The league leading Vancouver Canucks all in on Jake Guentzel?

I never thought I would be typing the sentence, league leading Vancouver Canucks, not with the last few seasons. But here I am. Talking about the best team in the NHL.

Sportsbet’s Elliotte Friedman has discussed a few times now the possibility of the Canucks looking to trade for Jake Guentzel. It makes sense. Guentzel has history with Jim Rutherford (Canucks President) and Patrick Allvin (Canucks GM). Rick Tocchett was an assistant coach in Pittsburgh as well.

Guentzel is a pending UFA this July 1. He will get a raise, but depending on the trade, the Canucks could potentially free up some space. There will be other players on the team looking for a raise as well. Elias Pettersson and Filip Hronek will also be due significant raises.

The Canucks have approximately $30,853,333 in cap space for next year. They also have 3 RFA’s; Elias Pettersson, Linus Karlsson and Filip Hronek. They will want to keep EP40 and Hronek for sure. There are also 8 UFA’s; Teddy Blueger, Sam Lafferty, Dakota Joshua, Tyler Myers, Nikita Zadorov, Ian Cole, Mark Friedman and Casey DeSmith.

DeSmith makes $1.9 million currently and might get a raise. If he is content with being in the backup roll behind Demko than he will most likely be the best option for next year. Tyler Myers is most likely going to leave unless he takes a deal that pays him less than his current $6 million. Out of 8 defenseman signed to the team this year, only 3 are signed for next season. Hronek is an RFA so they should be able to get him re-signed for a raise. Zadorov made it clear when he arrived he wanted to come to Vancouver and stay, and I believe the Canucks are looking to make that happen. Ian Cole is someone I see the Canucks also trying to resign.

As for the forwards we have 13 signed this year and 8 next year. Pettersson most likely will get done, as part of a multi year extension. Teddy Blueger and Dakota Joshua make up 2 thirds of one of the best third lines in the NHL. So I will assume both will be extended. That basically leave Sam Lafferty and Linus Karlsson, and both will most likely walk. Even though Karlsson is an RFA, he most likely will be qualified with the Canucks but possibly given the opportunity to play elsewhere. If rumours are true Jake Guentzel would fetch probably Andrei Kuzmenko in a deal, which frees up $5.5 million next season. Currently Guentzel makes $6 million and will most likely getting a raise. But freeing up the $5.5 Kuzmenko money and possibly another player in that deal, a raise should be easy to come by.

There had been a rumour at one point of Kuzmenko, Noah Juulsen and a draft pick for Guentzel. If thats the case, it would free up an additional $775,000. Meaning if they want to resign Guentzel that would be $6.25 million available for him.

Another rumour that had floated was Elias Lindholm from Calgary as another potential piece. Currently Lindholm is another pending UFA at the end up the year and he makes only $4.85 million now. His asking price from Calgary would most likely be similar to Guentzel, especially because Calgary is a divisional rival.

Either way, I am sure the Canucks are going to make some moves. This is the best Canucks team I have seen in a very long time. Pretty much every single piece on this team is contributing one way or the other. But with Carson Soucy going to miss some more time due to injury, the Canucks may also look for a defenseman. If they choose to upgrade the forwards I expect a move to happen sooner than the trade deadline. Either way, I am excited to see playoff hockey in Vancouver and most likely home ice advantage to start at the very least.

You can read more from Sportsnet.ca and Elliotte Friedman here

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