As much as the Vancouver Canucks have been criticized for giving up draft picks during Jim Benning’s tenure as general manager, not many will be too upset with the team’s trade today.
Yes, the Canucks sent a seventh-round pick to the New York Rangers for AHL goaltender Marek Mazanec, but it was a move made out of pure necessity.
Ever since the Canucks traded ‘tender Anders Nilsson to the Ottawa Senators, the team has been dealing with a dearth at the position. Thatcher Demko was supposed to take Nilsson’s place behind starter Jacob Markstrom, but when Demko went down with a “slight sprain” last week, it set in motion events that led to Michael DiPietro, an OHL goalie with the Ottawa 67s, starting against the San Jose Sharks last night. The result wasn’t terribly pretty.
The Canucks have been lambasted for not having a plan in place when the Philadelphia Flyers claimed Mike McKenna, who was acquired in the Nilsson trade, on waivers as the Canucks were trying to send him down to the Utica Comets of the AHL.
That happened on January 4. Five weeks later, the Canucks ran into the issue. One would think it could have been resolved before DiPietro had to step between the pipes against one of the best teams in the NHL.
With this move, the Canucks will call up Mazanec to the NHL until Demko is ready to return, and send DiPietro back down to Ottawa.
It’s important to note that the seventh-rounder the Canucks sent to New York is in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, not the upcoming one that will be in Vancouver.
Mazanec is a 27-year-old, 6’4, 202-pound goaltender that has been playing this year with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. He’s registered a .903 save percentage with the Wolf Pack, to go along with a 7-8-3 record. Nothing spectacular, no, but he does have some NHL experience under his belt, having played 31 games with the Nashville Predators and posting an 8-13-4 line and a .895 save percentage.
He’ll be a welcome addition to the goalie-starved Canucks and to the Comets when Demko is able to return to the big club.
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