July 28 2014 12:40PM
The Vancouver Canucks' new management team seems content with what they've accomplished so far this offseason, based on how they've operated over the past three weeks. Since locking up arbitration eligible defenseman Chris Tanev in early July, the club has been content to lock up 2014 first-round draft selections Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann to entry-level contracts and take care of the housekeeping in Utica (with deals for guys like Brandon DeFazio). The Canucks roster as it stands, is the one we'll see on the ice to start next season.
On the surface its been an offseason of upheaval, punctuated by a new president, a new general manager, a new coach, a new friendly but decisive style of operating, a new franchise villain, a new oft-criticized star goaltender, and a handful of new players - none of them, really, top-of-the-lineup pieces (Radim Vrbata, aside). Looking a bit deeper though, at least in terms of the organization's posture heading into next season and the into future, the changes seem cosmetic.
In the big picture, what's the difference between the 'reset' of the summer of 2013 and the 'retool and reenergize' of the past six weeks? Cap space and decisive action. Aside from that, the goals of the franchise and the identity of the core is unchanged.
Let's unpack this a bit further after the jump.
July 28 2014 11:22AM
I had a conversation with Harrison Mooney last week. Well, it was more of a one-way discussion. I smiled and nodded as Harrison talked at me about how he thought I evaluated prospects, and the weaknesses he thought my approach had.
Despite being drunk at the time (it was his birthday), Harrison raised some really valid points and criticisms - points and criticisms that I thought were relevant and understandable enough that I needed to address. To paraphrase him: "Rhys, I like your stuff. But when I read it, you just seem so sure on these kids. Like you're certain you know how they're going to turn out. But you don't know, you can't know. They're so young!"
The thing is, he's pretty much completely right. We can't know how these kids are going to turn out, so making statements like "Bo Horvat is destined to be a 3rd line centre" are asinine and disingenuous. This is also why I try to avoid making statements like "Bo Horvat is destined to be a 3rd line centre."
"But wait, Rhys. Didn't you--" Yes and no. We'll get to that past the jump.
July 25 2014 11:05AM
With the team's management group having already accomplished the majority of their work in terms of securing contracts for the 2014-15 season, we can now start to take a(n admittedly premature) look ahead at the contracts that will be coming up for renewal next summer.
Normal standard operating procedures in the NHL dictate that teams re-sign their prospects that have just completed their entry-level contract (ELC); after all, you'd hate to be that team gave up too early on late bloomer that goes on to blow up for another team after having invested years of development in him yourself.
With that being said, the Vancouver Canucks under Jim Benning have shown that they're not afraid to cut the cord after walking away from someone like Jordan Schroeder this summer, which must've put the pressure on the following 12 guys - who are all still technically considered "prospects" and are coming off of their ELCs - if they were paying attention.
Nation World HQ
July 25 2014 08:05AM
Trading a young star, stats for days, behind the Kesler trade talks, Draisaitl versus Bennett and more, all in this weeks roundup
July 23 2014 02:01PM
The Vancouver Canucks official Youtube account released a video that has been making the rounds online today. It essentially aims to give us a little behind-the-scenes look at the team's war room on the day of the draft, in which the braintrust is discussing the Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison trades that they're about to make.
While it lasts for only just over a minute and I'm sure it was both expertly and conveniently edited, I personally eat this sort of stuff up. We don't often get access to these sorts of nuggets which makes those rare instances when we do pretty cool.
There's one big takeaway that gets hammered home if you were at all unclear about it by now: the team's decision makers sure seem to be awfully fond of one Nick Bonino.