Dan Hamhuis was willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Dallas or Chicago.
But when today’s deadline expired, he’d been traded nowhere. The 33-year-old defenseman — a player who was good enough to win Olympic gold for Canada just two years ago — was still a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
Radim Vrbata. Not traded.
Matt Bartkowski. Not traded.
None of them found takers.
At the very least, GM Jim Benning thought he’d get something for Hamhuis and Vrbata.
“They’re both good players,” said Benning. “They both could help winning teams make a difference in the playoffs.”
Benning was asked how he felt about not getting anything for either.
“I think maybe frustration,” he said. “We tried hard to give our players an opportunity to go to a winning team and have playoff success and be a part of a Stanley Cup team. Then the other part is, from an organizational standpoint, it would’ve been nice to recover some picks for them.”
Benning explained that, initially, the Stars chose Kris Russell from Calgary over Hamhuis. However, he also said that the Stars came in with a last-minute offer to get Hamhuis as well.
“They had made a deal for a defenseman,” he said. “They phoned and they gave an offer that probably from their perspective they thought was fair, but we just didn’t see the value in accepting that offer.”
Not surprisingly, Benning said that the Canucks “haven’t ruled out re-signing” Hamhuis.
A pending unrestricted free agent, Hamhuis confirmed that he was willing to be traded to the Stars or Blackhawks, but would have refused a trade to a team in the Eastern Conference.
He also reiterated that he wants to remain in Vancouver past this season.
“From now to July 1, we’d certainly entertain the idea of being back as a Canuck,” Hamhuis said, using “we” to mean his family.
“We love playing for this organization. We love playing in this city. We’d have no reason to want that change.”
For the Canucks, that may turn out to be the best remaining option from a public-relations standpoint. The worst-case scenario was always that Hamhuis would walk away for nothing in the offseason.
It may also be the best option from a roster standpoint. Because as it stands right now, the Canucks’ blue line is a glaring weakness, with no easy solutions to fix it.
Bottom line: today was not a good day for the Vancouver Canucks.
“If we could have got draft picks…” Benning lamented. “I come from a draft background. I value picks, and that’s how we’re going to rebuild this thing, through getting draft picks and drafting well and developing our players. So if we could’ve recouped draft picks, we would’ve done that and we would’ve been on our way.”
But in the end, they didn’t.
They didn’t get one, single thing.