Linden: Canucks not considering trading Sedins

Nov 17 2016, 5:41 am

It’s a topic of conversation that has been talked about in every bar in Vancouver. It’s something that even the staunchest member of Team Tank won’t even demand.

Trading the Sedins… Could it happen? Should it happen? They couldn’t. They wouldn’t.

Would they?

As the Canucks continue to sink near the bottom of the league standings – a spot we’ve been accustomed to them being in three of the last four seasons – the question has to be asked.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin are the best players in franchise history. Daniel holds the franchise record for goals, Henrik for assists, and the pair are neck-and-neck for first and second in points. They could both surpass 1,000 points this season and should be in the Hall of Fame one day as well.

Number 33 and 22 will hang from the rafters of Rogers Arena when their careers are over. That’s not up for debate. They’ll always be beloved in this city for not only their play on the ice, but their class off of it.

At age 36, they’re not the players they once were, but they’re certainly still the best the Canucks have. They have one year left on their contracts which pay them $7 million per season.

After that, all bets are off. They could re-sign, play elsewhere, or retire.

What Canucks management needs to ask themselves is, is keeping the Sedins good for the franchise?

This is professional sports. It’s a business. Jarome Iginla was beloved in Calgary, but was dealt before his career was over. Same goes for Ray Bourque in Boston. Mike Modano didn’t finish his career in Dallas, and neither did Mats Sundin in Toronto or Daniel Alfredsson in Ottawa.

What’s different in the case of the Sedins is that they are two players with no-movement clauses that would require being dealt as a pair.

“No. That’s not a conversation,” Linden told ESPN this week at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Toronto, quashing the suggestion. “I don’t know any team that can take $14 million [in salary], for starters. It’s pretty unrealistic.”

Finding a team that’s able to fit the Sedins under their cap mid-season would be near-impossible this season, but that changes in the offseason. It’s still by no means easy, but teams can make cap space in the summer, and at next year’s deadline, the Sedins would only count about $2.8 million combined ($14 million prorated) on expiring deals.

Would the Montreal Canadiens explore the idea in the summer, with Alexander Radulov, David Desharnais, and Andrei Markov ($15 million combined cap hit) potentially coming off the books? The Dallas Stars could make it happen if Patrick Sharp and Ales Hemsky don’t return and they move Antti Niemi ($14.4 million combined cap hit).

But Linden believes the Sedins have earned the opportunity to stay.

With apologies to Stan Smyl, the Canucks have never had a player like Henrik or Daniel play their entire career in Vancouver. Pavel Bure was traded, while Roberto Luongo, Markus Naslund, and Trevor Linden also spent time on other teams.

Keeping the Sedins holds value to the organization and the fanbase, beyond wins and losses on the ice. Moving them for ‘whatever you can get’ should not be a strategy employed in this case.

“These guys are too important to our organization, as people. Unless they walk in my door and say, ‘Hey trade us,’ that’s never going to happen.”

If the Canucks hold this stance, you can probably count on Henrik and Daniel Sedin retiring in blue and green. The Sedins are the ultimate team guys. It would be hard to imagine them asking for a trade.

The most likely scenario for the Sedins appears to be retiring after next season, unless there is some optimism about the near-future of the franchise and if their bodies can still withstand the wear and tear of the NHL. That’s not impossible, just hard to imagine. That means a lot has to happen between now and July 2017, because at the moment, the Stanley Cup does not appear to be anywhere close to within reach.

Trading the Sedins will probably never happen, but as each loss mounts, the whispers will get louder.

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