No More Trading for Scraps

Olli Jokinen

Martin Rucinsky, Geoff Sanderson, Brian Smolinksi, Marc Bergevin, and the list goes on.

Do these names sound familiar?

Those are some of the players Vancouver has acquired during the past few years on deadline day in order to see them flop come playoff time. It’s getting tiresome and repetitive. 

Dave Nonis and the Canucks need a different approach this year.

Trading for underachievers is not going to bump this team further into the playoffs, because what they really need – and this is no secret – is a top six forward. Names like Peter Forsberg, Marian Hossa, and Mats Sundin have been thrown around the rumour mill nonstop, but my preference for Vancouver’s case would probably be Florida Panthers’ Olli Jokinen.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have Forsberg on this team, as well as Hossa or Sundin, but Jokinen would fit perfectly fine as a Canuck.

If I’m not mistaken, Jokinen currently holds the streak of longest non-appearance in a playoff contest, and with a team like the Panthers, it’s no surprise. He’s basically in the same boat as Luongo was a couple years ago. This mohawk-dawning Finn would be a great motivated centre to play alongside Markus Naslund, potentially forming a very dangerous second line. This would give Vancouver the much needed one-two punch. Jokinen is big, he’s talented, and he’s underrated.

There has been so much talk of getting a player to jump-start Naslund, and there is no one on the current squad who has the ability to do so. Naslund needs a linemate to make room for him, a big body like Bertuzzi if you will, and that’s what Nonis needs to focus on.

The problem though is that there is a very small opportunity to make a big splash in the trading market.

Everyone, except probably L.A., is buying because every team still has a legitimate chance at making the playoffs. The assets Vancouver might be willing to let go would be guys like Matt Cooke and the pluggers. Everyone would love to see us get a superstar in return for Isbister, Cowan and futures, but that is not realistic.

Prospects like Luc Bourdon is a very tempting bait to dangle in front of the other general managers but he’s not enough. With our poor drafting – an example would be Vancouver taking Patrick White over David Perron this past year – Nonis would probably not hesitate to swing a deal involving our first rounder. Especially if the returning package was not a rental player, but a superstar willing to stick with the team for a few years.

Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund also has their names mentioned because of the soon returning Kevin Bieksa; as well, many teams are looking for blue-liners of their calibre.

Of course, there is always still the free agent route with Forsberg, and most recently Fabian Brunnstrom. Who? Fan in Van has more on the Swedish prospect. However, Brunnstrom probably won’t be signed until after the season.

Kesler Burrows

Ryan Kesler’s name has also been thrown around the table. It would be absolutely ridiculous to trade away a future star like Kesler, since Stanley Cup winning teams always need an excellent checker to man their shutdown line. A few examples would be Anaheim’s Samuel Pahlsson and Detroit’s Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. Kesler and Alex Burrows is exactly that type of player, and with a possible addition on the line – like Morrison – who might be able to pot in a few more goals, then they will be crucial for future success.

Vancouver does not have many options to go the other way, especially if they don’t want to give up their future. Who would you want to see get traded? 

It’s less then a month until the deadline, and Nonis will have a busy time ahead of him. He knows what he needs to get done, and in order for Vancouver to win, a top six forward must come to this team.

Please no more failures and flops. We have one more hole to fill, and the greatest opportunity to win it all is now.

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