Chris Tanev is everything you want in a premier shutdown defenceman. His elite shot suppressing ability, above average puck moving skills, reasonable contract, and right handedness make him a valuable commodity for a contending team.
With the Canucks in a rebuild, Tanev’s best days will likely be behind him by the time Vancouver is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup again. Trading Tanev would leave a short term hole on the blueline, but it would also bring home significant future assets.
If the Canucks move forward with trading Tanev, here are four potential suitors for the 27-year-old rearguard.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
With a blueline consisting of declining veterans such as Braydon Coburn and Jason Garrison, there is no doubt that Tampa Bay could use a defensive upgrade.
The Lightning boast one of the most potent offences in the league, and could afford to deal from a position of strength. Although facing a cap crunch, a deal could still be struck, especially if the Canucks are willing to absorb a contract like that of Ryan Callahan’s (three years left carrying a $5.8 million cap hit).
A Tanev trade becomes even more viable when you consider that Jonathan Drouin is still on the block. At 22 years old, Drouin would be a long term solution for the Canucks as a dynamic left wing scorer.
Possible trade pieces: Jonathan Drouin, Brett Howden, Taylor Raddysh, Nikita Gusev, draft picks
2. Dallas Stars
Following a Western Conference Final appearance in 2016, Dallas struggled mightily this year, ranking 29th in goals against.
While Dallas has seemingly solved its goaltending crisis with the acquisition of Ben Bishop, they would still benefit greatly from acquiring a bonafide top-four defenceman like Tanev. Furthermore, the Stars are still in win-now mode, with GM Nill stating that he’s willing to trade the third overall pick for an “established player.”
The Canucks could look to sweeten the pot by taking on an overpaid goalie like Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi.
Potential trade pieces: 3rd overall draft pick, Denis Guryanov, Riley Tufte, Jason Dickinson
3. Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo was a disaster defensively last season, allowing more shots against than any other team in the league.
With the Sabres looking to accelerate their rebuild and return to the playoffs, they should be in the market for a top-pairing defenceman. While the Sabres already possess a top-four blueliner on the right side in Rasmus Ristolainen, acquiring the more defensive-minded Tanev would take a lot of pressure off the 22-year-old Finn.
Potential trade pieces: 8th overall draft pick, Sam Reinhart, Alex Nylander, Brendan Guhle
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
This year’s series against the Washington Capitals showed that the Toronto Maple Leafs are close to becoming a formidable force in the league.
For the Leafs to take the next step however, they need to acquire a blueline stalwart on the right side to pair with Morgan Rielly. Tanev would be the perfect fit, especially when you consider that the duo had solid chemistry as Canada’s top pair at the 2016 IIHF World Championships.
While it’s unlikely that Tanev would be able to pry William Nylander, Toronto still boast lots of assets that could be of interest to the Canucks.
Potential trade pieces: Kasperi Kapanen, 17th overall draft pick, Jeremy Bracco, Andreas Johnsson, draft picks