It seems like the age old conversation in Vancouver is who will play alongside the Sedins. There’s been countless players in the past such as greats like Jason King, Byron Bitz, Taylor Pyatt, Anson Carter and more recently Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata. When the Canucks went out and got Loui Eriksson in the offseason, it was expected that he would slot into that role. He struggled out of the gate and it’s been a game of chess ever since. Brandon Sutter is currently there, but he is struggling mightily, so I asked our writers, who do you think should be there?
I think Megna has lots of speed and he’s good defensively.He has speed and some skill and it’s a good combination. As well, Granlund, I think he likes playing centre so it’s a chance to get him back in the middle.
It’s funny how Loui Eriksson isn’t even in the conversation anymore. Out of who’s healthy and on the current roster, I’d have to agree with Jackson and say Jayson Megna. I’m not sure how long it would last but at least we’d get to see what they can do. There isn’t a healthy player on the roster who can absolutely dominate with them – it’s more of a ‘let’s put ______ there and hope for the best’ kind of situation. We’ve seen Eriksson and that didn’t work. Sutter with them looked good when he was on his goal-scoring streak but now it’s dropped off. Baer-Bo-Bur isn’t going to be touched, Gaunce, Skille & Chaput are 4th liners and Granlund is a centre. That leaves Jayson Megna.
The only players who have proven they can consistently succeed with the twins are Hansen and Burrows. Hansen should be back soon, so I have no doubt that he’ll slot in when ready – we just need someone to hold down the fort until he’s healthy.
Put Eriksson back with the twins. It’s not like it wasn’t working, they just weren’t getting bounces. As a line, they controlled something like 55-56% of shot attempts, which compares to the Los Angeles Kings as a team in their best years — that’s something to aspire to.
Brandon Sutter. You win with players like Sutter. I’m not comparing him to Patrice Bergeron, but when they played Boston, Bergeron was a great two-way player for them. Look at Jonathan Toews in Chicago. That’s how you win in the playoffs. When you look at Brandon Sutter and all the things he brings, he’s going to be in the next wave of core players. I believe his best hockey is still ahead of him.
As much as I would love to personally see Alex Burrows back with the Sedins – he’s earned it – his play with Horvat and Baertschi means that he will probably stay in that slot. It would be a wise move to try and further inflate his value for a potential trade near the deadline, but Benning has stated explicitly that he won’t ask any players to waive their NTC – so what’s the point in inflating his value? Hansen should be back soon, so that means he probably returns to their wing. But why not Loui Eriksson? That combination controlled play to a great extent, but was the victim of some poor shooting luck. Now that Eriksson has begun to find his game, as well as the back of the net, it makes sense to the give the $6 million free agent acquisition another shot with the twins.
I think Alex Burrows should get one more kick at the can and then put Jannik Hansen there to ride them into the sunset. The numbers don’t lie that both of those guys fit like a glove with the Sedins so it’s only fitting that it should be them. Jake Virtanen would be a good option.
I’m of the belief that you should just leave Eriksson there and let him build chemistry for the pair. They haven’t been giving him a good enough look there, and I think he would really benefit.