sense, to me, anyway.
But hey, don't listen to me. Listen to Bobby Mac:
"Well, it might be that they do nothing. As I said – is there interest in doing something? Yes. Only if it makes sense and only if it stays within the plan that Jim Benning has put in place. I’d be really surprised if the Canucks go down the rental road to give up a future asset to give them an expiring contract that gives them a better chance of making the playoffs. I think there’s a recognition here that they need to make hockey deals less than rental deals, and that is a much harder thing to do and I don’t think they’re in the mode where they want to give away young kids for a quick fix."
There ya go. Hope you have a lot of patience.
Did I miss any rumors? Legit rumors from credible people? Let me know in the comments section!