In years past, fans of the Vancouver Canucks have seen some rather dubious decisions during the trade deadline period made by their franchise’s front office. But gone are the years of acquiring players like Keith Carney, Eric Weinrich, and Bryan Smolinski. Last year saw Canucks GM Mike Gillis make some unexpected moves when he acquired forwards Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins for 2011’s infamous playoff run. In the end however, they turned out to be shrewd acquisitions as both have remained as important components to the current squad. With GM MG unlikely to tip his hand, Crosschecked takes a look at some players who might be in the Canucks’ sight lines.
Before I begin, a bit of a preface. One of the issues the Canucks had in last year’s cup run was their inability to stay healthy. By the end of Game 7 against Boston, it appeared as though one of the only players to remain relatively intact was Lapierre. Therefore, you’ll find in this article that the common theme between players mentioned is their durability. As a corollary they’re also the types of players who are willing to work hard and to a certain extent, dish out as much punishment as they take.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 215lbs
Contract: UFA at end of season with a cap hit of 2.00M
Sitting 3rd on the Coyotes in ice-time and 1st among Phoenix defenseman in +/-, Aucoin’s been a reliable player for the Coyotes. He may be benefiting from playing in Dave Tippet’s defensive system, but bringing him back for a second tour with the Canucks would bring some stability to the bottom pairing. With Aucoin anchoring the 5/6th position, there would be a lot less adventures out on the ice as opposed to when two of Alberts, Rome, and Ballard are playing.
Height: 5-10 Weight: 181lbs
Contract: 1 year remaining with a cap hit of 1.70M
Don’t look at Larose’s physical stats and immediately write him off; he finished last year 4th on the Hurricanes with 196 hits and is 3rd this year with 95. He’s a quick forechecker and in his most recent playoff appearance, was one of the more consistent sources of points for Carolina finishing near the top of each scoring category for the team. At 29, he fits the same bill as Lapierre and Higgins did in that he can still be a regular contributor long-term.
Height: 6-4 Weight: 211lbs
Contract: 1 year remaining with a cap hit of 0.700M
Harrison is another guy who could be a good long-term acquisition for the Canucks. He’s a big guy who is a willing combatant and is just a -2 on a team that has given up the 4th most goals this season. Not only is he a good defensive option, he’s also able to contribute at the other end of the ice. His 7 goals and 95 shots are good enough to lead Hurricane defenseman while logging an average 21:13 minutes of ice-time a night, the 4th highest ATOI in Carolina.
Height: 6-3 Weight: 213lbs
Contract: 2 years remaining with a cap hit of 1.875M
It’s an acquisition that might be a bit out of the question as Chimera recently signed an extension with the Capitals, but with their season in such turmoil, nobody is really “untouchable” (except for Ovechkin). Chimera’s got speed to burn and as indicated by his 15 goals, is able to contribute offensively as well.
Height: 6-0 Weight: 211lbs
Contract: 1 year remaining with a cap hit of 0.825M
If the Canucks are looking for depth in the bottom six, they need not look any further than Hendricks. He hits, fights, and is good in the faceoff circle, all assets that Vancouver could use in someone who could not only ‘protect’ their players, but also not be a total deadweight on the ice.
Height: 6-3 Weight: 210lbs
Contract: 1 year remaining with a cap hit of 0.628M
He’s got 7 goals and 14 points playing on the Islanders 3rd line. He’s got size. He’s young. And yet none of those things are the most attractive asset Martin brings to the table. With 258 hits on the year, he’s on pace for 376 according to TSN.ca. If he were to keep that pace, he would smash Wild super-pest Cal Clutterbuck’s current record of 317 hits in a season. As previously mentioned, he is young so the Islanders may not want to part with him, but having Martin in Vancouver would certainly change the perception we have as a team that is “weak” or “easily intimidated”.