If it wasn’t for his hand injury, Tanner Pearson would have been traded last season. Given his limited upside, his value as a former Stanley Cup winner and a veteran winger was a better fit elsewhere. And of course, so was his salary cap hit. The Canucks needed to clear at least some of it and they finally did.
As we reported then, the legitimate chatter started last September, right about the same time we did a preseason one-on-one with the player.
You can count the Cup winners on the Canucks roster on one hand, with two fingers; Pearson and Luke Schenn. Neither are very expensive. 32-year-old D-man Schenn makes less than a million bucks while Pearson checks in at $3.25-million per season for another two. Unfortunately, that’s right about the amount the Canucks will need to relieve themselves of come the end of the season.
He wasn’t too stoked about the posting, but that’s the business and the business is done. Pearson and a 2025 3rd-round NHL Draft pick went to the Montreal Canadiens for goaltender Casey DeSmith.
The writing was on the wall again for us as soon as Pearson confirmed to Vancouver Hockey Insider on August 31st that he was feeling 100%.
By the way, the Canucks playing roster is now down to one former Stanley Cup winner; defenceman Ian Cole.
Canucks Well Played
Aside from the all-important moving out of Pearson’s money, the Canucks picked up a legitimate back-up goalie in DeSmith, a former teammate of Cole’s in Pittsburgh. The netminder joined the Penguins the season after they won two consecutive Cups and a year before current Vancouver forward Teddy Blueger joined that club.
Naturally, all three of the aforementioned players have a connection to current Canucks GM Patrik Allvin and President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford from their time in that organization. DeSmith and Blueger developed in that program.
DeSmith became a Hab just last month, traded from the Steel City on August 6th in a multi-player deal that included defenceman Jeff Petry rejoining the Canadiens. Petry has since been dealt to the Detroit Red Wings.
The candy on top to get the 31-year-old, less-than-fleet-afoot Pearson and his contract out the door was the Canucks adding in the 3rd-round pick in 2025. 3rd-rounders are meant to be trade chips in situations just like this one.
DeSmith comes aboard with one year remaining at $1.8-million. The math is simple.
Blame the D, blame the team all you want, but when Thatcher Demko went down to injury last season, Spencer Martin essentially melted down as the back-up. Counting on a goalie with nine previous games of NHL experience to step up when confronted with that possibility raised questions regarding management’s mental health.
Last season’s insurance policy Collin Delia, now of 52 total NHL games played at age-29, will be a minor leaguer with the Winnipeg Jets this season.
Who doesn’t love Arturs Silovs and his potential? If he wins out, great, but at age-22, nothing wrong with letting him be the main man in Abbotsford while Demko, fingers crossed, stays healthy and rules the roost in Vancouver.
DeSmith won the Hap Holmes Award as the best AHL goalie in 2017 and has mostly been an NHL’er since. Unfortunately his numbers have gradually drifted up, that’s bad for a goalie, so he should be motivated for a bounce-back year. A change of scenery never hurts either.
Keep in mind he had core muscle surgery in May of 2022 and should completely be starting this season his normal self.
Well done Canucks, and even if you’re not in a pinch, there’s still one more player to move.