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Canucks Daily: NHL Trading Begins Ahead of Draft, Canucks See Other GM’s in a Bind

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Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks centre JT Miller and teammates celebrate a goal.

Vancouver Canucks fans can sense the anticipation. Something’s gonna happen between now and the draft on Thursday, July 7th. Especially now that the pre-NHL Draft movement has kicked off.

Swiss left winger Kevin Fiala was the first to go, from the Minnesota Wild to the Los Angeles Kings where the 25-year-old winger immediately signed a seven-year contract for $7.875-million per season. Talk about cashing in.

It’s not only unrestricted free agents (UFA) who have career best years just before finding a new contract. Fiala was slated to be a restricted free agent (RFA) before the trade and this new deal with the Kings. He finished 2021-’22 with 33 goals, 52 assists, and 85 points in 82 games for the Wild, easily career bests in all three categories.

Under a salary cap crunch, Minnesota GM Bill Guerin was forced to make the deal. The Wild received the Kings’ 1st-round pick, 19th-overall next week, and defenceman prospect Brock Faber.

Costly Glory Days

It’s a phrase we used to utter in certain situations among friends about thirty years ago when things weren’t going very well or someone experienced some bad luck.

“What a screw.”

That would describe the Chicago Blackhawks situation. This is what new general manager Kyle Davidson said at the press conference introducing new head coach Luke Richardson on Wednesday.

“There are some players that are untouchable based on their contractual status,” Davidson said “That’s something those players have earned. We will hold true to that.”

He’s referring to veteran captain Jonathan Toews and long-time superstar teammate Patrick Kane, both three-time Stanley Cup winners, both holders of no-move clauses, and both with a year remaining on their deals at $10.5-million. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, he’s also referring to another player with a no-move clause, 27-year-old defenceman Seth Jones who’s entering the 2nd year of an eight-year contract that pays him $9.5-million per season. Ouch. Or is it, oops.

As NHL.com reported, it means likely having to part with 24-year-old sniper and burgeoning star Alex DeBrincat who’s coming off a 78-point season. Davidson referred to the potential move as helping with the ‘rebuild’.

“We are in position where we are listening, I think it would be unwise to do anything but,” Davidson said.

If Debrincat at his age and skill level isn’t a part of a rebuild, who the hell is?

Talk about cap crunches.

Canucks Speculation

Other than signing depth players and European free agents, the Vancouver Canucks have been quiet over the last two weeks. That could change.

Most speculation moving ahead revolves around the future for Canucks leading scorer JT Miller, who’s entering the final year of his contract, and the club’s potential interest in moving him for a mix of current talent and ‘futures’. There’s also talk of the Vancouver Canucks interest in the 2nd overall NHL Draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, which is available in a trade.

The Canucks currently hold the 15th-overall selection in next Thursday’s first round in Montreal.

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