The NHL's trade deadline is on February 29. There are going to be no shortage of Canucks trade rumors leading up to that deadline. Jim Benning has already stated that he will wait and see how the team performs prior to that date before making any decisions. If the team is in playoff contention, he may do little. If the boys nosedive down the standings and pretty much put themselves out of a playoff spot, then expect all hell to break loose. Then we could see some veteran players shipped out for draft picks, prospects, or a younger roster player.
Apparently contract negotiations between the Winnipeg Jets and Andrew Ladd have stalled for the moment as no deal has been reached. I'm reading they are close to contract length but not on dollars. Ladd, 30, is making $4.4 million this season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. The Maple Ridge, BC native had 62 points in 81 games last season but is nowhere near matching that this season. With the Jets struggling and captain Ladd struggling, it's just not a pretty situation for him in Winterpeg.
TSN's Darren Dreger recently said:
"So if he goes to market, and he’s not on the market yet, look at Florida. Don’t forget Jim Benning, formerly of the Boston Bruins, who’s in Vancouver. He’d have some interest."
I guess that kind of got the rumor ball rolling, even though it's so loosely spoken: "He'd have some interest.." Yea and I'm interested in a 1969 Dodge Charger. The Canucks have previously shown interest in Ladd, you know, back in 2010. It's just a loose rumor out there. I can't imagine and cringe even at what the Jets would be asking in return for Ladd, but would definitely want him on the team. Hey! We'll give you Radim Vrbata straight up! Let's do this!
JIM BENNING ON THE 2016 DRAFT
Matt Sekeres tweeted these Jim Benning quotes yesterday:
#Canucks GM Jim Benning says he has eye on 4-5 defencemen at CHL Top Prospects game. Mentions number of Fs in system & needs on D.— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) January 29, 2016
Benning says draft drops off after top 15 & #Canucks will take best player available in 1st round regardless of position/organizational need— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) January 29, 2016
4-5 defencemen? Oh boy. How many more of those do we need? Which leads me to:
The pride of Smithers, BC! We love Hammer here! We even named a street after him (well, a portion of a street!)
Of course they will be watching. Despite struggling this season, Hamhuis is an excellent NHL pro. Jim Nill selected Hamhuis to play for the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and even made him an alternate captain. Hammer has generally been a rock on the Canucks' defence. No, he doesn't put up a lot of points but that's not the role he should be given and nor can he fulfill it. Hamhuis is more of a reliable stay-at-home defenceman with solid puck-moving skills.
-Hammer talks about his terrible injury here. Yea, not pretty. I could swear he's gonna have to wear a full face shield upon his return, because with surgically installed plates to put his face back together he can't risk aggravating the healing process:
That image is from Vancouver Metro News.
I am quite sure the Canucks could get a decent return for Hamhuis if they go the trade route. What I really wonder though is what Hamhuis' commitment level would be to a team that he gets traded to, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. There is no question in my mind that he wants to stay here and raise his family in BC. That's why he signed here in the first place. Both he and his wife's families are in BC.
Keep this in mind though, folks. When you suffer fractures in your face, it takes at least 6 months to fully recover from it. Regardless, I hope he stays here. Yes, I am biased. Hell, he'd probably take a pay cut to stay. He's a good man.
Yea, he's the man. During a recent Canucks game even Sportsnet guys were wondering if Tanev is an obvious Team Canada candidate given his solid play Jeff Paterson is making a strong case for Tanev for Lady Byng!
FREE AGENCY MAYHEM
A rather interesting perspective is that if Benning decides to keep all players at the trade deadline for a playoff spot run that he would create a jackpot scenario for July 1 free agent-signing day. If he let's all free agents go this summer, the Canucks would have over $15-20 million free dollars to spend when free agency hits this summer. Digest that!