Sure, there was a lot of action in the weeks leading up to Monday’s main event. And sure, some teams were busier than others. The Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in full rebuild mode, for example, and the Carolina Hurricanes shipped out the likes of Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg. The Chicago Blackhawks stacked the deck once again, while the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks bolstered their rosters for a battle in California.
But the Vancouver Canucks stood pat.
While most people thought the Canucks would try to move the much-discussed Dan Hamhuis or the much-frustrated Radim Vrbata, general manager Jim Benning didn’t get anything done and both players are still in the fold.
“It wasn’t from a lack of trying,” Benning said. “We really didn’t get a lot of offers. If we got a concrete offer where we could recoup assets and draft picks, or young players, we would have done it.”
Hamhuis, for his part, expected to be traded. He wanted to stay in Vancouver, but the writing was on the wall. He used his no-trade clause to narrow the field a little, with the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks serving as his destinations of choice.
But the Stars picked up Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames and the Blackhawks didn’t come up with anything.
According to Benning, the Stars traded for Russell in a “similar type deal” as what Vancouver was asking for Hamhuis. Later on Monday, Dallas returned to the well with another offer for the defenceman but the Canucks didn’t pick up the horn.
According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the Stars came around with a higher pick than what was offered in the Russell deal and Vancouver didn’t return the call. But team president Trevor Linden says the pick was “much lower” and he walked away from it.
The Canucks could still sign Hamhuis to a deal before July 1, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
“If it went one way, I’d have a contract extension at this point, but it’s certainly not off the table from the conversations we’ve had,” Hamhuis said. “They haven’t said, ‘No, you are not part of the future going forward.’ Everyone knows that I would like to be back, but if it’s not in their plans and doesn’t work out, then I suppose I’ll be moving on July 1.”
As for Vrbata, Benning said that there were no “concrete offers” from any of the teams on his list. Vancouver has already expressed its intentions on not signing the 34-year-old winger, so now it looks like they’ll watch him walk away for nothing.