Welcome Matt: Canucks' division rivals likely to have busy trade deadline

Mar 15 2022, 6:34 pm

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The status and standings of the Pacific Division for years to come could well be decided by this week.

NHL general managers have held their cards close to their vests, with just one week to go before the trade deadline, and we expect some big moves this between now and Monday.

And nowhere will be busier than the Pacific Division where you have clear sellers (Seattle, San Jose), clear buyers (Calgary, Edmonton, Vegas, Los Angeles) and a couple of clubs caught in between, including your Vancouver Canucks.

Start with the buyers, where the Flames have already made the biggest deal to date in acquiring former Canuck Tyler Toffoli from Montreal.

Calgary‚Äôs team is at the point ‚ÄĒ with star winger Johnny Gaudreau set to be a free agent this summer ‚ÄĒ that the time is now to go all-in on Stanley cup dreams.

The Vegas Golden Knights are slumping and have precious little cap space, but they’re known for big deals and probably need to patch the damn here.

The Oilers need a goalie, or barring that, stiffer defencemen to help their goal prevention.

The Kings have a bright future and tons of young prospects to shore up their defence or offence.

On the sellers’ side, Ron Francis and the Kraken are willing to eat bad money and that makes them an attractive partner for many cap-strapped teams, on top of the future assets they should acquire from selling off their rentals.

The Sharks are trying to re-sign star forward Tomas Hertl, but if not, a trade advances their rebuild.

Then there‚Äôs the odd case of the Anaheim Ducks, where even before they started drifting out of the playoff race, new GM Pat Verbeek drew a line in the sand with UFAs: ‚Äėeither re-sign or i‚Äôm trading ya.‚Äô

That’s why Josh Manson was traded, and it could mean top-four defenceman Hampus Lindholm, as well as top-six forward Rickard Rakell may also be at new addresses soon.

Then there’s the Canucks.

They may be busy, they may do relatively little.

They’re not buyers, but could they still be sellers if this week goes poorly?

Are they going to cut at their core or leave the tough decisions until the summer?

Vancouver is the biggest unknown in a division that’s about to go under construction.

Matthew SekeresMatthew Sekeres

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