The Michael Chaput era is over in Vancouver.
GM Jim Benning pulled the trigger on a minor deal on Sunday, sending Chaput, a restricted free agent, to the Chicago Blackhawks. In return, the Canucks receive 25-year-old centre Tanner Kero.
Chaput, 26, was expected to be minor league depth for the Canucks when he was signed as a free agent two years ago, but wound up playing a lot during Willie Desjardins’ final season in Vancouver.
The gritty centre appeared in 68 games for the Canucks in 2016-17, scoring nine points (4-5-9). He appeared in just nine games with the Canucks last season, registering zero points. Chaput is an effective AHL player, scoring 42 points in 55 games with the Utica Comets last season, and should provide some depth for Chicago.
In Kero, the Canucks get a player with a similar stat-line. The 6-foot forward played a career-high 47 NHL games for the Blackhawks in 2016-17, scoring 16 points (6-10-16). He split last season between Chicago, scoring three points (1-2-3) in eight NHL games; and Rockford, where he scored 20 points (8-12-20) in 36 AHL games.
Here’s the scouting report on Kero, courtesy of The Hockey News:
Assets: Has good offensive instincts and is a creative player and playmaker (especially at lower levels). Can also score goals on his own (shoots with aplomb).
Flaws: Lacks ideal size and bulk for the National Hockey League, so he needs to add more strength in order to maximize output and survive in the big league.
Career potential: Versatile depth forward with a little upside.
Kero will likely start in Utica, but he was relied upon to kill penalties in Chicago, and the Canucks have a need for penalty killing forwards.