I opened up the Twitter mailbag yesterday and received a wide range of questions from Canucks fans. Turns out fans really, really want to know where Roberto Luongo is going to end up.
In addition to weighing in on the elephant in the room, I share my thoughts on how I see the second line looking, if the team can live up to Stanley Cup expectations, and more.
@CanadianGunner: What do you think the Canucks will realistically get in exchange for Luongo? When will he move?
I wrote my first (and hopefully only) Luongo trade post yesterday, and in it I predicted a return of Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri from Toronto. Canucks fans may not be thrilled with that return (and based on the replies I received, some weren’t), but don’t forget that the cap space gained from moving Luongo should also be considered a positive asset. Kadri is an intriguing player who fits what the Canucks are looking for in a young forward – he is gritty, skilled, and smart. And he is a playmaker, which, on paper at least, makes him a logical candidate to skate with Booth and Kesler.
I’d imagine the trade occurs in short order after the CBA is officially ratified. Although an interesting wrinkle emerged on Wednesday evening – do the Philadelphia Flyers have interest in Luongo? According to TSN’s James Duthie (by way of former Canuck and now TVA Sports analyst Enrico Ciccone) they do. Would that mean that the Flyers plan to buy out Ilya Bryzgalov? I would imagine so.
@Brido_MT: I have a bad feeling this season isn’t going to be what is expected by management and fans. What are your thoughts?
Well, I don’t know exactly what management thinks. Fans are entering the season with a “Cup or bust” mentality, and I don’t blame them. The Canucks are a talented team at all three positions, they have experience in big games, and they will be playing a lot of games against the weakest division in hockey in 2013. So many factors go into postseason success (namely health and goaltending), but Vancouver should be considered a cup favourite once again.
@eperry04: What do you think the second and third lines look like?
I imagine the lines are going to look quite different after the Luongo trade goes through. My best guess for the lines if Luongo starts in Vancouver, though:
Raymond-Lapierre-Kassian (with Hansen on the top unit)
The ideal units:
Booth-Kesler-Kadri (or another player acquired)
Raymond could be trade bait, but I like his chances at a bounce back season this year (if for no other reason than things can’t get any worse than they were last year). I also think he can reform his game to play more of a checking role if he doesn’t find a way to regain his scoring touch. His value is essentially nil at this point, and Gillis has proven he is a value GM – he won’t sell an asset like Raymond at his lowest value.
@BADGERxxxFACE: Do you think the Canucks will get a legitimate enforcer?
No. There was some rumoured interest in George Parros last summer, but I don’t think the Canucks need an enforcer. Kassian/Weise/Bieksa/Lapierre provide plenty of toughness.
@RyanLapshinoff: Not having Kesler to start is huge but beyond that, what are the biggest holes in the Canucks moving forward?
To start, a top-four, right-side defenseman is a necessity, unless Jason Garrison can make the transition there from the left (I suspect he can – the club did invest a lot of money in him last summer, and they wouldn’t have done that without having confidence in his ability to play both sides on the back end).
And, of course, finding a quality backup goaltender if Luongo is traded. Eddie Lack probably isn’t NHL ready at this point in time, but there isn’t much available on the UFA market. Another need is finding a second line playmaker – with shoot-first players like Kesler and Booth, it would help to have a player on that line that can make plays. Kassian may be that player one day, but I’m not sure he is ready yet either. Maybe Andrew Ebbett?
@natevk: Who could the Canucks realistically get back from the Oilers bank of young prospects?
I believe this is in regards to a potential Luongo-to-Edmonton trade. One name that immediately jumps out is Magus Paajarvi, who has become lost in the shuffle with all of Edmonton’s other young talent. The Canucks would obviously love to add one of the blue-chippers, but the odds of that happening are next to nonexistent.
If you play fantasy hockey at all, I have a quick shameless plug for you to read.
I helped contribute to the 2013 DobberHockey Fantasy Guide. The Guide has been completely updated with all of the news and notes that came in during the lockout (in fact, we have been working around the clock on it since an agreement was reached this past Sunday). This is also the first year we included advanced statistics in some of our analysis, too.
All projections are based on a 48 game schedule. Injuries need to be considered, prospect performance in the AHL, older players playing better in a shortened year (or worse), etc. Dobber has spent the days leading up to ratification going through each player with a fine-tooth comb. All projections, sleeper notes, rookie charts, injuries will be based on the shortened season and the latest information. Almost every single page of the Guide that was released on August 1st has been changed.