NHL trade deadline: Canucks acquire Filip Hronek from Red Wings

The Canucks traded a pair of draft picks but secured a key piece of their blue line moving forward.

The Detroit Red Wings traded defenseman Filip Hronek and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in exchange for a conditional 2023 first-rounder and 2023 second-rounder. The first-round selection originally belonged to the New York Islanders and was sent to Vancouver in the Bo Horvat trade in January.

Hronek was enjoying another strong season for the Red Wings, already matching a career-high with 38 points (nine goals, 29 assists) in 60 games. The 25-year-old right-handed defenceman was tied for second on the team in points and ranked among Detroit's leaders with a plus-eight rating while playing 21:32 per game. He suffered an upper-body injury during Tuesday's loss to the Ottawa Senators and a timeline for his return to action is unknown.

A second-round pick of the Red Wings in 2016, Hronek is in the middle of a three-year, $13.2-million contract ($4.4 million AAV) he signed in 2021. He is scheduled to hit restricted free agency after next season.

The Hronek deal was the second major piece of news the Red Wings pulled off on Wednesday, as they also signed captain Dylan Larkin to an eight-year contract extension valued at just under $70 million.

Detroit began the week in a wild-card position in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but back-to-back losses to the Senators were a blow to the team's chances. The Red Wings now sit 12th in the East, five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final postseason spot.

New Canucks defenseman Filip Hronek has tied a career-high in points this season. (Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports)
New Canucks defenseman Filip Hronek has tied a career-high in points this season. (Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports)

Vancouver's defence had been depleted in recent days, as the club sent veteran Luke Schenn to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a third-round pick on Tuesday, and also traded Riley Stillman to the Buffalo Sabres for a prospect on Monday. Two other blueliners, Ethan Bear and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, are currently on injured reserve.

The Canucks have endured a rollercoaster season in 2022-23, as head coach Bruce Boudreau was fired in January after a drawn-out saga, with Rick Tocchet taking over behind the bench. The club also traded its captain by sending Horvat to the Islanders.

Vancouver is destined for the draft lottery this season, as it currently sits sixth in the Pacific Division and 12th in the Western Conference with 53 points. A rebuilding team trading first- and second-round picks isn't a conventional strategy, but the Canucks secured a solid blue-line piece in Hronek.