The Vancouver Canucks are currently fourth in the Western Conference with 40 points. They have scored 87 goals, which is sixth in the conference.
Their offense has been incredibly inconsistent, with key players such as Ryan Kesler and David Booth each suffering long-term injuries.
These injuries have been a major blow to what is usually a potent offense, which may force GM Mike Gillis to make a big move.
Here are three players that the Canucks should consider trading for in order to improve their offense.
1. Mike Ribeiro
Mike Ribeiro currently leads the Capitals with 34 points through 32 games. The fact he wants a long-term contract could force Washington to part with him or else risk losing him for nothing.
He would be an ideal fit as the Canucks number two center. Ribeiro is an excellent playmaker and can also score plenty of goals. He would be ideal on the second powerplay unit and certainly an upgrade over rookie Jordan Schroeder. The Canucks also need more veteran leadership in order to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Ribeiro would bring that.
There are three factors which could prevent such a trade. For starters, Ribeiro is 33 years old, and we don't know how many prime years he has left. As previously mentioned, Ribeiro is a free agent after this season, and the Capitals will be asking for a handsome return. The Canucks would likely have to part with a top prospect or two, and they don't have very many of those. A first- or second-round pick would likely be requested as well.
Washington is also just two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, so as long as they remain in postseason contention, they probably won't want to part with their leading scorer.
If the Capitals falter in the standings and Ribeiro is available, Mike Gillis should strongly consider going all-in this season, because Vancouver desperately needs another center to improve their offense come playoff time.
2. Steve Ott
The Canucks reportedly targeted Steve Ott at last year's trade deadline, but Dallas was unwilling to swap him for Mason Raymond.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun believes the Canucks are going after Ott once again.
One of Vancouver's main weaknesses for years has been the lack of a power forward, which is a major reason Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago have knocked them out of the playoffs in recent years. The Canucks have lacked toughness for years, and finding their first true power forward since Todd Bertuzzi would be a major win for the team.
Zack Kassian has been unable to fill that role, scoring just eight points so far this season.
Ott has 17 points so far, as well as 59 penalty minutes and 134 hits, which is good enough for second in the league.
That's exactly the type of power forward the Canucks need, an intimidating player who can defend his teammates and score goals, too.
Buffalo may also go into fire-sale mode soon, so I would expect Ott to come at an affordable price. Gillis has to jump on the opportunity to fix the team's biggest weakness, and making a move for Ott would be the perfect way to do so.
3. Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr provides so many things that a team loves—scoring, playmaking skills, toughness and leadership.
Vancouver could get all of that by making one trade.
CBC's Elliot Friedman had this to say about Jagr: "The Morrow trade doesn't necessarily mean a Dallas sell off. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk was otherwise tight-lipped about it, but he did say they are trying to re-sign Jaromir Jagr. The goal is to keep, not trade him."
If the Stars can't come to an agreement on a new deal for Jagr, I would expect Nieuwendyk to start fielding offers for the veteran. Jagr leads the stars in points with 25, and his leadership has been crucial to the Stars' young roster.
Vancouver's window is closing, and adding a two-time Stanley Cup champion who is seventh all-time in playoff points with 189 would be a huge addition for the club.
The 41-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season and in the twilight of his career, should not be too expensive to deal for.
The Canucks need a veteran who can score and carry the team, and adding a player who knows what it takes to win it all would benefit the team.
Dallas is just one point out of the eight spot in the Western Conference, but if they fall behind and decide to become sellers, then expect Jagr to be moved. If that's the case, the Canucks should waste no time ringing the phone on April 3.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe the Canucks should target any players that weren't mentioned? Let me know in the comment section below!
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