June 19, 2024

Dec 5, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Dakota Joshua (81) celebrates a goal during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks settled for the big fish in the trade deadline which is healthy for teams success

The Vancouver Canucks began this year’s trade deadline season with a big splash when the team acquired center Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames on Jan. 31 in exchange for forward Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brustewicz and Joni Jurmo, along with a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick. This trade kicked off trade season 2024 as the Canucks looked to have landed a big fish to help them in their quest for their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. But the organization was quiet as a mouse on trade deadline day and did not make a single move to address their team and I believe that was the right move for the group.

Kuzmenko signs two-year, $11M extension with Canucks

Vancouver’s Current Group Is Thriving

The Canucks current group has thrived this year under new Head Coach Rick Tocchet and currently sit comfortably at the top of the Pacific Division with 89 points at the time of this being written and have an 11-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers who are second in the division with 78 points.

All of Vancouver’s core pieces like J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes , a resurgent Brock Boeser, and newly extended Elias Pettersson have all taken a big step this year and have been key reasons for why the Canucks have had so much success. Their group is having a fantastic season and has been one of the top teams in the league all year long. Why mess with something that is working?

Even if management is concerned with Lindholm’s current lack of production as he only has seven points in 16 games, I don’t see that lasting for very long. Lindholm was once a 40-goal scorer in Calgary when he played with elite players like Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk and now that he is reunited with elite players, I can see him getting his scoring touch back.

Vancouver Looked at Acquiring Jake Guentzal

Vancouver was in on a big fish heading into the deadline, according to reports.

The biggest rumour was that the team was looking to acquire forward Jake Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team wanted Guentzal as he was one of the hottest commodities at the deadline but to clear cap space to potentially bring the former Penguins forward into the fold. As a result, Vancouver was reportedly looking at flipping Elias Lindholm to the Boston Bruins due to his lack of production and fear that he hadn’t been gelling with the team properly. Ultimately none of that ended up happening and Guentzal was traded to Carolina in exchange for Michael Bunting, several prospects, and two conditional draft picks.

Canucks Had a Quiet Deadline Day and It’s Okay

The Canucks Made the Right Move and Sent a Message to the Team

Vancouver not pulling the trigger on this move was the right call, making several severe moves at once can shake a locker room and affect team chemistry. And in this case, Canucks players are trying to get used to Lindholm’s game and then after a month, they would have to now get used to Guentzel’s game in time for the playoffs. All of that movement can be difficult for a team to adapt to. In this case, sometimes the best move to make is no move at all. The group is set, the chemistry is there, and everything has been put in place.

This decision by general manager Patrik Alvin and president Jim Rutherford was not only a business decision, but a message to all of the players in their locker room. They believe in the team they have assembled and believe that they are ready to take a big step this year in the playoffs. No one else is coming to help them, no one else is coming to share the pressure and the weight that they carry. It’s all on the players in the room and no one else.

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