The Vancouver Canucks have already made a splash ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline on Monday, but they may not be done yet.
There have been plenty of rumours circling around town, but one that is gaining a lot of traction over the last 48 hours suggests the Canucks may be looking to trade defenceman Troy Stecher, who will be a restricted free agent after this season.
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) February 19, 2020
Are they the same people whispering Stecher ’s name to me? https://t.co/5kyBYn4kiZ
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) February 19, 2020
On Thursday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman both confirmed those rumours.
“There’s been a lot of trade talk emanating out of Vancouver about Troy Stecher,” McKenzie said on ‘Insider Trading.’
“I think the Stecher thing is definitely true,” Friedman said on ‘The Program.’ “Last year with Ben Hutton, Vancouver was uncomfortable with what it would take to qualify him, so they lost him. I think that they are a little bit concerned about that with Stecher, and I do think that that is a factor. I do think that Stecher is available.”
- Salary cap preventing Canucks from trading for Wayne Simmonds: report
- Watch Canucks players' dogs race across the ice (VIDEO)
- Canucks continue to risk their future with short-term thinking
With the Canucks all-in on the goal of making the playoffs, trading Stecher doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless they believe a prospect like Brogan Rafferty could adequately fill his spot, or they acquire another defenceman.
Friedman suggested the latter may be possible, mentioning Toronto’s Tyson Barrie and New Jersey’s Damon Severson as two players Vancouver may have looked into. “I do think [the Canucks] are looking around to change their mix.”
Trading Stecher would be a tough pill to swallow. Young right-handed defencemen are hard to find, and he’s been a steady presence in the team’s top-four on a pair with Alex Edler. He’s also a local kid and fan favourite.
But the harsh reality is the Canucks are going to have to make some tough decisions due to their salary cap constraints.
In addition to Stecher, the Canucks’ list of players with expiring contracts includes Chris Tanev, Jacob Markstrom, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette, Tyler Motte, and now Tyler Toffoli.
They simply can’t afford to bring everybody back.