With exactly one week to go before the NHL’s trade deadline, we are in the heart of rumour season.
With the playoffs looking increasingly like an unrealistic goal, the Canucks would be wise to get a head start at retooling their organization.
One name that has been brought up since the offseason and will continue until the moment the team makes a trade (including him or another forward), is Jannik Hansen.
Hansen, who turns 31 next month, is a key cog in the Canucks attack. He can play up and down in the lineup, and makes everyone better around him.
He’s been banged up this season, appearing in only 27 games, scoring 13 points (6-7-13). Last year, Hansen scored 38 points (including a career-high 22 goals), in 67 games.
The problem? With Vegas entering the league next season, every team in the league will lose one player through the expansion draft.
As it stands right now, the Canucks are poised to protect goaltender Jacob Markstrom, as well as defencemen Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, and Erik Gudbranson. But the big decision for Jim Benning will be made with his forwards.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin, as well as Loui Eriksson, must be protected by virtue of their no-movement clauses. That leaves four more players for the Canucks to protect.
Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter are locks to be protected, leaving Benning with a choice of two of Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, and Hansen.
Baertschi (24) and Granlund (23) are much younger than the Danish winger, and have shown a lot of promise this season. They’re the better fits for this team going forward, meaning that Hansen could be the odd man out.
Hansen is on a club-friendly contract, with this season and next remaining on a deal that carries just a $2.5 million cap hit.
Complicating things though, is Hansen’s limited no-trade clause, in which he must submit a list of eight teams he is willing to be traded to.
My understanding is that Jannik Hansen was scheduled to provide his trade-approved list of 8 teams to the #Canucks last night.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) February 22, 2017
Will Hansen do what Radim Vrbata did last season, and submit a list of teams that likely won’t want him in an effort to submarine a deal? That could be tricky, as just about every team in the NHL could use a player like Hansen, whereas Vrbata was more of an acquired taste.
Hansen’s value could also be in flux though.
Many teams have expansion draft concerns, and if acquiring Hansen causes a team to lose someone they’re loathed to give up, then that will affect a trade.
But I’ve crunched the numbers (you can too, with Cap Friendly’s expansion draft tool), and come up with a number of teams that could fit Hansen onto their roster without grave consequences to their protected list.
A team like Anaheim, for instance, could easily take on Hansen. The Ducks are set to lose either Jakob Silfverberg or Cam Fowler to Vegas. They wouldn’t need to protect Hansen in order to keep him for next year.
Other teams, like the Florida Panthers, might have to leave their second leading scorer (Jonathan Marchessault) unprotected if they wanted to hold on to Hansen.
All in all, there are approximately 13 teams that could fit Hansen into their future plans.
Here are eight of the most likely fits for a trade:
Hansen could go to any of those teams and add some speed and versatility to their forward ranks. He’s likely a third liner on a good team, and a good penalty killer on any team.
Most of the teams listed above are contenders, at least in their own minds. Toronto isn’t, although they’re fighting tooth and nail, as is Boston, for a playoff spot.
Dallas is the only team listed above that are out of realistic playoff contention, but they could use help on the penalty kill for next year, given they own the league’s worst PK percentage this season. With Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, they need not rebuild either.
Pittsburgh should be a strong contender for Hansen, as their PK is sputtering along this season (ranked 21st in the NHL), and they’re without another speedy winger, Bryan Rust, who is on IR.
There’s not a team in the league that couldn’t use the tools that Hansen brings to the table. We’ll find out how badly teams want him by Wednesday at noon.