Canucks trade Vanek to Columbus for 2 players on deadline day

Feb 27 2018, 3:43 am

With less than 15 minutes to go before Monday’s noon trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks traded Thomas Vanek to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In exchange, Vancouver receives Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen.

Vanek moving is no surprise. A trade at the deadline was predicted by most observers the day Jim Benning signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal as a free agent.

The return, however, is a little unexpected.

With 41 points (17-24-41) in 61 games with the Canucks, fans and media alike expected a similar price (Dylan McIlrath and a third round pick) to what Vanek fetched for Detroit last year.

He’s had a good year, but for whatever reason, it appears the price went down for the talented 34-year-old.

In Motte, the Canucks get a 22-year-old American centre with just two years of pro experience. A fourth round pick by Chicago in 2013, he was traded to Columbus last June. He has one year left on his entry-level deal after this season.

Motte has just five points (3-2-5) in 31 games with the Blue Jackets this season. He’s split time with Cleveland of the AHL, scoring 11 points (9-2-11) in 17 games.

Undersized at 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds, Motte scored 56 points (32-24-56) in 38 games during his final season of college hockey in 2015-16 with Michigan, finishing seventh in Hobey Baker Award voting.

Here’s the scouting report on Motte, courtesy of The Hockey News:

Is a natural point producer with a nose for the net and good instincts. Also owns a strong lower base, so he is able to keep possession of the puck in tight quarters. Has a deadly shot, too.

It could be a short stay in Vancouver for Jokinen, who is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The 34-year-old Finn is used to short stays.

The Canucks represent the ninth NHL team of Jokinen’s career, and the fourth different team this season. He was signed by Edmonton as a free agent in July before being moved to Los Angeles in November. He was picked off waivers by Columbus in January.

A former 30-goal scorer, Jokinen’s best days are behind him. He has just seven points in 46 games this season.

It has to be considered a relatively disappointing day for the Canucks from a rebuild perspective, as they failed to acquire a single draft pick on a day where they’ve traditionally been readily available. The Canucks hold six picks in the upcoming June draft, one less than they were allotted.

In the other deal of the day, the Canucks picked up Brendan Leipsic for Philip Holm.

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