Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: September 5th


Another week has passed, which means we’re another week closer to the NHL season. Hell, we’re even closer to the World Cup of Hockey, if that’s your kind of thing.

The Canucks haven’t been terribly active of late. According to our own Jeff Paterson, the Canucks are “linked” to James Sheppard and considering a professional tryout. He’s been working out at Rogers Arena all offseason apparently, so the connection makes sense on that level. Be interesting to see if they follow through on that. 

In the meantime, though, we’ve got an assortment of questions on other pressing Canucks related news, etc. And I’ve got answers. You know the drill.

For the Canucks? No. For any other team? No. There’s just no way the Tampa Bay Lightning are letting Nikita Kucherov loose from their talent hoarding clutches. They have about $6.6-million in cap space left according to, so they have the resources to keep Kucherov in town. It’s more about ironing out the details than anything. Really, the difficult decisions start next off-season in Tampa.

From what I can gather, the Canucks are going to run a 1A and 1B system in net, with Jacob Markstrom and Ryan Miller. Which, frankly, makes sense given the contracts of both netminders. The Canucks are in the final year of Miller’s deal and attached to Markstrom for another three seasons beyond this one.

Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me even if Markstrom is getting the lion’s share of the starts down the stretch. Miller’s not getting any younger and at the rate Markstrom is progressing in Vancouver, it kind of makes sense.

To be determined.

I actually wrote an article on this very topic not all that long ago. The list includes Justin Fontaine, Alex Tanguay and Gabriel Bourque. I wrote another article not long after where I suggested the Canucks kick the tires on Peter Mueller, too. I think those four players represent a good starting point, though it should be noted that the Avs have since signed Bourque to a PTO — I guess I meant to say three players.

Well, the Canucks have been trying their darndest to deal Luca Sbisa this off-season, so I’d imagine his name will come up at some point. Perhaps more discreetly, they’ve also looked into dealing Derek Dorsett, so again, that’s a player I would suspect they’re willing to move. As an aside, I think it’s pretty encouraging that the Canucks brass is maybe coming to terms with what absolutely terrible contracts these players have.

If the Canucks season goes down the toilet, I’d expect anyone on a one-year deal to have their name bandied about in the rumour mill. Whether they’re dealt or not is another story entirely. One player to keep an eye on is Ryan Miller. I’d like to think the Dallas Stars make sense as a destination for Miller at some point, but that will be largely dependent on how he plays and whether Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi can hold their own.

At the top of the list, though, is Alex Burrows. He’s in the last year of his deal, which carries a $4.5-million cap hit, but only costs $2.5-million in actual money. That’s a player I can see being attractive for budget teams down the stretch. 

Frankly, I think our rankings system is just fine the way it is. If you’re eligible for the Calder, that likely means you haven’t broke through at the professional ranks yet. That’s good enough for me.

Well, the difference between this year’s team and last is that the Canucks won’t have that many tradeable players. Certainly, none that carry the value Dan Hamhuis had. Besides, I don’t know if the Canucks have it in them. That whole tanking thing just isn’t in their M.O.

The Canucks can’t get anything out of a 28-year-old James Sheppard that they couldn’t get out of a 22-year-old Brendan Gaunce. I’d imagine he’s there to create internal competition and meet the eight-game veteran minimum.

It would’ve been wise, sure, but that ship’s sailed. There isn’t anyone left on the market that can really command top dollar at the trade deadline. Surely if they were viewed in that light, they wouldn’t be available now. That said, if they were to go that route, I’d look at Alex Tanguay.

I’d expect Burrows to play on the Canucks fourth line. Sure, it’s not ideal given his salary, but you can hardly blame Jim Benning (or Mike Gillis, even) for that. And the point is that they haven’t any other options. It’s in a tertiary role or the AHL.

Because they have to. Benning sold ownership on this team competing throughout their “rebuild on the fly” so that’s what he has to believe he’s doing. That and the fact that Benning just isn’t one to tank. Like, it’s just not going to happen.

I honestly have no idea what the Canucks plans are long-term or whether they have any. There are days where it seems like they operate on a one-year whim. Then there are others where they invest in players that have a long-term future with the club. But the Canucks aren’t contending in 2018-19. Not at this pace. Who’s centring the first line on the 18-19 Canucks anyways?

It’s cute that you think I can afford to see a Canucks game live.

Lukas Jasek>Michael Spacek

  • detox

    That 5 year plan question was kind of interesting.

    Makes me wonder where other clubs will be in 5 years or if a club were to tank, how long until they are actually expected to make the playoffs?

    Within 5 years?

    Or when people ask about contending, does that mean, beyond making the playoffs, a high probability of winning the cup or having an extended playoff run?

    • detox

      With any approach to building a team, isn’t the bottom line, when does that club start winning more games than it loses?

      But yeah, for all the support tanking gets from media, we never hear or read what to expect beyond broad general terms: liquidate assets for picks, tanking team’s own first round picks should be high lottery picks, stockpile prospects, some of these picks are bound to turn out and eventually you will have a great team.

      Timelines? I haven’t seen any. 😕

  • detox

    “Well, the difference between this year’s team and last is that the Canucks won’t have that many tradeable players. Certainly, none that carry the value Dan Hamhuis had.”

    ….well, seeing they didn’t trade Hamhuis 1)his value was zero,or 2)he pulled a Kesler

  • andyg

    I don’t know how any club can have much of a five-year plan, save for a list of broad strategies that they will try to keep to. Things change too quickly, and any specifics can get derailed with a single knee-shattering body check.

    That, by the way, would be a good topic for an article: What broad long-term strategies should the Canucks employ?

  • andyg

    I’d expect Burrows to play on the Canucks fourth line. Sure, it’s not ideal given his salary, but you can hardly blame Jim Benning (or Mike Gillis, even) for that. And the point is that they haven’t any other options.

    Burrows is useful on both power plays and (especially) penalty killing, making the fourth line a good place for him.

    Having said that, he would soon be promoted to the other lines as injuries take their toll.

    • Vanoxy


      Burrows can, and will shuffle up and down the lineup as needed and play a ton on the PK.

      He’s a good utility guy. Plus, as we’ve seen from Dorsett’s icetime, Willie D’s 4th line is not the purgatory that many 4th lines are around the league. He will use his character guys in all situations… whether that’s a good thing or not is very debatable.

  • DJ_44

    “I honestly have no idea what the Canucks plans are long-term or whether they have any. There are days where it seems like they operate on a one-year whim.”

    C-mon JD. This is disingenuous to the extreme. Not agreeing with the plan and not having a plan are different and I will not insult your intelligence to think you do not know that difference.

    Benning has stated his plan and he is executing it. Have mistakes occurred. Yes. They occur everywhere (hello Florida). However, I think there eyes are firmly on the longer term while being competitive now.

    The team is getting younger and bigger. Build from the net out. They have solidified their goaltending situation short-term and long-term ( [Miller]-Markstrom-Demko-[Garteig]). They have solidified their defence short-term and long-term (Tanev-Hutton-Gudbranson- [Larson – Tryamkin], Juolevi )

    Up front they have a top-6 perhaps elite winger in Boeser, top-6 perhaps elite center in Horvat, top six wingers in Virtanen and Eriksson, solid middle six in Sutter, Baertschi, Hansen, and Granlund.

    We need a future number 1 center. They are difficult to find. That’s what they will look to acquire.

    If your argument that they have no long term plan is “Who’s centring the first line on the 18-19 Canucks anyways?”; I would suggest a lot of teams in the league do not have a long-term plan: just replace “centering” with a position they are not as deep at and voila!.

    We are in a re-build. Management and ownership know and understand it. Fans know and understand it. It is just not a blow-it up rebuild, which are more often unsuccessful than successful (and even less so with draft lottery as it is now).

    I, like most fans, are not delusional. However I think they will be competitive, along with most teams in the west. Are we going to be a “lottery team” next May? Probably (every team that does not make the playoffs is a lottery team). But maybe I will be surprised.

    • Smyl and Snepsts

      Just had to comment that this was one of the most intelligent, well thought out comments posted on the site in ages.
      Also having Burrows on the 4th line and as a premium penalty killer is a huge benefit to the other lines as the top players will not have to use up their energy killing penalties as in the Tortorella year.

    • andyg

      What he means is that they are not doing a Toronto type of rebuild. This management has done a lot in a short time period. There is still a ways to go and no guarantees along the way.

    • TheRealPB

      You hit the nail on the head. Every team has a 5 year plan; cripes, even the Leafs, albeit they are on their third consecutive one. JD just doesn’t like it, so he choses to not acknowledge one exists.

    • Bob Long

      Here are some quotes from 2014 from Benning (save one line which is not a quote) that explains his plan. It outlines team composition, culture and player characteristics. Though I do not agree with all of Benning’s transactions, they have been, for the most part, consistent with what he stated when he was hired (i.e. “meat and potatoes hockey”). JD could have found this in 5 minutes via Google News searches:

      “I never heard of the Boston model till I came out here [Vancouver], to be quite honest…Our goal is to make the playoffs every year. By making the playoffs we have a chance to win…We expect to win because we hate losing. I can’t watch losing hockey. I can’t. And even if you drafted in the top five year after year, that doesn’t guarantee anything.”

      “We’re going to ask our players to be selfless and play hard for one another and us as a management team are going to be the same way.”

      “This organization needs to play an up-tempo, fast-skating, skilled game…Before last season, this team had almost a relentless attitude about them that they were going to skate and to wear teams down and to score, and for whatever reason that didn’t happen last year…We want to become a four-line team…You watch the playoffs now, the final four teams that are playing, they have four lines that contribute. We want our third and fourth lines to have an important role in the team winning…We have some work to do there in getting to that point, but we want to be a four-line, six-[defencemen] complete team.”

      “When Trevor did the exit meetings with them, they felt bad about what happened this last year. We’re going to try to help them out by having more depth on our roster, playing four lines…From there, we want to integrate young players into the lineup. That’s what we did in Boston. That’s what we’ll try to do here.”

      “They’re [The Top 6] skilled guys, let them play. But in the third and fourth line, let’s get some offensive zone time and spend some time in the other team’s end.”

      “I would like to see a little more physicality on the third and fourth lines. I’m not talking about fighting. I’m talking about between the whistles, getting in on the forecheck, hitting and playing with more grit to take some of the heat off the first two lines.”

      “We can play a skilled, skating style if need be. But when it’s a rugged, physical game, we can play that style, too.”

      On Scouting: “Linden wanted a talent evaluator, and that’s the kind of hockey executive he will get in Benning, a native of Edmonton who favours players with character and a strong work ethic.” “This is what I’m going to do, I come from a scouting background. We’re going to give these guys direction. I’m going to communicate to these guys what we want. What we think a Vancouver player should be…I’m going to work with them. I’m going to get out and see games. I’m going to be a part of that group. I’m going to try and make that group better.”

      On Coaching: “We want a coach that’s firm but fair, that has good communication skills and also can relate to the players.”

      • detox

        A third of that is all marketing BS, while another third is just contradictory.

        That’s not a plan. At best it is an objective. Objectives are a starting point, like dreams. For them to come true some pretty concrete steps need to identified, as they help with decisions and measurement.

        And fresh evidence that there is no plan in place is the Hamhuis situation at the end of last season. They told him they wanted him around, but didn’t get around to negotiate. Then, when an offer came in they didn’t take it, and then when the final offers came in they were either too low or too complex for them to respond, in parts because they have tied themselves in knots with the padded contracts they’ve given out.

        • TheRealPB

          as a comparison, why don’t you outline plans that have been laid out by other teams?

          Edmonton, Calgary or Toronto, well especially the Leafs.

          Especially the part where those teams become competitive and are always making the playoffs.

          I thought the objective was the end point or something to tell you the plan is working.

          • detox

            Arrrr Billy! I don’t live in another NHL market and I don’t have the interest to try and follow another NHL team. But as a casual observer, since St Shanny came along it looks like the Laffs nailed their plan re: razing it to the ground, getting a franchise player and going from there.

            If you follow footie, either type, there are lots of teams that bring in new leadership, articulate a plan and execute on it quickly, but maybe that is easier to do since so many players are on the field at the same time.

            But back to the Nucks. Retooling on the fly seems like it could be the basis of a plan, and moves like McCann for Gudbranson and Bonino for Sutter would seem to support it. The formula seems to be “acquire assets and flip them for better assets or important pieces.” But if that’s the case (ahem “plan”) then they wouldn’t have lost Hamhuis for nothing, botched Vrbata’s last season, traded Hunter for Granlund, while being pushed up against the cap.

            There is a massive contradiction between what management says and what they do, and that could come down to their general inexperience.

          • Bob Long

            “But if that’s the case (ahem “plan”) then they wouldn’t have lost Hamhuis for nothing, botched Vrbata’s last season, traded Hunter for Granlund, while being pushed up against the cap.”

            It would appear that you are comparing the Canucks to Toronto and others, to criticize management, but claim to be only a casual observer of those said teams. Not a very good foundation to perch your soapbox from.

            In defense of the three players mentioned, Hamhuis hamstrung management on trade options, and sent signals to potential suitors that he would simply be a rental and would like to re-sign with Vancouver at the end of his contract. Also, by limiting his destination choices to so few teams, he made it next to impossible to get anything done. I was disappointed that we didn’t get anything for Hamhuis, but he drove the bus on this one, and held all the cards.

            Vrbata defined himself last year as a spoiled brat, didn’t get his way and didn’t show up to play. His value on the market is indicated by the fact that he only recently signed a 1 million dollar show me contract with Arizona. Trade potential indeed! Yes, they were lining up to snap up this free agent once his contract expired, weren’t they?

            Trading Shinkaruk for Granlund was a move that puzzled me, and is one of only a couple of moves I felt uncomfortable with. That being said, i’m sure management weren’t simply bored that day, and arranged that trade to kill time. They didn’t see a fit with Hunter, and moved him. Time will tell on this one.

            There will be many trades/moves and lack of action we will all question, however unless we are privy to all the conversations that take place between the teams, we can only speculate.

            Also, I don’t see a “massive” contradiction between what management says an does. To the contrary, they seem to be “trying” to re-build on the fly…and seem to be getting younger and better.

            My question for you would be…What would you have done? Sorry, can’t use the word try. What kind of concrete, sure fire moves would you have made?

          • detox

            Here’s the massive contradiction: if you are looking to rebuild on the fly you take every opportunity you can to do just that. Look at Toronto, everyone knew they were in fire sale mode all year yet they still managed to make fair deals.

            1. Hamhuis. You can’t put the blame wholly on him. Benning was waffling right until the trade deadline about resigning him. There were offers for him, the Canucks couldn’t make any work.

            2. Salary cap. They are way too close to the cap for a team looking to retool. They have no flexibility to do creative deals or add pieces that hit the market, like Nichushwhatever,

            3. Rolling 4 lines. That might work against the scrubs of the league but not if you are trying to be a Presidents Trophy calibre team.

          • Foximus

            Hamhuis: That’s a paradox. If Benning accepts a low-ball offer, he gets skewered. He doesn’t trade Hamhuis to maximize trade deadline returns, he gets skewered. You cannot ignore Hamhuis’s NTC and hostile Dallas ownership.

            Salary Cap: We have 3.5M in cap space. Just because you have cap space, doesn’t mean you can swing a deal. You need assets that other GM’s want. But we don’t because Gillis was miserable at the draft. Unless you’re implying that we should be taking bad contracts in trades.

            Rolling 4 lines: The reason why Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup was because they were a four line team. They had Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel as their third line and Matt Cullen as a stellar fourth liner. They rolled four lines on a deep team and won. How can you say that this doesn’t work? Read the Benning quote, he knew this from the start.

            As for fair deals, that’s a bit revisionist. Here’s a link to Twitter reaction to the Kessel trade, scroll to the latter half to see the negative reaction such as:

            – “Yeah but what ELSE did the Leafs get for Kessel?… Guys?”

            – “Wait, THAT’s the best you could get for Kessel?? Leafs are back, baby!!”

            – “If the Leafs hadn’t given up a 2nd and retained salary on Kessel the deal might have been OK, but those things push it firmly into “bad””


          • Foximus

            What can you do as a gm? make trades, sign ufa’s, draft and develop. Of course you pick a coach and some other stuff too.

            JB has said you build a team from the net out and has addressed goaltending for the time being and just added 2 significant D pieces in OJ and Gudbranson.

            Forwards seem easier to draft in the first round and I’m guessing he will target them next.

            The plan is to draft and develop while looking at the club and identifying areas of strength/depth and weakness and rob from peter to pay paul when u make trades.

            I’m not a fan of the Shinkaruk for Granlund trade, but these are both players that might never become regular nhlers (play more than 300 games).

            as per players with ntc’s/nmc’s and not moving them. what can you do? you get a guy like Burke and he says he isn’t going to be taken advantage of and is praised, same thing with the Canucks, but the team is criticized.

            “the execute on it quickly”, I share the sentiment, but it all takes time. I have never heard a team that is at the bottom of the standings give a timeline for when they expect to make the playoffs, win a series or win the cup.

            as per the Leafs executing their plan. lol. I guess the Oilers executed their plan when they drafted at the top # many times.

            losing is easy. winning, not so much.

          • Bob Long

            “razing it to the ground, getting a franchise player and going from there.”

            This plan is far too complex and detailed. Please make it easier for me to understand.

        • detox

          So what are you expecting from Benning? Announcing trade targets and getting fined again for tampering? Announcing UFA targets and losing negotiating leverage? Declaring who he wants to draft ahead of time? Post a waiver wire pick-up strategy?

          There is a difference between having a plan and executing it. I agree, he’s dropped the ball on trade deadline rentals. He hasn’t acquired a scoring LW (hey, I heard this guy named Shinkaruk plays LW and scored a bunch of goals in the AHL, maybe we should get him). Even though I disagree with those two examples, he dropped Hamhuis to make room for younger defensive prospects that he drafted, signed or traded for. He traded Shinaruk for what he believes is more centre depth in Granlund. Those transactions have been totally consistent with his prior statements.

          As Billy mentioned, the ball is now in your court. Can you articulate the “plan” of any other NHL team?

    • crofton

      But they did work in Soviet Russia. The original 5 year plans were about building and re-building infrastructure, and they worked immensely well. And frankly I have never heard of any 5 year plans related to building the Soviet Red Army hockey team. (we are talking hockey, right?) Perhaps you are confusing 5 year plans and 5 man hockey units, something else the Soviets did to huge success.

  • andyg

    James Sheppard?? Unless it is just a filler move for preseason I can’t see what he would add. He’s never had more than 5 goals in an NHL season.

    I’m hoping the Canucks do well this season just to prove all the naysayers wrong. I’m pretty tired of all the negativity.

  • Fred-65

    It will be a disgrace if the players they bring in on a PTO is not significantly better than the likes of Gaunce/Grenier. I understand the 8 min for thePre Season and I hate it and you’d have to think a good agent would follow that route

  • detox

    JD, to say that you don’t know if the Canucks even have a plan is simply ignorant.You may not agree with their direction/plan but to suggest that they are basically just winging it is ridiculous.

    • wojohowitz

      Thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth. You have to wonder what JD’s 5 year plan is for this website? I would much rather see him lose the snarky attitude and simply analyze the game/team.

      We are all going to disagree on different points, at different times, but no one has a crystal ball so, any argument regarding the direction of the team is simply analysis until the future becomes the present.

  • Foximus

    This season should be interesting for us Canucks fans. While everyone on the planet expects us to be last we are hoping to be a playoff team.

    5 yr plan? Only really valid if Benning hits on lots of draft picks. I like several of our prospects (Boeser, Demko, Joelievi) and feel pretty good about Subban, Stetcher, Gaunce filling depth roles. If Benning can nail a couple more drafts and these kids continue to develop the 5 yr plan might be right if too soon. 2020?

    While the goal is the playoffs this year I’m not sure we make it. I think the Sedins and Eriksson will be fun to watch and produce. Seeing how Rodin does and if Virtanen makes a jump along with Trymakin will tell us a lot. A return of Sutter for a full season and if Gudbranson is actually a top 4 shut down guy is also going be something for us to monitor.

    I’m looking forward to the season and still have faith in Benning. Our biggest challenge is that our division got much better too.

  • wojohowitz

    As far as having a `plan` of course people are confused by what Benning has said. He still has to sell tickets. Look at Lucky Lou in Toronto who says as little as possible about his plan and yet has pretty much burnt down the house in order to rebuild it, but Lou can get away with it because corporate hockey fans in Toronto will continue to buy every season ticket available regardless of how bad the team is, while Benning cannot go that route, but must insist his team will be competitive every year to generate revenue, while at the same time rebuild `on the fly`.

  • Bob Long

    The expansion draft (July 2017?).

    Here Sbisa/Dorsett are depth guys impeding young prospects from a big league spot; in Vegas will probably be roster mainstays whose contracts (higher AAVs) will allow the franchise to reach the salary floor.

  • detox

    My reasoning re: the 5-year plan question was this: I’m assuming when Benning and Co. were hired, they had to display to the owners they had some sort of direction for where they envisioned the future of the team. Ideally, this would include a plan for what would happen at the end of the Sedins’ contracts (which expire after 2017-18). My personal view is that the Canucks should have something to sell the Sedins on at that point, to show there is a chance for contention yet that would motivate Hank and Danny to sign a say 2-year deal on the cheap to play as third-liners in 2018-19 and 19-20 with the new young core.

    Yes, this future 18-19 roster currently has a huge hole in the 1C slot. But if you look at his opportunities, Benning hasn’t really yet had a chance to fill that roster hole. Benning came in before the 2014 entry draft, and arguably made the right choice at #6. There were no future #1Cs available at that spot (depending on your thoughts on Nylander), as they all went 2,3,4. Aside from Nylander at 8, the next centre wasn’t taken til 15 — and Larkin wasn’t a realistic reach at 6 at that point. In 2015 it really appears that Boeser was the right choice at 23, and we would’ve had to hit the draft lottery to have a chance at a legit 1C guy that year anyway, so no need to blame making the playoffs for ruining the team’s future that year. This year, again, there didn’t appear to be a real legit #1C guy available at #5.

    Maybe Benning and Co. took McCann in 2014 with the idea that he could possibly develop into that 1C role, and decided to move him after this year when they determined his ceiling wasn’t that high.

    Maybe this (the third year) is the bottom of the curve of the 5-year plan, and Benning is able to fill that roster hole with Nolan Patrick in the 2017 draft.

    I’m one to often question the legitimacy of the moves this management group makes, and I often think that skepticism is warranted and necessary in an engaged fan base. However, I’m also not opposed to stepping back and seeing if there should maybe be some credit given to this management group, even if it may be a bit of a grasp.

    TL;DR — maybe Benning’s master plan is to: (a) get a 1C and he hasn’t had the chance until maybe Nolan Patrick; and (b) convince the Sedins to re-sign as 3rd-liners on the cheap in 2018.

  • TheRealPB

    the plan from the beginning has had to accommodate the fact the sedins were here until 2018 and are virtually untradeable. a lot of cricitism of benning is based on a failure to recognize that reality. it has dictated from the start that there should not be an intentional full tank. the logical thing to do was to maximize the sedin asset by trying to retool on the fly while staying competitive at least to the point of chasing the playoffs and thereby gain the benefit of continuity and a competitive developmental environment. hard to do, but so is becoming competitive again after a full tank. i agree with the strategy given what they had.

    as for whether they have a particular plan to entice the sedins to stay after 2018, i doubt it. i am sure it would be nice to do if they still are contributing, but i don’t think that can be counted on, and certainly would not have been a factor that anyone would count on in 2014 when the plan was formed.

  • detox


    if you accept the plan is to retool on the fly then you need to consider how they do that. they can’t build with blue chip prospects, their own cupboard was bare, so they had to build up a credible pool of prospects at all levels and to do that they have to take chances on players who fall through the cracks in other organizations.

    so they gambled on players like baertschi, clendenning and granlund. what these players have in common is they were fully developed as at least nhl replacement level players who still have some upside potential.

    that’s exactly what pat quinn used to acquire all the time. and when you gamble you cannot win them all. for every cliff ronning or naslund there is at least one dave capuano.

    so instead of evaluating individual trades and focussing on (what you think are) the bad gambles, you need to look at the overall roster and the hits.

    and if you must focus on individual trades then let time pass. the worst of those gambles, clendenning, is the one the bloggers thought was the best move at first. the canucks had a full opportunity to evaluate shinkaruk and we know he clashed with travis green. much too soon to say they gave him away.

  • detox

    The liquidating assets for picks, tanking so your first round pick is high are all part of a plan to get more prospects and hopefully a good percentage of your picks pan out.

    Simply put, drafting and developing should be part of every team’s normal operations. You go all in on a run, year after year and you get to where the Canucks were a couple years ago- no prospects pushing for jobs.

    The difference between rebuilding/retooling/tanking is how far to strip the club, what players to let go, whether to just let them walk or trade for picks, and who do you play moving forward?

    A challenge for teams that have a load of prospects is who is going to get the opportunity to play and in what roles, their ice time and are they put in the best possible position to succeed?

    I look at the Oilers and they had good forward blue chip talent from their first round picks, but lacked dmen and goalies. And they all ended up with 6 million dollar contracts. eek! and the club paralyzed because they were afraid to trade anyone to address other needs.

    Will the Leafs fall into a similar trap? I know the Canucks have their challenges with transitioning from an older core to build a younger core. every plan has its merits and challenges. and none of these plans are written in stone

  • Bob Long

    ask torterella what happens when you go to three lines and play the sedins in every key situation.

    the sedins have always tended to wear down over a season. even discounting injuries and just given where the sedins are in their career and the lack of a second line, there was no choice but to roll 4 lines last season. who would take on the minutes if you shortened the bench?

    that remains the case until a second line or preferably a new first line emerges. gone are the regular season days where the sedins will take every possible offensive zone start in the third period when trailing.