Team made three deals on NHL trade deadline day
By Brandon Yip¸ Senior Columnist
With Canuck fans having a reputation for being too quiet during home games at Rogers Arena, it has felt like cardboard cutouts were already in the seats.
The Vancouver Canucks are recovering from their COVID-19 outbreak. Daily Hive reported April 14 that Jay Beagle and Quinn Hughes were removed from the NHL’s COVID list a day before. It leaves 16 Canuck players on the active roster that are still in protocol. The Canucks’ season has been on temporary pause with the NHL rescheduling their games.
The Daily Hive also reported April 13 that Rogers Arena has placed cardboard cutouts in seats at Rogers Arena for the Canucks’ remaining eight home games. Season ticket holders can purchase a cardboard cutout of themselves with proceeds going to the Canucks for Kids Fund charity. With Canuck fans having a reputation for being too quiet during home games at Rogers Arena, it has felt like cardboard cutouts were already in the seats.
April 12 was also NHL trade deadline day, and the Canucks made three deals. Sportsnet reported the Canucks traded forward Adam Gaudette to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Matthew Highmore. The second trade as reported by Daily Hive had the Canucks trading Jordie Benn to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a draft pick (sixth round). Then the Canucks made another trade with the Blackhawks acquiring defenceman, Madison Bowey (former Kelowna Rockets player of the WHL), and a 2021 draft pick (fifth round). Chicago receives a 2021 fourth-round pick.
Some Canuck fans on social media were not happy with Adam Gaudette being dealt, their malice being directed at Canucks GM, Jim Benning. Ben Kuzma of The Province posted on Twitter Jim Benning’s comments about why he traded Gaudette: “A lot went into the decision. He wanted to play higher in the lineup, and it was about his two-way game and we wanted him to keep improving. To be honest, we expected him to take another step this year and we really didn’t feel like he did that.” Sportsnet writer and Canucks’ analyst Iain MacIntyre posted his thoughts on Twitter about the Gaudette trade: “Canucks were looking for a taker for Adam Gaudette long before the COVID crisis. Matthew Highmore may not turn into an NHL regular, but VAN was convinced Gaudette wasn’t going to become the player they need.”
Sportsnet reported Gaudette, who is 24 years old, is a pending restricted free agent. He played 33 games this season, scoring four goals with three assists averaging 10:54 of ice-time. Gaudette had also tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago and was on the Canucks’ non-roster injured reserve. On April 11, he cleared the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Gaudette was the Canucks’ fifth round (149th overall) pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. In 153 regular season games in a Canuck uniform, he scored 21 goals and 31 assists with 67 penalty minutes.
Micaela Gaudette, wife of Adam, told The Province on April 2 that she does not know how they contracted the virus. She had spoken with contact-tracing officials from BC’s Centre for Disease Control. “We told the CDC and (Canucks) everything we did in the last week prior to the positive test,” she said regarding the conversations they had on March 30 (after her husband’s test came back positive the day before). “They assured us we did nothing wrong and could have contracted it from anywhere, really. So, I’m definitely going to believe them over anyone on Twitter with a burner account.”
Micaela says they have received a positive response and support from fans on social media. However, they have faced their share of criticism and haters as well—one of the negative downsides being on social media. “I just feel bad for Adam,” she said. “He’s so sick and just doesn’t deserve the hate when we have done nothing wrong. Everyone wants to see more personality from players, so this hockey world is a bit less dull, then when something goes wrong that’s out of anyone’s control, it makes it hard to want to keep staying on social media and interacting.”
Jim Benning told Sportsnet that 10 Vancouver players skated at Rogers Arena, which reopened on April 12. Among those attending practice was star forward, Elias Pettersson (who remains out with a wrist injury) but may be returning to the lineup soon. The Canucks’ communication department posted on Twitter that the team practiced on April 14 (individual sessions only) followed by another practice the next day with Rogers Arena being open to the media. However, on April 15, the Canadian Press reported (uploaded on Sportsnet.ca) the media was banned from attending practice stating, “No reason for the decision was given in the tweet [by the Canucks’ communication department].”
The Canucks’ revised schedule had them playing 19 games in a span of 31 days (April 16 till May 16). It is a lot of hockey games in a short span of time it is almost incomprehensible. But on April 15, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks and Oilers game on April 16 has been postponed as the Canucks continue to recover from their COVID-19 outbreak. Vancouver’s schedule will once again be revised by the NHL as the Canucks’ interrupted season and situation continues to change daily.
Vancouver forward, J.T. Miller, voiced his displeasure about the condensed rescheduling amidst the recent COVID-19 breakout affecting the team. “It’s kind of frustrating if I’m being 100 per cent honest with you,” Miller said to the media during a Zoom call. “We’ve tried to talk about the number one priority is players’ health and their families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to achieve that with what they have asked us to do here on our return. I talk to my teammates a lot and this hasn’t been, obviously, that easy. For them to try to come back and play… it’s going to be very challenging and not very safe, if you’re asking me. And I’m sure there are other people that would agree with that.” Fans will see how the Canucks will perform as they restart their season. It has been a very unprecedented season during even more unprecedented times.