In previous years, the Canucks have been pretty fortunate come trade deadline. They have a rich history of receiving players such as Tiger Williams in 1980, Markus Naslund in 1996 and Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre in 2011, all of whom arrived in Vancouver part-way through the season and made a difference.
Last season Higgins and Lapierre helped guide the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final and have since developed vital roles on the team. As the Canucks attempt to make another shot at winning hockey’s Holy Grail, some suspect that the Canucks will make a big splash come trade deadline time to gain yet another difference-maker.
The biggest rumor circling the league involving the Canucks is that they will trade Cory Schneider for Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite the rumors, Schneider seemed relaxed about the whole situation as he talked to The Province.
“It’s hard to avoid it, it’s always on somewhere,” said Schneider. “We tend to ignore most of the speculation, but it’s interesting to see who is going to strengthen themselves – a contender or a team we’re directly competing against with a guy like Rick Nash. That obviously has implications on us.
“We don’t follow it obsessively or believe every rumor we hear, but guys keep an eye out and see if we’re going to be active.
“For me, I just don’t think about it. I’ve got a job to do here and if I don’t do it, that probably eliminates possibilities of any-thing ever happening anyways. I enjoy it here. I’m not looking to get moved and I’m not asking for a trade by any means. If it’s a hockey decision, then it’s out of my control.”
Schneider does not sound worried about being traded and he has no reason too. At this point, if the Canucks organization is really serious about winning the Stanley Cup, it is unlikely that they will trade Schneider.
What happens if Luongo gets injured in the playoffs? What about if he goes through another one of his slumps? Is Canucks prospect Eddie Lack ready to fill Schneider’s shoes and back up Luongo? Because of Schneider, and the breaks he has given Luongo, the Canucks’ goaltending has not looked too shabby this season.
However, Schneider is underpaid and deserves more. On other NHL teams, he could be a starter, and get paid more than the $900,000 a year that he receives now. However, as he mentioned, the Canucks are a tight-knit group who are not necessarily there to make money; they are there to play the game they love and to win the Stanley Cup.
“This is a pretty tight room,” said Schneider. “We’ve forged an identity and a bond and we all believe in it and it would be great to keep everything together. But if management decides a change needs to be made in a little or big way, we’ll accept that, too.”
There should not be any controversy about Schneider at this moment. If he moves, it would most likely be in the off-season. In fact, for most players on the Canucks, if they move, it would be in the off-season. The Canucks are not in bottom place and are instead thriving with the same core group that took them to the Finals last year.
But it GM Mike Gillis was to trade somebody, who would he look for? What could this team benefit from? When this question is asked, most still bring up how the Canucks were pushed around in the Finals against the Boston Bruins.
It looks like they are still lacking a gritty forward. However, if Byron Bitz, who just recently started playing with the Canucks, can keep playing well, if not better, he could fill that position very effectively. The Canucks have Lapierre and Dale Weise as well, and together those three can take the hits, score the goals and provide the grit the Canucks need, so long as they play to their full potential. But what the Canucks really need is a dependable defenseman.
With Keith Ballard’s upper-body injury that will leave him out of the line-up till at least March 1, Chris Tanev has once again been called up from the Chicago Wolves. In interviews, head coach Alain Vigneault has suggested that the way Tanev plays will impact what the Canucks do at the trade deadline. In other words, if Tanev plays well, then it is unlikely the Canucks will make any big moves. However, if Tanev does not seem ready to play in the NHL and is not playing up to the coaching staff’s standards, then it is likely the Canucks will go shopping for someone they can depend on.
Many would love for the Canucks to get their hands on a player like Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators or Bryan Allen of the Carolina Hurricanes. By having a strong defenseman, the Canucks can improve their depth, something they need if they are going to succeed this season. Sami Salo is aging, Alex Edler needs a good defense partner, Ballard could be traded, Kevin Bieksa has mood swings, Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts are nowhere close to being top four material…the list of flaws in the Canucks defense goes on and on. Better depth on defense means less breakdowns and fewer problems if someone gets injured, hopefully fixing some of those flaws.
So for the Canucks, it looks like they are heading either towards making a trade to get a defenseman or not trading at all. Schneider should not be heading anywhere yet and all the fuss about Rick Nash is for nothing.
But who knows what might happen. The game of hockey is incredibly unpredictable.