VANCOUVER â€” When Jannik Hansen was pulled from the lineup right before the Canucks hit the ice against Detroit, he knew something was brewing.
Hansen, the subject of intense trade speculation, was forced to watch his teammates play two periods of a 3-2 overtime loss on Tuesday to the Red Wings before being informed he was now a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Vancouver, which dealt veteran Alex Burrows on Monday to the Ottawa Senators, is sending Hansen to the Sharks in exchange for left winger Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017.
“It was a lot of waiting around. I wasn’t told anything,” Hansen said of the mid-game trade. “I was sitting around for the first and second period still waiting for something, then (general manager Jim Benning) called and let me know I was being traded. It’s a lot of unknowns that you have zero control over.”
Hansen had been with the Canucks for 10 years, but with Vancouver eight points back of the second wild card in the West and clearly in sell mode, Hansen is getting a chance to play with a contender.
“They are a very good team that has a shot. That part is extremely exciting to me,” he said. “The other side of that coin is I’m leaving here.”
Justin Abdelkader scored on a power play in overtime for the Red Wings, while Frans Nielsen had two regulation goals. Petr Mrazek made 25 saves for Detroit (25-26-10).
The Red Wings were also busy behind the scenes, making a mid-game trade of their own. Centre Steve Ott was held out of the lineup and traded to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
“It’s obviously tough, but it’s part of the business,” said Ott after the game. “That Red Wing jersey meant a lot to me and it meant a lot to my family to be able to play in front of friends and family every single night as a Red Wing.
“I’m heading to a good team with another great heritage, so it’s very exciting now to know that I have a chance in the playoffs.”
Also in sell mode and likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Red Wings dealt defenceman Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers earlier in the day in exchange for draft picks.
“It’s unfortunate to see guys move on,” said Abdelkader. “You wish them luck and hope they are successful, but at the same time we are not going to lay down, we are going to try to win and get points each and every night.”
Markus Granlund and Reid Boucher scored for the Canucks (26-29-7). Goalie Ryan Miller, who is also the subject of similar trade chatter, made 25 saves in what could be his last game for Vancouver with Wednesday’s trade deadline looming.
Benning says it hasn’t been easy letting go of veteran players with deep roots with the organization, but it’s the direction Vancouver needs to go.
“The last couple of days we have traded away good Canucks players, but what we have tried to do is add scoring to our group,” he said. “And I think we have added two future players that are going to score for us.”
Detroit opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game, as Andreas Athanasiou made a nice feed from the boards to a streaking Nielsen, who lifted the puck over Miller’s shoulder.
Nielsen scored his second of the night at 11:41 while on the power play. Henrik Zetterberg found Nielsen alone in the slot and the centre put it away for a 2-0 lead.
Under two minutes into the second Daniel Sedin, stationed to Mrazek’s right, received a pass off the boards from Henrik Sedin, then dished to Granlund in the slot to cut the lead to 2-1. It was Granlund’s 16th of the year.
Boucher tied it up with 2:46 left to play, as he wheeled around the defence and scored his first as a Canuck to ignite the crowd.
“I was brought here to be an offensive guy,” said Boucher. “I’ve been given chances the last couple games and it was nice to see one go in. Hopefully there’s more to come.”
Vancouver’s next game is Thursday in San Jose. Detroit plays in Calgary on Friday.
Jason Keller, The Canadian Press