The Vancouver Canucks are heading to the February
29th trade deadline with a plethora of players who are unrestricted free agents
as of July 1st. Most people expect them to be a very active club on deadline
day, and I happen to be one of them. Let’s take a look at who they could be
shopping and what they could potentially receive back for them.
The most notable UFA on the Canucks roster is
defenceman Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis just returned from a gruesome injury to his jaw
and has looked terrific in his last few games since returning. Hamhuis is a
rock on the back end and will be coveted by many contending teams, which could
end up striking a bidding war for the defenceman. Hamhuis could very well fetch
a first round pick and a midlevel defensive prospect from a team going all in
for a Cup run. Hamhuis does have a no trade clause, but I can't see him
declining a trade to a top contender and a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
The second most notable UFA is right winger Radim
Vrbata. Vrbata has had a very mediocre year in Vancouver, this after a
tremendous season last year. He has really lost his stride in Vancouver this
season and I'd consider him to be a lock to move by deadline day. Vrbata simply
needs a new start and I could see the Canucks fetching a second round pick for
him, or a project prospect who isn't working out with his current team. I don't
believe Radim will fetch a first rounder due to his current play and lackluster
playoff performances, but you never know.
I would be shocked if Chris Higgins is not traded
by the end of deadline day, although he is not a UFA. He still has the capabilities of being a third or fourth liner on a lot of NHL teams, but
he didn't fit the direction the Canucks are going. He is currently playing for
the Canucks AHL team, the Utica Comets. I believe Higgins could be traded for a
4th rounder, but the Canucks will have to retain a decent amount of his salary.
A few more less notable UFA's the Canucks will be
shopping around are Brandon Prust, Adam Cracknell, Matt Bartkowski and Yannick
Weber. Prust could fetch a 5th from a contending team as a depth player for
them heading to the playoffs. The Canucks could very well hold onto Cracknell
with the injury to Brandon Sutter, I wouldn't be surprised if he lasted through
the deadline day. Bartkowski and Weber are very much in the same boat, they
have both had fairly mediocre seasons, Bart has been a bit better than Weber. I
can't see the team getting much for either though.
I hope you enjoyed the read, and may deadline day
be a great day for your team.
Labels: Matt Hawryluk