The Vancouver Canucks have solidified depth down the middle with the addition of Brandon Sutter Tuesday morning.
The Canucks traded center Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening, and a second-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brandon Sutter and a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Vancouver Canucks are sending a young defenseman and an experienced forward to the Penguins. By shipping off 27-year old Nick Bonino, the Canucks are parting ways with a forward who can play left wing and center. The fact that he can play both center and the wing might be a positive, but it’s also a negative because he isn’t strong on the faceoff dot.
22 year-old Adam Clendening is a developing offensive defenceman who posted an impressive 59 points in the 2013-14 season, and just four points in 11 games during the 2014-15 season. The Canucks might have paid too much for a third-line center, or they might have just added a two-way center that will bolster their depth down the middle.
Brandon Sutter is the type of center a team would want on the third line. He is good to have offensively. He is good to have defensively. Sutter was 52nd in faceoff percentage league-wide at 52.6% in the 2014-15 season, while Bonino was ranked 78th. Bringing in Sutter shows general manager Jim Benning’s hunger for a center that can play in many situations, not a forward on the wing that isn’t great at the faceoff dot.
The addition of the 26 year-old Brandon Sutter allows 2013 9th overall pick Bo Horvat to slot into the second line center position with Sven Baertschi and Alexandre Burrows along the wings. Having Henk, Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, and Linden Vey lined up as 1, 2, 3, and 4 tremendously improves the Canucks’ depth down the middle going into the 2015-16 season.
Although the Vancouver Canucks team is not full of amazing players, the team will be a young, competitive force that can definitely fight for a playoff spot in the 2015-16 season. The team has a strong goaltender in Ryan Miller, defense that could be slightly tinkered (possibly add Cody Franson), and a developing offensive force that is only getting better.