There is going to be much speculation leading up to the trade deadline about whether or not the Canucks are going to go out and acquire a player or two for the stretch drive and the playoffs.
And if you are waiting for general manager Mike Gillis to make a big splash, let me say one thing — don’t hold your breath.
The fact of the matter is the Canucks don’t need to do anything. As I write this, Vancouver is at the top of the NHL standings and is a lock to finish no worse than second in the Western Conference. For that reason alone, Gillis will think long and hard about bringing someone new in.
The Canucks have won all season long with the players they have and Gillis may not want to upset the apple cart. Chemistry is a huge thing when it comes to a winning club, so why risk a new personality in the room?
That said, it’s no secret that Alain Vigneault has tinkered with his fourth line all season long. He has yet to find a combination that he likes or, even trusts for that matter.
The only constant on that line has been Tanner Glass. And while A.V. doesn’t mind using Glass at centre on that unit, he would rather use a natural centreman in that spot.
The latest back through the revolving door that has been the fourth line is Cody Hodgson. Gillis and Vigneault were impressed with the rookie when he was first called up and it’s likely he wouldn’t have been sent back down to Manitoba if the Canucks hadn’t been crushed by injuries and up against the cap. If Hodgson performs well in the next three games, Gillis may be able to turn his phone off next Tuesday.
A huge bonus for the Canucks the past couple of weeks is that the third line seems to have found its mojo. Now I know that Gillis was willing to sacrifice a little offence when he brought in Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres but I’m not sure he expected the duo to go oh-for-January.
That slump seems to be behind them, so if Malhotra keeps winning draws, Torres keeps playing physical and Hansen continues to do what he’s done all season long — the third line will be just fine.
Defensively the Canucks are looking sharp as well. Hamhuis and Ballard will be back this week, Bieksa is expected back next month and Edler’s recovery should have him in the line-up right around playoff time so there is no need for help there.
In a perfect world — or one where cap space doesn’t matter — I’m sure Gillis would think about a little insurance for the second line if Mason Raymond can’t find his groove. And there’s no doubt a big, physical winger who could play some minutes in the bottom six would be welcome.
But as the old saying goes, I think Gillis would agree – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.