The Vancouver Canucks traded disgrunteld prospect Jason King to the Anahiem Ducks in exchange for minor league star Ryan Shannon. Not only does this trade releave the Canucks of yet another underachieveing prospect but it also provides GM Dave Nonis some depth and the ability to make tough decisions come free agency time.
Shannon will probably secure himself a spot on the Canucks roster next season, especially considering that the restricted free agent made just $475,000 last season. The Canucks have decisions to make on Jeff Cowan, Trevor Linden and Josh Green before the July 1st deadline and with this trade you would have to think that at least one, if not two of those names are now scratched off the Canucks priority list.
Come July 1st, its rather obvious that the Canucks will be looking for a second or third liner with some speed, physical pressence, offensive upside and veteran leadership.
With the club lacking offensive depth last season you would logically eliminate Green and Cowan from the list based on their offensive numbers, however, then you look at Linden's age and that becomes a factor as well.
My personal choice would be to keep Linden and Cowan (for the right price) and let Green walk. I liked Josh a lot over the past few seasons that he has been in the Canucks system but I don't think there is much more that he can offer the club. Its time to give the youngsters some time, Shannon and Rick Rypien deserve their shot at the big club. Cowan provides the physical pressence and after a slow start, put up decent numbers last season.
Linden on the other hand, played himself into a contract during the playoffs last spring and if the Canucks let him walk it would be a tragedy similar to the day that Mike Keenan traded Captain Canuck all those years ago. (Yes, we did get Bertuzzi and McCabe in the trade which has turned into Luongo, the Twins and we ended up with Linden back so that trade worked out but at the time it was huge slap in the face)
Furthermore, Shannon has put up huge numbers in the AHL and could be the Canucks next number two centerman. In Anahiem he played just 53 games last season and lets face it, in those 53 games he may have seen 5 mins of ice time in each game. Offensive players need to be put into situations where they can succeed, the Ducks only play their top two lines and their top 4 d-men on a regular basis.
(This is a serious problem with the development of some of the NHL talent, the coaches pull up snipers from the minors and place them on the fourth line, in a checking roll. )
With Shannon's offensive ability, Brendan Morrison better keep his play up next season, he could be the next big name of the the 'Brian Burke' era to be headed out of Vancouver.