NHL Trade Scenarios: 3 Veteran Defenceman the Vancouver Canucks Should Consider
The Vancouver Canucks are currently sitting comfortably at the top of the North-West division and second in the Western Conference with 76 points. With the team's core still fully intact from last season, the Canucks have a good shot at making it back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row
However, if there's one area of the team that Mike Gillis should address prior to the NHL's February 27th trade deadline, it's the teams depth on defence.
The Canucks boast a talented top four of Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, and Sami Salo. The remaining three defenceman on their roster are also very solid NHL players in Aaron Rome, Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard. But, in my opinion, the Canucks would benefit greatly from adding a big, veteran defenceman who could bolster their back-end and provide them with the depth and experience necessary to make another deep playoff run.
In this article I will explore the possibility of the Canucks bringing in one of three different players who are all big, veteran defenceman before the NHL's trade deadline.
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Montreal Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill is a playoff-grizzled veteran and pending unrestricted free agent. With his team destined to not make the playoffs, the 36-year-old Massachusetts native is a prime candidate to be sold off to a playoff contender at the deadline for mid- to late-round draft picks.
I think that the 6'7" behemoth would be a great fit in Vancouver. He has the size to not only protect himself, but to protect his team-mates as well. In addition, he is a former Stanley Cup winner and has also played an important shutdown role in Montreal's playoff runs the last two years. This experience is invaluable to a team that lacks a former Stanley Cup winning player as well as veteran leadership.
Gill has one goal and seven assists for eight points to go along with a -6 plus/minus in 52 games played this season.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Jaroslav Spacek is another playoff grizzled veteran defenceman who could help the Canucks make another deep playoff run. Like Gill, Spacek is an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season and is currently playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that will likely not see the post season this year. He could also likely be acquired for a mid to late round draft pick, not much to give up for a solid presents on the back-end.
Spacek played a vital role in Edmonton's cup run in 2006 as well as Montreal's two playoff runs the past two years. At 38 years of age, the 5'11" Czech Republic native's experience and solid defensive play would fit in well with the Vancouver Canucks.
In 32 games this season split between Carolina and Montreal, Spacek has two goals and seven assists for nine points and a plus/minus of +2.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Another Carolina Hurricane defenceman rumored to be on the move before the NHL's February 27th trade deadline is former Vancouver Canuck Bryan Allen. Allen doesn't have the playoff experience of Gill and Spacek, but is only 31 years old and has been around the league for 12 seasons, which is a lot of experience for a relatively young player.
The 6'4" Kingston, Ontario native was originally drafted by the Canucks fourth overall in the 1998 NHL entry draft. Because of his age, he may take a bit more to acquire than Gill or Spacek, but his unrestricted free-agent status at the end of the season will keep his price relatively low. A second- or third-round pick would be enough to get Allen back in Vancouver in my opinion.
The Vancouver Canucks would want Allen because of his size, defensive strength and the fact he is more mobile than the other two defenceman mentioned in this article.
In 57 games this season, Allen has eight assists and an even plus/minus rating.
Harry How/Getty Images
In my opinion, the Canucks will likely make a move for a veteran defenceman before the NHL trade deadline. I believe that any of these players would fit in well with the Canucks and help the team make another deep playoff run.
Although the team has some good depth on defence, Vancouver's defence has historically had trouble staying healthy. While these players would probably flourish more playing in a physical, defensively sound third pair role, they all have the ability to comfortably step into the top four.
Having defensive depth is vital for any team planning on making a long playoff run. Adding one of these three players would go a long way in bolstering Vancouver's defensive depth. They also would likely not have to give up anybody on their current roster, as any one of them could be had for draft picks.
That is why I believe any one of these three players would be a great fit for the Vancouver Canucks.