Are the Canucks about to become major deadline day players?

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The Vancouver Canucks haven’t totally been floating out there in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, but things might be about to change.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Canucks have put defenseman Keith Ballard on long-term injured reserve. By doing that, Vancouver saves $4.2 million against the salary cap and thus freeing up space to potentially make a big addition at the trade deadline.

The Canucks have already been rumored to be interested in Dallas’ Steve Ott as well as Colorado’s Cody McLeod, but by freeing up this kind of cap space, there are bigger fish to go after. Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown and even Columbus’s Rick Nash are names that are popping up thanks to this new found financial freedom and, why not?

Just picture what Brown or Nash could do riding along with the likes of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler.  Making that kind of addition would make the race in the West a lot more difficult for everyone else not named the Canucks in the playoffs. If Canucks GM Mike Gillis wants to become a big player at the deadline, he’s got the ability to do so in a big way.