The Vancouver Canucks had an ugly offseason, losing several key players to free agency and making very few improvements to their roster overall. As a result it has been no surprise to see the Canucks get off to a rocky start this season, but with that rocky start has come whispers of a potential shakeup within the front office of that team.
On Saturday evening National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston addressed the rumors of a potential change coming to the Canucks organization and his comments were somewhat surprising. By the sound of things it did not sound at all like the Canucks were contemplating a change to their front office, like perhaps the firing of general manager Jim Benning which trended on social media this evening, but instead would be looking at making a change to their roster.
"The pressure is obviously mounting here and the heat is being turned up," said Johnston on the NHL broadcast. "What I can tell you from a number of conversations in the last day or two is that there is a lot of ideas out there about what they may or may not do, but this is a challenging season to shake things up for a number of reasons."
"The one thing I do wonder about is if Jake Virtanen is someone they end up giving a fresh start to. He's had a tough start to this year, he's been in and out of the lineup, he's scratched tonight in Toronto, and maybe there's a feeling that might be a short term move that might shock their group a little bit and might be something that suits the organization and the player as well."
Interestingly enough the way that Johnston describes the potential trade here indicates to me that Virtanen himself would like a change of scenery as well, not that much of a surprise given the way that his career has progressed in Vancouver since being drafted 6th overall at the 2014 draft.
Virtanen carries a cap hit of $2.55 million per season and is under contract for this season as well as the next. It's not a huge number but given his inability to earn a consistent spot in the lineup moving him may be easier said than done.