It was the best of weeks; it was the worst of weeks. The Canucks continued their winning ways all the way to the weekend, beating the St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres. Then reality came crashing down. The Canucks dropped back-to-back contests to the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, finishing the week 4-1-1.
If you told me the Canucks would start the season with a 4-1-1 record, though, I’d say things went pretty damn well for them. And they have! The Canucks are probably getting better results than they deserve, but I’ll be damned if they haven’t played better hockey too! At least for the most part.
Anyways, you’ve all got questions, and I’ve got answers. That’s kind of how this thing goes.
— Shayne Cockerill (@BossC888) October 23, 2016
— Jackson McDonald (@Johnny_Perogy) October 23, 2016
I’m going to go ahead and treat these two questions as a hybrid question of sorts and do my best to answer them in kind.
Brandon Sutter’s hot start has in no way changed my outlook on him as a player. He’s always been a relatively strong finisher. Well, an efficient finisher at least. His career average shooting percentage is right around 10%. So I’m not overly surprised that he’s being given second line minutes and producing goals at similar to a second line rate.
The assists are perhaps a little surprising. Didn’t see that coming. Sutter playmaking’s never jumped off the page to this point in his career, so I’m curious to see if that keeps up. Perhaps playing with Jannik Hansen will help the cause. Hansen is an above average finisher that can generate offence with little to no help.
Is all this going to lead to a career year for Sutter? Perhaps, but I’m not sure you’re going to see a massive bump over the 40 point high he posted in his second season.
@JDylanBurke Do NMC transfer to the team player waived to be traded to or are they voided? Will this trade deadline be affected by E.draft?
— Matt Baer (@baerzerk84) October 23, 2016
If I’m interpreting your first question correctly, I would say the answer is that once a player’s been traded, if that trade occurs after their NMC or NTC has kicked in, that clause is waived in their contract. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that’s the case.
I don’t think the expansion draft is going to influence the trade deadline anywhere near as much as people expect. Mostly because the teams that are going to be in a pickle for the expansion draft are mostly contending franchises. Contending franchises never intentionally shrink their window.
@JDylanBurke do u think canucks trying to sneak into playoffs instead of doing full tear down rebuild is more cuz of ownership or management
— John Puck (@JohnPuck1992) October 23, 2016
The answer is both. I’ve heard many a thing about meddling ownership. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. So I’m willing to take that at face value. As for Jim Benning, he didn’t just sell ownership on a quick rebuild… he sold the entire fanbase.
ahahahahahaha this one is even better pic.twitter.com/JVgGJ3b2kO
— who even cares (@HockeyDipshit) October 13, 2016
— Kevin Doughty (@no_doughty) October 24, 2016
There was a point in his career where Milan Michalek was a serviceable middle-six forward that could contribute on special teams. We’re well past that point, though. And his contract carries $3.7-million in remaining cap charges for this season.
@JDylanBurke What do the Canucks do with Tryamkin? Play him? Sit him? Let him bolt back to KHL?
— Trevor Crawley (@tcrawls) October 24, 2016
Frankly, I’m at a point where I think the lesser of all evils for Nikita Tryamkin and his long-term development is a trip back to the KHL. At least for this season. It’s not serving anybody for him to sit in the press box night after night.
That would also open the door for another of the Canucks young defenceman to get a shot. Whether that’s Jordan Subban, Troy Stecher or Andrey Pedan will need to be figured out down the road. But they’ve all shown they deserve a shot to show their stuff at the NHL level.
@JDylanBurke 6 games into the season which Canuck has currently been disappointing in their performance.
— Jason Trejo (@JasonTrejoRizky) October 24, 2016
I’ve been pretty lukewarm on Philip Larsen. At his best, he’s invisible at even-strength; at his worst, he’s a turnstile. I haven’t really been enamoured with his play as the power play quarterback, either.
@JDylanBurke Where will Louis E. eventually fit in ie: “With Sutter/Hansen” “Bo Horvat & Co” “Sedins” or “Other”? He seems lost right now
— Lance Nicholson (@LanceRnicholson) October 24, 2016
I don’t really think Eriksson’s looked lost. He has four points in six games. If he carried a 55 point pace for the rest of the season, I’d be thrilled. With that said, I think the Canucks inability to score goals will force their hand. They’ll probably have to move Eriksson up and down the lineup to generate secondary offence. That’ll probably leave him on a line with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi at some point.
@JDylanBurke How often do you dream of 2011 with a different ending?
— Ryan Stimson (@RK_Stimp) October 24, 2016
@JDylanBurke Does Loui E. has a history of slow stars?
— Coach Mike (@akacoachmike) October 24, 2016
Well, I don’t think Eriksson is off to a slow start. I’ll start there. He’s always hovered at about a half-point-per-game if not higher. So it’s never been an issue historically either.
— Oh, Me. (@OhMeSigh) October 24, 2016
It’s a pompadour. An awesome pompadour at that.
@JDylanBurke can Jake virtanen realistically be a goal scorer in the NHL?
— Sank the Ship (@BlueAidanGreen) October 24, 2016
I don’t think Virtanen will ever be a particularly productive forward at the NHL level, no. He lacks the hockey sense to contribute offensively. He’s a straight line, point a to point b forward. He can’t generate offence off sustained pressure, and he doesn’t find the passing lanes necessary to capitalize on his great shot. At this point, Virtanen becoming a play driving middle-six forward is about as good an outcome as you should expect.
@JDylanBurke where so you see the canucks finishing this year and is Philip Larsen going to last?
— ALWAYS90FOUR (@Always90four) October 24, 2016
I’ve always maintained that the Canucks can compete for a playoff spot if just about everything goes right. So, I’m sticking to my guns. They’ll probably be somewhere in the 8-12 spot in the Western Conference. Which is great in the sense that it fits their short-term goals. Realistically, though, that’s sports purgatory.
The Canucks are going to give Philip Larsen every chance possible to make it work in Vancouver. It’s up to Larsen how long he lasts. If he doesn’t make serious strides, though, I’d take the under on 2017.
@JDylanBurke why do you hate the Canucks, JD?
— nobody (@petbugs13) October 24, 2016
Because I’m a big old negative meany.
@JDylanBurke would love to know Benning/WDJ WAR vs other gms n coaches.
— Parry Malm (@ParryMalm) October 24, 2016
Well, DTMAboutHeart posted Coaching WAR on Twitter. He illustrated the league’s best and worst coaches by that metric. Desjardins didn’t qualify for either, which makes sense. He’s an average to above average coach, in my estimation.
You really don’t want to know Benning’s WAR, though. He didn’t post it, but I think that’s for the best.
@JDylanBurke Is there something to Benning’s USHL scouting? Boeser, Gaudette, Lockwood all seem to have taken a step forward in the NCAA.
— Traviss Ram (@mr_bossram) October 24, 2016
There absolutely is. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I didn’t have my own misgivings about the Adam Gaudette and William Lockwood picks in particular. They’re outperforming their draft season campaigns though and it’s to Benning’s credit that he can find players undervalued in that light. He’s 2-for-2. So far.
— Keith The Hawk (@KeithTheHawk) October 24, 2016
Injuries happen, man. Don’t bank on it.