Talking trades: Demitra to Rangers, O’Brien to anyone

There are a couple of Canucks trade rumors making the rounds today. Now, before you get giddy on the possibility of these trades actually happening, please do consider the source.

The first rumor involves Pavol Demitra to the New York Rangers:

Desperate to make the playoffs, the Rangers are beating the bushes for a top-six forward.

While they’d prefer a centre, league sources told Sun Media yesterday that GM Glen Sather is so anxious for help up front, he’s looking at acquiring injured Canucks winger Pavol Demitra once he gets healthy.

Demitra has scored 301 goals over a 15-year career, but hasn’t played this season after complications from off-season shoulder surgery forced a second operation. He hopes to return after Christmas.

After an 8-3-1 start in which they scored 46 goals (3.83 goals per game), the Rangers have lost 11 of their last 17 games and have scored only 35 goals (2.06 goals per game). I don’t know if they miss Scott Gomez that much, but certainly, they lack a top-six forward and that’s perhaps where the interest in Pavol Demitra comes in.

I do doubt though that Mike Gillis has a similar interest in trading Demitra. An injured Demitra – i.e. on LTIR – helps the team with respect to managing the salary cap; a healthy Demitra pushes Jannik Hansen off the top-six (and with all due respect to the Great Dane, a healthy Michael Grabner will too). At worst, he pushes Kyle Wellwood or Steve Bernier to the 4th line.

Of course, the flip side of this is that the Canucks’ depth does give Gillis some options. Even with Demitra out, the Canucks offense is currently ranked 5th in the NHL with an average of 3.07 goals per game. So perhaps the option is to trade Demitra to upgrade the defense. That said, unless Glen Sather gets a brain cramp and includes a Michael del Zotto or Marc Staal, then the Rangers, who are currently ranked 24th in the league in goals against (3.03 goals against per game), may not be the Canucks’ best trading partner.

The second rumor involves Shane O’Brien:

The Canucks are expected to move D Shane O’Brien, whom GM Mike Gillis has been offering around the league. Nobody is sure exactly what Gillis wants in return, but knowing him, it’s probably too much. O’Brien might be able to help a team like the Sharks.

Since returning to the lineup 3 games ago, SOB has played a somewhat regular shift, was a plus-1 and didn’t take a penalty. However, his place on this team is as a no. 6 or no. 7 defenseman – a role that I’m sure O’Brien is not happy with, and also, doesn’t justify his $1.6 million salary. At one point, there was genuine hope that he would develop into tough and steady stay-at-home defenseman, kinda like Bryan Allen but more mobile and a better first pass. At 26 years old, it’s not too late for him to develop into that guy, but it’s looking more and more that it’ll have to happen with a different organization.

If the Sharks are interested, then maybe we can get Patrick White back.

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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