Trent Leith / March 21, 2022
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Canucks were involved in four transactions, and punted on many more. Here is all you need to know about the 2021-22 Canucks trade deadline.
Hamonic to The Senators for a 3rd
In a trade that shocked the Canucks fanbase, the Vancouver Canucks traded Travis Hamonic in exchange for a 3rd round pick (that happens to be theirs). The thing that shocked the Canucks fanbase is that they were on the right side of a trade like this for once.
The Canucks managed to move out a player that management was not happy with, they created $3M in cap space and recouped an asset in the process.
A deal like this isn’t something the Canucks fan base have seen in a long time, it’s usually the Canucks unwisely trading assets for depth players. A trade like this was a breath of fresh air.
The pick the Canucks got in return happened to be their pick that was traded to Vegas for Nate Schmidt. That pick was then flipped to Ottawa as part of the deal for Evgenii Dadanov.
A 3rd to Toronto for Dermott
Right after the Canucks acquired a third for Hamonic, they flipped the Winnipeg Jets third round pick to Toronto for 25-year-old LD Travis Dermott.
Dermott is a third pair defender that can play both sides of the blue line and has a $1.5M cap hit for this season and next. Dermott is a player that could benefit from a change of scenery, and the Canucks are smart to take a chance on the young defender that has potential to play up the lineup.
One thing to note is Halak’s bonuses that are expected to carry over into next year and Dermott will total approximately the same amount against the cap as Hamonic had alone. This is a smart move by the Canucks’ new management group to get faster, younger and cheaper.
Canucks Claim Brad Richardson
The Canucks made a depth move, while not exactly a trade, he was picked up off waivers from the Calgary Flames. Richardson played two seasons with the Canucks in the past, most recently in 2014/15.
The 37 year old centreman is coming in as depth for the Canucks to help JT Miller and Bo Horvat at the face off dot. In his 27 games with the Flames this season Richardson is 58.8% on draws, which will be a boost as the Canucks outside Miller and Horvat have struggled on draws.
Richardson comes to the Canucks as a pending UFA with a $800K cap hit and is a low risk acquisition by the Canucks. While the transaction doesn’t move the needle in either direction, it’s simply just filling out NHL level centre depth, and the Canucks did it for free.
Brad Richardson has been known to score against the Canucks with a shocking four goal outing in 2019 against the Canucks. You know what they say, if you can’t beat ’em, pick ’em up off waivers.
Motte to The Rangers for a 4th
Tyler Motte was traded to the New York Rangers for a fourth round pick in 2023. Why does it seem the Rangers are always involved in breaking Canucks fans’ hearts? Motte being a fan favorite makes this a tough pill to swallow, especially as Motte is so highly regarded in Vancouver as “not just another fourth liner”. Motte was the Canucks best penalty killer on a team that already struggles incredibly in that regard, and seeing him go out the door will only hurt the PK further.
In a vacuum that might not sound like great value, especially as Hamonic was traded for a third. That speaks more to how good of a trade the Hamonic deal was versus how bad a deal the Motte trade was.
Motte was traded at market value at this deadline. Just look at Mason Appleton, a 4th liner that makes $900K until the end of this year netted a fourth, Johan Larson was traded for a third and will have a cap hit of $700K against the Capitals books (Arizona retained 50%), but he can play centre.
While the Motte deal wasn’t a homerun move, or anything big and sexy, it was the right move to make if Motte’s camp and the Canucks couldn’t find common ground on a new contract.
Flipping Motte for an asset is a far better option than walking him to free agency and losing him for nothing, and that is something we’ve seen far too often in Vancouver. It’s no home run, but it’s exactly the kind of deal the Canucks needed to make.
Deals Not Made
Halak was always a long shot to be traded. Halak has a NMC which complicated any potential trades. To add more complications was Halak’s $1.2M bonus that the Canucks were trying to move out with the player.
It would have been great for the Canucks to move out the veteran goaltender, but there didn’t seem to be much of a market this year for goalies. Unfortunately for both parties, Halak will finish the season a Vancouver Canuck. Also unfortunately for the Canucks, Halak’s bonus will likely carry over into next season.
JT Miller is a name we’ve heard thrown around the trade market for months, but in recent weeks Miller has priced himself off of the market. His worth is simply too high for a team to make work in the regular season. Miller has become too important to the Canucks, and as such, the Canucks decided to utilize the time they have with this player and wait until at least the offseason before they consider moving him.
The Canucks will try and sign Miller in the off-season, and if they aren’t able to find common ground on a new deal, expect to see JT’s name resurface in trade rumours.
There was no pressure for Canucks management to make this deal go through before the trade deadline because Miller still has an entire season under contract, the Canucks are not at a point they should compromise on price because they are still over a full calendar year away from the chance the player leaves for nothing.
Conor Garland should have never been a realistic option for the Canucks to trade. We’ve said it before. Garland’s age fits the Canucks timeline better than a guy like Miller does and his contract is much more team friendly at $4.95M for four more seasons.
Rumours were swirling about Garland potentially going to LA, but ultimately nothing ever happened. Garland’s name will be another that will come up in the off-season, but I stand firm, the Canucks should not be looking to trade a cost controlled, top-six forward who is only 26.
Boeser also remained a Canuck through the deadline. It’s reported that Boeser’s trade value was tanked by the high qualifying offer of $7.5M approaching this summer. While there are ways around that number, like negotiating a longer contract, it’s hard for teams to want to pay top dollar for a player who is lined up to be overpaid.
Boeser is the final top-six forward who will wind up in summer trade rumours as I expect at least one of the three of Garland, Miller and Boeser are in their last season as a Canuck. Unless it was a trade at full value, the Canucks were wise to not take pennies on the dollar for a player of Boeser’s caliber at this junction, even if he isn’t currently playing at his career best.
Reports were surfacing the days and hours before the deadline that Schenn was a hot commodity around the league, specifically Toronto and Tampa Bay looking to get the player back on their team. The Canucks wisely held onto Schenn as he is worth more to the Canucks, than he is worth on the market.
Schenn fits a unique need where he can play in the top-four alongside Quinn Hughes, be a physical presence on the ice, and a leader in the locker room. Netting a mid-round pick for Schenn, who still has a year remaining on his team-friendly deal, would not benefit the Canucks enough long term to make up for the short term loss.
Ultimately during this deadline the Canucks managed to shed salary, make their defence faster and get an asset for a player that was going to walk at the end of the season. All the deals not made were in the Canucks best interest to remain patient on. It was not the biggest, or sexiest deadline like we all expected, but a good, sturdy deadline from the new management group.
After everything, this was a quiet and responsible deadline by the new Canucks management group.