Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre, two of the most successful trade deadline pickups by the Canucks in recent years.
The trade deadline is coming up fast on Wednesday April 3, and the Vancouver Canucks have several deficiencies that need to be addressed.
The most glaring hole in the roster is at centre. According to Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, Ryan Kesler is coming back from his broken foot next week, but that would still leave the Canucks with a Manny Malhotra-sized hole in the roster that is being filled by diminutive rookie Jordan Schroeder.
Scoring depth is also a major issue. The Canucks have been starved for goals in the playoffs, averaging just 1.33 goals per game in their last two playoff series.
On a related note, the power play is woefully pathetic right now, sitting dead last in the Western Conference with a meagre 12.8 percent conversion rate. Kesler's return will help immensely, but a triggerman on the point would be nice as well.
With that in mind, here are five players that the Canucks should target on trade deadline day.
All five players should be theoretically available from teams that are looking to be sellers and could be had for prospects or draft picks.
Also, these players are traditional rental players, with expiring contracts or maybe just another year left before being free agents.
In an ideal world, Mike Gillis would be able to pick up one or two of these players to fuel a playoff drive, similar to how he acquired Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins prior to the 2011 run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Current Team: Dallas Stars (10th in the Western Conference)
Current Contract: $4,550,000/year. Expires after 2012-13 season.
Dallas is reportedly looking to sign Jaromir Jagr to an extension, but it is listening to offers for the soon-to-be free agent. This would be a classic deadline trade for a rental player, picking up a veteran impact player with an expiring contract.
As a right winger, Jagr wouldn't address the Canucks' issues at center, but he would solve the scoring problems.
Even at 41, Jagr has still posted 14 goals and 12 assists to lead the Stars with 26 points. If he was on the Canucks, he'd sit third on the team in points behind the Sedins and would lead the team in goals.
Current Team: Tampa Bay Lightning (14th in the Western Conference)
Current Contract: $3,750,000/year. Expires after 2013-14 season.
Bringing back Sami Salo to Vancouver would solve three problems.
First, it would stabilize the defence corps if Salo went with his longtime partner Alex Edler, who has had some consistency issues this year. That would have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the defence pairings.
Second, Salo would immediately help with the power-play problems. He knows the systems, and his heavy slap shot was an integral part of what was the top-ranked power play when the Canucks were winning Presidents' Trophies in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Third, it would be a move that would garner fan support. Salo was a fan favourite, and the Canucks gambled and lost on their contract offer when he went to Tampa as a free agent prior to the lockout. Bringing back the 38-year-old veteran for a final season and a bit before he retires would be a classy move.
Current Team: Phoenix Coyotes (13th in the Western Conference)
Current Contract: $1,325,000/year. Expires after 2012-13 season.
Boyd Gordon is probably the player on this list with the least name recognition amongst NHL fans. But he would fill the Manny Malhotra-sized hole in the lineup almost perfectly.
The 29-year-old centre is currently sixth in the NHL in faceoffs with 58.8 percent. Without Malhotra, the best Canuck center is Maxim Lapierre at 51.9 percent. No other healthy Canucks center is over 50 percent.
Boyd also kills penalties, leading all Phoenix forwards in short-handed ice time with almost three minutes a game on average.
Current Team: San Jose Sharks (7th in the Western Conference)
Current Contract: $3,625,000/year. Expires after 2012-13 season.
The Sharks aren't exactly the prototypical sellers at the deadline, but they are looking to get younger. Douglas Murray has already been shipped out of town, and Ryane Clowe is next on the chopping block.
Clowe was even held out of the Sharks' most recent game against the Canucks on April 1 as a healthy scratch in anticipation of a deadline trade.
With zero goals in 28 games this season, the 30-year-old power forward could possibly be had cheaply. Clowe is still getting more than two shots per game on average, so the lack of goals is a function of bad luck rather than a precipitous decline in his scoring ability.
He has also thrown 69 hits so far this year, and Zack Kassian can attest that Clowe can still throw punches pretty well.
As a left winger, Clowe wouldn't fill the void at center. But at 6'2" and 225 pounds, he could provide secondary scoring and a wrecking-ball style of physical play for the Canucks that Raffi Torres provided in the 2011 playoff run.
Clowe also has a tie to the Canucks, as Alain Vigneault coached him in junior.
Current Team: Buffalo Sabres (13th in the Eastern Conference)
Current Contract: $2,950,000/year. Expires after 2013-14 season.
Steve Ott would be the ideal pickup for the Canucks, essentially combining the positive attributes of both Clowe and Gordon.
Ott has thrown 149 hits over 36 games, good for third in the entire NHL in that category.
When it comes to faceoffs, he is slightly below Gordon with 56.2 percent, but that still puts him ninth in the NHL.
Ott would be the perfect pivot for the third line, providing some secondary scoring and faceoff prowess while punishing opponents physically and taking the defensive heat off of Ryan Kesler.
The Canucks were interested in Ott at last year's deadline when he was dealt by Dallas to Buffalo, and according to TSN they are interested in him again this year.