Is a preseason trade on the horizon for the Vancouver Canucks? According to Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK, they’re working hard to make one happen.
The Canucks are “aggressively trying to make a trade right now,” Dhaliwal said on Monday’s edition of Donnie and Dhali.
“Keep an eye on it, they’re trying to move a body to create cap space. The season is upon us, they’re over the cap,” said Dhaliwal. “There are LTIR candidates, but they also need to move a body. So I think that they are feverishly working the phones right now trying to move a body. So we’ll see how that goes this week.”
The Canucks were in a similar position one year ago when they traded Jason Dickinson and his $2.65 million cap hit to the Chicago Blackhawks for Riley Stillman just five days before the opening game of the season. GM Patrik Allvin had to include a second-round pick to make it happen, which is clearly something he’d like to avoid going forward.
A lot can happen between now and opening night, so there is time. But it appears that Tucker Poolman is the only Canuck destined for long-term injured reserve at the moment.
Training camp begins on Thursday in Victoria, and Tanner Pearson appears to be ready to go. The 31-year-old winger hasn’t played since November 9 of last year, following a bizarre set of circumstances that had him reportedly undergo multiple surgeries after a hand injury.
“I’m just trying to get my hand back,” Pearson said last April. “I’m just trying to go home and be a dad and be with my kids and be able to play at the moment. So yeah, it sucks.”
Pearson has been skating with his teammates this month, which is great news — though it could complicate the Canucks’ cap situation given Pearson’s $3.25 million AAV salary.
Ilya Mikheyev may not be 100% healthy yet according to another report from Dhaliwal, but it doesn’t sound like the 28-year-old Russian will be an LTIR candidate.
The Canucks would be $1.07 million over the cap with the 23-man roster we recently projected for them. They could be cap-compliant by carrying a 22-man roster, perhaps by sending down Nils Höglander and his $1.1 million cap hit. But that’s not an ideal scenario.
So who might the Canucks trade? There’s been plenty of talk about Tyler Myers this offseason and his much talked about $5 million bonus has already been paid. The Canucks have more to spare when it comes to wingers though and moving Myers, even with just $1 million left to pay in real dollars, may prove to be difficult.
There isn’t an obvious trade candidate that would do much for them cap-wise. They could trade Höglander, but his contract can be buried in the minors anyway. It’s unlikely they could find a taker for Pearson given his recent injury, so who does that leave? Anthony Beauvillier? Conor Garland?