A (Very Early) Look at the 2013-14 Canucks Lineup: The Forwards

Jeff Angus
July 09 2013 12:02PM

Zack Kassian - Wikimedia Commons

The dog days of summer won’t set in for a few more weeks, but the craziness of the past few weeks (heck, since January) has finally started to slow down. We will be rolling out a lot of prospect content in the coming weeks, too. The Canucks have had a pretty bare prospect cupboard since… ever, but thanks to the Cory Schneider trade and a highly-touted prospect falling into their lap, the future looks a bit brighter.

But how about the present? Let's take a look at some potential line combinations for opening night.

As expected, Mike Gillis was quiet on July 5th. And after seeing the ridiculous money and term given out to a very mediocre free agent class, teams who didn’t dip their toe in the water will be counting their lucky stars over the next seven or eight years. Limited supply and crazy demand equals overpayment. It always has, and it always will.

That isn’t meant to exonerate Gillis for showing shrewdness or patience relative to his peers, though – he simply didn’t have money to spend. Assuming there are no more significant changes on the way for the Canucks, let’s take a look at a potential roster.

Tortorella in Charge

According to Jason Botchford, John Tortorella wants to reunite Kesler and Burrows on the second line. This will work out if Zack Kassian can play like a top six forward for more than eight or nine games in a row. He has a ton of talent and is still young, but the Canucks simply need more consistency from him. Tortorella is a lot more hands-on with his young players than Alain Vigneault is/was, and Glen Gulutzan is known as a great teacher of the game, too.

The Canucks have high expectations for Kassian, and this move would only reinforce that.

Tortorella does employ a zone start strategy, although not as radical as the one the Canucks have used under Vigneault over the past four or five years. Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Vinny Prospal – under Tortorella they all saw offensive zone start rates close to or above 60%.

And at the other end of the spectrum, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko – these players did a lot of the heavy lifting for Tortorella’s Rangers.

Tortorella’s final few seasons in New York featured a team that pretty much collapsed around Henrik Lundqvist and blocked as many shots as possible. Coaches do what they can with what they are given, and Tortorella wasn’t given a team capable of scoring goals compared to the Lightning team he led to the Stanley Cup back in 2004.

Here is a closer look at some of his coaching strategies (he did a brief series of videos with MSG Network – Behind the Bench.

The Roster

We will have many more months to dissect Vancouver’s potential defensive pairings and forward line combinations. But here are some quick thoughts:

Line 1: Sedin-Sedin-Kassian

Burrows will still very likely see time with the twins, as expecting Kassian to perform at a high level for 82 games (or even close to it) would be foolish. However, this line has played well together in the past, and Kassian can open up a lot of ice for the twins with his physical presence and ability to rag the puck down low.

Line 2: Higgins-Kesler-Burrows

Burrows seamlessly transitioned over to the right wing to play on the top line, but does he move back to the left side with Kesler?  Vancouver doesn’t have many right-shooting forwards, and Dale Weise isn’t a top six forward in any league outside of the Netherlands.

The options: Chris Higgins, David Booth, Nicklas Jensen, Mike Santorelli, Jannik Hansen.

Right now, Higgins or Booth make the most sense here. Both have played top-six roles in the past, and both bring an element of speed and tenacity to this line. The Canucks would love Jensen to come into camp and earn a top six spot, and I don’t think it would be a huge reach to see that happen. He’s ready.

However, due to a lack of a proven checking center, Tortorella may want to create a tough two-way line with Burrows and Kesler as the key cogs. Throw Higgins on there and you have a line capable of playing in all situations while chipping in with consistent offense.

Line 3: Booth-Schroeder-Hansen

The all-question line. Line three is a complete unknown right now. On the left wing, Booth and Higgins will battle for ice time on lines two and three. Booth is probably a more talented player, although he has yet to show it in Vancouver (although the numbers still back up the whole ‘bad luck’ thing).

While looking over large sample even-strength scoring rates the other day, I noticed that David Booth fell comfortably in the top-100 among all NHL forwards over the past six seasons. Essentailly, even though Booth has had four consecutive disappointing and injury plauged seasons, his scoring clip would still suggest that he's a fringe first liner in this league...

Things are wide open at center. Brad Richardson will get a shot there. I like Richardson’s game – not sure he is strong enough defensively to be a checking center, but I think he has more offensive upside than he has shown as a 13th/14th forward in Los Angeles. Don’t discount Jordan Schroeder – he has beaten the odds at every step along the way, and he showed last season that he can hold his own in this league. His lack of height is always going to be an issue, but Schroeder seems like a nice fit (on paper, at least) with speedy/gritty wingers like Booth and Hansen

Line 4: Richardson-Lain-Weise

The only guarantee in the bottom six – Dale Weise on the right wing of line four. And I guess that isn’t even a guarantee right now, as Weise is still a restricted free agent. Tom Sestito signed a two-year deal and will see some time here, but he isn’t an everyday player. Bill Sweatt has signed to play in Sweden this season. Lain probably has the advantage over Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce for a roster spot. For one, he is older. For two, he is bigger, and for three, he is cheaper.

Richardson's veratility will come in handy as the Canucks will of course have to battle through injuries throughout the course of the season. He's probably the favourite for the line three spot, but I'd like to see Schroeder get a look there.

Assuming the depth forwards all sign their qualifying offers (or similar amounts):

Far from perfect, and the Canucks would need a lot of things to turn up aces for this forward group to be as productive and effective as we have seen in recent years. Kesler and Booth need to stay healthy. Kassian needs to show more consistency. One of the young centers needs to emerge as a bona fide NHLer, at the very least. But there is promise.

Previous Posts from Jeff (@AngusCertified)

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Jeff shares his Canuck-related thoughts with the Army a few times per week. His work can also be found over at DobberHockey.com, as well as his personal blog, AngusCertified.com. Give him a follow on Twitter @anguscertified.
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#51 JCDavies
July 11 2013, 01:21AM
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The conversation seems to have shifted from a discussion on prospects and drafting to an indictment of Gillis' trading record...

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#52 NM00
July 11 2013, 01:29AM
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@JCDavies

"I agree that Gillis has made some questionable trades but I'm not really sure what Hodgson and Grabner have to do with the current group of Canucks prospects. Neither of them would factor into the rankings."

It was the slightest of openings to go off on a tangent about how Gillis sucks at general managing!

"This isn't just a Gillis trend, take a look at the Canucks draft positions for the last 13 drafts. This is a persistent factor in the Canucks' player acquisition and development programs and the Canuck's consistently low position in the organizational rankings."

I did. See comment number 46 :)

Though, as I've also said before, Burke & Nonis drafted Kesler, Bieksa, Schneider, Edler, Hansen, Bourdon (RIP), Raymond & Grabner from 2000 - 2007 without the benefit of high picks.

This, along with one high pick on Sedin and two trades (Sedin #2 & Luongo) for top of the draft talent was the core of the 2011 team.

The drafting was solid without the benefit of high picks before Gillis took over.

And the foundation of the 2011 SCF team had far more to do with the impact players Burke & Nonis brought into the organization than the middle-bottom of the roster players Gillis acquired.

In conclusion, Gillis sucks at general managing!

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#53 Ted
July 11 2013, 09:14AM
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@NM00

By letting prospects develop, I mean letting them learn in the minors. I am hoping Bo, Hunter, Gaunce and Jensen all start the season in a lower league. They're still very young. Not sure what you meant by develop...

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah there is no way the Sedins are getting a pay raise. You're delusional. No chance they ask for over 6/year. Hansen may get a raise but it will not be huge. Like the guy but he isn't anything special.

I also there there is a real chance we miss the playoffs in our new division with this team. I almost welcome it - it would be a reality check and I prefer a lottery pick over being swept out of round 1 of the playoffs.

I really think this year will be a write off. Gillis will be in a position to get FAs next year. The young players will have some more experience.

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#54 Mantastic
July 11 2013, 09:57AM
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@Ted

Alfy got a pay raise and he's 41 because he's been underpaid his entire career. same could be said about the Sedins. Sedins should be getting a pay raise to stay on the team. Next year everyone will be in a better position capwise, maybe the exception of Chicago and maybe Edmonton.

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#55 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 10:04AM
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JCDavies wrote:

The conversation seems to have shifted from a discussion on prospects and drafting to an indictment of Gillis' trading record...

You almost sound surprised. That dust in the air, well that's NM00's dead horse, flogged to a powder.

I like the first two lines. No way anybody is going to push the Sedins around on Torts watch Kass will be come a fixture there. I also think Hansen takes a step this year and earns more gravy time. He just keeps getting better and I can't see why not. We have options with the third and fourth we haven't had for a couple of seasons. It's not that bad heading into this year. We've got a more North American flavour in our prospect pool and this draft we may have stole the first round with two great young Canadian boys.

Last year was a write-off. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play some Torts hockey. We are actually a pretty gritty team when we play that way. It'll be nice to see these guys hitting and heavy on the forecheck again. I like the changes so far from the coach on down.

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#56 Mantastic
July 11 2013, 11:00AM
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@Ruprecht

Hunter is the only value pick in the 1st round, Bo was a reach at 9. definitely didn't steal the 1st round.

P.S. Kassian was on the ice when Keith ran Daniel.

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#57 NM00
July 11 2013, 11:16AM
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@Ruprecht

"No way anybody is going to push the Sedins around on Torts watch"

You realize Torts isn't on the ice, right?

"We've got a more North American flavour in our prospect pool and this draft we may have stole the first round with two great young Canadian boys."

Who cares about their passports!?!

"I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play some Torts hockey."

You mean when Hank and Kes are out of the lineup after blocking shots?

"I like the changes so far from the coach on down."

Why exactly do you believe the Canucks will be better under Torts.

He's a coach not a wizard.

He's not going to make the Sedins and Lou younger or Kesler healthier.

He's bound by the talent on his roster.

AV is probably going to have more "success" next year. Not because he is a better coach. But because he is inheriting a better shot differential and save percentage team with some young talent on the roster.

"NM00's dead horse, flogged to a powder."

Torts' wizardry and fairy sprinkling ability will not fix the mess he is inheriting.

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#58 NM00
July 11 2013, 11:20AM
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@Ted

"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah there is no way the Sedins are getting a pay raise. You're delusional. No chance they ask for over 6/year.

Anyone who believes the Sedins will have lower cap hits than Burrows is delusional.

"A lot will be based on this year etc but re-signing them for a few years in the $4 mill. range could be realistic."

We have a winner!

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#59 NM00
July 11 2013, 11:31AM
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Mantastic wrote:

Alfy got a pay raise and he's 41 because he's been underpaid his entire career. same could be said about the Sedins. Sedins should be getting a pay raise to stay on the team. Next year everyone will be in a better position capwise, maybe the exception of Chicago and maybe Edmonton.

Well said.

Iggy only took a slight paycut as well and that is during a temporary recession to join a winner.

Datsyuk received a raise on his extension and he is older than the Sedins.

The cap was, what, in the $50 millions when the Sedins signed their current 5 year deals?

Those extensions were prior to their Art Ross trophies.

Though they may just be PPG guys next season espescially with the makeup of the current roster.

They may take short term deals. But there isn't any reason to expect the AAVs to fall when the cap will probably be back up to $70 million...

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#60 JCDavies
July 11 2013, 11:58AM
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@Mantastic

I haven't watched Horvat play, so all I have to go on are the pre-draft rankings and I have regularly seen him ranked in the 10-14 range. He was probably a reach at 9, but not a big one.

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#61 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 12:12PM
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NM00 wrote:

"No way anybody is going to push the Sedins around on Torts watch"

You realize Torts isn't on the ice, right?

"We've got a more North American flavour in our prospect pool and this draft we may have stole the first round with two great young Canadian boys."

Who cares about their passports!?!

"I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play some Torts hockey."

You mean when Hank and Kes are out of the lineup after blocking shots?

"I like the changes so far from the coach on down."

Why exactly do you believe the Canucks will be better under Torts.

He's a coach not a wizard.

He's not going to make the Sedins and Lou younger or Kesler healthier.

He's bound by the talent on his roster.

AV is probably going to have more "success" next year. Not because he is a better coach. But because he is inheriting a better shot differential and save percentage team with some young talent on the roster.

"NM00's dead horse, flogged to a powder."

Torts' wizardry and fairy sprinkling ability will not fix the mess he is inheriting.

March 19th, 2012. He wasn't on the ice, but certainly relayed the message to the other bench. Let me know when it's the Coaches job to be on the ice, besides practices. Not a very good first point.

I care about their passports because I'm a Canadian Hockey Fan and the style of play in the playoffs is more North American these days....just look at the passports of some of the more recent names on the Cup. You might start to care more.

I believe in Torts because he's our Coach. He coaches a style that I enjoy watching as a former player of competitive hockey and a lifelong fan. I was never in the AV boat. I think this team is more suited to that style.

Where is your evidence that everybody key is going down this year blocking shots? Especially since it's a big ingredient to success in the playoffs, you can't have it both ways it needs to be a discipline we possess to give us a better chance to win. It's a big part of the game. If it's taught and executed during the regular season, that would minimize the risk of injuries while doing so in the playoffs...since it becomes second nature.

Risk is inherent in this sport. You could just as easily go down trying to deflect a shot standing in front of the net, or around it ala Sid, or catching a rut. It's called chance, and it's a huge factor in every sport. Learn to live with it because nobody is exempt, not a single player. Either way, you should expand your list to the entire team, unless your bent on these players going down this year. I sincerely hope not.

Torts is not here to make anybody younger or healthier. He's here to make them better, which is counter to your apocalyptic view of our team. Yes, I believe he can.

Really, you are taking the easy side of this argument. Because in the end you'll probably be right and we'll lose like 29 other teams...and you'll get to say you were right all along. But seriously, are you here to support our team or play chicken little?

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#62 Mantastic
July 11 2013, 12:15PM
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@JCDavies

a majority of scouting services have Hunter above Horvat in the rankings. and NHL numbers consensus have Horvat at 13, which takes into account: Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, The Hockey News, Craig Button, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report rankings. when Horvat was drafted, he wasn't the best player avaliable, lets just put it that way.

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#63 NM00
July 11 2013, 12:40PM
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@Ruprecht

"I care about their passports because I'm a Canadian Hockey Fan"

Maple boner alert!

It's a multimillion dollar sports franchise. Not an international tournament.

Winning in the NHL is about good players. Not local players.

"I believe in Torts because he's our Coach."

Well at least you gave me a logical explanation. Blind faith it is.

"Where is your evidence that everybody key is going down this year blocking shots?"

1. Torts preaches shot blocking 2. Hank will now be on the PK and shot blocking 3. Kesler is the new Salo 4. Half allusion/half joke

"Really, you are taking the easy side of this argument. Because in the end you'll probably be right and we'll lose like 29 other teams...and you'll get to say you were right all along."

Strawman.

Based on what we currently know, my "argument" is that the Canucks are a middle class team with a 10/50/31 core that is not good enough, limited upside on the NHL roster (with plenty of downside) and a weak farm system.

"are you here to support our team or play chicken little?"

Neither.

I don't blindly support everything the club does as you seem to be suggesting I should do.

Nor do I indulge in the "43 years and counting" or "Sedin/Lou choker" narratives.

Try realism. Maybe you'll like it.

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#64 NM00
July 11 2013, 12:56PM
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@Mantastic

Also @JCDavies

It should be noted that NHL teams have more resources to scout all of these players, get medicals, interviews etc and form boards that differ from BobMac, THN & HP etc.

Not trying to appeal to the authority of NHL GMs. But they do have a heck of a lot of information on these guys.

"Every team is happy on draft day" or something.

I remember being happy when the Canucks "stole" Schroeder at 22. Of course, I think we can all see why he slipped...

Gillis has employed a pretty consistent strategy in the first round, though the player profile (size over skill) has changed.

He has used his high picks (#9 and #10) on safe and theoretical "high floor" guys who are likely to play in the NHL in some capacity if nothing else.

He has used his all of his late 1st rounders on players that slipped on draft day.

Remember, Hodgson & Schroeder were good prospects too.

And Hodgson appears to be fulfilling Gillis' desire of hitting a double instead of a homerun.

I'm reminded of this article:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mariners-have-many-options-little-impact/

The first wave (CoHo & Schroeder) of the Canucks using this strategy has been underwhelming, imo.

Hence, I think expectations should be tempered on the 2011-2013 first rounders.

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#65 TED
July 11 2013, 02:38PM
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@NM00

Well, it looks like we have a difference of opinion here! I guess we'll find out next year. You obviously will win this argument if the Sedins re-sign for over 6 mill. They very well could do that. I think the 4 mill range is fair and maybe high 4 mill range is not out of the question.

It really seems like you have a lot of certainty in your answers. Are you Canuck management or an executive with the team? A Canuck? Agent? Just wondering cuz you seem to think you have all of the answers here.

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#66 Mantastic
July 11 2013, 02:56PM
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@NM00

if you look at how accurate Bob's rankings have been for the past years where he does ask NHL team scouts/head scouts, you'll see that these rankings compare very well to most draft boards.

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#67 Mantastic
July 11 2013, 02:59PM
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@TED

NM00 line of thinking is much more realistic than you're line of thinking they the Sedins will/deserve 4m/year contract after their current one is done, which is down right crazy.

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#68 Ted
July 11 2013, 03:57PM
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@NMOO

Uh...Bob...draft rankings? I completely agree our farm is weak. I noted that. I said they have a few blue chip prospects and after that it gets thin down on the farm. I think that is a pretty obvious consensus.

@Mantastic

I guess we'll wait and see on the Sedins. I say, if we re-sign them, it'll be 4-5 million/year. I can't see them getting a raise when their abilities are declining.

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#69 Lemming
July 11 2013, 05:34PM
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You guys were talking about Torts earlier, and I just have to say, I don't know if he's going to be successful or not, but I'm positive I'm going to be completely and utterly entertained by him all year long, which makes me indescribeably happy.

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#70 NM00
July 11 2013, 06:35PM
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@Mantastic

Thanks for pointing me in Bob's direction. I'll have to have a look.

What I meant, though I don't think I articulated it well, is that franchises have infinitely more resources than HP, for example.

Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law & Baseball Prospectus also do these "consensus lists" and talk to a number of scouts etc.

Of course, NHL teams aren't looking to just copy the ISS board.

Schroeder, Jensen, Gaunce & Shinkaruk were all scooped up by Gillis after falling on draft day.

I'm not saying every other team is correct to have bypassed these players.

But there's a reason why these players fell.

Which is why I'm cautious to get overly excited about these players just because they rank highly on publication lists.

I'm more interested to see the evaluations on these players a year down the road.

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#71 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 06:41PM
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Lemming wrote:

You guys were talking about Torts earlier, and I just have to say, I don't know if he's going to be successful or not, but I'm positive I'm going to be completely and utterly entertained by him all year long, which makes me indescribeably happy.

Me too. More than you'll ever know.

@NM00

Maple boner? Too funny, never heard that one before. Care to tell me how many Canadians in comparison to other countries were on the respective rosters of the past 3 Cup Champions? Also, tell me where the Olympic Gold presently resides?

Strawman? I suppose if I was wrong it would be, but I'm not. You are the one propping yourself up with speculative arguments, based on hindsight on the easy side of the fence. Barstool at best.

A middle class team, perhaps...but then middle class teams have won Championships haven't they? So I'd say we have as good a chance as any with our team going into this year.

Try being realistic? Try playing competitive Hockey, then I'll take what you have to say as being realistic and treat it as such...because then you'll have perspective. Otherwise, you're pointing fingers at something you don't fully understand. That's about as real as it get from me.

Look out....the sky is falling.

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#72 NM00
July 11 2013, 07:21PM
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@Ruprecht

"Try playing competitive Hockey"

Almost made it to the NHL, eh?

Your limitations are not my problem.

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#73 Lemming
July 11 2013, 07:34PM
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@Ruprecht

The sheer number of Canadians produced as well as the fact that a majority of players in the NHL are Canadian, not to mention the fact that the majority of GMs, coaches, and captains are Canadian, and this whole "Canadians are awesome" narrative falls apart.

It really is a case of who cares about the passport. All people who care about the passport do is cherry pick failures of non-Canadians and successes of Canadians to build a false narrative.

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#74 NM00
July 11 2013, 07:46PM
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@Lemming

"All people who care about the passport do is cherry pick failures of non-Canadians and successes of Canadians to build a false narrative."

Such as bring up an international hockey tournament in a discussion about multimillion dollar sports franchises...

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#75 JCDavies
July 11 2013, 08:14PM
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@NM00

What definition are you using to determine if a player has fallen in the draft?

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#76 NM00
July 11 2013, 08:23PM
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@JCDavies

What do you mean "definition"?

Weren't Schroeder, Jensen, Gaunce & Shinkaruk all projected to be drafted higher?

Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

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#77 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 08:24PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Try playing competitive Hockey"

Almost made it to the NHL, eh?

Your limitations are not my problem.

Sure guy. Just as I suspected, obvious from your writing actually. Everything is easy from where you sit. Not much else to say, you've got me figured. You know all.

@Lemming

Hard to argue with success, but you seem to be doing so. Not cherry picking, just stating the obvious. Funny, but here the stats seem to back me up don't they? Wonder why...

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#78 Lemming
July 11 2013, 08:54PM
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@Ruprecht

You obviously didn't understand what I wrote. Go back and read it again.

The reason why you can point to such success for Canadians in the NHL is because so many of them play in the NHL (over 50%...of course you're going to have more successful Canadians than say, Slovakians!!). I haven't looked it up, but I'm pretty sure that until recently the majority of captains have been Canadian or American, and that might even be true now. Most coaches are going to be Canadian. I can't believe I need to say this all over again.

The odds are that Canadians will stand out because it's a league dominated by Canadians. It's like only being aware of the Swedish league and declaring all Swedes better than everyone else because they tend to win everything. Of course they do!! It's a league dominated by Swedes!

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#79 NM00
July 11 2013, 09:04PM
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@Ruprecht

Just out of curiosity...if I may appeal to your authority as a former competitive hockey player.

What are your thoughts on teams having European captains?

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#80 JCDavies
July 11 2013, 09:25PM
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@NM00

Sorry, I guess my question was a little vague.

What I meant was that the draft rankings are only estimates of where a player might be selected. A player that was ranked #15 and gets selected at #16 hasn't really fallen but a player, like Brandon Saad, that is selected about 20 picks lower than his ranking would be considered to have fallen.

How do you decide that a player has fallen? Do you have a set number of picks he would need to miss by? Or maybe some other criteria?

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#81 NM00
July 11 2013, 09:36PM
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@JCDavies

Well I've never thought about it that way. Maybe 5 picks minimum? 8?

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#82 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 09:39PM
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@Lemming

Sorry I may have read it in the wrong frame of mind. I read terms like "cherry picking" and "false narrative" to mean you were implying that was my intention, which it was not. You kind of made my point in your last post. It's a North American league, dominated by money. That attracts the elite.

The point I was trying to make is the style of the league, particularly come playoff time, caters to this style of play. Which differs from other leagues worldwide. So I feel it's a good thing to have these type of players. Especially ones that are young and hungry. I can't explain it, but it seems to add something to the drive and chemistry.

@NM00

A leader is a leader no matter where they come from, it just happens within the room. I'll go even further and say different leaders emerge at different points of the season, not all wear letters.

I'm more against making a Goalie the Captain, and I'm a Goalie, and have Coached too. Giving Lu the "C" was just plain ridiculous.

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#83 Lemming
July 11 2013, 10:02PM
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@Ruprecht

For sure. Some Swedes, Russians, etc can play that way though, whereas some Canadians and Americans do much better in the larger rinks with more structure and less speed and physicality.

The point is that passport shouldn't play a role in evaluating whether a player can play that way or not.

It's why I get annoyed when people call for more and more BC boys. It's stupid in my mind. I don't care if you're from South Africa if you can play.

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#84 NM00
July 11 2013, 10:44PM
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@Ruprecht

"A leader is a leader no matter where they come from"

A good player is a good player no matter where they come from.

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#85 Ruprecht
July 11 2013, 10:47PM
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@Lemming

Nobody should. I think we've got our quotient of BC boys. But to me, there's nothing wrong with cheering for the home team. I'd cheer for Sweden if I lived there. It's just as wrong to label a person with having a Canadian Boner for wanting to see some local boys or Canadians that have earned their way in our lineup. Nobody gets a free pass. Let's face it, everybody has a different view as to who fits where and why. It's part of being a fan. Nobody in their right mind would refuse the next Peter Forsberg or Nick Lidstrom on their team regardless of it's location.

Let me ask you this. You have two players of the same ilk. I mean identical right down to the tee. One is developing in Germany, one in Canada. Nobody knows about the kid in Germany but everybody knows the kid in Canada. Both are available later in the draft but there's a risk you lose one or another in the next round. Who do you take and why?

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#86 Almaric
July 12 2013, 09:23PM
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@Lemming

Canada needs to spend more money on anything but hockey for a damn change. Hockey hockey hockey, after a while, it's boring as hell, just like any other big league sports. Yeah, the country is good at hockey, cause the country spends so much damn money on it. Try spending money on other sports for a change, not everyone here lives by hockey. I seen enough hockey plays and goals to last me 3 life times.It's like the Americans calling their football the world championship...world? No one plays football (nfl) but north americans. LOL You cant be the world champ at something no one does but you. LOL

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#87 Bohdog
July 14 2013, 10:46AM
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Not sure what so many see in Kassian with the Sedins. They did well together at the start of the season against teams that were out of game shape and showing pre-season timing problems following the lockout. After that, he showed very few glimpses of promise and no real chemistry with the twins. The problem is his 'game sense' is too slow. Watch the shifts in the playoffs -- in the cycle, Kassian persistently holds on to the puck too long coming up the side boards before dumping the puck back -- allowing defenders to anticipate and casually step in to intercept. The other issue when they have the puck, Kassian periodically stops playing to watch his pass or what the Sedins are doing instead of getting into position. When he is on the ice without the puck, coing back through the neutral zone, he's always pointing to some opposing player that he hopes someone else will cover instead of aggressively moving into position himself! Finally, I've never seen anyone slower in coasting off the ice with his hand in the air.

Now, I think Tortorella will not tolerate that nonsense, so if he can get Kassian's head (and feet) into the game and keep it there, we could start to see Kassian to produce. If Kassian is to immature and sensitive, he'll be lower down the line-up or in the AHL.

...just my thoughts. I truly hope Torts can show him how to be a top 6 player, but I couldn't plan for it to start the season just yet.

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#88 Jon
July 16 2013, 01:19AM
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I hope Higgins is not in the top 6, then the Canucks have problems. Kassian is not a top 6 player, only good enough for spot duty so I wouldnt force it. I would give a player like Jensen a chance to shine and gain confidence with Daniel and Henrik. If Bo Horvat makes this team, I would play him on the 2nd line with Burrows and Kesler, and have him alternate center/wing with Kesler depending on situation. Bo has the skill to be top 6, he would be given a chance to flurish right away and gain confidnece with those 2 players. If the Canucks want to see if Horvat could be a Toews, Bergeron, O'Rielly, give him that chance to produce and show it. The 3rd line should be big and defensive with the ability to chip in offensively, if Gaunce impresses and makes the team, play him at center with Higgins and Hansen. The 4th line could be Booth, Schroeder, and Kassian, all with the abilty to move up and down in lineup if neccessary. Sestito and Richardson could be the 13,14 forwards since Weise is not re-signed.

Potential Lines 2013-2014 Daniel Sedin Henrik Sedin Niklas Jensen Bo Horvat Ryan Kesler Alex Burrows Chris Higgins Brendan Gaunce Jannik Hansen David Booth Jordan Schroeder Zack Kassian Tim Sestito Brad Richardson

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#89 Bohdog
July 16 2013, 08:14AM
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Hi Jon. If they're ready and it is not rushing them (set up for failure), then youth definitely would be served with your plan-- one prospect on each line. The mgmt. and coaches would need to be patient during the first couple of months, though, and I think there is some urgency to win right away. The interesting thing is that you could roll those lines 5-on-5, as there isn't really a meathead line. Interesting.

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