Canucks Trade Tiers: Does Benning have any more moves up his sleeve?

Elliotte Friedman joined Sportsnet Central to talk about why the Canucks felt the need to trade for scorer Tyler Toffoli.

With the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline drawing near, Sportsnet is breaking down what each Canadian club has to work with as they head toward Feb. 24. We’ve sorted each roster into Trade Tiers to hash out who’s safe, who’s available and who’s likely on the move.

The Vancouver Canucks may have already made their 2020 trade-deadline play, making one of the first big splashes by acquiring longtime King Tyler Toffoli.

In exchange for the three-time 20-goal scorer (and one-time 30-goal man), the Canucks relinquished Tim Schaller, a second-round pick and prospect Tyler Madden — L.A. will also acquire an additional late pick in 2022 if Toffoli re-signs with the Canucks.

With the club sitting third in the Pacific, just a hair above Calgary and Arizona, and as injuries drop a few key names off the Canucks roster, the Toffoli deal could wind up a crucial factor in whether Vancouver can make the post-season when all’s said and done.

So, where does GM Jim Benning go from here? There’s a good chance Vancouver is done for the deadline after bringing Toffoli aboard. But if the club feels more minor tinkering is needed to mitigate the injury losses, here’s a look at where they stand, in terms of who could potentially move before Feb. 24:

Not Going Anywhere

Elias Pettersson
The young phenom’s ascent continues, with a point-a-game pace leaving him on track for career-highs by the end of 2019-20. At this point the clock’s simply counting down until he takes over the league.

Bo Horvat
The ‘C’ on his sweater says all that’s required about his future in Vancouver. The club’s two marquee centres are set for the foreseeable future, and as a bonus, Horvat’s on pace for a career-high in points, too.

Brock Boeser
The young sniper — who’s in the first season of a three-year deal in Vancouver — likely was an untouchable name to begin with, but a rib-cartilage fracture that’ll keep him out well past the deadline (and potentially for the rest of the season) confirms he’ll be sticking around.

Quinn Hughes
He’s already amassed 45 points from the back end as a rookie — and is on pace for nearly 60 — leaving him in contention for the Calder and potentially even the Norris. He’s as untouchable an asset as they come.

J.T. Miller
The second-highest scorer on the roster in goals and overall points, bested only by Pettersson, Miller’s been one of the best off-season acquisitions league-wide. The 26-year-old’s playing his best hockey yet, and figures to remain in the picture for a fair while.

Micheal Ferland
Injury issues have limited Ferland to just 14 games so far this year, and he’s now out for the remainder of 2019-20 recovering from a concussion. He’d likely stick either way, but certainly does with the injury in tow.

Tyler Toffoli
He’s only just arrived, and should be a key addition to the Canucks’ top six, regardless of where he slots in.

Alex Edler
The 33-year-old rearguard remains a crucial part of the Canucks’ cause, leading all skaters in ice-time and providing a veteran presence for the team’s young blue-liners.

Tyler Myers
Myers is only one year into a five-year pact he signed with the Canucks last year. He also has a no-move clause, giving him full control over his situation.

Jacob Markstrom
The 30-year-old has blossomed into a bona fide No. 1 for Vancouver, and with a .918 save percentage and 11.86 GSAA, he’s giving Vancouver everything they need in that role.

(Likely) Not Going Anywhere

Adam Gaudette
He’s proven a valuable piece of the Canucks’ future, showing flashes of potential through his 110 games in the big leagues, and putting up a career-high 27 points so far this season. He most likely remains in the Canucks’ mix, but if a bigger deal is on the table, perhaps his name is one that winds up included.

Jay Beagle
The veteran is perhaps more expensive than other potential bottom-six options, but has carved out an important role in Vancouver. If they needed to move salary, his $3-million cap hit might be an option, but for the time being he’s a key role player for the club — and has some control over his future with a modified no-trade clause.

Antoine Roussel
Much the same as Beagle, Roussel has some no-trade control over any potential deal and plays an important role among the bottom-sixers — in this case, bringing a bit of sandpaper to the forward corps.

Thatcher Demko
His first extended stay in the big leagues has gone well, and there’s no reason the Canucks need to part with him at the moment. Should a club desperate to shake up their tandem come calling, it could be possible, but what seems more likely is the 24-year-old remaining in the picture for the time being.

Josh Leivo
The former Maple Leaf seemed to hit his stride at the NHL level last season, and has 19 points on the year this time around with UFA status looming. But a fractured kneecap sidelined him in late December, keeping him out for the remainder of the year, and likely negating any potential deadline deal.

Tyler Motte
The same goes for bottom-sixer Tyler Motte, who’s performed well in his role ahead of hitting RFA status this summer. A shoulder injury knocked him out of the lineup in late January, and his four-to-six-week timeline from early February leaves a couple more weeks to go before a potential return, well after the deadline.

Oscar Fantenberg
Ditto for Fantenberg, who’s dealing with a concussion at the moment and remains on the injured reserve. The 28-year-old looked good on the Canucks’ back end before he was felled by injury, and should be a good addition once he returns from the IR.

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Probably Safe, But It’s Possible

Chris Tanev
The 30-year-old is no stranger to the rumour mill, with the league’s obsession with right-handed defenders often pulling Tanev’s name into discussions of potential trade targets. That he’s a pending UFA adds a little more possibility to the situation (though Tanev has some control over his future with a limited no-trade clause), but at this point it seems the Canucks would benefit more from keeping him in this mix as they push for a return to the post-season.

Jake Virtanen
Also a name that’s come up in past rumours, and also a pending free-agent (though of the RFA variety). Virtanen’s been in the mix so long, it’s easy to forget he’s just 23 years old. He’s already put up career numbers in 2019-20, and is all the more important right now given the team’s injuries up front. He more-than-likely stays, unless a larger, can’t-miss deal is put on the table.

Troy Stecher
The team’s recent blue-line additions have meant a reduced role for Stecher, who saw his average ice-time drop from over 19 minutes last season to around 15 this season. He’ll also be an RFA this summer and due for a raise from the $2.35 million he’s making in 2019-20. Allowing the 25-year-old to continue growing with the organization seems the better bet, but he’d certainly draw some intriguing offers if the team does opt to go in that direction.

Brandon Sutter
Injuries have thrown a wrench into Sutter’s time in Canucks colours, particularly over the past couple years. He’s still been a useful piece when in the lineup, but does count a decent amount against the cap relative to his role. That said, a limited no-trade clause gives him some degree of control over his destiny as well.

Loui Eriksson
There’s no question it would benefit the club to get out from under the Eriksson contract, as has been the case for some time. If it’s possible, it’ll happen, but with the 34-year-old only putting up 10 points on the year so far, that still doesn’t seem likely.

Find the rest of our NHL Trade Tiers lists here: CGY | TOR | EDM | OTT | WPG | MTL

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Could Be On The Move

Jordie Benn
The veteran endured a lengthy stint in healthy-scratch territory this season before getting back into the lineup more recently. He can still be of use for the Canucks on the blue line, but given the time in the press box, the possibility for a fresh start for both sides could also be on the table.

More Likely To Move

With the Canucks already having swung what’s likely their primary deadline deal, moving out multiple pieces to bring Toffoli into the fold, there are no clear pieces sure to still move or deals they’ll need to make.

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