Vancouver Canucks’ Best Trades with the New Jersey Devils

Welcome to the Vancouver Canucks best trades series. In this series, we at The Hockey Writers look back at the Canucks’ trading history with every NHL team and pick what we believe to be the best transaction between them and the other 31 organizations. This article focuses on their trade history with the New Jersey Devils.

Vancouver Canucks Best Trade With Each Team
Vancouver Canucks Best Trade With Each Team (The Hockey Writers)

Over the course of both teams’ history, they have pulled off some blockbuster trades that ultimately helped both teams out equally. There are two trades that the Canucks benefitted the most from, shaping both the history and the present of the franchise.

Canucks Acquire 2013 1st-Round Pick (Bo Horvat) for Corey Schneider

After coming off a first-round exit as the Western Conference’s first-seed in the 2012 NHL Playoffs, the Canucks were the league’s “Team Turmoil.” Rumors of the firings of head coach Alain Vigneault and general manager (GM) Mike Gillis swirled before owner Francesco Aquilini extended both Vigneault’s and Gillis’ contracts, keeping them in Vancouver for the near future. Goaltender Roberto Luongo had announced he would waive his no-trade clause in order to move elsewhere, signalling his time was over as a Canuck after Corey Schneider started Vancouver’s final three postseason games.

Related: Vancouver Canucks’ Best Trades with the Florida Panthers

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Nonetheless, Luongo stayed put. Schneider started the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season as Vancouver’s starting netminder but struggled early, creating a goalie controversy. Vancouver had tried to trade Luongo during the season to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the trade collapsed, prompting Luongo to infamously say his “contract sucks.”

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The Canucks once again had a disappointing postseason in 2013, losing to the San Jose Sharks in the first round. After the season ended, Gillis worked on trading Luongo, but in a surprise move ended up trading Schneider to New Jersey for their 2013 first-round pick. The move took both Schneider and Luongo by surprise but ultimately provided clarity to the situation. Vancouver ended up using that pick to select centre Bo Horvat, and the rest was history.

In nine seasons as a Canuck, Horvat tallied 420 points (201, 219) in 621 games. He was a key cog in the Canucks’ power play, making plays in that so-called “bumper” role. More importantly, Horvat was named the 14th captain of the franchise on Oct. 9, 2019. He was arguably the face of the franchise between 2019 and his departure in 2023, leading the Canucks on the ice and both off it, as well. His charitable work in the city of Vancouver is something that will be felt for a long time, making his time in Vancouver a memorable one.

Canucks Acquire Kirk McLean, Greg Adams, 1988 2nd-Round Pick for Patrik Sundström, 1988 4th-Round Pick, 1988 2nd-Round Pick

Patrik Sundström’s five seasons in Vancouver were extremely successful. Between 1982 and 1987, Sundström managed to put up 342 points (133 goals, 209 assists) in 374 games. It’s hard to win a trade when you trade away a near point-per-game scorer at the age of 25, but the return the Canucks received brought two legends to the franchise in Kirk McLean and Greg Adams.

Adams became one of Vancouver’s best players during his eight seasons with the team, notching 369 points (179 goals, 190 assists) in 489 games. A true power forward, Adams had three 30-goal seasons as a Canuck and was one of their most clutch players during their 1994 Stanley Cup Final run, scoring two overtime winners, including the goal that won the Campbell Conference Final against Toronto, sending the historic Pacific Coliseum in a frenzy.

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As for McLean — the man pictured in the thumbnail — he became arguably the best goaltender in Canucks’ history. McLean spent 11 seasons in the Pacific Northwest, winning 211 games in the process. He was a Vezina Trophy finalist twice in his Canucks career, dominating the crease for Vancouver for 10 of those 11 seasons in Vancouver. He was arguably the most instrumental player for the Canucks during the aforementioned Cup run in 1994, posting a .928 save percentage (SV%), an eye-popping number during that era, and a 2.29 goals-against average (GAA) in 24 games. Had the Canucks been victorious in Game 7 against the Rangers, McLean would have definitely been a hot choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Canucks’ Best Trade with the Devils

Despite Horvat’s recent contributions with the Canucks, Adams’ and McLean’s move to Vancouver was too legendary not to take the victory here. They were key contributors of arguably the most memorable Canucks team of all time and their legacies will forever be enormous in Vancouver.

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