NHL Trades: Teams That Will Be Watching the Vancouver Canucks

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IFebruary 5, 2013

NHL Trades: Teams That Will Be Watching the Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks are going to be in a real cap crunch going forward as they have 13 players signed for the 2013-14 season with only $3,896,667 in cap space to fill out the rest of the roster (CapGeek).

    With the Canucks in a position to dump a ton of salary, what teams will be watching them closely as the deadline approaches?

    With certain teams closely monitoring the Roberto Luongo situation, Ryan Kesler's health and other big contracts, here are teams that will be watching the Canucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs would love to add an elite No. 1 netminder, and trading Roberto Luongo would free up $5.33 million in cap space for Vancouver.

    Additionally, they would likely receive some forwards in return, and that would eliminate some of the roster spots to be filled during the summer.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers could potentially be great trade partners. In addition to the Flyers' rumored interest in Roberto Luongo, Philadelphia is also in desperate need of defenders.

    Given the Flyers' amount of young forwards, they might be able to make a deal for one of the Canucks defenders and that would free up at least a minimum of $4.2 million in salary space.

    The Canucks want young forwards, and that is something the Flyers have. Although the Flyers may be unwilling to make a big move, it wouldn't be out of the question for them to make a smaller trade that helps out both sides.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Like the Philadelphia Flyers, the Detroit Red Wings could really use some help on their blue line. With the Vancouver Canucks defense taking up a sizable part of the salary cap, they may be willing to move a defender in order to add some forward depth.

    Although the two teams are conference rivals, the Canucks are going to be in a financial bind if they don't start shedding salary.

Washington Capitals

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    The Washington Capitals are a team that could be a surprise mystery team in the Roberto Luongo stakes, and given the team's current performance it wouldn't be surprising if George McPhee made a bold move to shake things up.

    The Caps have denied interest in Luongo after a meeting with Canucks' GM Mike Gillis added fuel to the fire of rumors.

    The Capitals have some players who are upcoming UFAs like Mike Ribeiro that they could deal to a Vancouver team looking to add a second-line center, so Washington will definitely keep an eye on the Canucks, even if they "aren't interested" in Luongo. 

Edmonton Oilers

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    The Edmonton Oilers are another team that would love to add defense, but they could be a dark-horse team that tries to trade for Roberto Luongo.

    The asking price would likely include Sam Gagner, a second-line center who would immediately have an impact on the Ryan Kesler-less Canucks, and a draft pick plus a prospect.

    This would be an interesting move, and one that would make sense for both sides.