WWYDW: Final Cuts


The pre-season is coming to an end this weekend, and the real season will be here in short order.

At this moment, things are a little messy. Players like Troy Stecher, Jack Skille, Tuomo Ruutu,Brendan Gaunce, and Joe Labate have had very good showings, obviously to varying degrees, and are pushing themselves into the conversation for the opening night rosters. On the flip side, there are a few players that were expected to occupy a roster spot that just haven’t live up to expectations.

So this weeks question is –  who makes the opening night roster if you had the choice? Who doesn’t make the cut?

Last week we asked: Knowing what it will cost to sign Trouba, what would you package to acquire him from the Jets? Conversely, why wouldn’t you trade for Trouba? Try to be realistic. Luca Sbisa and Jannik Hansen isn’t making it happen.

Dan B.


The Jets’ asking price is a left-hander of similar age and ability. 

That means giving up either Hutton or Juolevi plus a bunch of other assets. 

Then what do we do with Gudbranson? Play him on the third pair? Trade him again for a lefty to replace Hutton/Juolevi?

The guy clearly has attitude problems, he gets plenty of ice time and Byfuglien is 31 and isn’t going to be a top-4 guy forever. 

We just don’t have any need for a top 4 righty. If the Jets would take Hutton or Juolevi with minimal add-ons, then it would be worth it. But I’m sure there’s a team out there with a hole on the right side and an extra guy on the left, and that team would be in a position to pay a fair price. 

It’s been mentioned before, but if JB wanted Trouba then he would have gotten him instead of Gudbranson. The Canucks are well-balanced left and right (bearing in mind that Tryamkin plays the right side) in the top 8. 

No chance he comes to Vancouver.


I would deal for Trouba only if Canucks are also moving out Tanev or Gudbranson. Maybe the Canucks deal Tanev for Trouba? Trouba has a high ceiling but Tanev is probably more solid on D right now.

I’d focus on forwards. I think you can gamble and try and get guys who have hurt their market value: E. Kane, Yakupov and Nichushkin. Only Nichushkin would cost a lot but the other two aren’t going to require a lot – if they are then forget about them.

Bob Long

We don’t have the 1 for 1 asset they are apparently looking for, unless its Juolevi and that wouldn’t be an upgrade. Juolevi projects to be better. 

All we have to offer is picks, plus a 5/6 pairing guy like Pedan. 

So Pedan + our 2017 1st + a roster player like Sbisa or Hansen because we would need to clear the salary to make it happen. Probably not sexy enough but given that the 1st might be a lottery chance its good value.


I like Trouba but is he honestly worth that price? Comparable contracts at that age seem like elite forwards (MacKinnon, RNH, Hall, Barkov, Seguin, Tavares). I’m trying to think what other young D have commanded that kind of a deal. And that’s just on the money. If you are having to give up a blue chip prospect like Virtanen or Juolevi I don’t see the point as it would be a lateral move at best. Yes you could argue that Trouba is an established NHLer but does he project at a higher level than Juolevi? Most of the “shortcuts” we’ve taken with development haven’t been with our truly high end prospects (McCann and Shinkaruk have many more flaws than Juolevi, Horvat or Virtanen) so I don’t see how this moves us forward. This especially makes little sense to me because the real need for us is in F not D which I feel we’ve finally solidified


Given the Jets’ probably challenges with the expansion draft and Trouba’s age, I think the only assets they will accept are high end players still on their ELC.

So prices start at one of Virtanen or Juolevi + throw ins. If the Canucks are serious about maximizing playoff chances, Juolevi is the one to go.

I wouldn’t do it.

  • TheRealPB

    Stecher is a first year pro coming into the NHL and while Hutton might be an exception in general I think it’s better to get players used to the relative ease of an NCAA schedule a more gradual introduction to the grind of the pro game. Some time in Utica will be good for his development. Gaunce and Labate too, I think more time in Utica won’t be bad, rather than playing fourth line and press box minutes here. For a 13th forward to rotate in I’d definitely go with Skille, along with probably Pedan/Tryamkin/Larsen/Sbisa as the bottom pairing/press box D. Virtanen might need to go down and rehab the shoulder and get his confidence going. Skille is four years younger than Ruutu and had a decent year as a bottom six forward for Colorado last year. The only way that Ruutu makes more sense is if you decide to put Granlund on the wing with Horvat and Hansen for a decent two-way line (my preference would be to have Sutter as the 3C with Burrows and Hansen for a good shutdown line and Horvat-Baertschi-Rodin as a sheltered scoring 2nd line but I don’t know that’s going to happen). In that case you could put Ruutu between Etem and Dorsett.

    My optimal case would be that the Canucks actually demote Sbisa and Biega, carry Ruutu, Skille and Pedan as the extras but it’s unlikely to happen.

  • chinook

    Send down the sedins, they havent shown up ONCE during the preseason!
    All kidding aside, I would send down Gaunce, Virtanen, Beiga, Stecher and Etem. Keep Skille or Ruutu. If you keep one of the two PTOs then keep Etem for 13th fwrd. I am not sold on Granlund being a 4th line center. He looked really good with Baertschi and Rodin, or as a winger himself. Sedins could play with Eriksson, Sutter, or Hansen. Eriksson would make it a legit first line, Sutter would give them the RH faceoff guy, and we know what Hansen can do there. With Sutter or Hansen there, it would provide our second line with more firepower, and Eriksson could play on his natural side. Lines in my eye would like this:







    ….ahhh i cannot decide! Good thing I am not making these decisions

    • 51Geezer

      No way would I take Etem or Skille over Gaunce. IMO Etem has done nothing to show he should stay with the big club. Heck, I would take Labate over Etem and Skille because he does things that you notice and his upside is greater. Why would you keep Larsen over Stetcher? Stetcher has looked good whereas Larsen has done nothing.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s refreshing to see some competition, most seasons you generally know before camp even starts who your team is going to be (not always a positive).

    I can appreciate the added challenges double E is facing this camp and the team will probably not send him down given his particular circumstances but does anyone think he has done enough to make the squad? I don’t see this team being better with what I’ve seen of his contributions so far.

    Skille would seem to be a pretty good fourth line option if we didn’t have enough in-house talent to fill the jobs (if management does have a contract to dole out for extra depth, I think that would have to go to Ruutuu, he’s playing like his fingertips are at the end of the rope – and he knows it).

    I’ve been hoping that Labate would find a way to take it to the nest level and really like the fact that he seems to be getting it. I expect him to get a cup of coffee or two this year and push for a spot next season.

    I really does seem that Dorsett is RGW’s lieutenant (ball washer, valet, ect….) because I can’t think of any other reason why we have to watch him go out there and be the NHL’s version of Rudy. Sure, he tries like hell but to what end?

    Everybody seems to love Granlund but for the life of me I can’t see why. I have nothing against him as a player, but I just don’t have anything for him either. I must have a blind spot.

    Been waiting for the season where we would get to see Gaunce and Pedan in the line-up (I am unabashedly pro on both players) but I can’t help but wonder if we are better off long term by limiting their contributions short term. If I read the expansion rules correctly (Jeremy’s post on the subject helped me wade through it all) there is a games played threshold that a player must hit to be eligible for selection (40 games for Gaunce, memory won’t confirm if it is the some for Pedan). I don’t know about anyone else but I expect both players to be part of this teams future and would hate to see them have successful seasons only for that to attract Vegas’s attention. Since there are still a lot of questions for this team to answer (and I don’t think they are going to answer them all this year) I wouldn’t be too sad if their games were limited, if possible, to keep them under the limit with the idea of letting them run next year.

    On D I’m with most people on the Stecher issue but think that we’re better off starting him in Utica while the team figures out where, and how, the pairings mesh with particular emphasis on Sbisa and Larsen (I’m thinking short leashes there).

    Virtanen seems to have worked himself into the twilight zone, I have no idea where this kid is headed but he better start acting smarter than a bag of dented pucks or the game is going to start passing him by. I’m concerned that despite the tools he is never going to find a kit to put them in. Travis Green might just be the answer for that and 20 minutes a night being ‘the guy’ shouldn’t hurt his development any.

    I certainly don’t want to be cursed with another season of woe and sadness but this strikes me as a team of the future (I’d love to see them catch lightning in a bottle but you can’t bank on that).

  • Canuck4Life20

    Stecher is making the team. Look how amazing he’s been on the powerplay and he has not even played with the Sedins and Ericson. Surely that is not lost on WD and JB. They have to convince Tryamkin to go Utica along with Pedan. I know there was a lot of JB hype on Larsson – but he hasn’t really done anything.

    Gaunce has to make the team, and Etem and Dorsett rotate in the press box. Canucks have 48 out of the max 50 contracts, so I don’t see Skille and Ruutu being signed.

  • 51Geezer

    Buncha guys on the bubble and still two preseason games left, so this could still shake out a lotta different ways. But I’m kinda thinking

    Up front:






    On defense:





    And if it needs to be said:



    Or for something out of left field how about:






  • dtriemstra

    Sedins & Eriksson
    Bae, Bo, Rodin
    Granlund, Sutter, Hansen
    Skille, Gaunce, Dorsett

    Edler – Tanev
    Hutton – Guds
    Sbisa – Larsen
    Pedan – Biega
    Tryamkin (?)

    Keep Skille over Rutuu because Granlund can backup Gaunce at centre. Skille is a better depth winger with more size, grit and Skille 😉

    Etem gets put on waivers to Utica ASAP. Or…he could start with the team as a final trial. This hopefully means that Skille is signed to a lucrative 2-way deal as a backup option.

    Virtanen to Utica for an extended period of time. He needs more minutes and development so he can become the legitimate top 6 forward everyone wants him to be.

    I love Stetcher but the Canucks honestly are not ready for him. Give him one year Utica. He then takes over Sbisas spot when we lose him in expansion draft next summer.

    Finally, I would like to see Tryamkin also go to Utica. He needs it. Not sure if he’s willing though…

    Biega would then be the 8th Dman and shortly become expansion draft eligiable.

  • 51Geezer

    If Jack Skille and Tuomo Ruutu are playing well enough to stay, I’d like them to stay, as long as the guys they push out don’t have to clear waivers to go to Utica.

  • chinook

    I’m close to full agreement with BigD little d ‘s suggested line-up (see below) but add Labate as the 14th forward, and see if Tryamkin will agree to a stint in Utica.

    I like Skille’s speed, physical play and drive to the net, so he is close to making it, but I favour the young Labate on a rebuilding team. Skille is at his best, Labate should get better.

    Gaunce, Rodin, Stetcher and Granlund have played their way on to the roster, Etem and Larson have not shown enough and should be cut. I would risk losing them to waivers. The power play is much better with Edler and Stetcher on the points.

    Tryamkin needs to improve his positioning and decisions. I hope he has enough appraisal of his own game to see that and will agree to go to Utica and be an injury call-up. I hope Pedan could be rotated into the line-up and not sit in the press box because I don’t want to risk him to waivers. So the line-up is:





    Dorsett, LaBate

    On defense:




    ?Tryamkin? /Pedan

  • LTFan

    The Canucks management have declared that they are striving for the playoffs, an attitude I approve of.

    But if they are going to make a serious attempt then they will have to take a few chances. This means Rodin and Virtanen — two talented but inexperienced players — should be given middle-six positions from the first day of the season. Playing it safe with Burrows or Granlund (on right wing) in the middle six has limited up side.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Does anyone remember the good old days when we were a powerhouse team but with a fourth line cobbled together from late-summer free agent signings? It’s great to see some competition and there are going to be some players sent down who could be in the NHL.

    In an ideal world the best players would simply start the year, but contract and waiver status needs to be taken into account to retain depth. This year there is an added twist of the looming expansion draft.

    They are required to expose at least one defenseman and two forwards who have played at least 40 games in 2016-17 or 70 games in the past two seasons. Sbisa has to play 29 games and Biega needs 19 to be eligible or they would need to expose one the top-four guys. Dorsett has already played enough games to be eligible, but I’m not sure if there is an obvious second choice. In my mind it would either need to be Granlund (23 games needed), Etem (12 games needed), or Burrows (0 games needed but would need to be re-signed to a 1-year deal).

    If I’m in charge Stecher goes down but Larsen is given a very short leash to start the season. I would also try to convince Tryamkin that he would be better off getting more minutes in Utica and he will be making the same money. Beiga would go down as well, but would be a call-up at some point. That would leave the team with seven defensemen Sbisa starts the year and gets in at least his required 29 games.

    On forward I would play Rodin with Horvat and Baertschi, Sutter between Hansen and Granlund, and Gaunce on the fourth line with Dorsett and either Burrows, Etem or Virtanen. If Tryamkin couldn’t be convinced to go down then I would send down Virtanen and give Etem 12 games to show what he can do in the regular season.

    As far as PTO’s, offer Skille and Ruutu two-way deals to start the year in Utica. Neither payer has stood out in my mind to warrant taking a spot from one of the younger guys.

  • dtriemstra

    I would say it is safe to dump Etem, as the Rangers just waived Jensen. Corrado soon will get dumped, and Shinkaurak may not be too far behind. Then hopefully, we can get that stupid “asset management” terminology that so many people like to harp on Benning.

  • RIP

    Lots to consider here. My take is that Etem and Pedan have not been good enough to make the team. I was really excited about Larsen but he is soft and his defensive game is not good enough. I love Tryamkin’s size but he should not be selected on that alone. His foot speed is only OK especially when changing directions and his position and timing are still off. I want him to make it but it will be half a season of a liability until I think he can be a real positive on the ice. All that being said I think he makes it.

    Sbisa is making the team to think otherwise is silly. He was good in the WC as well. so I think you keep Stetcher and Biega as spares but getting Stecher in whenever possible.

    At the front Ruttu would be an excellent 4th liner that could move up if needed. Send Vrtana, Etem Skille, Labate down with Vrtanen being the first call up. He needs to get his game rolling in Utica with big minutes. Rodin is a great player from what I have seen and is not going to benefit as much from Utica. Keep Gaunce as he can roll in on the fourth line as a winger or Center; or roll into the third line as a winger. So: SSE; BHR; BSH;RGD; spare Gaunce

  • Canuck4Life20

    I do like the notion that training camp is *mostly* a meritocracy, with player development being the other consideration.

    Given that I would:
    -send down Virtanen to play big minutes
    -send down Labate
    -say goodbye to Skille
    -sign Ruutu
    -send Tryamkin down or let him go back to Russia if that is what he really wants (he needs to play)
    -send Biega down
    -send Stetcher down to play big minutes and adjust to pro game

    Lines would then be:



    Virtanen and Labate would both benefit from bigger roles in Utica. Ruutu is a center that brings excellent experience/leadership to the mix and *might* still be able to score a bit (assuming he can be signed for 1 year at reasonable $$).

    Larsen is more tested and should be given some time to adjust to the smaller ice. He has not played himself off the roster, in my opinion.

    Re-evaluate after 25 games or so, with an eye to giving one or two of the Utica young guns a shot if they earn it or if a roster player profoundly disappoints.

  • RIP

    Keeping in mind the expansion draft, the Canucks should break camp looking like:










    Virtanen should start in Utica and so should Tryamkin. If Tryamkin isn’t willing to start in Utica then Canucks have to keep him and send down Biega or Larsen. Etem hasn’t done a thing and is on the outside looking in right now so he should be Utica bound as well.

    I really like Ruutu so far and should be offered a contract and then sent down. Good depth guy and possible Comet. LaBate is another guy that might be a good line 4 energy guy in the near future.

    The big cut would be Stecher. It might not hurt to have him start in Utica but I could also see him being kept in Van. If he hangs around then Biega could go down or maybe even Larsen.

    • Canuck4Life20

      There is no way I would start the season with Virtanen in Utica. At least one of Gaunce, Dorsett, or Skille would be there instead.

      If the Canucks are to have any chance to make the playoffs then they will need production, and there is far more potential with Virtanen than with any of those.

      • Canuck4Life20

        I’m more about properly developing our blue-chip prospects so this team can be competitive for years. Canucks are very far from competitive right now so let the kids grow and develop; this means playing meaningful minutes in Utica as opposed to a lesser role and fewer minutes with the Canucks.

        Stecher, Tryamkin, Virtanen and even LaBate would benefit from a bit more seasoning. Give them confidence via the AHL. I am the guy that prefers missing the playoffs, developing youth and piling up assets for a couple years over signing older vets, rushing youth, making the playoffs and getting swept out of round 1.

        • RIP

          Maybe you are looking years down the road, but management claims it wants to make a serious run at the playoffs. I’m taking them at their word.

          At any rate, Virtanen had a decent second half of last season, and looks capable of 30+ points this year if given a permanent slot in the middle six. The kids’ ready.

  • Canuck4Life20

    I am happy for Etem’s new family. Nothing more meaningful in life. But as a new dad the first thing he needs to do is get good sleeps, make an impression in preseason, get million dollar contracts so his family can have a comfortable future in Vancouver!

    the new dad excuse doesn’t cut it with me (not that he has used it, but everyone else has). Its not like this was going to be a suprise, you have a nine month prep for it. The fact that it happened makes it more important than ever to get your ducks in a row, give yourself every advantage and chance, and make the team.

    Sorry if that seems insensitive for some, but yeah.

  • Canuck4Life20

    I don’t get why everyone is so down on Etem. He is going to be be asked to play 4th line minutes, fore check hard, and provide a bit of secondary scoring. His rivals for roster spots are PTOs (Skillet and Ruutu) who have less upside and are unlikely contribute more. Or younger players who would benefit from bigger minutes in Utica, and are unlikely to contribute much if any more.

    The smart play is to keep him. Little risk with some upside. The shiny new/old thing is alluring but the long term value is questionable.