Things are happening. According to a News 1130 AM report, Jiri Hudler is set to sign this week and the Vancouver Canucks are very definitely in the mix. Not long after that report, TSN 1040 AM had Jason Botchford on, and he confirmed that the Canucks were, in fact, interested in the Czech mercenary. He also added that the Canucks were talking with Radim Vrbata’s camp.
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) August 10, 2016
One of those was more expected than the other, I can tell you that much. Between the Canucks need for goal scoring and Assistant General Manager John Weisbrod’s connections to Hudler from Calgary, it kind of makes sense. The Vrbata connection, less so.
If you were running the Canucks, which of the two would you sign? Would you sign both? Or hell, maybe you’re not into either of them. Let your voice be heard!
Last week I asked: So, my question to you is what exactly your plan would be for Virtanen. The world is your oyster. Hell, I’d even accept the possibility of a trade.
If the roster is healthy to start the year, I think it will come down to Virtanen or Rodin making the team.
Jake being waiver exempt makes him the more likely guy to start in Utica.
Playing top line minutes there, and being the first call-up in case of injuries, is probably the best scenario for his development.
Rodin is an exciting addition, but his injury history and slow development curve still make him a question mark. Give him every chance to succeed, but having Virtanen waiting in the wings is a nice insurance policy.
Virtanen is one of the few Canucks players who can actually move the needle on the ice and shift a game in the Canucks favor. His game is still raw and he has a lot of growing pains to go through but I think he, more than anybody else in the system, needs to work all that out at the NHL level. His spot on the roster should be a yes until its a no. He needs to learn to do by doing. Throw him into the fire and see how he responds and only send him to Utica if he hits a prolonged (20+ game) slump or he is drastically outplayed by somebody else.
It’s fine for Linden to give Jake a wake up call at this point in his career. Less Bieber and more Burrows would be a good start for Jake to emulate.
Jake should be competing at camp and having Rodin to compete against will be good for his development and maturity.
Let the best man win.
Virtanen needs to start the year in the NHL, and play in the top-9 consistently. The Canucks don’t have another forward who brings his combination of speed, size and upside to this team. What Virtanen doesn’t need is to be a healthy scratch with the big club and sit out for extended periods.
I suppose it depends on what this club sees in Emerson Etem: if Etem is granted a spot in the top-9, there’s no room for Virtanen and no point in having him play 4th line minutes in the NHL when he could have a major role with the Comets. However, if the Canucks play either Eriksson or Rodin at LW, Virtanen should get top-9 minutes and has an opportunity for continued development in the bigs following a promising rookie campaign.
My guess would be he is gonna come out of this summer and be better than last year. I even thought he got better towards the end of last season (or by contrast did everyone else kinda stop playing as hard?) I Don’t think he takes his job for granted this summer. I think his learning curve is on the up still (and hopefully will be for a while). I do think he is the only real forward on next year’s roster that can sit people down once in a while and play that gritty forward type they are still looking for.
If he goes down to Utica, I think it will be due to not wanting to expose others to waivers, or his personal maturity as reflected in approaching his lifestyle professionally. Recent media remarks kind of hint to me that this is the team’s concern with him as well.
PS. Rodin has a European out clause to kin of Tryamkin’s to my understanding, so he will not go to Utica unless convinced to do so.
Jake won’t hurt us defensively, and would help us in the physical game, but developing his scoring touch is the thing. Playing big minutes as the Big Dog in Utica would help that.
Team with offensive struggles has young offensive prospect, fanbase debates putting him in the minors. Such a Canuck Nation thing to do…
Give Virtanen every opportunity to find his way in a top-9 role with the big club, PP time included. He’s going to be one of your cornerstones going forward, you let him learn by watching/mirroring the two best players/people in franchise history. You put his stall next to the Sedins, make it abundantly obvious the correct way to be an NHLer.
The wrong way to go about it is to have him hidden away in Utica, where he’s by default THE guy and has no one save the coach to bust his chops…