Our 2004 7th round pick secures his future with a new $10M deal.
This is a regular Friday feature combining a healthy mixture of observation, analysis, and foresight on the Vancouver Canucks. If you’d like to get at me about anything covered in this column, follow me on Twitter at @yyjordan and let’s start a textual relationship (wink).
1. So it appears the Sharks are the Canucks’ mongoose to their snake. Or their snake to their mongoose? I don’t know animals. Anyway, it’s not pretty. To be 100% honest, I would have been very surprised if the Canucks won their season opener last night. Too many things working against them: new coach, new system, one of the toughest rinks in the NHL, and a lot of plugs in the lineup. Speaking of…
2. I sort of hate the Canucks sending down talent in Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat in favour of disappointments like Zach Dalpe and waiver wire scrubs like Ryan Stanton. No, I’m not saying it would have been a good idea to burn the entry level deals of two promising 18-year-olds, but there would have been zero harm in giving them a few games while Zack Kassian is suspended and Jordan Schroeder is injured. I have never been a fan of forgoing pure talent in favour of guys who may be more proven but ultimately have a fraction of the skill. In this case, it’s not as if Dalpe and Stanton are even proven.
3. Who is Ryan Stanton? Well, he is a 24-year-old stay-at-home defenceman with "playing attributes" (Laurence Gilman’s words) who is known for blocking shots. Prior to last night he had played one NHL game, and won a Stanley Cup through luck and circumstance. All signs point to him being John Tortorella’s answer to Aaron Rome, minus the awesome Wario mustache.
4. Tortorella was very vocal about his preference to have young defencemen like Frank Corrado play monster minutes in the AHL rather than depth minutes on the Canucks. One would assume that is also his preference with forwards, and makes you wonder if he had a say in the demotion of Shinkaruk and Horvat after it appeared they had earned spots on the opening night roster. If that’s the case, Torts is going to have a hard time winning over the fans who always complained about Alain Vigneault’s reluctance to play young players.
5. The moves that Mike Gillis made in the lead up to the opener directly contradict the one thing he was adamant about after last season: "We need to get younger". Yet the season is underway and Shinkaruk, Horvat, Gaunce, Jensen, and Corrado are ether in junior or in the minors. Why? Because the Canucks need to "win now"? And Dalpe and Stanton are going to help them do that? Please.
6. Now that I’ve wasted four entries grumbling about the lineup, I’m going to use one more. What is Tom Sestito’s purpose? I mean, ultimately he is a random cluster of stardust and carbon doomed to live an empty, mostly meaningless life like the rest of us, but I mean specifically what is his purpose as a hockey player? On the Vancouver Canucks? Anyone?
7. There was one moment of pure poetry last night, and it was the Sedins beautifully setting up Jason Garrison for a power play goal. It was what we all envisioned the moment Garrison signed as a free agent and Sami Salo walked, and it took over a year to actually come to fruition. I’m sure we’ll find more bones to pick with Tortorella in no time (how about Chris Higgins logging more ice time than the Sedins through 2 periods last night), but maybe we can finally put this saga to bed.
8. Garry Valk boldly predicts that the twins will be 85-point players this year due to more power play production, which does make some sense. Henrik Sedin was on pace for around 77 points last season with a power play fumbling along at 15.8%. In 2011-12, Henrik finished with 81 points when the PP was humming at 19.8%. We know the twins are 33 and on the outskirts of their prime scoring years, but a lethal power play could see them average a point a game or more once again.
9. Jannik Hansen is guaranteed 10 million dollars over the next four years. Not bad for the little Dane with the funny voice drafted in the 7th round all the way back in 2004. Hansen and Higgins are making the same money and are terrific 3rd line players. If only the team had sufficient forward depth to actually play them on the 3rd line…
10. Seriously, if you had told me in the summer that the Canucks 4th line to start the season was going to be Weise-Dalpe-Sestito, I probably would have waved the white towel, and not in the fun way we all like to do when it’s spring and the Canucks are in the playoffs and everyone’s happy because we have a 3rd line centre and a 4th line that doesn’t take a hot dump in its pants every time it tries to complete a simple zone exit. Go Canucks!