Trade rumors have hung over the Vancouver Canucks for months while they jockey for a wild-card spot in Western Conference. President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin face the difficult choice of selling or standing pat by the March 21 trade deadline.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday the Canucks were testing the market on some of their notable players. They’re likely to be forwards J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Conor Garland, who’ve become fixtures in the rumor mill in recent weeks. Friedman adds they’re also evaluating the cost of re-signing some of those players.
Miller, 28, has been linked to the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports only a handful of clubs have expressed interest because the Canucks might not be keen to part with him because he has a year remaining on his contract.
Boeser, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent this summer who’ll cost $7.5 million for the Canucks to qualify his rights. They could move him for a good, young forward with a more affordable contract.
Friedman believes the tipping point is whether the Canucks could get a good young defenseman in return. Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal reported they also want to free up salary-cap space to improve their roster this season and beyond. They believe management seeks draft picks, prospects and NHL players between 20 and 25 years of age.
Drance and Dhaliwal indicated the Canucks had some interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun but balked at the high asking price. They also cited a source linking the club to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram. The 20-year-old rookie has considerable potential but he’s also suffered setbacks due to recent head injuries.