After dealing veterans Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen at the deadline, and finally declaring a rebuild in Vancouver, the Canucks still have another valuable trade chip they can utilize, with the expansion and entry drafts quickly approaching.
That would be defenseman Chris Tanev.
His future with the team is a hot topic of discussion in that market, especially as the Canucks look to get younger, stockpile prospects and gather additional draft picks for the future.
The 27-year-old Tanev is entering the third year of a five-year, $22.25 million contract that also has a modified no-trade clause about to kick in on July 1.
Those teams seeking a defenseman capable of impressive bottom-line offensive numbers aren’t likely to get that from Tanev. He’s never registered more than 20 points in a single season. But a reliable shutdown presence in his own end — lauded for his shot suppression abilities — is a reputation he’s garnered for a few years now and that may be an attractive quality for teams looking to shore up that aspect of their game.
Tanev also isn’t getting any younger, and he’s never played a full regular season schedule. Injuries have played a part, particularly this past season when he was held to just 53 games. There may not be many more opportunities after this for the Canucks to get the maximum return on this specific player in a trade.
“The one thing I’ve heard is other GMs who say they’ve reached out to Vancouver have been told that this is no guarantee. And if Chris Tanev is going anywhere, the price is going to be very high for him. He’s got three more years under contract. He’s a good player at a good price. I don’t think Vancouver is looking to do this unless it’s a great deal.”
There has been trade speculation involving both Tanev and fellow Vancouver blue liner Alex Edler for quite some time now. Edler is now 31 years old and has two years left on his deal, at an annual cap hit of $5 million. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, but he also has a no-trade clause in his current contract.
There is also an argument to be made for the Canucks not trading Tanev. His absence would, in the club’s immediate future, leave quite a hole on the right side of their blue line, and Vancouver is already coming off back-to-back terrible seasons in the standings with few bright spots.
“It’s hard to find good defencemen, especially defencemen who are mobile and move the puck,” Canucks GM Jim Benning recently told Postmedia. “Unless it would make sense for our future, I’m not trading Chris. He means so much to our team.”