Canucks scratch Vanek, Oilers scratch Maroon ahead of NHL trade deadline

Dan Murphy and Iain MacIntyre discuss the Vancouver Canucks signing general manager Jim Benning to an extension.

On the eve of the NHL trade deadline, a couple Canadian teams that figure to be sellers are scratching pending UFAs who are likely to be moved.

When the puck drops on Sunday night’s Vancouver-Arizona game, we’ll be a little more than 15 hours away from the deadline. And because of that, the Canucks will scratch Thomas Vanek.

Vanek, 34, is on an expiring contract and set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. He’s scored 17 goals and 41 points in 61 games this season and is believed to be available on the trade market. Where Rick Nash (dealt to Boston) and Evander Kane were recognized as the top available scoring wingers, Vanek firmly fits in as a secondary option. The Canucks chose to keep him out to avoid injury and not necessarily because a trade is imminent.

Vanek was dealt at last year’s trade deadline, too, moving from Detroit to Florida for Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick. He scored just two goals in 20 games with the Panthers, and then signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Vancouver in the summer.

Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers are in Anaheim to face the Ducks and announced they will scratch Pat Maroon. The 29-year-old winger had already missed the previous two Oiler games with a lower-body injury, but the team noted tonight’s move was a healthy scratch.

Maroon has 14 goals in 57 games this season, one year after posting a career-high 27. He is also set to become a UFA at the end of the season and is expected to go before the deadline.

“I packed heavy,” Maroon said before the weekend as the Oilers headed out on a road trip.

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