The trading deadline should be renamed to “Delusional Day in Canucks land. This year in particular was set up to make certain Canucks fans go crazy. Let’s start with the signing of Thomas Vanek by the Canucks. Vanek was signed to play with the Sedins (hahaha…old slow men all together) and it was thought by most pundits that he could bring some sort of return at the deadline. Why was this the theory? Well, probably because he had been treated this way several times before. How did those times work out? Crappy.
But…but, he scored 10 points in 17 playoff games for the Canadiens in 2013-14? That is true, but what is forgotten is that Vanek only had 3 points in the last 10 games of those playoffs and was pure crap for most of the last two series. And then we could talk about how Florida gave up a player and a prospect to Detroit for Vanek. Florida didn’t make the playoffs. How about Vanek with the Minnesota Wild? They got to the playoffs in one year he was there and he had 4 assists in 10 games. He was again…almost non-existant.
Having seen all that, the belief was still high that Vanek’s 41 points this year would bring a large return. And if you compare the point total of Rick Nash (28) and Evander Kane (40), your expectations might be even higher. But trades aren’t based on the points…or fan expectations…or NHL 18 results.
Realistically there were few playoff teams interested in Vanek because of his history and present. The past we have covered, so let’s look at his year in Van. His advance stats are not flattering. His EV Corsi was 45.6% and he was on the ice for 37 ev GA and 31 ev GF. He had 14 PP points and that was really the only redeeming quality a playoff team might see in him. Vanek is not a physical force and his speed has diminished and so what ice time would you allocate this guy? He isn’t a first line or second line guy on a playoff team.
Let’s look at the Ducks, who were supposedly kicking the tires on Vanek. The Ducks have a brutal PP at home but have a talented group of forwards who can score on the PP on the road. They had already signed Chris Kelly to a cheaper deal and picked up Jason Chimera. Both of those players fill into 3rd and 4th line roles nicely. Vanek did not. And Vanek won’t get 1st and 2nd line opportunities with the Ducks because of the players already there and the physical style they play. It was a bad fit for the Ducks.
Columbus was not one of the teams I was thinking would have interest, but what do I know. Their PP is beyond brutal and like Anaheim, they are on the bubble of a playoff spot. The question certain Canuck fans have, is why didn’t the Canucks push a trade pick instead of two players? (Well, actually one player plus Jossi Jokinen) The most likely reason is that the Blue Jackets only had 5 picks this year and were unwilling to part with another for a rental player. Benning took a younger player with some potential instead. And then the world exploded.
The narrative that there were so many draft picks available for Benning to get a hold of, using Vanek, is just wrong. Vanek on the Canucks got to play 1st and 2nd line EV minutes. Vanek got lots of PP time as well. Vanek would not be that guy on a playoff team. Vanek has more points than Kane and Nash over the past two years, but he has less value on the open market because of his defense, speed and style of play which is not suited to the playoffs.
Now to certain Canuck fans I will be labelled a Benning apologist. Meh. I have soured on Benning over this year because of earlier transactions. The Sutter signing looks worse by the day and the contract extension is only overshadowed by the signing of Loui to a stupid contract. In the end Benning will be lucky to survive until the end of next year if some of the earlier picks don’t start playing in a Canucks jersey soon. (Juolevi, Pettersson…Demko) GMJB will be given this draft and the next deadline to try and get those “picks” that just weren’t available this year.
In reality, this is all Chris Tanev’s fault. If he would stay healthy, GMJB could have got a 2nd rounder for him and Canucks land could have exploded over the fact that it wasn’t a first rounder. (*Tanev is not worth a 1st round pick at the deadline)