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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#1 Beantown Canuck
July 09 2013, 12:14PM
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Re: Lain

"For one, he is older. For two, he is bigger, and for three, he is cheaper."

Also, for four, by choosing Lain you don't lose a year of entry level contract on Gaunce or Horvat.

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#2 NM00
July 09 2013, 12:42PM
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"David Booth fell comfortably in the top-100 among all NHL forwards over the past six seasons."

Just out of curiosity, why would you use a 6 year sample? That's an awfully long time...

Based on the currrent options, I'd like to see Schroeder get a shot at the 3LC spot. Might as well figure out what he is on this team one way or another.

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#3 Matt
July 09 2013, 12:53PM
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Agreed on Schroeder. The fact that he was used as little as he was toward the end last year was mystifying, given how well he played. I doubt he's ready for a Malhotra-level heavy lifting job, but with two fast, aggressive, play-driving forwards on his wings he might not get completely buried given that kind of assignment.

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#4 adam
July 09 2013, 01:08PM
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I've watched most of that forward group for so long that I am bored with them. Same goes for the rest of the team.

It seems like they have peaked and that peak is not anywhere near the top of the league.

Why keep going for it with a good but not great core?

Blow it up now before they go the way of the Flames and rebuild. I'd totally support that.

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#5 JI123
July 09 2013, 01:08PM
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NM00 wrote:

"David Booth fell comfortably in the top-100 among all NHL forwards over the past six seasons."

Just out of curiosity, why would you use a 6 year sample? That's an awfully long time...

Based on the currrent options, I'd like to see Schroeder get a shot at the 3LC spot. Might as well figure out what he is on this team one way or another.

I am guessing the six year sample was used to base off of his consistency. There are a lot of forwards in this league that have one 50-70 point season and then drop off into mediocrity (or close to it) for the rest of their career.

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#6 NM00
July 09 2013, 01:32PM
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@JI123

A 6 year sample is an arbitrary starting point.

And very misleading considering Booth's last 4 years in particular.

He's had a season marred by concussions and another injury prone season this past year.

A 3 year (weighted) sample would be far more appropriate.

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#7 BertTheTank
July 09 2013, 01:52PM
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Well thought out man. I could definitely see all these scenarios come to real life. But Schroeder as 3C still scares the hell outta me. He's not big, struggles at faceoffs and while he "held his own" last season it wasn't against good competition. Hopefully he takes another step forward tho. We'll see but my bet is also on Richardson in that spot.

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#8 Unknown Comic
July 09 2013, 01:55PM
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NM00 wrote:

A 6 year sample is an arbitrary starting point.

And very misleading considering Booth's last 4 years in particular.

He's had a season marred by concussions and another injury prone season this past year.

A 3 year (weighted) sample would be far more appropriate.

Booth became a regular NHLer 6 years ago. I don't know how that's arbitrary.

If you want the clearest picture, take the biggest sample possible.

I assume the writer assumes most of us understand Booth's history and would apply it when reading this piece.

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#9 NM00
July 09 2013, 02:02PM
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@adam

"Why keep going for it with a good but not great core?"

Because job one for a GM is self-preservation.

Gillis has entered job saving and moral hazard territory.

"Blow it up now before they go the way of the Flames and rebuild. I'd totally support that."

By the end of this season it will be clear that this is the best course of action for the organization.

But, again, job one for a GM is self-preservation.

Gillis will keep trying until the owner takes away his keys.

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#10 NM00
July 09 2013, 02:09PM
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@Unknown Comic

"If you want the clearest picture, take the biggest sample possible."

False.

Samples need to be weighted. The most recent data is most useful in predicting future performance.

It's why the 50/30/20 method is often used as a quick and dirty tool in baseball.

For example, Jagr's 20+ year sample means little for how he will perform next year. I sure as heck don't care what he did in 1995.

And with Booth, those concussions and recent injury history should temper projections.

There really isn't a point using more than a 3 year sample with Booth. Aside from misdirection.

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#11 Mantastic
July 09 2013, 02:36PM
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@NM00

agreed, larger sample size isn't often the best

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#12 Rob
July 09 2013, 02:36PM
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@NM00

Hypothetical: I have a batter who, in the last three years, hit .300, .290, and .180. The number of at bats for each of those years is 500, 480, 60. What do you predict he will hit next year?

If you really think that the year of .180 hitting is the most important data despite the small sample size, then you're going to have to agree to disagree with a lot of people here, because for a lot of people, the signal-to-noise ratio of that most recent season is practically nil.

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#13 Jamie E
July 09 2013, 02:41PM
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I actually wouldn't be surprised to see Santorelli given a hard look at 3C in training camp. He has some serious chemistry with Booth in Florida.

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#14 NM00
July 09 2013, 02:54PM
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Rob wrote:

Hypothetical: I have a batter who, in the last three years, hit .300, .290, and .180. The number of at bats for each of those years is 500, 480, 60. What do you predict he will hit next year?

If you really think that the year of .180 hitting is the most important data despite the small sample size, then you're going to have to agree to disagree with a lot of people here, because for a lot of people, the signal-to-noise ratio of that most recent season is practically nil.

Putting aside the fact that batting average and ABs tell a very small part of the picture...

For starters, I'd need to know why the batter only had 60 ABs (preferably plate appearances) in the most recent season.

If it is because of a major injury, then the expected number of plate appearances (and projected WAR) would be significantly lower.

If your point is that the smaller sample of last year's regular season needs to be taken with a grain of salt, I don't disagree.

However, it is still the most recent data. And aside from the fact it was a shortened season, the most recent data should be given the highest weight when projecting future performance.

For example, it's mostly meaningless (in terms of expected future performance) what Justin Morneau did prior to his concussion in 2010.

He has since suffered a major injury and shows zero signs of becoming an above average to elite level player again.

Hence, a 6 year sample on him misses the point.

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#15 biznow
July 09 2013, 03:20PM
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I think Lain will surprise on the fourth line (as much as a 4th liner can surprise). On top of the points you listed about him, he's also good on draws. Sounds like he has everything you want from your 4th line C.

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#16 van
July 09 2013, 03:38PM
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I think Hansen deserves a spot on the 2nd line over Booth or Higgins. His even strength scoring is much better than the other two over the last few seasons and they're both past their scoring peaks.

If the 2nd line is going to face tough minutes though, I see the sense in playing him on the third in a more offensive role.

What about Burrows as a checking centre?

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#17 BertTheTank
July 09 2013, 04:13PM
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I think im the only one that sees Schroeder as not ideal. He's not good enuff at scoring to be in the top 6, and by no means is his style of play suited for a bottom 6 role either. If he's our 3C then im very afraid. Ahh hell, im afraid no matter who we have there. (Unless it's someone via trade)

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#18 Unknown Comic
July 09 2013, 04:22PM
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@NM00

Good gawd. The writer is talking generalities here and not predicting the future. He's roughing out possible forward combos according to who is under contract. I don't understand the need to nit-pick minor stuff.

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#19 JCDavies
July 09 2013, 04:48PM
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@BertTheTank

You're definitely not the only one. To use a baseball term - I get the feeling he might be a AAAA forward.

From reading Botchford's twitter feed, it sounds like the organization doesn't even mention him that often anymore. Strange though, if they really were done with him, shouldn't they be trying to build trade value?

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#20 jobin segan
July 09 2013, 04:48PM
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Unknown Comic wrote:

Good gawd. The writer is talking generalities here and not predicting the future. He's roughing out possible forward combos according to who is under contract. I don't understand the need to nit-pick minor stuff.

It's all in good fun. Part of being a fan is obsessing over things like this; the criticism has been constructive so far.

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#21 NM00
July 09 2013, 05:29PM
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Unknown Comic wrote:

Good gawd. The writer is talking generalities here and not predicting the future. He's roughing out possible forward combos according to who is under contract. I don't understand the need to nit-pick minor stuff.

"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"

Emphasis on 'STILL'.

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#22 NM00
July 09 2013, 05:32PM
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JCDavies wrote:

You're definitely not the only one. To use a baseball term - I get the feeling he might be a AAAA forward.

From reading Botchford's twitter feed, it sounds like the organization doesn't even mention him that often anymore. Strange though, if they really were done with him, shouldn't they be trying to build trade value?

I suspect teams already know what Schroeder is.

I mean, Gillis suggested he was "building" CoHo's value with zone starts.

Really, though, I'm sure Buffalo would have traded Kassian for CoHo anyway. Just like they did with Bernier.

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#24 JCDavies
July 09 2013, 07:09PM
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@Jeff Angus

I realize that it's still early and there is nothing I'd like better than for JS to prove me wrong but it's hard, with his size, not to pigeon-hole him somewhat. If he can't figure out how to produce offense regularly, does he have what it would take to hold down a regular spot on an NHL team? I'm not sure. I would love it if he proves me wrong, though.

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#25 antro
July 09 2013, 07:42PM
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You're probably right about the 2nd line, but who carries the puck? A lot of people have noted that Kesler isn't the best puck-carrier. Higgins can't do it. Burrows? I don't know, sometimes he can gain the blue line. I guess it'll be up to the D to get them the puck.

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#26 JDM
July 09 2013, 10:09PM
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In light of the organizational mandate to staff the 2nd line as a shut-down line - and let's face it, Higgins/Kesler/Burrows is not a line you put together to provide secondary scoring, it's a line intended to play the other team's scorers to a standstill - why are we still ascribing traditional roles to the third line?

In particular, why is "Jordan Schroeder is unsuited for a third line role" still being used as an argument?

If Kesler's line is absorbing the difficult QOC minutes, there's simply no reason why the so-called third line cannot be deployed in a sheltered, scoring role to provide the secondary offense traditionally asked for from the 2nd unit.

This is particularly true if the Sedins - to a lesser extent than last year perhaps but nontheless - continue not to be gifted the cushy zone starts they were in the Art Ross years.

If the lines set out above are deployed in a manner that plays to their respective strengths, there is no reason whatsoever to think Schroeder won't be suited to the role he's been given here.

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#27 Kevin M.
July 09 2013, 11:00PM
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I agree with your suggestions in general, but I think they will only carry 13 and I think Schroeder is the odd man out. I unfortunately see him as another Raymond. I would put Richardson in the middle of the 4th line and Lain on the wing where he will have less responsibility. I would put Santorelli on the third line with Booth and Hansen. Santorelli and Booth had chemistry together the one year down south. Key is a pair on every line. Sedins, Kesler/Burrows, Booth/Santorelli, Lain/Richardson and moveable parts around them. I think Kassian would have continued to do well with the Sedins, but AV wanted Burrows back with them, I think a mistake as it was time for them to become tutors. AV did everything short term, hopefully Torts will change that.

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#28 Kevin M.
July 09 2013, 11:00PM
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I agree with your suggestions in general, but I think they will only carry 13 and I think Schroeder is the odd man out. I unfortunately see him as another Raymond. I would put Richardson in the middle of the 4th line and Lain on the wing where he will have less responsibility. I would put Santorelli on the third line with Booth and Hansen. Santorelli and Booth had chemistry together the one year down south. Key is a pair on every line. Sedins, Kesler/Burrows, Booth/Santorelli, Lain/Richardson and moveable parts around them. I think Kassian would have continued to do well with the Sedins, but AV wanted Burrows back with them, I think a mistake as it was time for them to become tutors. AV did everything short term, hopefully Torts will change that.

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#29 It ain't pretty
July 09 2013, 11:00PM
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Yowsa, it's ugly out there.

The biggest missing price is pretty clear. It's been pretty clear since Manny went down 3 yrs ago. They don't have a 3C. They needed to give Gordon whatever he was asking, they needed to get him. They should have done whatever it took. Gillis has crapped the bed again.

Kesler will get injured again. 6th year running. Who's gonna eat the tough mins when Kes goes down and they have a young rookie (like Gaunce or Lain) playing down the middle? It'll leave the heavy lifting to the Sedins again, and will hamper their offensive production. But hey, the Sedins will be killing penalties so they'll likely get injured by some fluke shot. So basically, I don't have a lot of faith in this lineup up front. The backend is great. The front end is really poor.

I don't know what this GM and owner are thinking. They've comepltely bungeled this team.

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#30 BertTheTank
July 09 2013, 11:34PM
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I think they tried last season ie. Them putting him on the power play instead of JG. But he faltered and couldn't produce. So now maybe they've moved on?

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#31 BertTheTank
July 09 2013, 11:44PM
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Jeff Angus wrote:

I think it's way to early to pigeon-hole Schroeder as anything - he's played 31 NHL games in his career. I am a bit surprised the org isn't talking about him more, but he did have shoulder surgery recently and may be off until October or November (something I had forgotten).

Problem is. .. Schroeder really hasn't produced at the AHL level either. If he can't do it in the AHL why do people think he can in the NHL??? Because he made one sweet behind the back pass? ? I still don't get it. Like the other commenter said, I hope he proves me wrong but I just don't see it.

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#32 NM00
July 09 2013, 11:51PM
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It ain't pretty wrote:

Yowsa, it's ugly out there.

The biggest missing price is pretty clear. It's been pretty clear since Manny went down 3 yrs ago. They don't have a 3C. They needed to give Gordon whatever he was asking, they needed to get him. They should have done whatever it took. Gillis has crapped the bed again.

Kesler will get injured again. 6th year running. Who's gonna eat the tough mins when Kes goes down and they have a young rookie (like Gaunce or Lain) playing down the middle? It'll leave the heavy lifting to the Sedins again, and will hamper their offensive production. But hey, the Sedins will be killing penalties so they'll likely get injured by some fluke shot. So basically, I don't have a lot of faith in this lineup up front. The backend is great. The front end is really poor.

I don't know what this GM and owner are thinking. They've comepltely bungeled this team.

You realize that Gillis & Gilman are cap wizards, don't you?

Fairy dust will fix all of this.

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#33 Van C. Native
July 10 2013, 05:26AM
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@NM00

"Why keep going for it with a good but not great core?"

Because job one for a GM is self-preservation

The Vancouver Canucks have been on self preservation mode since it came into the league. Self preservation from their GM's, their coaches and especially their players. Anyone remember the Linden Pat Quinn era? When that core got dismantled they all with the exception of Bure sucked on other teams. You can never win championships with country clubs. Neidermyer wanted to play here once but the Canucks apparently do not like to spend money on winners. So he went to the Ducks and won one more SC. The Canucks are exactly like BestBuy stores, where BB does everything but sell things, the Canucks have done everything it takes not to win. Surprise, almost 50 years and still counting. Looks like old time fans had better pray for a miracle life extender serum cause chances are the Canucks will never host the cup before we all croak.

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#34 J21
July 10 2013, 10:23AM
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"Exonerate"? Heh, I think you mean "exalt". :)

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#35 Ted
July 10 2013, 01:56PM
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Very similar to what I see happening as well. We don't have a ton of flexibility with the roster.

I think this year will be rough. I wouldn't be surprised if we miss the playoffs. The positives? It will let our few top notch prospects develop. We may get a high draft pick. Cap goes up next year so we may be able to add some nice pieces. Sedins will likely take a significant pay cut of they re-sign with us.

Gillis started as a rookie GM and it shows. He was given a talented lineup and did very little to add young talent and turn over the roster to keep us relevant. He may be a good GM one day but not anytime soon. He's learning some hard lessons and, unfortunately, 'cut his teeth' with the Nucks.

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#36 NM00
July 10 2013, 03:49PM
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@Ted

"The positives? It will let our few top notch prospects develop."

The Canucks have one of the worst farm systems in hockey.

"We may get a high draft pick."

In all likelihood, the Canucks are too good to get a high (i.e. top 5 - 10) draft pick. Middle class mediocrity is the most likely scenario.

"Cap goes up next year so we may be able to add some nice pieces."

Cap goes up for everyone. Rebuilding through free agency is a bad bet.

"Sedins will likely take a significant pay cut of they re-sign with us."

Based on what exactly?

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#37 Mantastic
July 10 2013, 04:54PM
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@NM00

2014 draft class is pretty weak considering too. 2015 is much better.

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#38 Ted
July 10 2013, 05:34PM
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@NMOO

Not sure why you would want to comment on my piece but what the hell.

The Canucks do have a poor system but have a few solid prospects. Pretty much what I said. Their overall system isn't stocked but have some blue-ship prospects. Always a good idea to properly develop players. Again, not sure what your point is there.

We may get a high pick. May being the key word in my assertion. You think it may be lower. Who knows. I prefer my version to yours, thanks.

Cap goes up for everyone?! What?! No way! You don't say!!! Wow! That dashes my plans! Crikey!

Sedins pay cut. Based on common sense, really. Older players with declining totals usually don't get a pay increase. Sure, some have but I'm thinking Gillis is not re-signing them at 6 mill/year. If they ask for anything in that range then they should just go and test the market. 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.

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#39 NM00
July 10 2013, 06:17PM
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@Ted

Every team has a few solid prospects. The Canucks are no better than the average team. They are worse, in fact. Espescially since the 2013 1st rounders are unlikely to make the team.

"Properly" developing players would likely mean letting the 2011 1st rounder at least start the season in the AHL and the 2012 1st rounder have another year in junior.

Which prospects are left? The organization doesn't seem high on Schroeder and if they actually want to take their time with prospects Corrado should be in the minors as well as the 8th defenseman/1st callup.

There's Eddie Lack I suppose.

I don't know why you think the Canucks "may" get a high pick.

Unless Luongo bails, this isn't a lottery team by a longshot. Not yet at least.

"Cap goes up for everyone?! What?! No way! You don't say!!! Wow! That dashes my plans! Crikey!"

Considering Hansen & the Sedins will likely need raises, yes it does dash your plans.

The Sedins will be 33 on July 1, 2014. That's not too old and their last extensions were signed when the cap was much, much lower.

For comparison's sake, Datsyuk is nearly 2 years older and received a raise up to $7.5 mil/yr on the extension he just signed.

"Gillis is not re-signing them at 6 mill/year. If they ask for anything in that range then they should just go and test the market. 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."

Signing the Sedins for $4 mil/yr is as realistic as those Lou for Dipietro+ trade scenarios...

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#40 youngfiSh
July 10 2013, 06:31PM
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I would be both shocked & disappointed if one of (if not both) Gaunce & Horvat isn't on the team next year.

The current core is still incredibly talented and can carry a winning team. The Canucks are in a perfect position to inject some youth into the lineup, and have these guys apprentice on a winning team.

If the organization waits a few years until the current core is disbanded before they get these kids into the lineup, it's going to be a steep learning curve. Edmonton Oilers are the perfect case study. All that potential, and nobody to show them the way.

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#41 JCDavies
July 10 2013, 08:57PM
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@NM00

"The Canucks are no better than the average team. They are worse, in fact. Espescially since the 2013 1st rounders are unlikely to make the team."

Corey Pronman recently gave the Canucks a jump in his 2013 preliminary Organizational Rankings. Apparently, he likes Horvat and Shinkaruk a fair bit too.

http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1553

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#42 NM00
July 10 2013, 10:01PM
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@JCDavies

Thanks for the link :)

Though I was talking more about the prospects that could play on next year's Canuck team.

I guess it's possible these two make the jump. But it seems unlikely.

A little disappointing, though, that the Canucks traded the team MVP for a 9th overall pick and selected a guy who fell (and whom publications will obviously rate highly at the moment) and they still only move to #20.

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#43 Lemming
July 10 2013, 10:09PM
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One of the best prospect pools the Canucks ever had, and it still kinda sucks.

The life of a Canucks fan. Well, at least we can't say we're not used to it.

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#44 JCDavies
July 10 2013, 11:05PM
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@NM00

I agree, I don't think either of those guys are ready to make the jump either.

As for the move up to #20, these are only Pronman's preliminary rankings, the Canucks could easily rise or fall when he does his expanded rankings later this summer.

Part of this has to do with where the Canucks are drafting, however. This video shows how top-heavy the NHL draft really is:

http://video.mit.edu/watch/better-off-guessing-measuring-the-quality-of-draft-decisions-peter-tingling-7270/

There is an almost 30% difference in success rates between players drafted in the 1-10 range compared to the 21-30 range, where the Canucks usually draft from. That is a difficult disadvantage to overcome.

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#45 NM00
July 10 2013, 11:55PM
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@JCDavies

I understand the Canucks have typically drafted late in the Gillis era.

As much as anything, I take issue with Gillis dumping prospects and draft picks on failed trades.

He's had six 1st round picks in six drafts. Which sounds normal, right?

But in the process, he's diluted Hodgson to Kassian, Grabner, a 1st and Bernier (acquisition cost of a 2nd & 3rd round pick) for Ballard/Oreskevich, KConn and a 2nd for an ill-advised rental and now a fully developed NHLer with star potential in Schneider for a single lottery ticket.

Gillis has yet to draft and develop an NHL regular while, for example, SJ used a quality late round selection (Coyle) to acquire Burns. And they used their last high selection on Couture while the Hodgson/Kassian pick looks much, much worse.

Chicago just won another championship with two 2011 selections (Saad & Shaw) on their ELCs providing value.

Bryan Murray just acquired Ryan using a quality 2009 2nd round selection.

If Gillis were fired tomorrow and interviewed for another GM opening, I can't think of many transferable skills or areas in which he has excelled that he could accentuate.

Based on his drafting and trading history, he looks like a pretty poor talent evaluator. Like the manager in a fantasy league who continually has his pocket picked.

He's done reasonably well in free agency. But often times that's more about where a player wants to play as opposed to talent evaluation.

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#46 NM00
July 11 2013, 12:31AM
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Lemming wrote:

One of the best prospect pools the Canucks ever had, and it still kinda sucks.

The life of a Canucks fan. Well, at least we can't say we're not used to it.

The prospect pool was actually pretty good when it had Edler, Schneider, Bourdon as the top guys and Grabner, Raymond, Hansen and probably some failed prospects I can't remember off the top of my head as secondary members.

The core of the 2011 team were mostly home grown guys & Lou.

Schneider was also home grown and the Canucks may very well have done just as well or better if he had been in net.

Blasphemy, I know...

In 1998, the Canucks selected Bryan Allen 4th overall. Not a great pick, but he did lead to Lou so the value was eventually recouped and then some.

In 1999, the Canucks drafted the Sedins 2nd and 3rd overall.

Since then, these are the only selections the Canucks have had in the top 20:

2001: RJ Umberger (1/16) played 0 games for Vancouver.

2005: Luc Bourdon (1/10) played 36 games for Vancouver.

2006: Michael Grabner (1/14) played 20 games for Vancouver.

2010: Cody Hodgson (1/10) played 71 games for Vancouver.

2013: Bo Horvart (1/9) is the highest selection in 14 years and and has played 0 games from Vancouver so far.

Mind you, a large, large part of this is that the Canucks have had very few top 20 selections.

But FFS, has ANY other NHL team not developed a single NHL regular from a top 20 selection in the last 14 years?

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#47 Lemming
July 11 2013, 12:36AM
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@NM00

What baffles me the most (I totally agree, he's basically dumped our graduating prospects off for...most uncertainty in prospects? Oh, plus...Ballard...) is that when Gillis was hired, he specifically mentioned not only player development as one of his keys, but not trading young pieces away.

So far, he's done nothing but do that with the young players the Canucks have developed, in particular Hodgson, Grabner, and Schneider. I still have flashbacks to 2011 wondering if things might have been different if we had Grabner on the team instead of Ballard, who didn't even play. He scored 34 goals that year, I wonder if he might've, I don't know, helped a team that was struggling to score goals in the finals.

As I said, I'm not even speaking in hindsight, I hated the trade from day 1. The Canucks had a dynamic, ridiculously fast scorer and they traded him for a ridiculously overpaid 6th/7th dman...so much for developing from within.

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#48 Lemming
July 11 2013, 12:39AM
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"But FFS, has ANY other NHL team not developed a single NHL regular from a top 20 selection in the last 14 years?"

Amusingly, the players you named that were drafted after the Sedins have become NHL regulars...for other teams. The Canucks seem to do a great job of drafting and developing talent in the top 20 for other teams...

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#49 NM00
July 11 2013, 01:09AM
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@Lemming

"What baffles me the most (I totally agree, he's basically dumped our graduating prospects off for...most uncertainty in prospects? Oh, plus...Ballard...) is that when Gillis was hired, he specifically mentioned not only player development as one of his keys, but not trading young pieces away."

I could not agree more.

IIRC, Gillis convinced his former client Pavol Demitra (RIP) to take a 2 year contract instead of a 3 year contract because he was investing heavily in player development.

He spoke of a "cycle of young players". Where are they?

I've said it before and I'll say it again...though I'll qualify it by saying I'm not going to do any research to prove my assertions :)

Could the value of even one top 3 round draft pick from 2008-2010 be recouped?

A number of these picks are down the toilet (trades for Bernier, Alberts & Ballard).

Could Kassian recoup a 13th overall pick? Could Schroeder recoup a 22?

The only player would looks like he might be able to recoup his value is KConn...and he's also out of the organization and taken a step forward in Dallas!

2011 to 2013 looks better. But I believe people will be disappointed by the overall impact of the 1st rounders in a few years.

Though even if Corrado is only Tanev 2.0 he'll be a success considering the acquisition cost.

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#50 JCDavies
July 11 2013, 01:11AM
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@NM00

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.

"I understand the Canucks have typically drafted late in the Gillis era."

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.

Chicago is a good team when it comes to the draft, which is probably the reason Pronman has them so high on the list. But they are "probably" more the exception than the rule and, until recently, they consistently selected higher than the Canucks.

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