Late last week the Canucks pulled off a major deal with the Florida Panthers, trading promising young centre Jared McCann, a 2nd round pick (33rd overall), and a 4th round pick (93rd overall) for hulking defenceman Erik Gudbranson and a 5th round pick (149th overall).
Much of the discussion has been around the players in the deal, McCann and Gudbranson. Rightfully so, as both players are the tangible pieces of this deal, despite the fact that we don’t know exactly how good they will become.
Rob Williams did a good job of breaking down what the Canucks will be getting in their new defenceman.
Gudbranson is a hard-nosed, gritty defensive defenceman who checks a lot of boxes in the intangible categories. He’s not a great puck-mover, but there is no denying that the Canucks defensive grouping is better than it was a week ago.
When it comes to the newly departed McCann, the Panthers are hoping that the flashes he showed in his first year in the NHL will continue to develop, and he will be able to provide offensive depth for a team looking to get back into the playoffs next year. There was an argument to be made that McCann didn’t have a spot with the Canucks next season and would have been in the AHL, and there was some credence to that. Still, he turns 20-years-old tomorrow and is ahead of his peers in terms of development.
The other major part of the deal is the 2nd round pick.
The Canucks were poised to enter the draft in Buffalo armed with the 5th and 33rd overall picks and were going to quickly add some serious punch to their prospect pool. Fans were rightfully excited about the idea of some high-end and talented players joining the Canucks organization over draft weekend.
We are obviously not privy to what the Canucks’ plan was for the 33rd pick, whether that was selecting a forward like Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants, Swedish born and gritty Carl Grundstrom, or a playmaker like Sarnia Sting’s Jordan Kyrou. Alternatively there likely would be quite a few promising defencemen available there as well, such as Markus Nimelainen, Samuel Girard, or Kale Clague.
Regardless of the direction that they would have taken with that pick, it would have been a player that fans would be excited to see develop over the next couple of years and hopefully a player that would make an impact in Vancouver in the future.
The Canucks picked 36th overall in 2014, and took promising goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko. Obviously there are no guarantees that this pick would have yielded the same results as it did in 2014, but you can see why fans were eager to see who the Canucks would select.
Still, there is plenty of time before the draft begins, or even as the draft is going on, for Canucks management to recoup a pick that is close in value.
With the addition of Gudbranson, the Canucks have created a bit of a logjam at the NHL level for defencemen. Jim Benning could explore the possibility of trading someone like Luca Sbisa or Andrey Pedan to recoup a pick.
It likely won’t happen, but the Canucks may also explore trading down from the 5th overall pick to gain a pick or two that way. Every year, teams are eager to move up and select a high-end player. The Canucks may see value in a player who will be available in the 6-15 range, and gaining some additional assets for that move would make sense.
They could also explore moving out a forward to gain picks back. Someone like Jannik Hansen would hold quite a bit of value on the trade market after the season he just had.
We don’t know what the Canucks have up their sleeve but they have time on their side to try and recoup more picks for this June’s draft. They were able to add a recent 3rd overall pick in Gudbranson that will add to their defensive core for years to come.
The price may have been steep, but there is no arguing that their defence is now harder to play against.