WWYDW: The Ideal Second Line


The Canucks roster ain’t perfect, but they’re going to have to learn to make do with what they’ve got. Another way to look at is they’ve a multitude of options and flexibility therein. The hope is that they can catch lightning in a bottle with just the right combination and get the secondary scoring they desperately need as a result.

It’s a topic we’ve been discussing at length of late on this platform. Satiar Shah started the trend by looking for the right mix in the Canucks middle-six. This morning Jackson took that a step further, by examining the Canucks options and whether they’re up to the task. Now it’s your turn.

So, if you were tasked with drawing the Canucks lineup on the white board, how would your second line look? Now, just to make this interesting, you can sign someone in free agency or execute a (realistic) trade to suit your needs. But remember, this is just your second-line. Let’s save the other three for another day.

Last week I asked: 

what moves would you like the Canucks to make this off-season? You’ve got $4.1-million to spend and players to trade however you choose. Try to make it realistic, though.


I’d look at Brandon Pirri. He’d be an upgrade over Etem and Burrows on the left side, and can also move to C in case of an injury. He’s a young, versatile guy with a 22 goal season under his belt already.

Also, Scott Hartnell would be a great add, and is openly being shopped. He would add grit, score 20 goals and be a good mentor for guys like Virtanen and Horvat to emulate. I’d offer Etem and Lukas Jasek.


I’d keep the cap space. The team is not going to compete for the cup so there’s no hurry to add players that will only keep us in mediocrity for years to come.


I’d love for the Canucks to add James Wisniewski on a 1-2 year “show-me” contract at say 3.25 million so that they could flip him at the deadline.

Wisniewski would also be a solid RHD option to step into a bigger role if Larsen doesn’t pan out/in case of injury.

However, to add Wis, we’d need some salary cap space in the short term, and likely a roster spot among the dmen, so I’d move Sbisa out for some late-round pick, move Tryamkin back to the left side, and keep Pedan and Larsen as the extra dmen in a 13Fwd, 8D roster set-up.

Edler-Tanev; Hutton-Gudbranson; Tryamkin-Wisniewski;


Then with the extra cap space from moving Sbisa, sign Gagner or Pirri for the versatility in the bottom-6.

IN: Wisniewski 3,250,000 Pedan 900,000 Gagner/Pirri 2,500,000 6th Round Pick

OUT: Sbisa 3,600,000

Oh, and bury Dorsett and Granlund in the minors for the roster spots. VAN would still have enough cap space to call either of them up in case of injury to even the cheapest roster player.


Sign Sam Gagner to a 1-year deal for $2M.


Benning should have gone after Patrick Wiercioch as an UFA. He signed with Colorado for a bargain basement $800,000 and he’s better than half of our D. Plus he’s only 25 and is a local kid.


i would take care of assets i intend to protect in the expansion draft. the only way i make a major trade is by trading someone on my protected list for someone better.

so i extend markstrom and hold onto the rest of the dough so i can take advantage of some other team in cap trouble or extend gudbranson if he has a good first half. i might even extend gudbranson right away if the price is right.

there is no point in trading for or signing another meaningful asset unless you trade an asset you would be protecting.

at this stage the expansion protected list is likely



that leaves edler/sbisa/tryamkin likely exposed on defence


hanson/etem/granlund/dorsett exposed as forwards

so if you add a player now (other than an exempt prospect) who is better than those exposed guys, you will either lose him after the season or lose someone on the protected list in order to protect him. that cost has to be factored into any trade.

i suppose you could gamble and add someone you think is clearly a worse choice for vegas than the best players you plan to expose.


Package Hansen and Sbisa to Colorado for Tyson Barrie. I’m also not adverse to swinging for the fences and trying for Barrie and Landeskog, while sending Tanev and Hansen and picks (2nd) the other way.


I wonder where Jimmy Vessey is going to land, and what price he will come at. He is a left winger, which is where our system seems to lack.

Also I wonder about a few of this year’s camp invitees, some were overage and put up great numbers in the Q.

Still would like to see some size up front. Kane or Landeskog both would be nice adds in lieu of landing Lucic.

Regardless, I feel like this year was all about sorting out our D, which bled like a sieve last year. If they had done that, I was going to be happy, but then we also got eriksson to boot!


How about trading Sbisa to a cap-strapped team for a bad contract and a high draft? I’m thinking of Michalek from Toronto plus their second round pick. Michalek’s cap hit is $4 M, just a little more than Sbisa’s $3.6 and expires in one year. Vancouver has the cap space this year and enough D depth (hopefully) with Larson and Pedan, and gains cap space to use after the expansion draft.

  • Bud Poile

    As backup bob said:

    Burrows – Sutter- Hansen

    Barring a trade,of course,this line allows the Canucks talented young players to match up against slower,less talented opposition veterans on the third and fourth lines.

    • detox

      I’d look at Burrows Sutter and Hansen as a 3rd line if I was an opposing coach. Not much creativity in those three.

      Sven – Bo – JV/Rodin/Etem/Hansen/Sutter/Burrows

      I can’t see our second line without one of Bo or Sven.

      I’d really like to see Hansen back with the Sedins at even strength and Eriksson play with them on the PP. Just to spread out the scoring.

      • Steamer

        As detox said, the second line should center around Baertschi and Horvat.

        Horvat last year put up as many points as Sutter ever has in his 8 NHL seasons. Interestingly, Sutter’s best year (same total of 40 points) also came in his 20 year old season, but he just hasn’t shown much since then.

        Baertschi was basically a rookie last year, and he performed fairly well and seemed to get better as the season progressed.

        Those two players will each have one more year of experience, so a second line based around those two should improve based solely on that.

        Here’s hoping the improvements on the second line are sufficient to counterbalance any declines experienced by the first line.

    • Olands

      Burrows – Sutter- Hansen

      Wow, I can’t wait this fall. Those 3 are going to be tearing up the NHL world and I’m going to get the champagne ready when the cup comes here in a year.

      Run for the hills momma, the BSH line is coming!
      I’m literally jumping up for joy right now… you just can’t see it.

      • Bud Poile

        The point is to neutralise opposing clubs second lines ,giving our third and fourth lines the speed to both score and defend.

        Baertshi,Horvat and whomever are an NHL third line.Those kids would be crucified in any NHL playoff game playing second line minutes

  • TheRealPB

    The ideal second line? With what the organization has available it would have to be Sedin/Sedin/Hansen. Hell, I could live with Horvat/Baertschi/Eriksson if Sutter is there to back them with a strong third. Count me as one of the many who feel that it’s the future of the first line that has me concerned. Boesser does have the look of a budding first-liner and I’m confident at least one of our young players or prospects will grow into the role so….I like where the team is going but unless a trade is made for a bona-fide top six LW it’s going to be a couple of seasons (and a #1C) before our second line is our main concern.

    Just to throw out there: Tavares is UFA in two seasons and will be only 28 (I admit to wanting this player on the team since he was 16). If I remember correctly his uncle was not only Box Lacrosse’ best player of the last few decades but played into his 40’s at a dominating level.

  • Olands

    I saw this on another board (part of it anyway) and I like it. Deal Tanev, 2017’s 1st round pick, Sbisa and Hansen for Landeskog and Duchene.

    Kick the tires on E. Kane. If you can get him for next to nothing and Buffalo eats half the contract then pull the trigger. He is worth the risk. If he acts like a fool then he can be released – don’t let the cancer spread.

    That gives us a young line which could be our 1st line (and should be):


  • Steamer

    Agree with Bud Poile – Burrows – Sutter – Hansen – but probably a pointless exercise as Desjardins is a coach who is constantly changing his lines. Perhaps this is because the results continue to be unsatisfactory?
    Some coaches are always mixing, some prefer more stability. Certainly the players prefer regular linemates but not always possible + coach may be attempting to match certain players vs opponents.

  • Olands

    The Canucks will have 3 second lines, and 1 energy/grinder line.

    Our defense will be better at moving the puck, which will help on the PP as well as helping all the young forwards get comfortable.

    The Canucks will have to figure out what they have on their hands this season, in terms of skill and chemistry.

    There’s a lot of new players. I’ve never seen Rodin play. I’ve hardly watched Sutter play. There will be guys that transformed over a good long off-season.

    After next season is when you have to become a lot more specific in identifying a new 1C, making room for Boeser, making room for Subban, who is expendable but valuable for trading

    • detox

      Yes, it totally depends on game situation:

      Normal deployment:


      3rd period ahead:


      3rd period behind:

      Hansen plays with twins and

  • Buula

    Nick ‘3rd line’ Bonino put the Penguins on his back.

    I’m fine with rolling 4 lines.

    I’m more concerned about how much energy/speed we can get out of say Etem-Gaunce-Dorsett over a full season (not concerned about their heart at all, but I’m not expecting a lot of goals so they have to contribute energy)

    I liked Pittsburgh’s overmanning the puck to win battles easily+quickly, fits great in a 4 line system.

    • TheRealPB

      Nick “Excellent 3rd Line C” Bonino flourished when paired with a speedy hardworking, defensively responsible Hagelin following a mid-season trade and when all-world sniper Phil Kessel was dropped down a line. Before that he was having an injury-plagued and forgettable season.

  • Buula

    i can see the canucks starting out with a sutter second line and generally trying to act like a veteran team bringing along young players carefully.

    but the clock is ticking. if burrows-sutter-hanson stays as the second line, the team is toast. it will mean none of the young guys have progressed to top 6 status and that the canucks are headed off a cliff.

  • Bud Poile

    $12 MILLION -Crosby salary 1st line,

    $10 MILLION-Kessel salary 2nd line,

    $9.5 MILLION- Malkin salary 3rd line

    Suffice to say the Nucks will be balancing out their 2nd-4th lines with the intention of playing aggressively defensive hockey.

  • Buula

    If 1st line =Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson
    then 2nd line = Baertschi-Sutter-Hansen//Rodin?

    If 1st line = Sedin-Sedin-Hansen
    then 2nd line = Baertschi-Sutter-Eriksson

    If 1st line = Sedin-Sedin-Sutter
    then 2nd line = Baertschi-Horvat-Eriksson

    Baertschi might swap out with Burrons as others are suggesting as well..

  • Buula


    Now you might say “Hey, wait, isn’t that more like a 3rd line?” to which I’ll reply “It sure is, Billy. It suuure is.”

    Seriously though, this is a line that could have some serious defensive chops while still chipping in offensively. Play them against the other team’s best lines and watch them shut them down night after night.

    Leave Horvat and the rest of them to the bottom of the lineup, they’re still young and developing. Let them build confidence while the established vets take the heavy lifting and heavy minutes.

  • crofton

    The small protection lists are scary. You have to expose 1/2 your line up. especially on D. So is Tryamkin sheltered or not, from a 1st or 2nd year pro POV?

    I hope so, because we’re taking our 8y/o grandaughter to the Young stars tourney, and want to get her a Canucks jersey. Her fav player? Bearing in mind she’s 8 and 4′ 3/4″ ? You got it – Tryamkin. That will make us unmistakable, so if you see us, say hi.

  • crofton

    Second line should be:

    This would make a mock lineup for opening night as

    Dorsett inserted for tougher matchups

    But what canucks really need is a legitimate 2nd LW.
    So much hope is placed on rodin and baertschi to have big years for any playoff hope

  • Olands

    Baer – Horvat – Erikson

    Hansen can play with the Sedins and Erikson has shown an ability to put up good numbers regardless of his line mates. This would set Horvat up for a big year. Plus, with Sutter back, I’d be deploying him in a shutdown role, against the other teams top lines, freeing up bottom six match ups for Horvat. Maybe not a traditional 2nd line as they’d likely get similar minutes to the 3rd, but in this scenario, their production would qualify them.

  • TheRealPB

    My vote for the 2nd line would be William Nylander flanked by Valeri Nichushkin and Matt Tkachuk, aka the CA Dream Draft lineup.

    I think our real 2nd line will be a mainly shutdown one that provides a modicum of scoring — likely Sutter with Hansen and Rodin or Burrows. I think this would give great protection to a 3rd line of Horvat with Baertschi and either Virtanen (if he stays with the team) or Etem. I think Gaunce is the spare part with Granlund and Dorsett. I think Burrows and Etem slide up and down the lineup. Etem is actually my pick for dark horse; he was a very highly regarded prospect, was so-so in Anaheim was both unlucky and poorly used in NY and really came on in the last part of the year. Great wheels, great hustle. Lots of teams adopt a scoring by committee approach for their bottom 9 and I think that’s what we’ll likely do. Would be nice to get some more scoring from the D too — I am hoping that Gudbrandson actually starts using the heavy shot we’ve heard about instead of getting buried for the vast majority of his starts in the D-zone.

  • TheRealPB

    hockeybuzz reports a hudler signing may be imminent. the story says the canucks have gone further than anyone else to sign him, which at least suggests they are seriously thinking about it.

    if they sign hudler i have to think somebody else is going to get bought out or traded for cap space and roster space.

    in which case all this line combo navel gazing goes out the window in favour of all new navel gazing.

    • detox

      “the story says the canucks have gone further than anyone else to sign him,”

      I wonder if it was just a call to Hudler’s agent asking if he represented anyone else besides Hudler?

      • TheRealPB

        probably the agent trying to create buzz. but it’s also the second leak about hudler and the canucks and now from a different source.

        so, let’s assume for a moment it is true that vancouver expressed interest.

        why? they already have three veteran right wingers, and it’s not a logical place to spend their limited remaining cap space. hudler does not offer a different set of skills to the others. it’s hard to believe they want four 30+ right wingers who don’t hit. hard also to believe they would think it worthwhile to buy out burrows to get hudler.

        so you’d have to think it’s because they are looking to trade hanson.

        • detox

          I don’t see the fit for Hudler in Vancouver unless it is a 1 year contract and he is slotted in as 2nd line winger.

          He might bring a little scoring, but not the physical play JB said he was looking for in a ufa winger.

          Hansen might bring the biggest return in a trade but with so many clubs cap strapped, I can’t imagine moving Hansen without some salary coming back, and if that is the case, I don’t see how Hudler fits.

          JV starting in Utica?

  • TheRealPB

    Bo has shown he can play with multiple forwards so I would have Sven play on one wing and as for the other??

    If Jake come into camp in shape with a serious attitude, I would give him a shot. Sutter and Jake would be big bodies that will give Sven room to be creative. Also Sutters faceoffs will give the second line more possession time.

  • Olands

    I’m not sure the Canucks will have a traditional second line. With Willie’s penchant for rolling four lines I think it will be difficult to identify who the “second” line is. The most productive line will be the Sedins + someone, and second most productive line will be Sven, Bo + someone. Maybe if Rodin comes as advertised Baertschi/Horvat/Rodin will be the second most productive line while Burrows/Sutter/Hansen gets the second most ice time.

  • TheRealPB

    I think everything points at Virtanen’s destined to go to Utica this season. Dors & Etem can both play LW, so, I’d try:

    Sedins – Eriksson
    Baertschi – Horvat – Rodin – 2a
    Etem – Sutter – Hansen – 2b
    Dorsett – Granlund – Burr

    Edler – Tanev
    Hutton – Gudbranson
    Sbisa/Tryamkin – Larsson