WWYDW: When Richardson and Bonino return, who comes out?

The Vancouver Canucks’ luck on the infirmary front has run out in recent weeks, as the club has been ravaged by injuries down the middle of their forward group and along their blue-line. 

A funny thing happened on the club’s way to an injury-related tailspin – the team kept playing really good – even ‘real good’ – hockey. With the exception of a solid stretch in late November, the Canucks have been at their absolute best since the NHL All-Star break. 

From Zack Kassian’s hot-streak to the continued stellar play of Shawn Matthias. From Jannik Hansen’s continued excellent two-way play, to Linden Vey’s progression and the emergence Ronalds Kenins as an exciting and maybe even effective energy guy – we don’t envy the difficult choices that await Willie Desjardins once Nick Bonino and Brad Richardson convalesce and are ready to return to the lineup.

So for this edition of What Would You Do Wednesday we’d like to know: if you were Vancouver’s coaches who would come out and who would stay in? Let’s discuss further (and perhaps refrain from imitating a certain irascible, but beloved CanucksArmy comment section troll) after the jump.

Keep Bonino and Richardson in the press box

Here’s the first option. Maybe Vancouver’s forward group, as it’s currently composed, is playing well enough that the club shouldn’t make any changes at all. 

Since Brad Richardson went down with injury, the Canucks have been a 51.1 percent score-adjusted Corsi For club over 13 games. It’s a small sample, but at least when it comes to even-strength play, it seems that he’s not exactly being missed. 

Shawn Matthias has been beasting in the middle, while Vey has managed four points in his past six games and appears to be finding his groove centring Radim Vrbata and Chris Higgins on a very intriguing secondary scoring line. 

So where does that leave Bonino and Richardson? It still leaves them in “definitely still getting back into the lineup the moment they’re healthy enough to play without the risk of re-injury – duh!” territory. 

For Richardson it’s all about the penalty kill. Vancouver’s penalty-killing has been elite all season, but since he left the lineup in mid-January the club has permitted nine power-play goals against in just 13 games. In the previous 43 games, they allowed 18 in total. 

The club’s short-handed shot suppression game has also fallen off significantly. Over the last 13 games Canucks opponents are generating power-play shots for at rate almost nearly 25 percent higher than they were prior to Richardson’s injury. 

Richardson is apparently too valuable to the Canucks penalty-kill to be kept out of the lineup.

As for Bonino, well, he still leads the team in even-strength scoring rate. Though I’d probably still describe his two-way game as below average for a second-line centre, he’s coming out way ahead by shot attempt differential in regular top-six minutes. That’ll play. 

And, of course, though Vey is capable of creating some offense here and there, his two-way game remains problematic at 5-on-5. After showing signs of improvement in January, he’s currently experiencing another negative dip in his shot attempt differential trend-line (10 game rolling average):

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.04.34 PM

(Courtesy: war-on-ice.com)

As well as Vancouver’s centreman have stepped up in Bonino’s and Richardsons’ absence, Vancouver’s two most regular middle-six pivots are too valuable to keep in the press box when they’re healthy.

Zack Kassian

The overwhelming favourite to come out of the lineup is Kassian. Heck, he’s apparently already coming out of the lineup this week, and Richardson and Bonino aren’t healthy yet!

Kassian is a decent player, but his defensive play is still too permissive and his lack of discipline has the potential to hurt the team – especially with Richardson on the shelf. I still think he’s probably one of Vancouver’s nine best forwards, but frankly it’s getting harder to criticize the coaching staff’s lack of trust in him as the season goes on…

Linden Vey

Vey is better on the wing than at centre, but does he really make sense as the fourth-line right wing ahead of one of Hansen and Kenins (or Kassian for that matter)? The answer, surely, is no. Vey has had a reasonably good rookie season, but the numbers dictate that he’ll be a candidate to come out of the lineup once Bonino and Richardson heal up.

Ronalds Kenins

Kenins has been a borderline revelation in his short stint with the team. Though he’s been fortunate in achieving this mark, he’s currently tied for Rick Nash for first among all NHL forwards in 5-on-5 goal scoring rate on the season. Yes, yes, we know that’s completely meaningless, but it’s good fun nonetheless!

What matters more is that the young Latvian energy forward has improved the play of Vancouver’s fourth-line by the underlying numbers, and is in the black by shot attempt differential. Considering the way Vancouver’s fourth-line has been routinely buried this season, that’s a massive improvement. 

We’re talking about a minuscule sample here, but Kenins has legitimately been really impressive. With the way his physical style fits the mold of what NHL teams generally look for in a fourth-line energy player, Kenins should probably be given every opportunity to remain in the lineup.

Jannik Hansen

Hansen’s high scoring fall seems like a distant memory based on his complete lack of offensive output over the past 30 games or so. Of course, counting on Hansen for, or criticizing him over goal scoring is preposterous. Doubly so when he’s playing a fourth-line role.

If you’re thinking you’d most like to see Hansen be a healthy scratch, just go back and watch how he disrupted the MInnesota Wild in the neutral zone on Monday. There’s a good reason he was Desjardins’ fourth most utilized forward in that game, and it’s the same reason he’s not coming out of the lineup.

So what would you do?

Tell us dear readers on this lovely mid-February edition of What Would You Do Wednesday: who are you taking out of the lineup when Bonino and Richardson are ready to return?

Have your say in the comment section, and make your vote count by participating in our latest poll question (you can find it on the right side of the blog!). 

  • Larionov18

    I would sit Vey and Zack and put Bonino or Richardson back in. Canucks look so much quicker without them though. Zack is becoming dead to me. Too bad. I had hopes.

  • Spiel

    Based on ice time from the last game it is Kassian and Vey. Then once Kenins inevitably slows down, put one of these two back in.

    Higgins is the other player who I would consider sitting. Really there should be no safe spots in the lineup save the Sedins, Vrbata, and Burrows.

    Horvat has forced himself into being a regular which means everyone else needs to step up to stay in. Good situation for the bottom 6 which we haven’t seen here in a while.

  • Steampuck

    If Richardson isn’t moved at the deadline (he’s probably the most valuable trading piece for a contender), I think you start to platoon Vey, Kassian, and Kenins. I’m not sure any of them is more deserving of the press box than the others, and these are the young guys we’re trying to develop.

    The Canucks have an abundance of third/fourth liners. Too many. Couldn’t we just unload three of them for one bona fide second liner (I know, I know)? At the same time, it’s nice to be able to patch up holes as and when necessary. I think it also lets WD put his money where his mouth is: the twelve most deserving forwards on any given night are going to play. After the Sedins and Vrbata, I don’t think anyone’s a lock to be in the lineup if they’re under-performing.

    Last thought: I know Richardson’s good on the PK and Bonino is handy. But the team has looked a bundle faster without them. I want more of Kassian, Horvat, Burrows, and Matthias in front of the net. More Hansen and Dorsett energy. The team looked slow last year, and while they’re a ways off as polished as the recent good years the higher pace sure is fun to watch.

  • Canucksfan3322

    I would definitely look at dealing a 3-4 of the following: Higgins, Hansen, Burrows, Richardson, Matthias, Vrbata and maybe Kass. Lots of desperate teams out there to get the key piece in a playoff push.

    • Larionov18

      How would dealing Vrbata make this team better? Also the others listed would likely bring nothing more than picks and maybe a prospect. I am not against it but it likely wont fetch a player for a playoff run. Tanev would fetch a top 6 forward.

      • Larionov18

        Dealing Vrbata could be a good move, actually, since a lot of teams are looking for secondary scoring now. Look at the reaction to the Dubnyk trade where they transformed a free agent signing into a draft pick, that was applauded as good asset management. Anytime you can transform a free agent signing into a player, prospect or draft pick, you’ve effectively created value out of nothing.

        The only downside is that Vrbata came to Vancouver on a promise to play with the Sedins, it would make it harder to attract future UFA’s if they knew that the likelihood of getting traded increases as their performance increases.

        • Canuck4Life20

          This logic doesn’t make any sense to me. Benning already created value out of nothing when he signed Vrbata to begin with. How does a prospect or pick have more value than a first line winger?

          • andyg

            Looking at Vrbata, he’s 33 and only signed through next year. He’s a great player but let’s look at the long-term picture. If you can capitalize on another team’s immediate needs and convert him into a younger scoring prospect that will be here in a year and will be sticking around throughout their RFA years, then that’s a win in my mind.

            A classic example of capitalizing on a team’s needs is Martin Erat and Latta (WSH) for Philip Forsberg (NSH) in 2013. Washington wanted scoring at the time and gave up a blue-chip prospect for it. Are you telling me that if you had a chance to get a player like Nikita Scherbak (MTL), you wouldn’t go for it? I would.

          • Steampuck

            This. Bingo. Exactly. This is exactly what I am talking about. Never did I say we should blow up the team but get some desperate teams to overpay for an asset, like Vrbata, and get a good, young player back. The trade deadline is the period where some people are not thinking completely rationally and making a push to get that final piece that makes them a legit Cup contender. Let’s go fleece those teams! Get one or two good young prospects and make our run with what we have.

          • andyg

            Exactly. While I recognize that Acquilini wants the Canucks to make the playoffs because every home game is free money to the owner, the Canucks have been at 80-90% odds for the last few months. There is the depth and a team culture to get into the playoffs – beyond that, I thoroughly expect Vancouver to be destroyed by a *real* team, as we have seen in games against Anaheim or Tampa Bay this year. Let’s be real, we’re not winning the Cup this year based on the regular season.

            We’ve applauded Benning’s ability to capitalize on structural issues with other teams to get good prospects (i.e. Vey and Clendening). [Geez, Vey is a rookie, give him a break!] The Canucks have a rebuild plan and a solid platform that we *know* will be NHL-ready in 1-3 years (i.e. Horvat, McCann, Virtanen, Corrado, Demko). Let’s see if Benning can capitalize on another GM’s lack of confidence in their roster to add another valuable prospect to the post-Sedin Canucks.

          • Steampuck

            I think this deadline will be very telling. I am also concerned the owners are interfering in the process and are pushing for the team to make the playoffs.

            Honestly, I don’t see team making the playoffs with all of these other teams surging. Let’s be sellers and get a nice pick then see what we can do for next season! 🙂

          • Steampuck

            ya onwers who own the team wanting the team to succeed and make the playoffs….

            how dare they!!!

            again what real van or player or team employee or owner actually root for their team to lose? so we get a good draft pick?

            maybe go cheer for the sabres if your so into the whole tanking for draft pick thing.

          • andyg

            There is a big difference between intentionally for a high draft pick and making transactions increase value by sacrificing some ability now for more ability later. Ted said that he wasn’t interested in “blowing up the team” and tanking.

            bambam, you’re commiting a “false choice” fallacy by immediately assuming that the only other outcome of trading away a good player is to tank. I disagree, there is a middle ground which Ted and I are promoting – exploit the trade deadline mentality to sell high and get back the value of the player *plus* more than what you would have gotten during the off-season or pre-deadline.

            I ask you this: What’s the point of making it into the playoffs if you have no chance of beating the other teams? Based on the regular season, we’ve seen the Canucks can’t beat the powerhouse teams. When they play teams like Anaheim or Tampa Bay, the Canucks lose and they lose bad. I was at the Anaheim game last month (4-0 win for the Ducks) and the Canucks were *clearly* outmatched. It was painful to watch.

          • andyg

            The other thing to keep in mind is that as we have gone through some injuries we are getting a look at some of our youth. I feel that we look quicker and that they make us a better all round team.

            That leaves us some vets to move without interfering with the play off race.

          • andyg

            so selling high at the deadline would tell the remaining players that ya we believe in you and making the playoffs?

            so wins against pitt, chi, anahiem(earlier) mean nothing?

            when the playoffs start the regular season means nothing.

            anyone can win. look at LA. look at how far the rangers got last year. how far the habs got last year.

            so trading guys like Matthias, Richie, dorsett and Varbata would still help us make the playoffs?

            hey rest of team we just traded solid players for draft picks, prospects and reclamation projects that should still help us make the playoff? no probs right?

            regardless of what you or I or anyone else thinks they are going for it. benning said it. TL said it. they are not going to trade anyone that will prevent that.

          • andyg

            “so trading guys like Matthias, Richie, Dorsett and Vrbata would still help us make the playoffs?”

            I would not move any of these guys. Matthias is someone I would resign. He looks better at center and I am impressed with how quick he is.

            I would move Bonnio,Weber,Lack. (Lack at draft)

            It would be nice to aquire a 2nd.

          • andyg

            well the value of moving from a late 2nd rd pick to a late first rounder versus playing in the playoffs is something that shouldn’t be considered in my opinion.

            we do have depth yes to prob make a move and it not hurt our chances but we will and I would rather have that depth in case we go through another batch of injuires where we have more than a few regulars out like now.

            I agree it makes sense however the need to make the playoffs and POSSIBLY have a chance to win a cup trumps it.

          • andyg

            also his last sentence was “lets be sellers and get a high pick and see what we can do next year”

            that doesn’t sound like giving up or tanking ort whatever term you want to use for PURPSOLEY losing.

            people like that shouldn’t be fans of said team.

            what real fan in there right mind want to cheer for their team to lose?

          • andyg

            I’ve been watching the Canucks since 1987. I gave up on the Cinderella mentality long again. Do I want them to win? Absolutely. But if you’re hoping for 1994 or 2011 again, you’ve seemed to have forgotten about the other 18 years in between.

          • andyg

            Let’s extend your logic to Benning. His goal is to make the playoffs this year, he said that when he took the job, correct? According to your logic, what kind of GM is Benning if his goal is to *only* make the playoffs and not to win the Cup? Does that mean he isn’t a “real GM”? Would you say that he shouldn’t be GM of the Canucks then? It’s called being realistic and not idealistic. Benning knows the Canucks are not serious challengers for the cup like 2011. But he is inheriting a team that had no prospect development from 2008-2012.

          • Steampuck

            who the f ck said that was his only goal?

            talk about jumbling up my thought to fit your argument.

            you’ve already back tracked on the trading thing and now your trying to mix up my thought with your dumb theorys.

            like seriously dude.

          • Steampuck

            you friends with Benning? you heard him say this? youre living in his head?

            how the hell do you know what hes thinking?

            yes hes trying to get more prospects from the prevouis poor drafting by getting kids 22-24 like he has. I agree with that.

            stop trying to fit the situation to fit your argument.

            you’ve backtracked a few times now. you should stop cause you looking dumb.

          • andyg

            Ok, I’ve read a lot of ridiculous replies to my comments in this thread so I’ll save time and skewer them all in one shot.

            bambam: “How the hell do you know what he’s thinking”

            Reply: “Our goal every year is to make the playoffs. We’ll be disappointed if we don’t make the playoffs but, along the way, we’ve given the opportunity for younger players to play and gain some experience. We want to make the playoffs. But we want to make sure we’re developing.” — Jim Benning

            http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Willes+Handling+Kane+trade+talks+tells+need+know+about+Benning+plan/10809045/story.html

            So bambam, the reason why I know that Benning’s goal is to make the playoffs is because I read articles where he said that his goal is to make the playoffs. Took me a minute to find a quote to back up my statement, Benning has said this repeatedly since he was hired. You were factually wrong and could only justify your position by attacking my character. That’s an ad hominem fallacy: if you can’t back up your statement, you try to discredit your opponent. Not cool.

            bambam: “you’ve already back tracked on the trading thing”

            Reply: Ummm, no I haven’t backtracked on the trading thing at all. As I mentioned before Canucks4Life20 used only a fragment of my original post. Let’s rewind and see what he said: “Nick, you’re changing your tone from your earlier posts where you said a pick or a prospect for Vrbata would be a good trade.”

            Now, let’s see what I originally wrote: “Dealing Vrbata could be a good move, actually, since a lot of teams are looking for secondary scoring now. Look at the reaction to the Dubnyk trade where they transformed a free agent signing into a draft pick, that was applauded as good asset management. Anytime you can transform a free agent signing into a player, prospect or draft pick, you’ve effectively created value out of nothing.”

            Oh, so I wrote PLAYER, prospect or pick. Let’s look at the Forsberg trade another way. Forsberg was the 11th overall pick. You wouldn’t trade Vrbata for the 11th overall pick next year? No backtracking, I still stand by my position.

            While I’m at it, let’s look at another thing that Canucks4Life20 said: “And what makes you think the Canucks have no chance of beating another team if they make the playoffs?”

            I never said that they wouldn’t be able to beat another team. What I said was: “There is the depth and a team culture to get into the playoffs – beyond that, I thoroughly expect Vancouver to be destroyed by a *real* team, as we have seen in games against Anaheim or Tampa Bay this year. Let’s be real, we’re not winning the Cup this year based on the regular season.” Are you telling me that we stand a chance against Nashville, Tampa Bay or Anaheim? As of right now, the Canucks stand 2.9% chance of winning the Stanley Cup according to one sports odds website (see below). Are you telling me that they calculated that because they aren’t *real Canuck fans* or did they come to that conclusion based on their analysis:

            http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

            Steampuck: “But how does Benning attract any future high-end free agents if there’s a chance they’re going to get flipped? You can promote youth all you want, but you still need some proven older guys—many of whom come with families and want longer contracts….We can talk about trading Vrbata at this time next year, but trading him now sends an unsavoury message to future prospective free agent signings.”

            Reply: Yup, I totally agree. If you read my previous posts, you will see that I wrote: “The only downside is that Vrbata came to Vancouver on a promise to play with the Sedins, it would make it harder to attract future UFA’s if they knew that the likelihood of getting traded increases as their performance increases.” Of course, I recognized that signing a player with the intention to flip them makes Vancouver less attractive, hence the earlier comment that qualified my position.

            Bottom line: I haven’t backtracked and I still stand by my position. In fact, I’ve pretty much responded to most of the criticism with fact. You guys really need to cool down, you’re enthusiastic about the Canucks (just like me) and that’s totally cool. But you should read and understand a person’s position before commenting. Selecting fragments of a person’s position is not honest. Also, attacking a person’s character rather than the argument (with backup) is an ad hominem fallacy and the act of person who doesn’t have a well thought out position.

          • andyg

            But the Forsberg deal was — even at the time — seen as a pretty dumb one by those within WAS. We might — might — fleece someone. But I find it highly unlikely that we get anything other than a lateral movement if we get anything at all. I agree with you that blowing up the team doesn’t make much sense but I suppose I wonder how much people are willing to overpay for the kinds of assets we should be giving up. The things we have of real value we probably want to keep (Tanev, Edler, Horvat and the younger players) or we are severely constrained in terms of NTCs/NMCs.

            I think in a salary cap era (especially with an ever-decreasing dollar) draft picks are worth disproportionately more and just off-loading bottom six players without including a prospect or pick in the deal is unlikely. Look at the Kane deal — a former #3 and a former #4 (23 and 24 years old) go along with a youngish goalie go for two other top prospects, a top young defensemen and a first round pick. The oldest player in that entire deal is Stafford at 29. I just think it’s unlikely that other teams are going to overpay for the Canucks spare parts in the way that I keep seeing repeated on these boards.

            I don’t disagree with your assertion — and I’m also very leery of making changes to make us more competitive this year at a high cost to a future given the rebuilding phase we’re entering — I just have a hard time seeing us extracting much value from these pieces

          • Steampuck

            I can agree with you here PB and yet not change my position. If we can’t get an enhanced value for a player – then don’t trade him! A lateral trade is pointless and you actually lose more because Vrbata is a big part of the team now.

            Do I want to trade Vrbata? Of course not. HOWEVER, if another GM was desperate to give Benning a blue-chip prospect because the other GM’s job was on the line…absolutely, Benning should be *looking into* making that trade. Otherwise, if Benning doesn’t get a great deal, stand pat and roll with what we have.

          • andyg

            Nick, you’re changing your tone from your earlier posts where you said a pick or a prospect for Vrbata would be a good trade. Sure, if a team is dumb enough to give up a can’t miss blue chip prospect for someone like Vrbata then you make that trade, but it’s not like Forsberg for Erat type deals happen very often.

            And what makes you think the Canucks have no chance of beating another team if they make the playoffs? If they were to start today the Canucks would be facing Calgary in the first round. You really don’t think they can beat the Flames in a 7-game series? The other benefit of making the playoffs is giving our young guys a taste of valuable playoff experience, even if they can’t get past the first or second round.

            As soon as you trade your top goal scorer you send the message that losing right now is ok. Ask the Oilers how that has worked out for them.

          • andyg

            No, you’ve misread my original post. I used Dubnyk as a real life example that can be verified by other news reports. I said if you can convert a UFA into a *player, prospect or draft pick*…note that I also said player. I never said we should trade him for only a prospect or a pick.

            Sure, anyone can win once they are in the playoffs. I stand by my position that the Canucks are not a competitive powerhouse like Anaheim or Tampa Bay.

            Also, again, false choice. Trading away a player does not mean that I’m advocating losing now (i.e. tank). As I mentioned before, I said that the Canucks have the depth and culture to make it to the playoffs, where anything can happen. However, the way it is now, the Canucks are middle of the road and aren’t not going to win the Stanley Cup, let’s be realistic.

          • andyg

            Nick, you’re changing your tone from your earlier posts where you said a pick or a prospect for Vrbata would be a good trade. Sure, if a team is dumb enough to give up a can’t miss blue chip prospect for someone like Vrbata then you make that trade, but it’s not like Forsberg for Erat type deals happen very often.

            And what makes you think the Canucks have no chance of beating another team if they make the playoffs? If they were to start today the Canucks would be facing Calgary in the first round. You really don’t think they can beat the Flames in a 7-game series? The other benefit of making the playoffs is giving our young guys a taste of valuable playoff experience, even if they can’t get past the first or second round.

            As soon as you trade your top goal scorer you send the message that losing right now is ok. Ask the Oilers how that has worked out for them.

      • How on Earth would you know what any of those players, alone or in a package, brings back?

        I think a 2nd or a 3rd for some of those guys is fine. Make room for some younger guys.

        I think Vrbata could get you a solid return. A package with Kassian could get you a 2nd. Also dealing for prospects – you never know.

        I don’t care about this year. THe Canucks are not competing if they make the playoffs. In my opinion this season is a write off.

        Canucks could always target struggling players on other teams. Higgins and Hansen may get you Beau Bennett and a pick – Pitt needs bottom 6 to cement their team and Bennett is struggling and is turning into their Kassian.

        Honestly, I’d like to keep Kass and Matthias and see how we do with the rest. The rest are aging and we’re not anywhere near contending. By the time we can contend, those older guys will be done.

        • Steampuck

          you slam larionov for assuming what players we have will bring back then go one to make the same assumptions he did.

          so “how on earth would YOU know what any of those players, alone or in a package, brings back?”

          stupid.

          so you wish for them to lose? getting into the playoffs and see what happens.

          good thing your opinion actually means f ck all.

          I seriously don’t get fans who do not want to win.

      • Canuck4Life20

        Dealing Tanev would be just about the stupidest thing we could do… Don’t disagree with Ted. I don’t think we’re good enough to genuinely contend in the West and thus, it makes sense to deal guys who won’t be contributing (out of their primes + in decline) in 4-5 years from now when we are hopefully ready to be a genuine contender again.

  • Spiel

    I would like to see Vey come out of the lineup before Kassian.

    I also think it’s time for Benning to stick to his word from this past summer and look to move a veteran out to make more room for the young guys. We still have Jensen as well who could be in the lineup.

    Higgins would be the best trade candidate in my opinion. He is on a good contract and should be able to get at least a second round pick in return. Richardson is also a possibility. If he is not in the plans for next year then I hope trading him at the deadline is at least being considered. Matthias really needs to be re-signed. It would be a shame if Benning let someone with his size and speed walk just as he is coming into his prime.

  • Larionov18

    The best solution is a trade that reduces our surplus of bottom six forwards – Richardson and Higgins in my opinion. It would be nice to replace our missing 3rd round pick in this draft and potentially add another 2nd rounder.

    In the absence of a trade, you are going to rotate Vey, Kassian and Kenins out of the line-up. I am beginning to get to the end of my rope with Mr. Kassian. It’s always a step forward, followed by an immediate step back. His play against the Wild was unforgivably stupid. He is obviously not a learner. Unless he is kept starving for ice time, he seem to almost immediately lapse into very bad habits.

  • Move Matthias – his value’s at an all-time high and his underlying numbers aren’t too hot, and then rotate through Kassian, Kenins, Dorsett, and Vey based on the team they’re playing and who is playing well.

  • Here’s a crazy idea: Take a look at an opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses before every game and select from the cast as appropriate.

    Opposing team is good at drawing penalties? Matthias and Richardson go in, Kassian and Vey come out.

    Opposing team is fast and undisciplined? Matthias and Dorsett come out, Kassian and Vey go in, etc.

  • It’ll clearly be Kassian (and Kenins, if no else is injured by the time Richardson returns). Richardson doesn’t seem close, so it’s likely we’ll have a better handle on Kenins’ ability when the time comes.

    Vey is likely the weakest of the Canucks forwards, but I’d rather see a player who could be a valuable scorer get a chance than play Kenins or Dorsett for their ‘energy’. Same goes for Kassian of course. Warts and all, he’s still a better player than all our 4th liners. I’d much rather play our 12 best forwards than squeeze out a good player so our 4th line can play an outdated role.

  • Dirty30

    Start with having WD stop playing Mrs. Robinson with Vey and just put the guys on the ice that are performing the best — and that goes double in net.

    I’m starting to lose faith in The Kassomatic … He’s not mixing it up like he was and seems to have taken being stupid from a hobby to a full-time job. Enough already — figure out if you want to play hockey and make millions or think you are right and start asking if you want fries with that opinion.

    I like the new energy guys and even if they are not showing Sedinery skills, the are showing enthusiasm, speed, hits and anyone that knocks Chara down three times gets Kassian’s spot in a minute.

    Just waiting for Marchand to speed-bag Vey and have Dank go all Sesito on him … It will make up for a lot of sins.

    The season has gone from all ptsd to let’s get ready to rumble.

    I like it and yes Zack, I will have fries with that opinion!

  • Dirty30

    Linden and Benning and the Aquilinis have one objective and that is make the playoffs and appease the season ticket holders.
    I don’t see them doing anything to jeopardize that. Myself I don’t care about the playoffs because it will be short and probably awful. Benning won’t give up prospects and is afraid to deal core and miss the playoffs.
    I agree with some comments and say get rid of the surplus third liners and get some picks or prospects and screw the playoffs. Bring up some kids and play them. Higgins, Kassian, Vey, all expendable. Richards and Bonino are question marks. Vey = Mason Raymond.

    • andyg

      A lot of us would prefer a high draft pick this year. Owners and management go down a slippery road if they stop trying to put the best team on the ice. It would be like telling a kid like Horvat that is OK to lose.

      Not a good way to develop young talent.

  • Dirty30

    I think Higgins at least should be part of a package to either get draft picks or younger players…. We have a glut of 2nd/3rd line forwards. Pick up assists by packaging with one goalie.

    Can’t see a big let down having Hansen play with Bonino and Vrbata or Vey ect….

  • Steampuck

    Vrbata can’t be going anywhere. First, let’s accept that Vrbata’s contract and his performance haven’t been awe-inspiringly poor. He’s delivered as advertised. But how does Benning attract any future high-end free agents if there’s a chance they’re going to get flipped? You can promote youth all you want, but you still need some proven older guys—many of whom come with families and want longer contracts.

    As trapped as the Canucks are under NTCs at the moment, I think this is one of the features that Gillis understood. He wanted Vancouver to be a desirable place to live and play (which should be an easy sell, but for the Canadian $). It worked fine for the first generation of the team he cultivated, but he couldn’t change the team as quickly as he needed.

    We can talk about trading Vrbata at this time next year, but trading him now sends an unsavoury message to future prospective free agent signings.