Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: November 14th


The Canucks didn’t just win one game this week. They won two. I can barely believe it myself, but it’s a thing, and it happened. Last time the Canucks pulled that off they were on their way to their best start in franchise history. Ah, a simpler time.

Is this a sign of things to come? Doubtful. The Canucks probably aren’t as bad as their eleven losses in twelve games might indicate. By that same token, I have my doubts they’re anywhere near as potent offensively as Kari Lehtonen made them look. Maybe there’s a middle-ground?

Well, onward to the questions. Answers too I suppose.

When Chris Tanev returns from injury, I’d suspect it’s Alex Biega they send down. Luca Sbisa is well on his way to the requisite games for expansion draft eligibility, and that’s probably all the coverage they need.

They can’t send down Philip Larsen. Not a month-plus into his NHL comeback bid. Especially not after they made a serious sales pitch based primarily on opportunity as a measure to bring him to the NHL. Remember, the Edmonton Oilers wanted to bring Larsen back. Larsen just didn’t have any desire to play for Edmonton. Whatever the case, I think it’s Biega removed from the roster and Stecher will keep his grip on a spot until he gives the Canucks a reason to call on Larsen.

As for Part Deux, I’d posit that Jake Virtanen is a better option than Jack Skille and Michael Chaput. I don’t think it’s particularly close either. 

I’d imagine he’ll step down at some point, insofar as every team president does. In fact, I’ll go so far as to guarantee it.

On a more serious note, I’m guessing this is in response to the Elliotte Friedman report regarding Trevor Linden’s future as Team President. That’s been the talk of the town for a little while. I started to hear rumblings to that effect towards the end of last season.

Jason Botchford suggested in The Provies on Sunday that Linden’s concerned about ownership’s role in the day-to-day operations of the franchise. Or he was last season, at least. What I’d heard to date was that Linden was more concerned about his image in the marketplace. By the end of last season, he started to feel the heat from fans and wasn’t particularly comfortable about that.

No clue when he’s getting fired. Not sure if he needs to go. And everyone knows about the Acquilini’s long-term plan to sell the franchise.

Don’t kid yourself. Tanev isn’t expendable. Troy Stecher has looked fantastic so far, but this is still a rookie defenceman. I’m not ready to hand him the keys to the season just yet. If the goal is to compete night after night, Tanev is by no stretch of the imagination expendable.

If the Canucks were to go that route, though, I’d expect them to get a pretty hefty return. Tanev is twice the defenceman Adam Larsson. Larsson fetched Taylor Hall. I’d want a hell of a lot more than just a blue chip prospect.

From what I can gather, it’s not management that needs convincing. 

Every coach has their blind spot(s). This isn’t an issue Willie Desjardins suffers in solitude. Let’s get that out of the way.

It’s probably a comfort factor. Derek Dorsett is a known commodity. Desjardins has coached him at every level now. For better or worse, he knows what he’s getting from Dorsett on every shift. It’s a disagreeable stance to be sure. I’ll give you that much. 

I honestly have no clue. I don’t think Jim Benning is a particularly strong negotiator. There isn’t really a precedent for this type of trade. And their combined cap hit of $14-million makes it extremely difficult to pull off. Especially with another year left on each deal.

As for what Vancouver needs, how about some of everything? They need forward prospects. They woefully lack in that department. There isn’t a single game breaker in their system, and I’m really high on Brock Boeser. They probably need defensive prospects, too, though perhaps less so. The odd draft pick wouldn’t hurt, either. They only have five going into next draft.

Come on, now. That’s just rude.

Jack Skille is what he is. He’s a 13th forward. He’s relatively safe and doesn’t cost you defensively. There’s value in that, I suppose. As for the “PTO experiment”, the Canucks signed Skille to a one-way deal, for whatever reason. So that’s not an experiment and it sure as hell isn’t ending.

There are a few reasons. Chief among them is that the Canucks just aren’t high on the kid. They haven’t been since they came to town. That situation hasn’t improved for Subban over time. In the organization’s defence, there are still holes in his game. Subban needs to work on the defensive side of the game. I hear that all the time from Jeremy Davis and Ryan Biech and I trust the hell out of those guys opinions.

Want me to be honest? They’ve changed. That much is a given. They just haven’t changed for the better. I watched a lot of Gudbranson in Florida last season, and somehow he’s looked even worse as a Canuck.

Gudbranson doesn’t see the ice well. He seems to lose his man in the neutral zone at least once a game. Then there’s the matter of his constant poor reads in the defensive zone. He just bleeds value on small plays and missed opportunities seemingly every shift. It’s not like he’s played like a tough, hard to play against defenceman either.

Oy vey.

Probably Markus Granlund. Getting ready to eat serious crow on this one. Hated the trade at the time. Starting to see the error of my way. If Granlund keeps this up, I might have to make a post about it.

We don’t even need to assume. Gudbranson’s going to be an expensive part of the Canucks’ future, whether that’s in their best interests or not.

And he’s not working with Ben Hutton. Not in the slightest. All the pressure of transitioning play has fallen on Hutton’s shoulders and he’s faltering under the added weight. It’s ugly.

Short term, I’d like the pairs to look a little like…

Alex Edler – Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton – Chris Tanev

Nikita Tryamkin – Philip Larsen

Long Term…

Olli Juolevi – Chris Tanev

Alex Edler – Troy Stecher

Rasmus Dahlin – Jordan Subban

Sure, why not?

If I know the Canucks, they probably keep playing Luca Sbisa. It’s kind of weird. From what I can gather, they’ve all but given up on the notion of Sbisa developing into that stout second pairing defenceman they hoped he’d become. That’s part of why they snagged Gudbranson — oh, the irony. Yet their action and usage seem to indicate they still have a tonne of faith in the guy.

I’m totally at a loss here. He plays those players because they give him the best chance to win on a nightly basis, for the most part. 

Probably not, no. Especially in light of the success Granlund is having playing on the wing. 

I’m going to hold off on flogging that dead horse. It’s mostly Gudbranson, though. At least in my estimation.

At the very least.

Couldn’t tell you. I was super young for most of his time with the organization. Seemed like a savvy hockey mind, so I’d imagine he wouldn’t be thrilled.

Trade him.

Well, Matthew Tkachuk’s success with the Calgary Flames certainly makes them look the fool at the moment. Can’t say I disagreed with the decision at the time, though. Still think they made the right call, frankly. So that was their one chance at instant help offensively.

No clue why the Canucks didn’t do more to address secondary scoring. There were so many good, useful and cheap options available. And most of them are lighting it up with other teams.

Considerably better, both in the short and long-term. 

Not that I know of, no.

  • gnam

    Just curious … anyone get a chance to see Virtanen in action in Utica? I know he was held off the scoresheet, but how’d he look? Decent? Invisible? A physical force?


  • The_Blueline

    I do agree on Gudbranson. I liked the trade at the time but man he looks bad out there. And now they have to throw an expensive contract at him unless they can trade him (which they won’t)

  • Killer Marmot

    Subban is reportedly a fine offensive defenseman, but might never develop the defensive skills and attitudes needed to play D at the NHL level. As a result, he is skating backwards on the depth chart.

    So trade him or move him up to the wing as an experiment. There is little to lose.

  • Bud Poile

    A lot of fans hated Sbisa and he has managed to silence his critics.I suspect once Gudbranson is not paired to a defensive liability in Hutton he will also meet and play to his expectations.McCann was a cancer and was cast off the island.Some have yet to figure that out and so,no,the Canucks would not be better off with cancer.Not now,not ever.

  • Fred-65

    I keep asking myself is there a major major difference between Gudbranson and Pedan ..other than the money. Keep in mind Florida in part rid themselves of Gudbranson because of his high demands for his next contract. What’s he worth. Plus there’s a good chance Vcr will loose Pedan at the end of the season and some one will get a very cheap 7th Defenseman and Vcr will get an expensive Gudbranson. That’s the boy Jimmy.

  • UKCanuck

    So your long term top six doesn’t include Tryamkin or Hutton but does include a 16 year old playing junior in Sweden and a guy who is quite clearly a defensive liability in the AHL?

  • defenceman factory

    I don’t understand the number of folks wanting to trade Tanev. I understand he has a high market value and the team needs offensive help but not like that. Tanev is the guy you build your Dcorp around.

    • Gino's 3rd Cousin

      Tanev needs to go. Embrace the rebuild. That slapshot he has been working on isn’t going to develop. I could shoot harder than that when I was 16 years old lighting up Bantam goalies and eating McDonalds after every game.