Why Canucks should only trade Tanev for the right price

May 10 2017, 6:52 pm

Should the Canucks trade Chris Tanev?

So far it seems the internet is in agreement that yes, they absolutely should.

The possibility of trading Tanev has reached a fever pitch among Canucks fans. It’s the flavour of the day, although there’s a lot of merit to asking the question.

The Canucks would be significantly worse off by trading away their most reliable blueliner in the short term. In the long term?

Well, that depends on the return.

Ever since Adam Larsson fetched Taylor Hall in a trade, fans are dreaming big.

Curb your enthusiasm though Canucks fans, because the Larsson for Hall trade is likely an exception rather than the new normal.

What’s the plan?

With the Canucks now (finally) admitting that they need to rebuild, GM Jim Benning ought to have a plan for when he thinks the team can realistically push for a Stanley Cup again.

His eagerness to deal Tanev should depend on the timeline of that plan.

Vancouver is likely at least a couple of years away from being a playoff team again, and that’s being optimistic. They’re likely five years or more from being able to legitimately compete for the Stanley Cup, if they make the right moves.

The question Benning needs to ask when evaluating trade proposals is: what will Tanev look like in five years?

And that’s why Tanev’s age is an issue.

The case for dealing him now

In five years, Tanev will turn 33. Given that his body has already taken a beating and he has missed a lot of games due to injury in his career, he may not age gracefully.

It’s fair to expect a steep decline in his play once after he hits 30, which should be cause for concern for the Canucks. So shopping him makes a lot of sense.

Tanev needs to be protected for the expansion draft, which likely means any possibility of trading him will be nixed until Vegas makes their selections next month.

Also complicating a trade? His modified no-trade clause kicks in on July 1.

There are just 10 days between the June 21 expansion draft and when Tanev’s no-trade clause kicks in. That’s the sweet spot for dealing the Canucks d-man, although it could make sense to wait.

The case for waiting

Waiting to deal Tanev might make sense because his value may not be at its peak.

The Canucks blueliner is coming off an injury-plagued year, where he missed 29 games and played hurt through much of the season. He played just 20:20 per game, his lowest average ice time since 2012-13. Tanev’s point production, which isn’t great at the best of times, was also down.

His value could rise next year, assuming he returns to form.

Who wants him?

If teams can get past the injury concerns, there’s a lot to like about the dependable d-man. Tanev is locked up for three more seasons at a reasonable cap hit of $4.45 million. That will entice teams.

The Leafs to would love to get their hands on the Toronto native, who partnered with Morgan Rielly at the World Championships last year, but at what price? If they’re willing to part with William Nylander, Vancouver should pull the trigger immediately.

The problem? You’ve got to convince Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello that that’s a good idea.

Tanev would be a nice fit in Tampa Bay, but getting Jonathan Drouin back in return seems unlikely as well.

Other organizations in need of a blueliner like Tanev include Dallas, Buffalo, and Chicago.

While Nylander and Drouin are unlikely returns, that’s not to say that Vancouver shouldn’t move Tanev, they just need to do it at the right price.

Tanev is 27, not 37, and his contract doesn’t expire soon. His limited no-trade clause isn’t ideal, but it’s still possible to move him as he must submit an eight-team list.

So yes, ‘trade Tanev’ is the flavour of the day, but he shouldn’t be part of a fire sale.

If Vancouver can get younger with a player with big potential, then it’s absolutely the right move to trade Tanev.

Otherwise, play the waiting game.

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