A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Canucks rumors

During the first round of the draft on Friday, some rumors began to circulate that Jim Rutherford and Vancouver GM Mike Gillis were discussing the possibility of a straight-up trade which would send winger Erik Cole to the Nucks and defenseman Kevin Bieksa to the Canes.

The Canucks would love to have a guy like Cole, who is a perennial 30/30 scorer. He's listed as a left wing, but he can play either wing, and is actually better on the right side. Especially with the retirement of long-time Nuck Trevor Linden, the Canucks will be a little thin on the right side. Presumably, the interest in Cole is to plug him into the Sedinbot line, which is a role that they have had difficulty filling.

While the Nucks aren't exactly overrun with defensemen, their need to get a quality right wing is pretty glaring. While the Canes aren't exactly overrun with consistent 60-point performers, their glaring need is on the blue line.

It makes sense, then, that this rumor would fly around. Every year, there are rumors about Erik Cole. Most of the time, I have shrugged them off as ridiculous. This time, I think there might be something to it.

However, Alanah at Canucks and Beyond is suggesting that there are rumors that one or both of the Sedinbots are on the market.

She writes off the "rumors" much the same way I have written off Cole rumors in past years:
I’m curious about the source of this “speculation.” Something credible or just message board talk?

Personally, I’m betting on the message boards—or maybe just the typical Vancouver sports radio call-in-show blather that I tend to tune out. If it’s coming from someone with actual sources, I certainly haven’t stumbled across it.

It seems impossible to believe if you ask me. The Nucks went to an awful lot of trouble to make sure they could get both of the Sedins. Given the twins' insistence upon playing together, there's no way that one will be traded without the other. Who in the world would come up with an aggressive enough plan to get them both?

Maybe the Red Wings have a plan to send every one of their non-Swedes to Vancouver for the twins, but I'm only making a joke about that.

From a Vancouver perspective, that makes no sense. The Sedinbots have been the only consistently good things about the Vancouver offense for the last several years. Markus Naslund isn't getting any younger, and his production is tapering off. They need the Sedins. And the Sedins need someone to play with. I'm not sure that Cole is the best fit in the world on that right wing, but I doubt that he would be a terrible misfit.

I would be sad to see Cole go, but he's got loads of trade value. He's been a huge part of the Hurricanes team and one of the poster boys. And of course, he's been Carolina's ace in the hole whenever they play Montréal He's scheduled to be a UFA next July, and negotiations with him have always been difficult. It might be time for the Canes to pull the trigger. Cole-Bieksa would instantly fix a gaping hole in Carolina's armor. While it would certainly create a different hole, that one would be smaller.

Now, IF (and this is a big IF) Cole is shipped, that puts lots of pressure on the Canes front office to get Tuomo Ruutu and Chad "Sharpie" LaRose re-signed. It also pre-supposes that our 2007 top pick Brandon Sutter will be able to make the jump to the big team and make an impact.

More news from the draft as it develops.

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