October 02 2014 04:02PM
If there's one common theme that you'll notice through this series, it's that a lot of them will sound very similar: Player X was good in previous years. Player X had an awful season in 2013-14. Player X should rebound now that he's free of the binding shackles of John Tortorella's Meatwagon Brand Hockey, and so on and so forth. However, for no player is this refrain more true than it is for Alex Edler.
You're a Canucks fan and you watched the games just like I did last year, so you know what I'm talking about here. With countless turnovers, blown coverages, missed shots, offensive futility, a suspension, and injury issues, Edler's 2013-2014 campaign was truly the pinnacle of suck for not just Alex Edler, but for basically every notable player in the NHL. Edler's struggles coupled with what had to have been some kind of black-magic voodoo curse wound up hanging the defenseman with an impossibly bad -39 rating on the year.
The good news is that it's almost impossible to be that bad two years in a row.
October 02 2014 12:58PM
You'd be hard-pressed to find an unrestricted free agent who has provided his club with more value during the salary cap era than Smithers native and good local boy Dan Hamhuis, 31, has brought to Vancouver since signing here in 2010. An oft-criticized second pairing guy in Nashville (his regular pairing with Kevin Klein was never very good for some reason), Hamhuis has spent his late-20s with the Canucks, where he's blossomed into a bona fide top pairing defender, and one of the league's best hybrid-type shutdown types.
While Hamhuis remains a credible top-pairing guy, even a fringe "1A defenseman", and isn't quite at the age where we might reasonably expect the Canucks to begin to incur some significant diminishing returns on their investment, he had something of an off year last season (though he can take solace in the Olympic Gold Medal he won as a depth defender with the Canadian men's ice hockey team). Was it the so-called 'Torts effect' or has Hamhuis lost a bit of his fastball in his early 30's? We'll answer that question and more on the other side of the jump.
October 02 2014 09:30AM
When looking at the moves Jim Benning made to insulate Willie Desjardins with familiar faces, it's reasonable to start with the acquisition of Derek Dorsett from the New York Rangers. It's often the lost quantity in what was a whirlwind of moves in the days leading up to and during the draft, but that's not to say it wasn't lacking in importance.
The acquisition of Dorsett, if nothing else, validated all the talk leading up to and surrounding the beginning of the #Lindenning era. There was a decidedly unusual amount of attention paid to the fourth line by #Lindenning insofar as they paid SOME attention to it at all. It was of course Trevor Linden who wrongly stated that Shawn Thornton was an important player. Similar sentiments were echoed by Benning, who talked ad nauseam of building a fourth line.
It also showcased Benning's ability to maximize the diminishing return that Ryan Kesler handcuffed management into. It's often forgotten, but the acquisition of Dorsett is essentially an extension of the Kesler trade; the Canucks used the third-round draft pick they acquired from the Ducks on, you guessed it, Derek Dorsett.
We know courtesy of Scott Cullen's brilliant research in 2009 that, at best, a pick with the 85th overall selection has a roughly 21% chance of playing 100 games in the NHL during his career. If all goes to plan, Dorsett should see about 82 this season. That's more than three quarters of the way to a probability based victory for management!
How well will he play in those 82 games? Meet me on the other side of the jump to find out.
October 01 2014 08:00PM
Last year was one to forget for Alex Burrows, as the pesky winger spent most of his season dueling with a series of factors that by themselves would prove nearly insurmountable obstacles. Crammed into one injury shortened season, they were just too much to overcome.
When looking for an explanation as to what went wrong for Burrows in 2013-2014, injuries almost immediately come to mind, but the all too apparent disconnect with
new ex-Canucks head coach John Tortorella surely didn't help either. These factors and a cumbersome PDO managed to drag Burrows season to the ground and keep it there for a good long while.
Is this indicative of the direction Burrows career is heading in? Find out on the other side of the jump.
October 01 2014 04:25PM
When murmurs of a possible Ryan Kesler trade first surfaced on the internet, Canucks fans were understandably somewhat pensive. After all, here was a two-time 70-point scorer who had eclipsed 40 goals not too long ago, won a Selke trophy, and was a special teams monster, and Vancouver was going to trade him. Those guys just don't come around all that often, so even though Ryan Kesler was no longer RYAN KESLER, it still seemed imperative that Vancouver got an A-grade prospect in return.
Instead, Kesler used his NTC to force a trade to Anaheim, where Jim Benning was unable to acquire any particularly young assets aside from the 24th overall pick, spent on a very-good-but-not-great prospect in Jared McCann. What Benning was instead able to acquire was a cheap, cost-controlled 26-year old centre who scored 22 goals last season, and would have finished 2nd on the Canucks in both goals and points in Nick Bonino. Those guys also just don't come around all that often, so if that's what Nick Bonino is going to be, Vancouver has themselves a valuable asset.
But that's the big question here: what exactly is Nick Bonino?