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What the Canucks get in surprising trade for Filip Hronek

If you’re a Vancouver Canucks fan hanging on faint hope for a start-it-again rebuild, do not gaze upon their latest deal.

The Canucks used the first-round pick acquired in the Bo Horvat transaction to acquire Filip Hronek, a fine young 25-year-old defenceman from the Detroit Red Wings with another year left on his contract before becoming an RFA.

There is nothing wrong with Hronek the player. As you’ll see in our scout’s breakdown below, he’s having a good year and projects as a helpful defenceman going forward.

But it will be asked: is he what these Canucks needed right now?

The trouble, if you want to call it that, is seeing how Vancouver is going to improve itself enough for a near-term turnaround. Hronek makes $4.4 million against the cap, meaning the Canucks already have $83.6 million committed to next year’s roster. That very well could be over the salary cap already (buyouts or further trades could fix that).

Meantime, in this trade, they’ve forfeited possibly two top-40 picks in what’s regarded as a very deep draft.


In acquiring Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, Vitali Kravtsov and flipping a mid-first-rounder for Hronek, the Canucks have clearly (and not for the first time) signalled their desire to get this thing back on the rails sooner than later. They have their own first-round picks from here, but only one second-rounder in the next three years. This will not be a deliberate build up through the draft.

A couple other selling teams in St. Louis and Washington might be more believable bounce-back candidates in the near future, and even they have decided to lean into acquiring draft capital for now. The Canucks, it seems, are going to try and hustle along.

Asset management will be a topic of discussion in Vancouver once again this week. Because while they took a step back from the draft and into acquiring a mid-20s defenceman with a little term left on his contract, we have to acknowledge that the Canucks gave up a first- and second-rounder for Hronek, while the Ottawa Senators gave up a first-rounder and two seconds for Jakob Chychrun.

Management’s goal is to get back to contending for the playoffs in a year or two. Is that possible? And how much will Hronek help with that goal? For that, we turn to our scout, Jason Bukala.


Vancouver Receives

• Filip Hronek
• 2023 fourth-round pick

Hronek is a solid NHL defender. He’s mobile. He has the brain to be used in all situations. He also has some push back (97 hits) and willingness to get in the lane to block shots (54). His year over year offence has spiked. This is the top point-per-game scoring average he has had in his career (.63). He leans middle pairing defenceman and is best defined as a two-way/mid-range transitional blueliner.

Hronek is only 25 years old and will be an RFA when his current contract runs out at the conclusion of next season. His qualifying offer to retain his rights at that time will be $5.28 million.

The Canucks also receive a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.

Here’s a look at Vancouver’s draft board following this trade with Detroit:

Image via CapFriendly.

Detroit Receives

• Conditional 2023 first-round pick
• 2023 second-round pick

The first-round pick Vancouver gives up is the one they received in the Bo Horvat trade. The conditions on it are as follows:

The pick becomes an unprotected 2024 first-rounder if it’s in the top (12) this season. With the current standing of the Islanders, there is a chance this pick could fall between 13–16 this season.

If the draft happened today, the second-round pick would slot at 38th overall.


The Red Wings did very well in this deal. They potentially added two picks in the top 40 of the very deep 2023 draft class.

Hronek is a nice addition for the Canucks because he improves their defence corps. I have to be honest, and transparent, however. When I string together the Bo Horvat transaction and this trade with Detroit, this is how it looks to me:

To Vancouver: Filip Hronek, Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, 2023 fourth-round pick (DET)

Cost: Bo Horvat, 2023 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick

Or, breaking it down a different way…

The Canucks acquired Raty, Beauvillier and the Islanders conditional first for Bo Horvat. (The players and the pick immediately become assets to the Canucks). Vancouver then spent one of the assets (the conditional first) and another asset (the second) to acquire Hronek and a fourth-round pick.

It comes down to asset management. In my experience our staff would have written Hronek on the board in our conference room and then ask ourselves a simple question:

Does our team look better in three years with Filip Hronek and a fourth-round prospect, or are we better in three years with two picks in the top 40 of this draft, with one possibly being a top 16 selection?

Professional scouting isn’t an exact science. There is an absolute possibility that I could be completely off-base with my conclusion. But, as one of my colleagues suggested, Filip Hronek’s NHL comparable is Brandon Montour of the Florida Panthers. I like Hronek, and I think Beauvillier is a nice middle six addition. Aatu Raty’s trajectory is still to be determined, and the fourth-round selection will obviously have to take time to work itself through the system.

For context, here is a look at Montour’s stats in Florida:

When I observe the reality that Horvat, a potential top (16) pick in this draft and, as it sits right now (pick 38) in this draft – is what it cost the Canucks for those assets – I’m more than a little bit concerned about the return.


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