Should the Canucks Claim Jakub Kin– Yes.

It’s a new day, which means there’s a new defenceman on waivers that raises the question of whether or not the Vancouver Canucks should theoretically be interested in their services. 

First it was David Rundblad, who despite seeming like a pretty obvious candidate for the team to take a low-risk flier on, not only passed through waivers but has since left the continent entirely for greener pastures. Then it was Brandon Gormley, who likewise appeared to be an intriguing option that was available for peanuts. The Canucks (and everyone else) let him go unclaimed as well. 

You’re up, Jakub Kindl.

Kindl is a curious case study. From what I’ve gathered he’s drawn the ire of Red Wings fans over the years as a player that makes too many costly mistakes, presenting something of a liability to his team. Heated fans generally aren’t the most reliable source when it comes to properly evaluating their own assets, though. Particularly when it comes to players – like, say, an Alex Edler as a relevant example – that are prone to committing the occasional particularly glaring error that sticks out like a sore thumb, masking all of the other subtly effective things they do otherwise. 

The reason why all of that’s interesting is that the numbers themselves don’t appear to agree with those assertions. If Kindl really were such a drag, you’d figure that given enough time it’d manifest itself in the underlying data. With nearly 300 games to work with, the statistical profile should in theory bear out those faults. That’s not really the case. Since becoming an NHL regular back in ’10-’11, during the course of five-on-five play his team has controlled 54.3% of all shot attempts, 53.5% of all scoring chances, and 55.2% of all goals. All of those rates seem high because the Red Wings have generally been a very strong even strength team over that time, but they’re also all in the black relative to what happens when he’s not on the ice in each of those categories. 

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That’s not to say that he’s without his flaws, because he certainly is. If he weren’t, he surely wouldn’t find himself on waivers at the moment with his future in doubt. He’s hasn’t been relied upon to handle the toughest of minutes throughout his career by any means, and he’s been prone to taking his fair share of penalties. Given that he’s approaching his 30s there likely isn’t a significant room for growth for him at this point of his career. 

When you put all of those pieces to the puzzle together, it’s tough to argue that he wouldn’t be an improvement over what the Canucks are currently trotting out as part of its defense corps. Then again, considering how attainable an accomplishment that is these days maybe it’s not exactly saying as much about Kindl himself as it is about the current landscape in Vancouver this year.

The more relevant question may very well be whether attempting to improve the team in the short-term is what the Canucks should actually be doing to begin with. From the outside looking in it’s abundantly clear that it would be ill-advised to commit to doing so, given all of the evidence we have to suggest that they’re not a very good hockey team. If we were convinced that the front office was fully invested in devoting all of its resources and attention to the future while selling off all of the older spare parts between now and the deadline, then a guy like Kindl would instantly become significantly less appealing based on the aforementioned age and upside. 

The tricky thing with that line of thinking however is that based on the recent comments emanating from Jim Benning and the utter wasteland that is the Pacific Division, we’re left to work under the assumption that they are still misguidedly trying to stay afloat in the “race” (for lack of a better term) for the time being. 

If that’s the case, then Jakub Kindl seems like a worthwhile option while he’s available for nothing other than the $2.4 million cap hit he carries. He has two functioning legs, hands, and hasn’t provided us with any reason to believe that he can’t skate and chew gum at the same time. And unlike the other two guys they haven’t bit on, he’s also been a perfectly serviceable player for a couple of years now all things considered. These are all somehow distinguishing qualities these days as it relates to Canucks defencemen.

  • Dirty30

    No. He probably is not an upgrade from Weber & @ $2.4mill more for remainder of this season & next an absolute NOOOOOOO.

    It is a sad state of affairs in NHL when many teams are looking for help on backend and they have to use up cap space for players like this who probably would not look that good in AHL.

  • Dirty30

    Weber and Bartkowski have been useless this year….

    Ok bRt can carry the puck out, but he is over powered constantly and usually coughs the puck up after gaining the zone.

    Weber came alive on the Pp last year, but has disappeared. Canucks probably won’t take a flier, but they should.

  • Dirty30

    So is he Edler bad or Sbisa bad?

    And isn’t this the kind of situation that typically trips up Benning and causes him to overpay and over commit to term?

    Benning looks kinda bright and shiny after yesterday’s move and I think he may just want to rest on his laurels rather than falling on his sword right now.

    Now if he had traded Higgins for this guy I could almost forgive him such a move, but after passing on two decent players why jump on aging, over-priced players?

  • YouppiKiYay

    “… Jakub Kindl seems like a worthwhile option while he’s available for nothing other than the $2.4 million cap hit he carries”

    I’d have hoped for some suggestion about how to handle that cap hit. Right now their projected end of year cap space is zero.

    A trade isn’t likely the answer unless it was already in the works as the waiver period ends at noon EST tomorrow. Waivers won’t help-they’d end too late and getting rid of that amount would take three players because of the maximum that can be buried in the minors.

    Then there are still the questions of whether he’d just be getting in the way of a prospect for next season and whether it’s the best use of cap space that can be found for next season.

    Pass.

  • black ace

    Don’t claim him. Dump some salary (Vrbata, Hamhuis, Burrows, Prust, Bartkowski) at the deadline and pick up some assets by helping other teams out with their cap situations. No point giving the Wings a free pass now.

  • YouppiKiYay

    He might be a good change of scenery candidate, but he’s a left handed D, of which the Canucks have a hot. And I really don’t know how the Canucks could fit his $2.4 million cap hit in this year without some significant salary dumping.

  • YouppiKiYay

    I don’t really understand why the bloggers on this site continue to use Benning’s public statements as concrete proof of what the team is or is not planning behind the scenes (i.e. internal strategy, long-term plan, etc). Of course Benning is going to say they are going for it, I don’t think that can be used to determine what their real short and long-term plans really are.

    Tanking isn’t the way to go and exposing the young guys to more than they are ready for does nothing either. The young guys, like Horvat, Sven, etc, are developing in the NHL without being hung out to dry (which would be the case if management simply sold off all the “older spare parts”)

  • YouppiKiYay

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but by my count, the Canucks have 48 contracts on their books right now. They’re not going to give up their remaining flexibility for fringe NHLers.

  • YouppiKiYay

    In fact, I believe Elliotte Friedman mentioned Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch were both now on the outs in Ottawa. If Benning is looking to acquire D, I’d rather have him try for D like those — young change of scenery candidates who would require an exchange of contracts/salary — rather than a 28 yr old waiver-wire pickup Kindl.