Thoughts on Friedman's Thoughts: Willie Desjardins, Vladimir Tkachev and Trades

J.D. Burke
December 21 2016 02:27PM

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Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder - USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to NHL insiders, Elliotte Friedman is second to none. When he talks, you listen. When he puts something in print, it's appointment reading.

So when Friedman publishes his weekly '30 Thoughts' column for Sportsnet, I think we owe it to bring any items pertinent to the Vancouver Canucks to your attention. Starting this week, that's something we'll be integrating into our weekly schedule.

With that, let's dive into this, the December 21st edition.

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Brandon Sutter is the Canucks' 4th Best Centre and Shouldn't be Protected in the Expansion Draft

J.D. Burke
December 20 2016 11:00AM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Sutter's counting stats don't tell the story of a struggling centre lost in the Canucks lineup. He's second on the Canucks in goals with nine, and his current pace has him on course for 46 points at season's end.

On the surface, the Canucks are getting everything they could ask of Sutter. Sutter's played everywhere. On the first, second and third lines alike. He's a staple on the Canucks first unit power play and penalty kill too. There isn't a forward role Sutter hasn't at one point filled.

We're at a point now, though, where the sample is such that we can begin to ponder whether that usage is in the Canucks' best interests. Just as important, we can discern where Sutter fits in the bigger picture and how that should affect the Canucks' plans with the expansion draft looming.

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Markus Granlund a Swiss Army Knife in the Canucks Middle Six

J.D. Burke
December 19 2016 12:50PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

When the Canucks acquired Markus Granlund at last year's trade deadline, it was his well-rounded defensive game that caught their eye. A season later he's grabbing everyone's attention with crafty setups like the one that levelled the score in Friday's contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That assist was Granlund's 13th point in his 31st game of the season. Prorated over a full season, that's a 35 point pace. In today's NHL, that's second line production.

Granlund's been an everything man for the Canucks. He's produced consistently on a line marred by moving parts and restoration projects. That versatility is something Granlund's cognizant of; something he takes a great deal of pride in bringing to the lineup.

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Olli Juolevi Named Captain of Team Finland at World Junior Hockey Championship

J.D. Burke
December 19 2016 12:01PM

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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from Finnish Jr. Hockey, Team Finland has named defenceman Olli Juolevi the captain of their U20 club at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Vili Saarijärvi and Kasper Björkqvist round out the Finnish leadership as alternate captains. 

The Canucks drafted Juolevi fifth overall last June in Buffalo. As a member of Finland's team last season, Juolevi caught the hockey world by storm as a lead horse from the blue line en route to World Junior Gold. In seven games at last year's tournament, Juolevi contributed nine points, all assists.

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Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: December 19th

J.D. Burke
December 19 2016 01:35AM

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Well, that weekend disappeared quickly. Then again, sometimes it feels like they always do. Time flies when you're having fun, and so on.

And what an eventful weekend it was. The Canucks played host to the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday, and somehow came away with the win. They were considerably less fortunate on Sunday, though, when the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets took the extra point in overtime with a 4-3 victory.

I think you've had enough of a stroll through memory lane, though. Onwards to the questions. It's time to answer a few of those, I reckon.

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