Canucks Claim Ossi Vaananen: Trade Implications

Jonathan Willis
February 27 2009 02:21PM

vaananen

Anybody remember Daniel Briere? If you’ve forgotten, he’s a short, waifish forward currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. In the summer of 2007, Briere cashed in on a career best 95 points (previous high: 65 points) to the tune of 52-million dollars (and a no-movement clause) over eight seasons. He’s been injured for much of this season, but last year he recorded 72 points and a team-worst -22 rating (next worst on the team: Sami Kapanen’s -12), prompting questions on whether Paul Holmgren (a media favourite for Executive of the Year last season) made a mistake in signing him to such a long-term, big-money contract.

In any case, Daniel Briere has returned to the Flyers line-up, and so the Flyers decided to clear cap-space by waiving forward Glen Metropolit and defenseman Ossi Vaananen. Once Kimmo Timonen is healthy enough to play, the Flyers are also expected to send 7th defenseman Lasse Kukkonen to the minors. Montreal picked up Metropolit, a relatively anonymous journeyman who has had some success in soft-minutes roles in the past.

The Vancouver Canucks decision to pick up Vaananen is a curious one, given their current blue-line situation. Prior to yesterday, the Canucks already had more than a full set of defensemen on their roster: Mattias Ohlund, Willie Mitchell, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, Shane O’Brien, Rob Davison, and Lawrence Nycholat, with capable fill-ins like Nathan McIver and Nolan Baumgartner in the minors. Vaananen makes nine blue-liners on the NHL roster; in other words, heading in to the trade deadline, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Canucks are looking to move a defenseman.

As for Vaananen himself, he’s one of the least offensively-able third-pairing defensemen in the NHL. He set his career high in points in his rookie season (16) and has averaged less than ten points a season during his NHL career. Still, there are some positives to Vaananen, starting with the fact that he stands 6’4” and weighs 212lbs. More than that, though, he doesn’t get scored on, averaging just 2.05 GAON/60 this season, the second-best mark on the Flyers. Surprisingly enough, he’s also scoring at a decent rate this season (0.65 PTS/60).

Alain Vigneault said that Vaananen is “a sixth, seventh defenseman on a good team,” which rings true to me. While he’s always posted decent numbers on the third pairing, he hasn’t shown much to be considered beyond that, and while he is putting up nice numbers this season, he’s riding the percentages a bit; his Corsi number is the worst on the Flyers.

No, the interesting thing about this waiver-wire claim is how loaded with defensemen the Canucks are. My guess would be that Shane O’Brien is going to find his way out of town because publicly criticizing the G.M. is always a stupid career move. On the other hand, Kevin Bieksa was frequently mentioned in rumours to start the season, while Mattias Ohlund has seemingly decided to test the free agent market this summer. Complicating matters is Ohlund’s no-trade clause.

It seems safe to say that one of them will be gone by the deadline though – and you can trust me on that, since I’m nearly twice as accurate as Eklund (although I suppose that probably qualifies as damning with faint praise).

And since we’re on the subject of trades, TSN has a nice rumour roundup on their site. The following players from or to the Northwest are listed as possibly in play:

Colorado – Out: Ryan Smyth, Jordan Leopold and Ian Laperriere Calgary – In: Olli Jokinen, Steve Sullivan Out: Matthew Lombardi Edmonton – In: Christoph Schubert Not Out: Erik Cole Vancouver – Out: Kevin Bieksa

I wouldn't want to bet on any of those, but outside of the possibility of Bieksa, the Jordan Leopold and Olli Jokinen rumours seem most sensible.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Dennis
February 27 2009, 02:27PM
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If 37 comes off the IR for tomorrow night's loss to Minny, that puts us one over the roster limit.

The Oilers have waiver rights on both 49 and 85 so one of them will have to be sent down unless we do a two-for-one deal for a forward or dman.

It appears the Oilers have spent enough time on both 22 and 78 that they wouldn't risk losing them through waivers.

I still can't figure out why the Oilers didn't bite on Ossi; unless they think 49's better or they think they can move one of the existing surplus of forwards for a D that's better than Ossi.

We Would be better off getting a real top four to join 37-44-77 and thus put 5-24 back into their rightful third pairing slot but is such a player out there for say 12 plus 78?

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#2 ryanbatty
February 27 2009, 02:34PM
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Schubert, really? Yup that would cure what ails the Oil for sure.

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#3 Jonathan Willis
February 27 2009, 02:40PM
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@ Dennis:

At a guess, I'd say the Oilers didn't bite on Vaananen because they like both Staios and Strudwick on the back end.

Either that, or Tambellini's focussed on trying to find that top-six LW and doesn't want to risk cap space.

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#4 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 27 2009, 02:48PM
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Schubert would TOTALLY fit in here - a defenceman that can play forward too. A MacT prerequisite.

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#5 swany
February 27 2009, 03:06PM
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Tambi wants a top 3 forward to play with Hemmer, a guy that scores 25-35 goals a year has some size can work the puck off the boards for Hemmer, can finish off passes Hmmm---------didn't we have that guy and could of had him at 5.5 mil for 5 years. Now we got Horc at 5.5 mil cap hit. Drafting signings and players they traded look pretty bad right now.

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#6 DK0
February 27 2009, 03:24PM
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swany wrote:

Tambi wants a top 3 forward to play with Hemmer, a guy that scores 25-35 goals a year has some size can work the puck off the boards for Hemmer, can finish off passes Hmmm———didn’t we have that guy and could of had him at 5.5 mil for 5 years. Now we got Horc at 5.5 mil cap hit. Drafting signings and players they traded look pretty bad right now.

Who is this player you speak of? He must not have been well liked if we got rid of him.

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#7 walkinvisible
February 27 2009, 03:34PM
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hey, when did this become oilersnation ?

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#8 dapuma
February 27 2009, 04:12PM
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walkinvisible wrote:

hey, when did this become oilersnation ?

somebody get this guy an assfinder so he can find his way home again...

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#9 Fiveandagame
February 27 2009, 04:20PM
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I really hope the Oilers do the right thing and trade ethan Moreau. If he's the heart and soul of this team then we need a heart transplant.

Maybe the fact that Cole isn't as rumored anymore is because Kunitz is off the market now.

I would rather keep cole and Lose Moreau and hell they can package Staios Pouliot and and whoever else they want.

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#10 shakey
February 27 2009, 04:23PM
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@ Fiveandagame: I'm on board with that.

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#11 wiggs22
February 27 2009, 04:30PM
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When we were destoyed by detroit and moreau tries to downplay that loss... he lost all the respect i had for him.. " the score doesn't reflect how well we played tonight" i'm still seething over that. if that's our leadership then i elect for surgery post haste!

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#12 wiggs22
February 27 2009, 04:34PM
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maybe you can answer me this.... after pronger screwed us...it was all over the news that hockey players didn't want to play here for what ever reasons...... is that still the case somewhat today? Is now the time for us to look for a top-6 forward....or is the off season better when we can get a better deal? do we really want to pay over the top for a player?.....again : )

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#13 Fiveandagame
February 27 2009, 04:38PM
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@ wiggs22: Moreau also said preseason games don't matter and it doesn't matter if you lose and that he was just waiting for the "real" season to start. Mark Messier would have kicked his ass for that.

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#14 Fiveandagame
February 27 2009, 04:39PM
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Anytime you put on the Oiler Jersey and you're playing a game it matters.

When Moreau said that, my alarm bells immediately went off.

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#15 swany
February 27 2009, 05:01PM
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DK0 wrote:

swany wrote: Tambi wants a top 3 forward to play with Hemmer, a guy that scores 25-35 goals a year has some size can work the puck off the boards for Hemmer, can finish off passes Hmmm———didn’t we have that guy and could of had him at 5.5 mil for 5 years. Now we got Horc at 5.5 mil cap hit. Drafting signings and players they traded look pretty bad right now. Who is this player you speak of? He must not have been well liked if we got rid of him.

I can't remember his name but I'm sure he was well liked, I remember one time he lost his teeth but came back to set up the winning goal in overtime, somebody once said he bled copper and Blue, now all we do is bleed. I wonder if Klowe wishes he had a guy who would dive on a grinade to win a game right now all we have are divers,it's to bad we have hindsight sometimes I guess we should have FORsight. When the 2 S's were traded so was the Heart of this team, tell me I'm wrong have you seen any HEART on this team for the last 2 years. Great run at the end of last season but there was nothing to play for, now there is and guess what no Heart. to bad.

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#16 Jonathan Willis
February 27 2009, 05:02PM
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dapuma wrote:

walkinvisible wrote: hey, when did this become oilersnation ? somebody get this guy an assfinder so he can find his way home again…

Because this article primarily deals with the Northwest Division in general, this article appears on both Flames and Oilers Nation.

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#17 wiggs22
February 27 2009, 05:09PM
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Hey MacT: How about you quit slapping there *(^^$ and kick there crap out this team. I've got a great idea, bring up the entire falcon lineup and let them play. Could they be any worse?

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#18 wiggs22
February 27 2009, 05:11PM
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but he's have done that by now right? I think he's lost the respect of the team or at least the young guys. Letting the vets get away with murder.

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#19 Peter Pan
February 27 2009, 05:39PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I really hope the Oilers do the right thing and trade ethan Moreau. If he’s the heart and soul of this team then we need a heart transplant. Sure, he's a little off the wall lately, but he is one of the few guys who's giving it his all out there. But clearly, he doesn't have the attention of the room and a demotion may be necessary. But to get rid of Moreau would only weaken an already very weak line up.
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#20 walkinvisible
February 27 2009, 06:33PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

dapuma wrote: Because this article primarily deals with the Northwest Division in general, this article appears on both Flames and Oilers Nation.

is there any way to post seperately so the flamesnation folks don't have to sift thru all the oilers drivel in order to see that nobody has any comments about flames trade rumours, cause we all know that darryl sutter's moves aren't predictable ?

just a thought.

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#21 Fiveandagame
February 27 2009, 06:33PM
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Peter Pan wrote:

Fiveandagame wrote: I really hope the Oilers do the right thing and trade ethan Moreau. If he’s the heart and soul of this team then we need a heart transplant. Sure, he’s a little off the wall lately, but he is one of the few guys who’s giving it his all out there. But clearly, he doesn’t have the attention of the room and a demotion may be necessary. But to get rid of Moreau would only weaken an already very weak line up.

With him on the team you still have him taking selfish penalties at the worst possible time. Yes he plays with an edge but also sits on the pine in the penalty box for stupid decisions EVERY game.

For a guy that doesn't put the puck in the net every other night, he better do a better job of not putting the Oilers short handed.... especially with our PK.

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#22 W.T.
February 27 2009, 10:15PM
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W. T. suggests you should wait until the off season to make that big deal, why? Cause W. T. suggests Oiler Management(Disney characters- you fill in those little men's names) will have plenty of time as the off season will start as soon as the regular season is over.

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#23 Jonathan Willis
February 27 2009, 10:28PM
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@ W.T.:

Because clearly, no move could possibly benefit the club before then.

Jonathan suggests that W.T. has plenty of time to work on his little theories, because nobody here is holding their breath for them.

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#24 Fiveandagame
February 27 2009, 11:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ W.T.: Because clearly, no move could possibly benefit the club before then. Jonathan suggests that W.T. has plenty of time to work on his little theories, because nobody here is holding their breath for them.

He he he....

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#25 The Towel Boy
February 28 2009, 12:48AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ W.T.: Because clearly, no move could possibly benefit the club before then. Jonathan suggests that W.T. has plenty of time to work on his little theories, because nobody here is holding their breath for them.

Awesome. Towel Boy likes.

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#26 99thOilfan
February 28 2009, 06:33AM
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Towel Boy... I heard you maybe at the Sat Game.. You going in your Secret Identity ?

I ask, because if the Oil start to lose, and you are in your T.B. spandex, you could have your whole section, begging for towels (see: cry towel)you better load up the utility belt.

I have to admit I am still pulling for the boys.. But as Sat night is a 4 Point game, On home ice, and on HNIC, I think I see the Oil dropping this one.

PS: I think everyone saw this one coming ! ( Plug )

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#27 W.T.
February 28 2009, 09:40AM
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Oilers will win big tonight according to W.T. How could they lose after an effort like the last game. Too much heart and soul on this team not to perform. Just ask KLowe. Your captian will lead the way for his followers.

W.T. says maybe Oil should look at Staal from Carolina. He is young and should fit in with Oiler team. Now does Oil have anything Carolina may want?

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