After making moves to acquire draft picks and plan for the future, the Vancouver Canucks have once again stalled the rebuild. On Wednesday, the organization traded their conditional 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft for Filip Hronek of the Detroit Red Wings and a 4th round pick. For many teams in the league, the young, right-handed Hronek would be a perfect fit, but for Vancouver, it’s another move that raises many questions about the team’s direction.
Who is Filip Hronek?
After being selected 53rd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 25-year-old Czechia native has become a solid defenceman with offensive upside for the Red Wings. Over five seasons, Hronek has registered 156 points in 305 career games and needs just one more point this year to reach his new career high. Being a powerplay guy and penalty killer, Hronek averaged more than 21:30 of ice time with Detroit this season as well. Clearly, getting a guy who can perform in every facet of the game is good for any team, and on the positive side, the Canucks did find a young, right-handed blueliner to play alongside Quinn Hughes.
Unfortunately, for a team in the bottom seven of the league, this move doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Canucks went from having three picks in the top 40 of next year’s draft to just one pick in the top 70. Additionally, this is not the first time that the organization has tried to speed up the rebuilding process, and it is clearly yet to work out. Without fully committing to the rebuild, remaining in hockey purgatory is a legitimate concern for a team that has spent the last ten years in basically the exact same spot. There’s also the worry that he won’t be here for the long term. Will the organization be able to resign him when his current deal at $4.4 million is up?
Overall, it’s a move that does improve today’s roster. However, these types of deals by Vancouver in the past have not rebuilt the team to where they want to go. Without multiple draft picks coming in and making a difference on rookie deals, the salary cap will continue to be difficult to maneuver for management. Hronek may be a more exciting and necessary acquisition than previous trades have brought in, but it’s hard to say if he’ll really help this franchise more than two top-40 picks in a very deep draft. Is it time for the Canucks to go all in on a rebuild?
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