Let that sink in for a second. Think rationally about it and then think about what he would bring to the Canucks. Although Canucks fans have come to dislike the water buffalo, we’ve done the same to the likes of Raffi Torres, Shane O’Brien and um a way back throwback Esa Tikkanen. Other teams have welcomed players they have despised many a time as the Ducks recently have done with Kesler and Bieksa. So is it really that crazy to consider Buff as a Canuck? I do not think so sir.
This whole idea kind of spawned from a recent Pucks on Net podcast where they discussed the Jets building around/trading Byfuglien and it got me thinking that Buff is a pretty big dude, he’s generally well liked and he is good at hockey at an NHL level. I do remember that we weren’t a fan of his ways back in his Chi-town days but that was so long ago. Do we still hate Brad Marchand. OK bad question.
Seriously though, apparently Buff is on the trade block or so they say and a play for Travis Hamonic of the Islanders is out there. Not sure that deal gets made and to be frank, or Ryan (because that’s me) there’s a good chance the Canucks and/or the Jets do not make a trade involving Dustin Byfuglien.
Why friends would I bring up Byfuglien as a trade prospect of your Vancouver Canucks? For starters, as I already stated….he’s big. He’s 6’5″ and 260 lbs according to NHL.com and we probably have no single line that equals that. The Canucks don’t have really any physical presence and even though Brandon Prust and Derek Dorsett are employed by the team, they so aren’t doing what they’ve been asked to do.
The Canucks aren’t scary and no one is worried about going into puck battles with them. No one seems to be worried about getting hit by them and if teams are THAT confident they won’t be hurt, that’s when liberties begin to be taken and at some point the Canucks are just bystanders. Dustin Byfuglien brings a bit of a mean streak to him, which is sadly missed now that Bieksa is gone and his penalties can be obvious at times but would you not rather have a guy that’s capable of enforcing himself on opponents?
I know I would.
His offensive upside is there as well. Sure, Buff’s 30 now and his primo years might be behind him but in the mean time, he can still produce on a level that a good portion of the Canucks cannot. Byfuglien has 2G and 3A in his last 5GP, good ol’ NHL last 5 games stat; and he’s already put up 15 points and 2 game winners. Have we even WON 2 games?
Quick stat: there are only 2 Canucks (guess who?) that have more points than Buff. He….could….help.
He’s a fan fav in the ‘Peg, sells jerseys and he’s a Cup winner. The Canucks had no answer for him and that was no secret but what if he played here, would he bring anything new? Could he even whole heartedly produce for this team? Something that would need to be asked.
Byfuglien DOES have a LNTC (limited no trade clause) and I think we’d be kidding ourselves to think Vancouver isn’t on his 5 team list of where he wouldn’t play. The Canucks did that to themselves though. But this is hypothetical and you’re still reading so keep up!
Who do the Canucks give up then? In that same boat, Vancouver has guys that are still valuable and are also not young; Alex Edler, Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata are all guys that would be a decent trade offering going to Winnipeg and that would free up a spot up front for one of the super rookies like Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce or Alex Grenier. Not to mention keeping a current rookie in the everyday lineup like Jake Virtanen.
I did forget we still have Sven Baertschi and if Canucks management can get over the fact they botched a few trades for 2nd rounders and just eat their mistakes, we can all move on from the second best Sven to ever play on the Canucks. If they wanted some grit, Ronalds Kenins are both available and they aren’t the Leafs so it would be safe to assume they wouldn’t bring him on to just have him sit up in the press box.
Maybe our time to move some long time pieces is once again at a head; Alex Edler is not the 2009-2011 Edler he once was. Alex Burrows is still valuable and can be a healthy addition to many teams. He scores, he’s a valuable PK piece and he grinds out hard minutes. Radim Vrbata will not equate to anything in the playoffs and it took one round to find that out….against Calgary.
This isn’t a what can we get for these guys article but if you were to put something together to get Byfuglien, these are decent players. I don’t know if the Jets would require a hot, young player like Shinkaruk or Virtanen and if so, forget the trade altogether. What I’m suggesting is that Byfuglien can bring something to the Canucks we clearly don’t have.
Getting back to the bully factor and not being a bully, the Canucks just don’t hold their own in games anymore and they need a physical, dominant presence that won’t take crap from opposing teams. How Benning hasn’t figured out yet that his current roster is not the answer is beyond me. There are players out there that will grind, like Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre once did (remember 2011?) and now they just eat up minutes, the final buzzer goes and usually we lose by a goal.
At the very least, the Canucks should consider trading for Dustin Byfuglien. He actually could help the Canucks and he isn’t Marchand. Take out the personal feelings you have towards him and realistically see what he could bring.
So in short: Byfuglien to Canucks, 30 years old, big dude, won a Cup, intimidating, weighs many pounds, everyday we’re byfuglien.
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