This is a trade rumour with some legs.
It’s been well documented that the Canucks could use some depth down the right wing with the loss of Carter & Bertuzzi.
However, the team is waiting to see if any of their young guys can step in and fill this void. That’s been a problem to date though. The problem started when Jason King & Josef Balej signed to play in Europe this season. Both had the potential to not only make the team, but also get onto one of the scoring lines.
Jesse Shultz broke through as a potent scorer in the AHL last year after not being drafted by an NHL team. Yet, he’s played himself out of a roster spot since coming to camp.
Pyatt, Reid, & Kesler are all options. Pyatt is likely the only one that is primed for any kind of breakout. Kesler is getting better, but he’s not ready for second line duty and moving him to the wing may do more harm than good at this point in his development.
So, there are options, but there’s another one that got me thinking today
The Deal: Trading Matt Cooke for Scott Hartnell from Nashville. You can expect Nashville to get a lot of interest from other teams on Hartnell, but the Cooke option makes a lot of sense for them and the Canucks.
After losing Scott Walker this summer to free agency, Nashville needs a bit of grit if they are going to make a push deep into the playoffs. They consider themselves a Stanley Cup contender’s and need to make moves that show this.
Matt Cooke fits that bill perfectly and Scott Hartnell gives the Canucks a proven number two right winger.
Salary Cap: A trade is only realistic these days if you’ve made consideration of the salary cap of the teams involved. Cooke earns 1.5 million this season and next. Hartnell earns 1.75 and will be a UFA at the end of the season. As much as I don’t like the idea of trading Cooke for a player that will become a free agent at the end of the year, if they can get him early in the year, it will make for a decent deal. I’d expect to get a bit more than Hartnell back due to the difference in salary and his UFA status, but this may take the form of a pick.
You should see a trade like this take place if the Canucks struggle to find chemistry in their scoring lines over the next few preseason games. They’ll be left with no other choice.
The Chief Canuck