After just one 56-game season in Vancouver, Nate Schmidt wants out.
This is according to a pair of reports from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period and CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal.
On Thursday, Pagnotta reported that Schmidt was on the trade block. One day later, Dhaliwal confirmed that Schmidt wants to be moved.
One name you’ll see on the list is Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt. Doesn’t sound like things have worked out and we’re told he is on the block. He has 4-years left at $5.9M AAV and a 10-team no-trade list. https://t.co/FU8d4SZLXa
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2021
Schmidt’s name has been in the rumour mill for weeks, though it died down somewhat after GM Jim Benning adamantly denied the rumour in an interview on Donnie and Dhali on May 28.
“It’s not true,” said Benning. “He doesn’t want out of Vancouver so I don’t know where that got started.”
But Dhaliwal insists that Schmidt does indeed want to be traded.
“All these Nate Schmidt trade rumours,” Dhaliwal said during today’s show. “Since the day the season ended, this rumour will not die. It won’t go away. It resurfaces, it dies down, and then it comes back to the surface. It came back to the surface again on the weekend. I have not had anybody tell me it’s not true.
“I heard again on the weekend [Schmidt] does want out. Not hearing why… I tried to diffuse it on the weekend and people are still telling me, ‘Yes, Rick, he wants out.'”
Schmidt, who turns 30 this month, struggled at both ends of the rink in his first year in Vancouver. The St. Cloud, Minnesota product also scored just 15 points in 54 games — less than half as many points (31) as he tallied in 59 games with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2019-20. He finished fourth in average ice time (20:06) among Canucks defencemen, playing primarily on the team’s shutdown pairing with Alex Edler.
Schmidt has four years left on a contract that carries a $5.95 million cap hit, and a limited no-trade clause, in which he can veto a trade to 10 teams.
Moving Schmidt would free up much-needed cap space, but the Canucks are already paper-thin on the back end. Schmidt and Tyler Myers are currently the only two full-time NHL defencemen on the Canucks under contract for next season, though Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi should each be re-signed as restricted free agents.
Vancouver has three pending unrestricted free agent defencemen, including Edler, Travis Hamonic, and Jalen Chatfield. This year, NHL free agency opens July 28.