Should the Vancouver Canucks pursue a trade for Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker?
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A few days ago, our very own Spencer Teixeira wrote a post on where might Jason Zucker be dealt. Teixeira suggested that the Colorado Avalanche, the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils would be great fits. But, the Canucks might be a good fit as well.
The Canucks desperately need depth on the wings. Their current wingers aren’t a great and are on the weaker end of the spectrum. The Canucks best winger is Brock Boeser, who spent the majority of his time last season with Elias Pettersson. Aside from Boeser, the Canucks have many top 9 wingers including Tanner Pearson, Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen and Josh Leivo. While Pearson, Eriksson, Virtanen and Leivo have value to the Canucks organization, most of them are playing in roles that aren’t the greatest fit. So, it’s time for Canucks general manager to arm his team with additional help on the wing.
Zucker would fit in quite well in Vancouver. While fans saw a decline in Zucker’s offensive productivity last season (21 goals and 21 assists in 81 games), he could still have a bounce back season and be a valuable asset for the Canucks franchise.
Let’s Look At The Charts
Plus, if you look at Jason Zucker’s wins above replacement (WAR) per minute in the chart below (created by Sean Tierney, data from EvolvingWild), you’ll see that had Zucker been on the Canucks last season, he would have had the third higher WAR per minute. Jacob Markstrom and Pettersson had slightly better WAR per minute rate than Zucker.
Primary Shot Contributions
In addition, the chart (created by Sean Tierney, data from EvolvingWild and Corey Sznajder) below shows primary shot contributions for the Minnesota Wild last season. By looking at this chart, you’ll see that Zucker not only had the most shots per 60 of the Wild team, but he also had a lot of primary assists per 60 (A1/60) as well. Aside from Eric Fehr and Mikael Granlund, Zucker had the third highest A1/60 for a winger in Minnesota.
Primary Shot Contributions vs GAR
Last but not least, Zucker was one of the most effective Wild forwards in primary shot contributions versus goals above replacement (GAR). In the chart below (created by Sean Tierney, data from Evolving Wild and Corey Sznajder), you’ll see that Zucker had the best primary shot contribution numbers on the Wild and had a relative high GAR.
Zucker Will Be Costly, But Rewarding
While it’s clear that Zucker would be a great fit for the Canucks, he’s not going to be cheap.
The Minnesota Wild aren’t going to let themselves get ripped off. They have the same data that I’m showing you. So, why would they let Benning and the Canucks front office take advantage of them?
Instead, Benning would have to most likely part ways with a high draft pick, a AHL prospect and a NHL ready asset. While you might consider that to be a decent amount to trade for Zucker, I wouldn’t. If you want offensive production, you have to pay for offensive production. Plus, just imagine Zucker playing alongside Pettersson and Boeser. That line could be lethal and would create one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the Western Conference.
stats from NHL.com, hockey-reference.com, EvolvingWild, Corey Sznajder
visuals from Sean Tierney
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals