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Forget buying or selling, it's about winning

Whether buyers or sellers, Vancouver has had success at the deadline

by Daniel Fung @daniel_fung / Freelance writer

With the NHL's trade deadline fast approaching, the debate about whether the Canucks should be buyers or sellers on March 1 has never been more heated among the fan base.

But whether you're on 'Team Buy' or 'Team Sell,' one thing that everyone can agree on is they want to be on 'Team Win' regardless of whether the payoff is immediate or requires a little patience.

Over their history the Canucks have had their fair share of success on the trade market both as a buyer and a seller, not only during the trade deadline but throughout the year. Here's a look at some of their biggest successes as buyers and sellers.

Top 5 buys

5. February 28, 2011 - Canucks trade Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick to Florida for Chris Higgins

Looking to stock up for a playoff run, the Canucks parted with a former college free agent signing in Oberg and a draft pick to land a depth forward in Higgins. Higgins would not only be part of a memorable run to the Stanley Cup that fell just one win short of a championship that spring, but he'd spend five more season after that in Canucks colours.

Oberg, meanwhile, only played three more NHL games after leaving Vancouver (none of them with the Panthers) while Florida never did use that third round pick trading it away in a later deal.

4. August 28, 2009 - Canucks trade Daniel Rahimi and Patrick White to San Jose for Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich

This trade wasn't so much a shrewd buy by the Canucks as it was a giveaway by the Sharks, who were desperate to dump salary cap room to facilitate a trade for Dany Heatley.

Ehrhoff, who had been San Jose's third-highest scoring defenceman the season prior to the trade, spent just two years in Vancouver but they were memorable ones as he led the team in blue-line scoring both campaigns and was part of the 2011 run to the Stanley Cup Final. Ironically, one of the teams the Canucks knocked off during that run happened to be the Sharks. Lukowich played just 13 games with the Canucks but that's still 13 more NHL games than Rahimi and White have played combined.

3. November 10, 2001 - Canucks trade a 2002 1st round pick (Boyd Gordon) and a 2003 3rd round pick to Washington for Trevor Linden and a 2002 2nd round pick

It never seemed right to see Trevor Linden wearing anything else other than a Canucks uniform so even though GM Brian Burke had to pay a premium to bring the franchise poster boy back, it was worth every penny.

Linden may have lost a step or two by the time he returned to Vancouver but his veteran leadership helped mentor the up-and-coming crop of Canucks including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows and Alex Edler among others. Gordon, the player Washington selected at 17th overall with the pick from Vancouver, spent parts of eight seasons with the Capitals and remains an active player to date but has mostly been a career journeyman playing in bottom-six forward roles.

2. March 20, 1996 - Canucks trade Alek Stojanov to Pittsburgh for Markus Naslund

Already with a history of making successful deadline day deals, GM Pat Quinn added another major win to his books with a trade that deserves its place as being among the best deals the Canucks have ever made. It may not be a typical 'buy' with both players involved under the age of 23 at the time (Stojanov was several months younger than Naslund) but we'll count it as one seeing as how Naslund was the more seasoned veteran at the time with 151 NHL games played compared to just 62 for Stojanov.

Naslund, caught up in a numbers game in Pittsburgh playing on a team already blessed with numerous skilled scorers, had some early struggles in Vancouver but went on to become one of the top players in franchise history. He was the first Canuck to win the Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) and one of just four players to have his number hanging from the rafters. Stojanov, meanwhile, played just 54 games with the Penguins (including playoffs) before seeing his NHL career effectively come to an end.

1. June 23, 2006 - Canucks trade Bryan Allen, Alex Auld and Todd Bertuzzi for Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a 2006 6th round pick

When one of the top netminders in the entire league suddenly becomes available, you'd expect to pay a premium to acquire his services. That's the scenario the Canucks were prepared for in the summer of 2006 when Luongo was put up for sale by the Panthers.

It may have seemed like a hefty price at the time, but it was a bargain in hindsight. Luongo went on to rewrite the franchise record books, and his subsequent departure in 2014 left an active parting gift in the form of Jacob Markstrom. Bertuzzi's injury issues resulted in him playing just seven games with Florida before he was traded. Auld, Vancouver's team MVP the season prior, appeared in just 27 games for the Panthers. Only Allen had an extended stay spending parts of five seasons in the Sunshine State.

Top 5 sells

5. March 14, 2000 - Canucks trade Alexander Mogilny to New Jersey for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson

Despite the Canucks still being in the hunt for a playoff berth, they parted with one of their top veteran scorers in order to bring a local boy home at the 2000 trade deadline. Morrison had shown flashes of brilliance in a Devils uniform but it wasn't until landing in Vancouver that he would go on to establish himself as being a true star and the anchor on one of the greatest lines in Canucks history in the West Coast Express.

The Devils will count this trade as one of their best buys as well. Mogilny helped the Devils capture their second Stanley Cup in franchise history the same season after being dealt. Pederson spent just over a year in Vancouver before being traded.

4. September 15, 1987 - Canucks trade Patrik Sundstrom to New Jersey for Kirk McLean and Greg Adams

It didn't take long for the Canucks' new GM Pat Quinn to make a splash trading away a 25-year-old Sundstrom, one of the team's top point producers, for a pair of even younger players in Adams and McLean.

Adams was the more established of the two incoming players, having already showcased his offensive talent in parts of three seasons with the Devils. McLean, meanwhile, had just six games of NHL experience prior to the trade but would solidify the goaltending position for years to come. Both players would play integral roles in the Canucks' 1994 Stanley Cup run.

3. June 30, 2013 - Canucks trade Cory Schneider to New Jersey for a 2013 1st round pick (Bo Horvat)

One of the biggest shockers in recent history came down on the day of the 2013 NHL Draft with the Canucks shipping away a 27-year-old netminder they had spent years grooming in Schneider - and one who seemingly had officially inherited the coveted number one job just two months earlier - to select an unknown commodity in Horvat.

Although Schneider is still regarded as one of the league's elite although he'll soon turn 31, the Canucks undoubtedly feel they've come out on the plus side of this trade thanks to Horvat's emergence particularly this season although admittedly the jury might still be deliberating this trade for a while yet.

2. March 5, 1991 - Canucks trade Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher to St. Louis for Geoff Courtnall, Robert Dirk, Sergio Momesso, and Cliff Ronning

Dealing away a pair of key veterans at the trade deadline on a playoff-bound team, to a Conference foe no less, will raise some eyebrows but as GM Pat Quinn had proven time and again there is method behind the madness.

 In Courtnall, Momesso and Ronning, the Canucks received three players each of whom had a track record of being able to put up points in their previous stops and would go on to play key roles in the 1994. Dirk provided a tough presence on the blue-line for several seasons but was dealt away just before the Cup run. Quinn left the Blues after the conclusion of the season, while Butcher stayed for parts of three more seasons but St. Louis never advanced beyond the first round during his time there.

1. February 6, 1998 - Canucks trade Trevor Linden to New York Islanders for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and 1998 3rd round pick (Jarkko Ruutu)

The most polarizing trade in franchise history yielded one of the best returns in franchise history. Just a couple of months shy of his 29th birthday at the time and having just been selected to represent Canada at the 1998 Olympic Games, Linden's most productive years should still have been ahead of him although that wasn't enough to save him from being shipped out unceremoniously by Mike Keenan, who was making player personnel decisions at the time in addition to serving as head coach.

While the fan base was reeling from the loss of a franchise icon, Bertuzzi helped soften the blow by emerging as dominant power forward a few short years later and went on to be voted the team's most exciting player on four occasions, a two-time NHL All-Star, and named to the NHL's First Team All-Star in 2003. The trade tree for this deal is still active today. Bertuzzi yielded Roberto Luongo which yielded Jacob Markstrom. McCabe was part of the 1999 NHL Draft day wheeling and dealing that put the Canucks in a position to select both Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

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