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[Speculation] Canucks’ Rathbone may request trade

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Canucks' Rathbone clears waivers, but will a trade follow?


Jack Rathbone passed through waivers untouched today, meaning that he’ll report to the Abbotsford Canucks.


He’s not the only AHL-bound Canuck, as the team cut 21 players on Sunday.


Also passing through waivers were forward Sheldon Dries, defencemen Jett Woo and Matt Irwin, and goaltender Zach Sawchenko.


There were no takers for Rathbone, who was a highly-touted defence prospect as recently as one year ago.


The dynamic puck-moving defenceman scored 53 points in 61 NCAA games in two seasons at Harvard before turning pro in 2020. The Canucks thought enough of Rathbone to sign him to a two-year, one-way deal just last year, guaranteeing him NHL money, even while playing in the AHL.


Rathbone was coming off a sensational season in the AHL, which saw him score 40 points in 39 games. But the 24-year-old has struggled defensively in limited opportunities at the NHL level.


Rathbone appeared in just 11 games last season, despite a pile of injuries and cameos from Abbotsford defencemen on Vancouver’s blue line.


Meanwhile in the AHL, Rathbone had a down year offensively, scoring just 14 points (5-9-14) in 37 games in 2022-23. The Massachusetts product appeared in just one game with the Canucks this preseason, the 10-0 blowout in Calgary, before being sent down.


Now that he has passed through waivers, will a trade follow?


There may not be a team willing to guarantee Rathbone a spot on their NHL roster, but perhaps another organization could give him a better opportunity to rise through the ranks.


That was something that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondered about on today’s edition of the 32 Thoughts podcast.


“I think it’s a bit of a shame because I really thought for a time ago that was a really good marriage, the Canucks and Rathbone. It’s been slowly deteriorating,” said Friedman.


“I do think that there were times that Rathbone considered asking for a trade but never did. But I’ve got to think now… I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes up. Just another chance in another organization.”


Stay tuned.



Rob Williams


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I wouldn't mind at all. He was a 4th rounder, so has still been a success, despite not making the bigs. With him waived, we could maybe get a 6th or 7th for him. Would hurt Abbotsford, but our D is so insanely deep that we could stomach it.

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2 minutes ago, Rekker said:

A trade? I get how he feels, but no one wanted him for free to play on their NHL roster. 

There might be more options once camps conclude and a few clubs have redefined or identified where they may need to add. We may even be one of those clubs. As mentioned by @DrJockitch a project prospect for project prospect deal could easily transpire. 

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10 minutes ago, canucks curse said:

this... he just cleared waivers where someone could have taken him for free...

contract spot for contract spot. 
it’s not always just about the free pile…there are quite a few other things to consider such as other waiver eligible players, those you might want to protect, players you want to audition a bit further to gauge their development, etc etc 

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