Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, Detroit Red Wings, Editor's Choice, Ethan Bear, Key Post, Vancouver Canucks

Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Vancouver Canucks

Welcome to The Hockey Writers’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets series for the Detroit Red Wings. During it, we will be looking at a handful of players from each NHL team who the Red Wings should consider pursuing this summer.

The next installment of the offseason trade targets series takes a look at the Pacific Division team, the Vancouver Canucks. It was a tumultuous year for the squad that saw them go through a coaching change mid season.

  • Vancouver Canucks Projected Cap Space: $0
  • Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA): 7
  • Restricted Free Agents (RFA): 6

It looks like any trade with the Canucks is going to be money-in-money-out or with the Red Wings taking on more salary. They don’t have any big names to re-sign, but they need to send a few contracts out so that they can sign the people they do want to bring back. They have their work cut out for them.

Conor Garland

Conor Garland is a good middle-six winger who likes to shoot. With 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 81 games played, he brings a decent amount of secondary scoring. Garland’s career points per game (P/GP) is 0.60, and this year he averaged 0.57 P/GP.

Related: Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets Montreal Canadiens

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Garland would slot into the Red Wings’ middle six right away. On a line with either Marco Kasper or Andrew Copp, he could be a trigger man who gets shots to the net while players like Copp or Kasper crash the crease.

Interesting Fact/Stat: Garland was the top scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Garland has three more years making $4.95 million per year. Considering the the Canucks are only retooling their roster and not going through a full rebuild, they won’t be accepting players who are past their prime. Would they have some interest in Robby Fabbri or Dominik Kubalik? Given the injury history, I would say the Red Wings would be more eager to trade Fabbri. Having three second-round picks this year, the Red Wings could offer the St. Louis Blues’ second-round pick. They may need to add a prospect as well, someone like Donovan Sebrango or Jared McIssac. My proposal would be Fabbri, McIssac and the Blues’ second-round pick for Garland.

Ethan Bear

Ethan Bear has played for three NHL teams so far in his career. The right-handed defenceman has great skating and can get the puck out of danger in the defensive zone through his skating and his outlet passes. Bear contributes a bit offensively with 16 points in 61 games for the 2022-23 season. With a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 50.48 and a goals for percentage (GF%) of 50.62, he helps drive play for his team.

Ethan Bear Vancouver Canucks
Ethan Bear, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Bear is easily a second-pairing defender. With the Canucks he split 600 minutes playing with either Quinn Hughes or Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Bear could be a great complement to a Simon Edvinsson or Olli Maatta. Bear playing on the second pairing could allow Ben Chiarot to slide down to the third pairing and allow them to spread ice time more evenly amongst the three pairings.

Interesting Fact/Stat: In July of 2020, Bear became the first player to have Cree syllabics on his jersey during a game.

Bear is an RFA this offseason and unless the Canucks make a separate deal to open up some salary for him, he could be the odd man out. A trade involving Bear might make their decision a bit easier. William Wallinder is a left-shot defence prospect who had a fantastic year in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) playing for Rogle BK. Wallinder plus the Blues’ 2023 second-round pick I mentioned earlier would be a suitable price for Bear. With only one right-handed defender under contract for next season, a move like this is necessary to fill one of the Red Wings’ biggest needs.

Brock Boeser

Brock Boeser had a suprisingly good year for point production despite the conditions surrounding the team over the 2022-23 season. With 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 points he was only one point shy of tying his career high. Boeser had a career low with 2.4 shots on goal per game (SOG/G). His 37 assists were a career high for him and could help explain his low shot total for the year. Boeser had the second-lowest shooting percentage (S%) of his career with 10.1 while his career average is 12.7 S%.

Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Boeser is easily a top-six player on any team in the league. Lucas Raymond can play left wing as well as right wing. That could give the Red Wings a top line of Raymond, Dylan Larkin and Brock Boeser. That would be a massive improvement for the organization. He can also help the power play, especially if he becomes a primary shooting option for the man advantage.

Interesting Fact/Stat: Boeser won the accuracy competition at the 2018 NHL All Star Game Skills Competition.

Boeser has a hefty contract to move, which makes a deal tricky. Jonatan Berggren could be of interest to the Canucks after his impressive showing this past season. The Red Wings have $30,633,611 in salary cap space without re-signing any players, so they could take on Boeser’s full cap without retention. The New York Islanders’ first-round pick, the Blues’ second-round pick, Jonatan Berggren and Dominik Kubalik could be a realistic deal for Boeser. That might be a big price to pay for a rebuilding team like the Red Wings, but if they drop the first-round pick, would that be enough for the Canucks to say yes? The Red Wings need another shooter and this could be the price they pay to acquire a roster player with that capability.

Related: Wild’s 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Edmonton Oilers

It will be an interesting offseason for the Canucks as they trod along with their retool. The Red Wings could help them with their cap constraints by taking some of these players off of their hands.

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