Even though the Canucks are on a mini two-game winning streak with wins over the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, there is no doubt that they are in a position of desperation.
With Luca Sbisa and Dan Hamhuis injured, they are in trouble on the back-end. They are also in desperate need of some secondary scoring:
Unless your last name is Sedin, Hansen, Vrbata or Prust,
no #Canucks forwards has scored a goal since November 16th.
— PUCKS ON NET (@Pucksonnetca) December 10, 2015
The loss of centre Brandon Sutter has hurt too, because after Daniel and Henrik Sedin, there isn’t much offensive punch.
For a team that has openly admitted to being in transition, trading a draft pick for a player on a short-term contract should be a non-starter for the Canucks, unless it is a young player that can develop with the current Canucks youth movement. This is similar to what the Canucks did when they acquired Linden Vey, Sven Baertschi, and Andrey Pedan.
Given all of this, the Canucks are not in a position to make any sort of short quick fix trades.
They should also make trades when they are in a position of power. Elliotte Friedman sums up the Canucks position perfectly in last week’s “30 Thoughts”:
when struggling, other GMs throw anvils, not lifejackets. Often, these are your worst deals.
GM Jim Benning was an intermission guest last week with Dan Murphy and mentioned that the Canucks were looking to make a move, if it made sense.
Thus far, the Canucks have been unable to find a depth forward or defenceman to help.
This isn’t a bad thing.
Injuries have forced the Canucks to play Jared McCann, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, and Jake Virtanen, more than they likely expected to. All these extra minutes are helpful in the long run for these players, as they are now matching up against other teams’ top players rather than being sheltered. While it hurts in the short-term, it should help their development immensely.
For example, Baertschi has looked like a different player this week, he was battling, back-checking and creating offence. This in part is due to the Canucks needing him in the lineup because of injuries, rather than him being scared to make a mistake and being scratched the next game.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) December 8, 2015
When it comes to the defence, journeymen like Taylor Fedun, Alex Biega, and prospect Andrey Pedan will get an extended look. This gives the Canucks some much needed intel on what they have with these three at the NHL level.
There have been suggestions that the Canucks should also try to trade Radim Vrbata now, while he is on a bit of a hot streak. Just like trying to avoid ‘anvils’ when adding players, now is not the time to trade a player like Vrbata.
As our Sports Editor, Rob Williams, suggested earlier this week, if the Canucks do not intend to re-sign pending free agent Vrbata to an extension at the end of the year, then they need to trade him.
Just not right now.
Benning would be wise to wait until closer to the trade deadline. Right now too many teams are bundled together that the ‘contenders’ haven’t separated themselves.
Teams typically get most desperate at the deadline, looking for a player that can get them over the hump. Contenders are also usually looking for players without term on their contracts, as they are usually up against the cap. I won’t speculate what the return will be, but it is safe to assume that the trade value of Vrbata will be higher in 8-10 weeks.
All of these reasons are why the Canucks need to just hold their position and weather the storm.
This may result in Vancouver continuing their slow decline down the standings, but ultimately that may be what is best for the long-term success of the franchise anyway.