Seravalli: ‘sense is’ Canucks and Oilers 2 teams left on NCAA UFA Drake Caggiula’s short list

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Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks are believed to be one of the last two teams standing in the Drake Caggiula sweepstakes, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli

The 21-year-old forward played on a line with top Canucks prospect Brock Boeser and Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Nick Schmaltz for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks this past season, scoring 25 goals and adding 51 total points as a winger on the vaunted ‘CBS line’. He’s been on a 10-team tour of prospective NHL cities over the past few weeks and met with Canucks brass in Vancouver prior to the Draft Lottery.

The Canucks and the Oilers are believed to be the final two teams in the mix.

Caggiula is an intriguing prospect, but we should temper our enthusiasm in evaluating him. Considering the quality of his line mates and the fact that he wasn’t a point per game player in NCAA hockey until his senior season, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the likelihood that the Pickering, Ontario native benefitted from being placed in favourable circumstances this past season. 

Some players with a similar college track record do develop into impactful NHL players – Rich Peverely comes to mind. Recent hockey history is also littered with names like Brett Sterling and John Pohl though, highly regarded NCAA prospects who produced at a similar rate to Caggiula and ended up as quality AAAA players, but not impactful NHL regulars. 

The Canucks seem to be aware that Caggiula isn’t a slam dunk future star. After the club signed Thatcher Demko in April, I asked Jim Benning about going after other NCAA free agents and mentioned Michael Garteig (who the club signed) and Caggiula specifically.

“We’re looking at different players,” Benning answered at the time, “we want to try to add to the prospect depth of our organization.”

And that’s really what this is about. Caggiula would add depth to the Canucks’ prospect pool and would represent a somewhat low-leverage lottery ticket. Basically it’s like adding a free fourth- or fifth-round pick.

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There are reasons to like what Caggiula can bring too though. He’s fast, young and skilled and he’s familiar with both Boeser and recently signed NCAA free agent Troy Stecher. 

“He played with Brock Boeser all year,” Benning said in April. “They’re familiar with each other and they play well together. We’re going to go through the process with him and see where it ends up.”

It looks like it has ended up with the Canucks on Caggiula’s short list. Based on the identity of those teams – the Oilers and the Canucks – we can assume that the 21-year-old is looking at joining organizations where he might have a realistic shot at cracking an NHL roster in the next couple of years. 

Sometimes for a player in Caggiula’s shoes it’s about fit, as much as it is about team quality or the performance bonuses a club is willing to give a player on en entry-level contract. Even so, landing Caggiula with so much other competition in the mix, would be a good look for the Canucks’ recruitment efforts.

Many expect Caggiula’s signing decision to come down later on Friday, although it could stretch into the weekend. Stay tuned. 

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    • Cageyvet

      He’ll probably spend 1-2 years in the minors before he gets a chance in the Big Show.

      So, its between living in Bakersfield or Utica at this point (I’d choose Bakersfield)

      • andyg

        Was anybody here alive when the Coilers last won a Cup? Hmmmmmmmm? Hell, it’s been over 10 years since the Coil made the playoffs. Until this last season, Canucks have been over .500 for 15 years. Which team did people enjoy watching more during the last two decades? I wonder? 😉

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      You guys are all putting down Edmonton yet this is where he chose to sign . He looks at Vancouver as a club on the verge of real trouble, maybe there already. I’m sure he’ll love playing in a real arena and playing with the next superstar in the league. Wait he could have played with the old twins that are making ahem 7 ahem million coughs, then throws up!

      • andyg

        Just for the record, I have lived in Edmonton for 1.5 years. Great people, but man the city really sucks… Anyone who would pick it over Vancouver is just plain nuts!

        Back on point, you might be on to something there as the Caucks might be trending downwards. That said, year after year we keep thinking that the Oilers have hit rock bottom but yet every year they keep proving us wrong. Maybe they have finally hit rock bottom last year… Nah. Lol.

          • Hockey Warrior

            I agree. I mean the likelihood of him playing any significant duration of time in meaningful games (ie not just preseason games) with Henrik probably is close to nil, given how Hansen has played well with the Sedins and how the Canucks are trying to avoid promising ice time or any particular line so they can perpetuate a culture of earning such via merit.

            I know its different management than previously, but I think with how Edmonton swayed Justin Schultz to sign with them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they dangled the possibility of playing with McDavid on his line or on the PP for all we know.

            Yes, I do hope he ends up being more like someone along the lines of Brian Gibbons instead of like a Martin St. Louis…

  • andyg

    If size and scoring rates matter, how much should I care about a smaller player whose scoring rate was dwarfed (pun intended) by a much younger prospect (Boeser) who projects only around a 2nd line NHLer?

    • Boeser is a recent 1st round pick and probably a top-50 prospect in the sport. Not scoring like a player like that isn’t a significant negative.

      Caggiula could be a decent NHL player and can be added with no acquisition cost. You’re not getting a likely former star (you’re not even getting a likely future NHLer), but accumulating talent and lottery picks matters.

      • Cageyvet

        He also scored less than Schmaltz, is smaller than Schmaltz and Schmaltz appears to be a lesser prospect than Boeser.

        There is a contract limit so he is not altogether a free asset.

        Someone has to play for Utica I just personally think he is being massively overrated.

      • andyg

        But there are a finite number of contracts and with a number of players likely to be signed from the 2015 draft in the next year or so, it does not make much sense to give out too many contracts for pure AHL/ECHL talent.

        I’m not sure that Caggiula is anything more than the overaged/undersized third wheel of the Boeser-Schmaltz duo.

        But some quantitative analysis considering size, age, scoring rate with a consideration to caliber of teammates might convince me otherwise 🙂

      • Condorman

        I don’t always understand posters complaining about undersized yet gritty and skilled players. We know that bigger player are always preferred (all things being equal). But who wouldn’t want a Theoren Fleury or Brendan Gallagher.

        Drake Caggugglia (whatever) has heart, grit and skill and is determined to succeed. I’ll take him over zach Kassian any day.

    • andyg

      Because even if he only turns out to be fourth line material or even an AHL call up he would be free in terms of picks or assets. If there is nothing to lose and a chance that he might become a useful player or at least a trade chip with a bit of value, why not?

  • Hockey Warrior

    The OBSESSION with drafting and signing unproven kids on this blog is frankly laughable and deluded. For every KANE/TOEWS and CROSBY/MALKIN story there are hundreds nae thousands of busts… indeed, the Canucks can ‘boast’ more 1st round draft day failures than most = Hodgson/Shinkaruk/Schroeder/Jensen/Polasek/Butcher/Nedved/Herter plus the Cam Neely and Cory Schneider debacles too name a few momentous howlers throughout the history of the jinxed franchise.

    Plus, how about this list of BC BOYS currently playing in the NHL that at least some of which could’ve/should’ve been had by their hometown team…

    G
    Carey Price/
    Martin Jones

    D
    Shea Weber/
    Brent Seabrook/
    Jordie Benn/
    Tyson Barrie/
    Morgan Rielly/
    Justin Schultz/
    Barret Jackman/
    Cody Franson

    LW
    Milan Lucic/
    Evander Kane/
    Andrew Ladd

    C
    Ryan Johansen/
    Jamie Benn/
    Kyle Turris/
    Shawn Horcoff

    RW
    Troy Brouwer/
    Sam Reinhart/
    Brett Connolly/
    Curtis Lazar

    Read it and weep guys – read it and weep!

    • RandomScrub

      This post makes no sense. Just to name a few…

      Carey Price was drafted 5th overall in 2005, Canucks picked 10th.

      Ryan Johansen was drafted 4th overall in 2010, Canucks had the 25th pick.

      Sam Reinhart was drafted 2nd overall in 2014, Canucks picked 6th…

      etc. etc.

      How exactly was it that they “Could’ve/should’ve been had by their hometown team”? You do understand there’s an entry draft and how that works, yes?

    • Cageyvet

      The Team isn’t giving up anything for this signing – not a draft pick, player or roster spot – Strengthening your prospect pool and adding competition to your organization is a positive and just gives you more options.

    • Cageyvet

      Feel free to f**k off, troll. Your posts are a joke. “Here’s a bunch of names and Canucks must have passed on at least some of them”. Idiot.

      Go post on the Edmonton site, or wherever you’re from, this is supposed to be a site for Canucks fans.

      I give you credit for one thing, you manage to post your crap here, most people in your IQ range haven’t learned how to use anything more complicated than a fork.

      • Hockey Warrior

        Oh dear Mangey Vet resorts to personal attacks because he CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

        Unlike most nuckleheads on this forum I accept reality based on FACTS pal – please feel free to tell us WHY not one of the BC players i expertly listed are not Vancouver Canucks and why there are NO STANLEY CUP banners hangin at the ROG after 44 years??… and save the childish insults for your anger management classes bud…

        • Cageyvet

          You get the hot shots because every one of your posts is nothing but a litany of ill-informed cheap shots. Your “expert” listings are ridiculous. Let’s start at the top:

          Carey Price – drafted 5 picks before Vancouver had a shot at him

          Martin Jones – undrafted in his year, so everybody passed on him multiple times

          Shea Weber – drafted 2nd round, 11 picks ahead of Vancouver’s 2nd pick, they took Ryan Kelser with their 1st pick

          Brent Seabrook – drafted 9 picks ahead of the Canucks’ first shot at him (they took Kesler that year)

          Jordie Benn – another undrafted player

          I’m 5 players deep on your list, and can’t waste any more time on your so-called expertise. 3 of them the Canucks never had a real shot at (I can’t see how you could say Kesler was a poor choice), the other 2 were undrafted, so a host of hockey minds that dwarf yours didn’t see the value in wasting a pick. Plus, I see things like Sam Reinhart, drafted 2nd overall, why didn’t we take him? We’re so dumb.

          Yes, we could have been the team to give the undrafted players a tryout, I’ll give you that, but as long as you want to come in with a “read-it-and-weep” attitude, you’ll have to do better than this.

          Undoubtedly we have no Stanley Cup banner because we didn’t hire you to display your flawed hindsight, even looking in the rearview mirror you can’t get it right. Moron it is.

  • Cageyvet

    butcher was not a draft bust and he produced the best trade haul this team has ever seen.

    and i have no idea how that relates to signing this guy. assuming drake is equivalent to a 5th rounder, you wouldn’t turn down an extra 5th round draft pick and a college kid represents possible help sooner than later, which is what the canucks need.

  • Hockey Warrior

    @ RandomScrub

    READ the post properly pal – i said SOME and did not say drafting only… MOST of these excellent BC players could’ve and should’ve been SCOUTED early by the nucks (LUCIC when he was with the Giants), TRADED for (JOHANSEN was available earlier in the season KANE last) or signed as Free Agents along the way – as someone once so aptly said “if WAYNE GRETZKY can be traded anyone can” and these TYPE of homegrown players are what you need to build a WINNER! Why are NONE of them Canucks!?

    @ Ted

    See above bud, perfectly logical for all those not blinded by 44 years of ineptitude and failure.#muppet #zerocupszeroclue

    Guys – no one can mark me down or even question my astute hockey acumen without being blind deaf and very dumb – proof? ZERO CUPS in franchise history.

    • SJ

      You are a special kind of stupid, aren’t ya? It must hurt to be so dumb. Wow. Not since NoMind00 have I see such broken logic and thinking. Have your Dr. check your meds etc ASAP. Please.

    • Cageyvet

      Might I add you don’t refrain from cheap shots at the entire board who doesn’t agree with you, and you treat hockey like it’s run on your Xbox. Just because you can make trades and free agent signings, it doesn’t mean it will happen, the other GMs and the players have a say in things.

      Have a look at your last sentence above – yeah, you’re all class. Too bad I stooped to your level, but sometimes it’s painful having to wade through posts like these and the comments, mine included, they provoke in others.

      If you had a well-reasoned argument, I’d be happy to weigh in without undue criticism, but you’re so far off the board it’s laughable.

    • andyg

      “Guys – no one can mark me down or even question my astute hockey acumen without being blind deaf and very dumb – proof? ZERO CUPS in franchise history.” – Hockey Warrior

      “This team hasn’t won any cups, therefore there are issues with the way it’s been run,” a perfectly supportable premise and,”My vision of the problems and the way to win a cup going forward is the correct one,” is such a massive gap in logic I find anything else you propose suspect simply because it’s coming from the same brain.

      To put it another way.

      Scientists haven’t invented efficient cold fusion yet.

      Obviously they need to use my model for the flux capacitor. I’m a genius. The proof my plan will work? Well duh, I just told you, they haven’t succeeded yet.

      Can’t you see what gibberish that is?

  • andyg

    So if this signing is equivalent to a 5th rounder, how can you say he is overrated? No one can say that until we get him to camp. Hmm…. wasn’t Hutton a 5th rounder?

    • Hockey Warrior

      Just confirmed by Freidman on HNIC this is now a redundant story – the kid is an OILER!

      Frankly I don’t blame him either – the Oilers are way ahead of the ‘nucks in their ‘reboot’ – with a decent coach, franchise player, forward depth, quality number one goalie and a new arena all in place next term i actually tip The OIL to challenge the Sharks for next years Pacific (after they address their D issues and add some veteran leadership) – Vancouver will fight with the yotes for bargain basement – guaranteed.

  • Cageyvet

    Like Schultz, he’s a college prospect that everyone drools over because he doesn’t cost you any assets, just his contract.

    You’d think he’d have learned that no matter how many young stars the Oilers draft, there’s no guarantee they can actually field a playoff team.

    Whatever, he gone to the Oil now, let’s see what happens, but let’s not rush to anoint him as McDavid’s linemate.

    I would have liked to have him, but he’s no guarantee. I’d be surprised if he’s any better than a 25 per cent chance to be a regular NHL’er, which is nothing to sneer at, but he’s far from a sure thing.

  • Cageyvet

    FWIW Bob McKenzie has tweeted Caggiula will sign with Edmonton.

    I don’t think this affects the Oilers’ draft strategy at all. Caggiula is not the same type of prospect as Tkachuk\Dubois.

  • Canuck4Life20

    OMG What a fricking LOSER he is ???? seriously who the hell would want to sign with a team which only wins draft lotteries? Unbelievable. I can’t believe he chose Edmonton over the Canucks, whom he has two ex teammates on. And look how it worked out for Justin Schultz signing with Edmonton over the Canucks. ??? I’m going to be soooo happy watching his career fail because he chose the Loser Oilers over us.

  • andyg

    I am not sure how Drake thinks that the Oilers have more need on LW then the Canucks. Some how they have convinced him that they will have space. That may mean that they will not be drafting Tkachuk or Dubois. Or they are going to move a LW for a D man.

  • Mcline

    You know what’s funny? Vancouver fans saying Edmonton ruined prospects. How’s your prospect pool looking?

    Literally your best prospects are Virtanen and Hutton?

    • andyg

      Having a lot of prospects and ruining prospects are two different things… Performing well the last 10 years and poor drafting is different from being terrible for 10 years and drafting many good players that do not reach their potential

  • andyg

    Caggiula is apparently signing with the Oilers, I was hoping Canucks would sign him as someone who should be good in the AHL some time in the next year or two. IMO the Comets presently have a shortage of good forwards (and d-men) and could use the help. As an NHL prospect there’s less disappointment, I don’t consider the Canucks short on bottom-6 forwards or so only if Caggiula develops into better than that is it a serious loss.

    On another note, when posting a comment, one reads the message:

    “Comments are moderated. Pretend your mom is reading over your shoulder.”

    The number of personal attacks in the comments to this article make me wonder if the policy on moderating comments has changed.

    Personally I’d prefer to read considered opinions about hockey than opinions about the other commenters on the site.

    Yes, I’m aware that some, especially but not limited to those making personal attacks, will prefer to read something other than my lament about the lack of moderation, but it is being expressed on the offchance that it will be considered by CanucksArmy mods.

  • andyg

    At most I am hoping that the Canucks will be a destination team for all FA….

    The fact is that guys like these…. The Justin Shultz’s of the world get a lot of press and it does become a sweepstakes, but that puts undo pressure on the player. They were unfrafted for a reason. There may not be as much pressure on Vey or Schoeder if a second round pick and 1st round pick weren’t spent on them.

    Would be nice for organizational depth,