Canucks trade deadline recap: Gaudette, Benn shipped out, add Bowey

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Today is the day: it’s the NHL trade deadline.

We’re not expecting the Canucks to be very active — GM Jim Benning said as much Friday morning during a media session and when he opines what he thinks what will happen, that’s usually what happens — but we’ll keep you up to date on all the latest news, whether it affects the Canucks directly or not…

The Canucks didn’t practice Sunday. They were originally going to open their facilities to healthy players Sunday but when a Jay Beagle test came back positive, they decided to keep the arena closed for at least another day. Meanwhile, Adam Gaudette came off the COVID-19 list so he could be at the rink Monday along with the likes of Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey and Jordie Benn, as well as the players on the injured list who have continued to test negative, like Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson.

1:30 p.m.

Jim Benning said that in the end, Adam Gaudette didn’t take the step forward they’d hoped he would this season.

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Said they like Matt Highmore’s two-way game a lot more, even if Gaudette has more offensive talents.

He also let it drop that Elias Pettersson, who has been out since March 4 with a suspected hand or wrist injury, is meeting with a specialist on Wednesday and might even be cleared to play when the Canucks return to the ice on Friday against Edmonton.

He’s been skating and working out, he said.

1:05 p.m.

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We got to talk with Tanner Pearson today, who said he’s happy to have a new contract.

Said he’s heard from a number of his teammates who have been dealing with COVID-19, some of who are still dealing with symptoms.

Added the schedule is going to be very tough, once they get back on the ice.

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He was, of course, dealing with some sort of leg injury so he’s only just started skating.

12:25 p.m.

The Canucks made a second move on deadline day, sending Jordie Benn to the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth-round pick.

Benn was better this season than last and is fine as a depth player, who can play both sides. He’ll get to playoff games for the Jets, anyway.

Moving Benn will open up playing time to close the season for Olli Juolevi, though the Canucks also picked up Madison Bowey from the Chicago Blackhawks, who plays the right side.

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The Canucks did have some interest in Bowey in the off-season, but with the limited budget he took the first job he could find in Chicago. He didn’t play much there, though.

He’s on a very cheap deal, anyway.

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12:10 p.m.

How the world turns: Erik Gudbranson has been traded *again*. He’s on his fifth team in three seasons now, having been first flipped for Tanner Pearson at the 2019 deadline.

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Five years ago the haul for him was McCann and a 2nd and a 4th. Look how that’s played out. Amazing how much more ridiculous the hockey-man criticism of the trade looks today: Gudbranson’s new price is a 2023 7th round pick

And his once-upon-a-time defence partner Ben Hutton is landing in Toronto, where he might fit well as a depth defenceman on a low-intensity third pairing.

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Noon

And we’ve hit the deadline. Still no word on if the Canucks were able to do anything beyond moving Adam Gaudette to Chicago for fourth liner Matt Highmore.

In general a number of trades get announced after the deadline hits as the NHL approves last-minute deals.

11:50 a.m.

So it was broken telephone earlier about Gudbranson possibly moving to Montreal: a different Erik G. is on the move.

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Once again, will Jordie Benn land anywhere?

11:45 a.m.

We’re almost at the wire. Will something else happen in Canuck land?

Looks like the Flames are finally moving Sam Bennett, who asked for a trade nearly two months ago.

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The return is a prospect picked up in the second round last year, and a second rounder in this year’s draft.

11 a.m.

Some thought that Jordie Benn could still be on the move. We’ll see.

iMac thinks Jake Virtanen, who nearly moved to Anaheim earlier this season, is not likely to be traded.

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And here’s your LOL what for the day:

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10:05 a.m.

Newest Canuck Matthew Highmore was just on TSN, where he spoke with James Duthie about how he found out.

“It’s a whirlwind … found out during morning skate,” he said. “Super excited to be part of the Canucks’ organization.”

“I hadn’t heard it but there’s always a chance,” he said of whether he’d heard his name as a trade possibility. “It could be anybody, just stay on your toes.”

He’s from Halifax and will be playing for a Canadian team for the first time in his career having signed with the Blackhaws in March 2017.

“I think, growing up in Canada you kinda idolize all the Canadian teams. It’s certainly a great market. I’m looking forward to it.”

9:45 a.m.

Coming back from the Blackhawks is Matt Highmore, who has no goals in 24 games this season.

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One league scout tells me: “Highmore exists. Think Canucks would’ve done better to get a 7th rounder here.”

9:25 a.m.

Canucks move Adam Gaudette, the first player infected with COVID-19 on the team, to Chicago Blackhawks.

9 a.m.

Victor Mete is now a Senator, having been claimed on waivers.

Canucks don’t seemed to have picked anyone up but sounds like they’re in on something.

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8:45 a.m.

Still waiting on movement today: the last trade was Sunday’s Penguins/Kings trade, which saw Jeff Carter moving to Pittsburgh for a couple of draft picks.

Several players were placed on waivers Sunday, so now we wait to see if anyone was claimed.

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Mete perhaps the most interesting for his still-extant potential.

Vatanen’s game has fallen off a cliff so would be surprising to see him move. Vancouver fans know about the Bulldog’s heart, of course, so maybe he’d intrigue a better team than Detroit as a No. 7/8 defenceman, but he’s been on waivers before so that seems unlikely.

8:20 a.m.

To recap Jim Benning’s previous deadline days, he’s generally done *something* but Gudbranson for Pearson stands out as the most significant deadline move he’s made during his tenure.

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8 a.m.

The Jets have made a roster move which opens up space for them to add someone. Could see them chasing a defenceman.

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7:45 a.m.

Good morning. Having my coffee now.

Taylor Hall says he was almost a Bruin last summer.

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He also said he’s driving to Boston from Buffalo so he should be available to play Tuesday. New teammate Mike Reilly is making the 7.5 hour drive from Ottawa to Boston as well and it sounds like the league has exempted him from the one-week league quarantine, which is supposed to apply to anyone who has to drive for more than five hours. (It’s just under seven hours from Buffalo to Boston, according to Google by the way.)

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6 a.m.

A slew of business took place Sunday, led by the Toronto Maple Leafs continuing to load up, while also maintaining long-term roster flexibility.

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Two days after they added Riley Nash in a trade from Columbus, they added a former teammate of Nash’s in Nick Foligno, Columbus’ captain and son of former Leaf Mike.

The pair will make for solid additions to the Leafs’ fourth line. Foligno’s cap hit, by the way, was laundered through San Jose first, with Columbus retaining half of Foligno’s salary cap hit for this season — he’s a UFA this summer and likely to re-sign with Columbus in the summer — and the Sharks pick up another 25 per cent of his cap hit, meaning the Leafs are adding Foligno for just a quarter of his normal cap hit.

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The Leafs also added veteran goalie David Rittich who spent the season in Calgary as Jacob Markstrom’s backup. The Leafs’ nominal No.1, Freddie Andersen, remains injured and hasn’t been on the ice in an age. Reportedly neither the Leafs nor Andersen’s camp will say his season is done but this could be a move about adding another NHL goaltender to stable in case he doesn’t. Jack Campbell has been a star in Andersen’s stead, so they aren’t exactly in crisis mode.

The Leafs have three NHL-calibre goalies now, with Michael Hutchinson the other option behind Campbell. The Flames retained half of Rittich’s salary so if Andersen remains on LTIR for the rest of the season, the Leafs still have about $5 million in cap space to work with, such is the way they’ve managed to make all these moves and still shuffle players around to maximize their cap advantage.

Adding Rittich while also having an affordable option in Hutchinson is a reminder that there are plenty of creative ways to add a goalie with experience as your backup and not break the bank.

In all this the Leafs have offloaded a slew of draft picks and now have just three this year — 2nd, 5th, 6th round — and four next year: 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th.

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Taylor Hall is on the move again. It’s notable that the former great hope in Oiler land is now on his fourth team in two seasons. That’s about the oddity of the last two seasons as well as the strange spot his career has landed in: his talents remain thrilling when they’re at their best but he’s also never been a big goal scorer and creative wingers end up being viewed lest fondly than creative centres, for whatever that’s worth.

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Still, he’s a sharp pickup for the Bruins, who are one of the teams who remain locked and loaded to chase the Stanley Cup. Funny how good drafting a shrewd roster management can keep you competing year after year, even when you have a high-profile owner. Speaks to Jeremy Jacobs’ willingness — and that of his son Charlie, who took over control of the team two years ago — to just let his staff do their work, even as he’s been one of the league’s most powerful behind the scenes figures for years.

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The Senators flipped a pair of depth defencemen and picked up picks for them. Braydon Coburn is now an Islander while Mike Reilly is a Boston Bruin.

If Jordie Benn does move today, they’re comparables for him. So is Jon Merrill, how the Habs picked up Sunday but who might have have been of interest to Montreal.

Keep checking back over the day…

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