To help things along as we approach the trade deadline, The Rink will be playing matchmaker where it sees a match to be made. First up, Jamie Heward and Richard Zednik to Vancouver for Alex Edler (add in a pick either way, if necessary, to even things out).
What Vancouver needs: added depth on the blueline and up front. The Canucks don't have to go for a "homerun," but some tweaking is desperately needed as the team tries to hold on to the division lead and, with it, home-ice for the first round of the playoffs.
What Vancouver gets: a solid, versatile depth defenseman and a former 30-goal-scoring forward with more than a few goals still left in his stick.
Heward has more goals and points than all but three Canuck blueliners, and has shown that he can play in any situation, as he's one of only two regular Caps defensemen averaging more than a minute of ice time per game on both the power-play and the penalty kill.
Zednik, despite being buried on the fourth-line for the entire season, is averaging .59 points per game, which is better than all but four Canuck forwards (the Sedins, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison). Could he be a good fit on the Sedins' wing?
What Washington gets: Alex Edler, 20, is a former third-round pick, with a "wealth of offensive potential and a very projectable frame," who "could develop into an all-around defender." As an added bonus, Edler is Swedish. With Zednik and Heward out the door at the end of the year, it is a low-risk/potentially-high-reward move and at this point in the team's rebuild the focus has to shift from acquiring picks to acquiring players.
Recent trade history: Back in November of 2001, the Caps traded Trevor Linden and a 2nd round selection (previously acquired - Denis Grot) in 2002 to Vancouver for a 1st round selection (Boyd "Muffins" Gordon) in 2002 and a 3rd round selection in 2003 (Stephen Werner). In December of 2005, the Caps sent Maxime Ouellet to the Canucks for a 5th round selection in 2006 (Maxime Lacroix).
The Bottom Line: When you have Roberto Luongo in net, you have a chance every night, especially (one would think) come playoff time. Adding a little more depth is just what the doctor ordered for Vancouver, and the organization is deep with two-way defensemen, making the cost of Edler bearable.