The Vancouver Canucks made a move today that not only helps their cap situation ahead of the season but also find their backup goalie. The Canucks traded Forward Tanner Pearson and their 2025 3rd-round draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Goaltender Casey DeSmith.
The Trade For The Canadiens
Kent Hughes and the Montreal Canadiens utilized their cap space perfectly. They took on Pearson and his 3.25 million dollar contract, a 1.45 million dollar raise from DeSmith and gained an extra 3rd round pick. Pearson only has one year left on his deal, which is a small price to pay for acquiring a mid-round draft pick.
Pearson can bring some veteran presence to last year's tenth-youngest roster. This move gives the Canadiens a strong top-nine forward group filled with veterans and bruisers to protect the young talent. Their top line stays intact, with Suzuki centring Caufield and Dach. I project Pearson to slide into the second-line left wing to pair with newly acquired Alex Newhook and Josh Anderson. This allows Dvorak to move down to line three with Gallagher to help mentor former number-one overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky.
I give the Canadiens an A for this trade.
The Trade For The Canucks
Patrick Alvin and the Canucks had their backs against the wall being three million dollars over the salary cap with no backup goalie on the roster. They fixed both problems with this one move. Shedding the 1.45 million dollars off their cap while acquiring a competent backup goalie for only a third-round pick is impressive. It's unfortunate to Canucks fans to have to get rid of a draft pick along with a player, but with the mess of Jim Benning still lingering on, Alvin has no choice.
The Canucks were in hot water with Pearson as they mismanaged his wrist surgery. What was supposed to be a four-week injury turned into six to seven surgeries and a season-ending injury. You can't help but feel bad for what was a beloved teammate on this Canucks team. With Pearson returning to full health this season, it only seemed right that he and the Canucks go their separate ways.
Casey DeSmith is best known for his time in Pittsburgh, where he found success backing up for Tristian Jarry. Last season was his worst statistical season, finishing with a 3.17 GAA when he never saw higher than a 2.80 GAA. Jarry also saw his numbers dip to 2.90 GAA when he had never eclipsed a 2.75 GAA as a starter. This may be a byproduct of the Penguins' team defence declining, as this was the first year they averaged more than 2.85 goals against per game, finishing with 3.22 and a negative goal differential. I expect DeSmith to bounce back to form as Demko's backup.
Both moving on from Tanner Pearson as well as acquiring Casey DeSmith will help the Canucks prospect's development. IIHF World Championship MVP Arturs Silovs can now focus on his growth and development as the minor league starter. Pearson's departure opens up a roster spot on the wing for Hoglander or McDonough to turn into full-time NHL players.
I give the Canucks a B+ for this trade.
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