With the NHL trade deadline a week away, various NHL markets are abuzz with the possibility of securing the final piece or two of the puzzle that turns their team into legitimate Cup contenders.
In Vancouver, the Canucks are already a Cup contender and fans see the trade deadline as an opportunity to put the team over the over the top.
Firstly, with regards to the Canucks, it is important to dash the possibility of a big splash by acquiring Rick Nash. Even if the Canucks had the type of cap room and prospects necessary to make this trade I would not recommend pulling the trigger. Nash is a good player but he has minimal playoff experience (4 games) and has only once topped the 70-point plateau. Moreover, adding a big name often does more harm than good as there is a possibility for it to significantly alter, often negatively, team chemistry.
Secondly, I believe the Canucks currently have a good mix with their forwards and that it is more important for them to bolster the backend. Ideally the Canucks would acquire a top four defenseman, which would give them 5 top four-caliber dmen (to go along with Salo, Hamhuis, Bieksa and Edler). This depth is key in a long playoff run where in the past the Canucks have run low on defensemen.
Potential acquisitions from non-playoff teams could be Bryan Allen (Hurricanes), Robyn Regehr (Sabres), Mark Streit (Islanders) or Eric Brewer (Lightning). However, these teams are looking to unload players for prospects and as such it would take some dancing on the part of the Canucks to make these acquisitions while remaining under the cap.
One intriguing possibility would be for the Canucks to trade from a position of strength with another playoff team in order to have the salaries even out. Of course the Canucks position of strength is in the net. If the Canucks were to decide to move Schneider there are some teams that are desperate for goaltending. One of which is the Philadelphia Flyers due to the miserable results of the Ilya Bryzgalov experiment. Perhaps the recent additions of Nicholas Grossman and Pavel Kubina by the Flyers were designed to free up the possibility of moving Braydon Coburn. Coburn could come to the Canucks along with Sergei Bobrovsky in exchange for Schneider and Ballard, the latter of which the Canucks would certainly be happy to get rid of. The Flyers may have to sweeten the pot with a second round pick as well but the key enabler of the trade is that the salaries would more or less even out allowing two teams hard against the cap to make a substantial deal.
If the Canucks have faith in Luongo (which they are always saying they do), they may be able to parlay Schneider into a defensive asset. Coburn is one of the leagues most underrated defenseman. His addition would significantly strengthen the Canuck D-corps.
Image: The Hockey News