There is no doubt that the Vancouver Canucks are a young and upcoming powerhouse team in the National Hockey League. However, if this team wants to rapidly become a contender then there is one thing the Canucks need to improve and that is their defense.
Vancouver Canucks Trade Proposal They Need to Make Now
What Do the Canucks Need?
There is no doubt that the Vancouver Canucks are a young and upcoming powerhouse team in the National Hockey League. However, if this team wants to rapidly become a contender then there is one thing the Canucks need to improve and that is their defense. The team has the luxury of having two star goalies between the pipes as well as having one of the best goalie prospects in the league in Michael DiPietro. In addition to that, the Canucks have no shortage of offensive ability either as the young group led by Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, Bo Horvat, and Brock Boeser finished 8th in the league in goals for during the 2019-2020 NHL season with 228 goals in 69 games. The team’s defense however is a whole flip of the coin. In terms of goals-against average, the Vancouver Canucks were tied with the Nashville Predators for 21st in the league with an average of 3.10 goals against per game. It is clear that the Vancouver Canucks need some more defensive ability from the back end, but with limited cap space and no cheap top four defensemen available in this year’s free-agent market, the Canucks are going to have to use the trade route to solve this particular issue. Hence, the Canucks would have to sacrifice some of their secondary offense to help improve the blue line and as a team dependent on the core to create offense, the top 6 must remain intact. Hence, Jake Virtanen becomes the Canucks best trade chip to acquire a minute munching defensive D man.
How Can the Canucks Acquire Such a Player?
With a series of separate incidents over the last year that has made the young gritty winger fall out of favor with Canucks head coach Travis Green, it is clear that both the Canucks and Virtanen would like a change of scenery. Still only 24 years of age, Virtanen brings quite a bit to the table that other teams may find attractive. The product of Abbotsford was on pace for 21 goals and 42 points this past season despite only playing an average of just over 13 minutes each game. In addition to that, Virtanen brings a nice amount of grit and tenacity on the table which gives him all the assets to become a consistent 20 goal-scoring power winger in the league, and as a bonus, he should only cost around the 3 million range on his next contract this offseason. With all these attributes in his arsenal as well as having scored 18 goals in 69 games to show for it this past season, what exactly can the Canucks get back in a deal for Virtanen? If the Canucks manage to find the right fit, it is entirely plausible that the Canucks can get back a similar age middle pairing D man back to partner up with rookie stud Quinn Hughes down the road. While such a transaction may be a little challenging to complete, there is one D man who the Canucks can target in a trade involving Virtanen and that particular player is Matt Roy.
How This Deal Benefits Both Teams?
Having just finished up his 2nd season in the league playing for the Los Angeles Kings, the 25-year-old right-shot defenseman fills many of the needs that Vancouver currently lacks on their blue line. He is a young and cheap right-hand defenseman who is solid defensively and can patrol the 2nd pairing with Quinn Hughes. A deal with the Kings involving Jake Virtanen for Matt Roy is a perfect match for both teams. The Kings need help on the wing especially in the top 9 and they have a surplus of right-handed defensemen on their active roster as well as right-handed prospects in the system. The Kings have a plethora of centers in their system but just like how the Canucks lack young impactful defense, the Kings lack young impact wingers. Dustin Brown isn’t getting any younger and the two only young wingers with top six potential in their system are Iafallo and Kempe who are both left-wingers. Hence, LA has no one in their system on the right-wing that may have top six or top nine potential which is why Virtanen will be a welcome addition for them. Additionally, Virtanen plays with the same grit and tenacity that Dustin Brown plays with, so it is not out of the question that Virtanen may be a Dustin Brown replacement for the Kings down the road. On the Vancouver side of things, not only is Roy making just a league minimum of $700,000 against the cap, he is also strong defensively, large and physical, as well as experienced in playing top four minutes on a mediocre LA kings team this season. He is also just one year older than Virtanen and this deal not only saves the Canucks about $2 million in cap, but it also gives them a player who has all the attributes and potential to be the perfect partner for Quinn Hughes on the 2nd pairing. Roy had 18 points in 70 games this past season and he also had a 56.1% Corsi percentage playing on the 4th worst team in the NHL this season.
To conclude, the overall cap space that Vancouver gains from this deal would be a welcome addition for them to try and resign Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, and Tyler Toffoli. In addition to that, they get a decent-sized 25-year-old RHD who may be the perfect player to complement Quinn Hughes on the blue line down the road. Likewise, on the other hand, the Kings get a young power winger with 20 goal potential, who instantly adds a nice layer of offense to the depleted right-wing depth of a rebuilding Los Angeles Kings team.
Main Image: Embed from Getty Images