Much like earlier in the pre-season, the topic that is sweeping Canucks nation is still Jake Virtanen. Should he be sent down or should he stick with the team? It’s a big debate, but perhaps the surprising part is he isn’t the only one we’re talking about. Nikita Tryamkin has yet to play a game this season, but he refuses to go down to the AHL. What should the Canucks do there? I decided to ask our writers to see what they thought about this.
What should the Canucks do with Virtanen and Tryamkin?
A……H…….L – how is it a bad thing to get way more ice time, better line pairings and real game situations instead of sitting in the press box (Tryamkin) and being buried on the 4th line (Virtanen). There is a lot of promise for both of these guys but just like some of our former favourites (Kesler, Burrows, Bieksa, Schneider, etc.) they need time to mature and hone their craft. Not everyone is Ben Hutton or Bo Horvat and it takes time to get to the place where they are consistent contributors every night. How great would it be if Thatcher Demko was 100% ready to start? It would be amazing, but he’s not, so he’s getting game time to earn his spot.
That should be it. But I just write the game day previews so what do I know?
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Both need to be in the AHL. In Virtanen’s case, it’s not just because of the limited ice-time he’s getting with the Canucks. His game isn’t fully developed and rounded yet, and it’s pretty clear that the NHL isn’t a developmental league. His offensive production hasn’t exactly been steller, so he needs Utica to show himself and everyone else that it can fully translate to the pros. If he dominates consistently in the AHL, I don’t think there would be these types of conversations happening. The reason why he isn’t consistently in the lineup is because he hasn’t consistently shown what he brings to the table. Send him to Utica and let him develop and transition to the NHL just like any other player does. People make a counter-argument by saying Utica hasn’t developed anyone, but that’s a bit because there hasn’t exactly been much to work with. I have no doubt that Virtanen is physically ready for the NHL, but I worry about everything else. His speed is there as well, but I feel like his offensive/defensive game and his consistency still need to be worked on.
As for Tryamkin, I’ll be honest and say he’s being extremely stubborn by refusing to go to Utica. If he really wants to play in the NHL, he should be doing anything to get there. I’m not too sure what his thought processes are when thinking about the AHL, but it’s pretty confusing…
Well I know, we wouldn’t be asking these same questions about Nikolaj Ehlers, William Nylander and Brayden Point. You can’t teach size, am I right?
I don’t mind Virtanen being up with the big club but (assuming he is in fact healthy) I’d like to see him be put in a position to succeed with a guy like Hansen. The limited fourth line minutes are doing nothing for his confidence and if that’s where he’ll be in Vancouver, he may as well be in Utica playing a bigger role. As for Tryamkin, I think the AHL does most players a lot of good and I don’t understand why they agreed to his no-AHL demands.
I think in Virtanen’s case it has to be the place where the player gets to play the most meaningful minutes. If that’s in the NHL, fine. But he needs to play. His development is already being hindered by the lack of minutes, and even when he does play, the coach is afraid to expose him. As for Tryamkin, he should definitely be playing for Utica, but the Canucks may not have that option. Going back to the KHL, however, probably wouldn’t be the end of the world – provided he gets to play meaningful minutes. If he gets to play a top-four role in the second-best hockey league in the world, I don’t see a problem. Sitting in the press box and taking extra reps at practice isn’t doing him any favours.
I really want to see Jake in Utica. I think time away from the city might be good for him mentally, and he would have a chance to get some top minutes in Utica, and perhaps get some opportunities that he can’t be offered in Vancouver right now. Tryamkin won’t go to Utica, so I don’t know what else you can do. That was a bad move from the get-go.