Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and his staff are working the phones to determine how much each of their players – with few exceptions – are worth in advance of the NHL trade deadline on March 21.
“A lot of Canucks fans watching this game are wondering what their team is up to,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said during the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “I think it’s as simple as this: Jim Rutherford and his new group … they’ve been going out and they’ve been getting the information on what the value of their players are on the open market.
“There are very few Canucks that haven’t been talked about, we all know who they are, the likes of Demko, Hughes and Pettersson, but they’re out there looking at the rest of their team and saying, ‘What information can we glean and what is the market for them?’
“But what the Canucks have also been doing is for some of those players who may need new contracts soon, they’ve been asking about the possibilities of (those UFAs) staying: ‘What is your next contract potentially going to look like?
“So, I think Jim Rutherford is taking all that information, the players’ value on the market, their value in terms of staying and their next contracts, and he’s going to make their decisions from there. And I think the thing that could tip all of this is if the Canucks can get a young defenceman out of this. And I think that could determine the route that they go.”
The Canucks were thought to be a seller before the trade deadline until Bruce Boudreau took over as coach. Since Dec. 5, when Boudreau replaced fired coach Travis Green, the Canucks have gone 19-9-4 and are now within shouting distance of the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference.