Noah Hanifin Could Be Jim Benning’s Sami Salo Trade

By now, you’ve heard every possible Noah Hanifin to the Canucks trade angle. Why it would work, why it wouldn’t and so on. It’s no secret that Hanifin is on the up and up and with his stats progressing handsomely year over year. He was named an NHL All-Star for the first time this past season and it’s possible that this is just the tip of the iceberg for his production.

Ever since the Elliotte Friedman 31 Thoughts snippet, things have been a little bit nutty. All it took was this, and Vancouver was buzzing:




A lot has been said since that article but the potential for a 2018 version of a Sami Salo to Vancouver trade is enticing. When the Canucks traded Peter Schaefer back in September 2002 for Sami Salo, the Finnish defender hadn’t hit his stride quite yet and he would eventually become one of the Canucks’ anchors on the backend. Of course, he wasn’t healthy a whole lot but when he was on his game, Vancouver had a legitimate threat that could tickle the twine from the parking lot with his rocket of a shot.

With Hanifin, Vancouver would be getting a guy who doesn’t need to be acclimated to the league, he knows the pace, the pressure and the mindset needed to succeed. Sure, Carolina isn’t exactly the place to hone your skills but Noah seems to have figured things out for the most part. The Hurricanes are in a position to rebuild, like the Canucks, and moving a skilled up and coming defender could potentially bring back the asset(s) needed to further the process.

When Cory Schneider was traded to New Jersey in 2013 for the 9th overall pick, many people quickly shouted: “that’s it?!” Was Schneider really only worth a first round pick? Turns out it worked for both teams as Bo Horvat was the player taken with that pick and it’s possible he becomes the Canucks future (like maybe by October) Captain, while Schneider has become the Devil’s man between the pipes.

It hasn’t been as rosy as Horvat’s tenure in Vancouver thus far but both teams got what they needed.

The rumored trade so far is Hanifin for the Canucks’ 7th overall pick. It’s been said the Hurricanes are asking more than that but looking back at the Schneider trade, both teams could benefit from this right away without potentially ruining the relationship between both GM’s (says me).

The parallels between the Salo trade and the potential Hanifin one aren’t extensive but they do have some similarities and quite frankly, for most of us, that’s good enough. Salo was gaining steam in his rookie campaign with Ottawa and was scoring as a second-pairing defender. Hanifin was also a second-pairing guy this season but was Carolina’s top scoring defenseman.

The Canucks were in need of a reliable defenseman back then and were able to part with a mid-range forward in Schaefer who put up 36 points in the season prior to the trade which basically is the equivalent to what Sam Gagner or Brandon Sutter did this past season. Wait, what?

STOP THE PRESSES! Get Jimbo on the phone ASAP!!

Salo hadn’t eclipsed 20 points in a season when he arrived in Vancouver but when he found his groove he was getting most of his offense on the power play. He went from almost one-third of his points coming on the power play in his first season with the Canucks to just over half the season after that and then to just under two-thirds of his points coming on the man-advantage in his third season with Vancouver.

Hanifin’s contributions on the power play aren’t quite at that caliber yet but were somewhat similar to Salo’s production when he was still in Ottawa. Of course, the power play in Vancouver saw gigantic improvements the moment Brock Boeser was stapled in “the spot”. Adding another weapon to that unit would easily increase the Canucks offense in that area.

Noah’s skating is his biggest asset right now and it has been said he’s still improving all the other areas of his game.

Parting with a high pick most years isn’t always a great idea but if there is a chance to acquire not only an NHL-ready defenseman but a player that doesn’t need training wheels like some of the players that have arrived recently to the Canucks, I say you do it. The Canucks most-likely will draft a defenseman with their first pick so why not take a similar player who is already producing and skip the first part of the development stage.

I’ve argued why this idea makes more sense than drafting a player they may not see for years, or ever potentially. I’m all for developing talent but for conversation’s sake if you could take a producing Noah Hanifin right now or the possibility of, say, Olli Juolevi working out, what would you choose?

Potential is great and all but IMO a guy like Juolevi is still a lottery ticket until proven otherwise where Hanifin has already proven he can contribute as very good everyday NHL defenseman.

Brian Burke made a shrewd move in Salo and now Jim Benning has an opportunity (or so we are led to believe) to get his version of the up and coming defender. The hype train has left the station and only time will tell if stops at “Expo Line to… Stadium/Chinatown”

*Disclaimer: I do not think they are the same player but players with a similar career trajectory thus far. Also, Hanifin is not Finnish.



Cover photo –

Are The Canucks Nosey For Brad Marchand?

I honestly don’t know how rumours take the shape they do and what takes it to the next level, but hearing through the grapevine that the Canucks are potentially interested in Bruins forward Brad Marchand is one that would get traction from any media member. The Bruins and the Canucks both have a need and may be in the market to deal. Sometimes being a little nosey is a good thing.

On the surface, Brad Marchand isn’t exactly the ideal candidate to be traded to the Canucks. Unless you were cryogenically frozen in 2011, you know that the Canucks and Marchand aren’t cozy buddies. What most people will remember is the 5 punch beatdown on Daniel Sedin during the Stanley Cup Final. That didn’t go over well and gave the Bruins some extra life when they eventually stole the Cup from the Canucks.

Or maybe it was the taunting a few seasons later when he reminded not only the Canucks but their fans what he accomplished after leaving Vancouver in June 2011.

Courtesy of

Mr. Marchand is NOT a household favourite in British Columbia with his dirty tactics and just his overall antics, I mean, he pissed pretty much every Canucks fan off and rubbed it in after he won the Cup. But….what if he was a Canuck? When Raffi Torres became a member of the blue and green, he went from hated to beloved. When Raffi was let go, the fans still wanted him back. You need guys like that on your roster.

Here is the article by Elliotte Friedman of Rogers Sportsnet that sparked the conversation.

It’s typical of Vancouver media and local sports fans alike to jump to the ultimate conclusion when a tidbit of info becomes unearthed. There is ZERO mention of Marchand at all here. On Friday evening this is the poll question on TSN 1040 in Vancouver:

See. No one has even said Marchand is available. Welcome to Vancouver.

A quick look at Marchand’s stats shows he’s someone the Canucks would want. What’s better than two trips to the Cup Final, one ring, a league of haters and the ability to put your team over the edge. Oh I forgot, he draws lots……and LOTS of penalties.

He averages 20 goals, 40+ points, a bucket load of PIMs and all the intangibles that make any self respecting Canucks fan hate him. It’s the things that make us hate him that are the reasons he would be a amazingly valuable piece to the Canucks puzzle.

Vancouver just doesn’t have that on the edge player let alone one that actually produces on the score sheet. He already has 8 goals this year and the Bruins aren’t exactly at the top of the standings. Currently in 9th place, a win from a few teams below puts them in 11th. Yep, the big, bad Bruins.

Here’s another interesting tidbit, courtesy of I’m not a huge advanced stats guy but this intrigued me: In 2013/2014, Marchand drew 1.1 penalties over the course of 60 minutes. You can play around with the filters to get other fun numbers but a guy that gives you at least one chance to score a power play goal a game is worth having. That’s over 90 power plays if he plays a full 82 games. Simple math folks.

I wonder sometimes if Brad Marchand paid for his actions in during 2011, or if he wasn’t on that Bruins team, if the Canucks would have walked away with the Cup instead. Makes you think. If I’m Jim Benning, Canucks GM, I pull the trigger and make a deal for the “Nose Faced Killer“. His team needs a punch, maybe not literally and it’s time to get serious.

The question does remain, who goes the other way? Boston is in the market for a top six/top nine forward so maybe utility man Jannik Hansen or struggling defenseman Alex Edler would move. With action comes reaction and moving either of those, mainly Edler, there creates a hole on the back end. The name actually mentioned is Zack Kassian. Is Kassian still a work in progress or is it time to jump ship on him? He’s injured right now but who knows, maybe Benning is cut throat.

Jim Benning is a smart man; he helped build the 2011 Bruins Cup team and he no doubt wants to reciprocate his efforts on their Stanley Cup opponents from that year. I would love to know what Brad Marchand thinks of all this and if I could be so lucky to get an honest, non-hockey answer, would he even care?

Reaching out to fans and media in Boston produced nothing, no one even cares about the Canucks anymore. The Bruins have been to the Final again since 2011, so the guess is Vancouver is not on the top of their worry list. On the other hand, will Canucks fans ever forget?

If Brad Marchand DOES make his way to the west coast, the drama alone will be worth it, in my humble opinion:


“The nose never bothered me anyways”

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