May 25 2016 01:00PM
Jason Botchford kicked a hornets nest yesterday when he invoked the season-long battle between hockey analysts over which defenceman reigns supreme. In the blue corner: Dan Hamhuis. Formerly in the red corner: Kris Russell.
It's the trade deadline all over again. Well, to some extent. I mean, nothing has actually happened just yet. It's strictly speculation, albeit terrifying all the same. Then again, I'm of a different, more analytically inclined hockey mind than most.
I'm curious... what are your thoughts on this debate? Would you rather the Canucks pursue Russell in free agency than re-sign Hamhuis?
May 25 2016 11:00AM
With the final instalment of the Year in Review series posted yesterday, I figured now was as good a time as any to do a retrospective on the entire lot. The process started in the middle of April and almost lasted into June. Almost every Canucks Army writer contributed, offering their own unique takes on the Canucks lineups from a player-by-player perspective.
Let's look at the group as a whole, with links and everything, on the other side of the jump.
May 25 2016 08:00AM
Will Bitten has seen some stuff, man. Though immensely talented and beaming with promise, the 2017 draft prospect just survived most bizarre seasons a franchise has ever endured in the rich history of the Canadian Hockey League.
The Flint Firebirds were a trainwreck last season. The team's owner fired their coach after he refused to play his son often enough. The team walked out on ownership. Ownership was then forced to re-hire said coach by the league, before inevitably firing him before the end of the season. The league then enforced suspensions, fines and other punitive measures as a result. Did I mention this was their inaugural season, too?
Throughout all this, Bitten remained defiantly productive and showcased high-end talent and poise as the rock that kept the Firebirds ship from washing ashore entirely. As Jeff Marek so aptly described the situation for Bitten on an episode of his junior hockey podcast, "he was everything for that hockey team". That's high praise for a 17-year-old. Bitten wasn't underserving of the distinction though and we'll explain why as we introduce him as the 28th ranked prospect in our profile series.
May 24 2016 03:00PM
Expectations were high for Linden Vey when the Canucks dealt a second-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings to acquire him in the summer of 2014. There were ups and downs during his first full NHL season, but fans hoped that with a year of full-time NHL experience and a full summer of training under his belt, he would be able to build on a 10-goal, 24-point campaign.
Unfortunately those hopes were dashed when he was a surprise cut on the last day of training camp, losing his spot to rookie Jared McCann.
May 24 2016 11:00AM
The Linden Vey experiment is nearing the conclusion of its second year and possibly its stay in Vancouver period.
Though the Canucks had high hopes for the project centre when they acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round selection in advance of the 2014 NHL Draft, they've failed to secure their money's worth to date.
To the Canucks credit, it was a sound decision that carried a sizeable probabilistic advantage in their favour of securing a bona fide NHL player. And to Vey's, it shouldn't be forgotten that he's dealing with an unimaginable situation involving his family, which reads too close to the script of Fargo for comfort. Now the Canucks have a second opportunity to qualify Vey and have to decide whether it's worth the trouble.