Babych Please - May 21st, 2015

Grainne Downey
May 21 2015 11:00AM

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The Canucks did not hire Mike Babcock and did not win any playoff games in OT this week, but Nick Bonino did almost trip over a carpet. 

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Utica Comets Advance to Western Conference Final

Josh W
May 21 2015 09:00AM

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Courtesy: @UticaComets

The Utica Comets wrapped up their second round series, after 8 and a bit games, in the Calder Cup playoffs against the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton's AHL team).  It was a very exciting match up as the lead was traded back and forth and both goaltenders stood on their head.  The Comets managed to emerge victors by a single goal thanks to Alexandre Grenier!

Read past the jump to find out what went down.

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Rebuilding on the Fly - Part 4 - 1st Round Draft Targets

money puck
May 20 2015 04:00PM

In this series, I've contemplated how the Canucks could achieve their "rebuild on the fly" goal of winning now while incrementally moving towards becoming a contender again. 

In the first part of the series, I argued that the Canucks should look to move Chris Higgins, the rights to Shawn Matthias, and 2016 UFA's Radim Vrbata, Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis in exchange for draft picks (2 x late 1st, 2 x 2nds, a 5th and a prospect) and $16.6M in cap space. In the second and third parts of the series, I looked at unrestricted free agent targets worth looking at on forward and on defense. 

In a recent post, I introduced the concept of Prospect Cohort Success % (PCS%) and Prospect Cohort Success Points-per-game (PCS Pts/GM) which are quantitative metrics to better evaluate draft prospects. I'll be using them here to identify players the Canucks should target. The basic theory is that if you look at the closest comparables to a particular prospect in terms of age, height, points per game, and league, the insights you learn from that prospect's peers can be informative when assessing their likelihood of future success. 

Join me after the jump to see some players that PCS% flags as potential first round targets.

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Evaluating Vancouver's defense using HERO charts

Thomas Drance
May 20 2015 10:00AM

The Vancouver Canucks defense, long a strength of the club, was something of an issue for the team this season. 

We know all about the club's team level defensive issues, and we all saw the club get tormented by Calgary Flames forecheckers in Vancouver's first-round series loss last month. Canucks defenders also struggled offensively. As a group Vancouver's blue liners combined for 135 total points this season, making them the 26th highest scoring defense corps.

Let's break Vancouver's blue line down to its individual components using Dominic Galamini's HERO charts as an evaluative tool, and see what we can see.

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Are the Canucks Going to Trade Zack Kassian?

Rhys Jessop
May 19 2015 01:00PM

It seems like it's almost impossible to write a Zack Kassian article these days without including the words "mercurial," "enigmatic," or "maligned." Certainly the big-bodied forward has struggled to not only live up to the enormous expectations placed on him when he was drafted 13th overall in 2009 (though had we been doing our draft work back then, we likely would've pointed out that Kassian wasn't exactly on the development path of a future top-6 forward), but to even gain the favour of three NHL head coaches. 

As a right-handed big guy with soft hands and a mean streak in junior, Kassian looked tailor-made to play with the Sedin twins, but questions about his defensive game and a general inclination to board play rather than driving the net have conspired to keep him off of Vancouver's top line.

Not only that, but a crowding depth chart, early season trade rumblings, and a constricting cap situation look like they're all conspiring to push the Big Guy out of town. Will the Canucks trade Zack Kassian this offseason? Let's take a look after the jump.

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