Well, it’s now just over a month until the Feb. 29 trade deadline and Hamhuis remains a pending unrestricted free agent. And with the 33-year-old defenseman targeting the first game after the All-Star break to make his return from multiple facial fractures, it’s possible the next month could be a showcase of sorts.
Hamhuis wants to remain a Canuck, but he understands the situation.
“I really believe in the team and I like the direction and the young guys and it’s something that I’d like to be part of for sure,” he told The Province. “We’ll see how things go because you never know. There are so many variables and maybe they want me and maybe they don’t and there are cap issues with the Canadian dollar. I’m not sure how it will play out.”
Hamhuis does have a no-trade clause that he could wield; however, if the Canucks don’t intend to re-sign him, he may be able to increase his free-agent value by agreeing to go to a contender for a playoff run. At the very least, he’d get a chance to play for a Stanley Cup, something he’s unlikely to get this year in Vancouver.
Canucks GM Jim Benning was asked recently if he’d consider trading Hamhuis or winger Radim Vrbata, also a pending UFA.
“If something makes sense, we’ll look at it,” said Benning. “But those guys are a big part of our team.”
And remember that making the playoffs remains the goal for the Canucks. Right now, they’re still in the race.