Canucks need to be decisive and take advantage of market

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 12:50 am by Ryan Biech

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, just twelve short days from the March 1st NHL trade deadline. Things are about to get interesting.

The Canucks sit five points removed from the last wild-card spot and play the team they are chasing, the Calgary Flames, on Saturday. The L.A. Kings are hanging around, and have two games in hand. Coupled with a downright hostile schedule, it’s looking like the Canucks will be in tough to make the playoffs.

All this underscores exactly why the Canucks need to be decisive as they address the topic du jour. They need to sell what few assets they can, and let the season wind down to its inevitable conclusion.

Of course, they absolute could make the playoffs — probability isn’t destiny. Entering action last night, they had a 6% chance of securing a spot, though. (Source: Micah Blake McCurdy (@ineffectivemath))

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Even if they do make it, it would likely mean a first round date with San Jose or Minnesota. No way that goes well for the local team.

That’s just one of the reason’s why the Canucks would be wise to make moves to deal their pending UFA’s and most anyone else on the wrong end of their development arc. Another reason revealed itself during Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s interview on TSN 1040 yesterday. 

Everyone is focusing on the ‘We will see how the next five games go’ part of the conversation, and rightfully so. You shouldn’t base your decisions on a five-game sample size prior to one of the biggest days on the NHL calendar.

I want to focus on the following, though. Blake Price asked “would you agree that it’s a seller’s market?”, the response was as follows:

The problem is there isn’t a lot of teams’ selling right now because there is so many teams still in the hunt. Teams want to wait until right at the deadline to decide whether they are buyers or sellers.

Benning has effectively defined what a seller’s market is.

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Being privy to a seller’s market means any team who decides to sell early could have an advantage, as they will be the only chum in the water for the sharks. It can create a frenzy as there isn’t much with which the Sharks can otherwise sink their teeth. They can control the market, and angle it towards what suits their needs.

Even if they can’t get something done early, it allows them to be the first team on the dance floor. Teams may scoff at your original asking price, but they will circle back. That is under the assumption that there are more buyers than seller’s and they are stuck with what the market bares. Which may be true, if there continues to be parity.

There may only be a few true seller’s, thus getting into the market likely presents more chances than being a ‘holding steady’ team.

Obviously, Benning may not have adequately conveyed his thoughts. Still, this commentary buttresses the process of reflection wherein ‘waiting the five games’ to see how the chips fall, which should be fairly concerning.

Earlier this month, I talked about how moving Jannik Hansen this trade deadline makes sense. The move should happen now, instead of waiting until the offseason, for a multitude of reasons.

There is quite a bit of chatter of the Canucks moving Alex Burrows. It’s something the Canucks need to do, simply because Burrows isn’t going to provide a tangible WAR for the Canucks over the next few weeks that letting him walk away for nothing in July should be a no go. Even losing a few more games over the last couple of months is probably the best course of action.

The New York Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks went as far speculating that a 3rd round pick for Burrows might not be enough:

What does that mean? Good question, but the Rangers are going to have to give up something. A third-rounder probably wouldn’t get it done. One of their seconds next year, when they also own Ottawa’s No. 2? Oscar Lindberg, if the Blueshirts believe that Marek Hrivik could center the fourth line off his impressive 16-game audition earlier this winter?

Should the Rangers show interest in reuniting Burrows and his former head coach Alain Vigneault, it might cost them a second to facilitate it.

That same logic applies to Ryan Miller – the Canucks should move him for a pick, even if it’s a late rounder. They won’t, but they should. Elliotte Friedman suggested if he were Anaheim, he would make a play for Miller.

The accumulation of future assets for players that are likely on their way out for nothing in a few months is the prudent thing to do. Add that it’s currently a seller’s market, and will probably stay that way due to parity (genuine or otherwise), the Canucks have to take advantage of that.

The Canucks hold five picks in the 2017 NHL Entry draft, with the chance of a sixth if Columbus provides their 2nd round pick. That isn’t enough. Ideally, the Canucks can get proactive and enter this draft with picks that they can use to add to the prospect pool and peddle on the trade market following the expansion draft.

Another trade deadline with the Canucks finding themselves at the altar with nothing wouldn’t play well in the market. It’s imperative the Canucks are decisive, take advantage of this market and make some moves.