Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: January 2nd, 2017

monday mailbag 

On behalf of Canucks Army, I’d like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. I’m taking over the mailbag this week from JD, who is presumably worse for wear. As for the Canucks, they’re on something of a hot streak recently, so let’s hope that’s a sign of better things to come, for both the club and all those that struggled through 2016. 

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. So let’s get into it, shall we? 

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The cynic in me wants to say no, based on everything that management has said over the season. But realistically, if things are going as prroly by the trade deadline as they did last year, I don’t think they’ll have a choice but to sell off at least some of their assets, especially with expansion looming. 

There have been rumours circulating for some time now that all the team’s decisions have to be approved by ownership, so don’t be surprised if there’s a massive shift in tone and/or direction if this team is still in the bottom five by the end of February.

This is a difficult question to answer. We haven’t seen a healthy lineup for any length of time this season, and Anton Rodin has played only a single NHL game. With that in mind, I’d probably experiment, starting with a forward group that looks something like this: 

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Sedin Sedin Hansen
Baertschi Horvat Burrows
Rodin Sutter Eriksson
Granlund Gaunce Skille

There are other combinations I’d like to get a look at as well. I was very close to throwing Eriksson on Horvat’s wing, but Burrows has just been so good there that I felt I couldn’t break it up. I’d be in favour of shuffling the right side a fair bit, trying any combination of Eriksson, Hansen, Burrows, and even Rodin with any of the top three centres. I like the fourth line as it is, though. Granlund has proven to be a pretty good possession player on the wing, as has Gaunce at centre. I prefer Skille to any of the club’s other options there because he’s got some above-average goal scoring ability. I think this group would work well with Willie Desjardins’ inclination towards rolling four lines. The defense corps is much easier. If everyone is healthy, it should look like this: 

Edler Stecher
Hutton Tanev
Sbisa Tryamkin

The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. Jaroslav Halak is an above-average goaltender, with one year remaining on his $4.5 million contract after this season. I have a very hard time believing that a goaltender with a career .916 save percentage has become a .904 sv% over the course of one offseason. He’s cheaper than Ryan Miller, which gives you the opportunity to take on more salary if you need to, and I’m pretty okay with one year of a Markstrom-Halak tandem. So much so, in fact, that the returning asset would not have to be of major significance. I’m not sure the trade makes sense from the Islanders’ perspective, however. 

As far as Columbus is concerned, I wouldn’t bet on them finishing higher in the standings next year than they do this year, so I’d imagine that the Canucks getting their second round pick this year is a virtual certainty. 

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I’ve never been high on Jake Virtanen. I wasn’t high on him as a junior player, as a prospect, and I’m not high on him now. I think he likely projects as a role player at the NHL level, so I’d be happy to receive any tangible asset that you’d consider superior to a role player. 

I don’t actually

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 this idea. I think it could work in a pinch. He’s an above-average goal scorer for his role and he’s got some speed. To be frank, though, he’d still be about the fourth best option the team has there. I think we should probably stop with the “put a grinder with the twins” suggestions at this point. The Sedins need someone who can elevate them, as opposed to elevating someone. The only time it’s really “worked” was with Burrows, and he’s more or less proven he’s much more than a grinder.

Sliced bread was first introduced for mass consumption in 1928, which means that a surprising number of things predate its widespread availability, including the steam engine, the automobile, the gramophone, telephone, radio, and the airplane. So I’m inclined to go with any of those, but that’s no fun. I’m going to try to get as close to the date as possible.

The groundbreaking (albeit racist) The Jazz Singer, was released in 1927, so I think the greatest thing before sliced bread was the talking pictures. Before that is really anyone’s guess. 

Or, you could just go with this: 

  • DJ_44

    I also would like to see Eriksson move to Bo’s right wing. I think there may be something there. Nothing against Burrows, he would slot in fine with Sutter. I would keep Granlund with Sutter, however.

    I also want to see Rodin with the twins (prior to Hansen’s return). He has skill, maturity and patience with the puck. He also appears to be defensively responsible…..let’s see what we got.

    • Freud

      How to you draft him when you finish 10th and draft in the 9th or 10th spot?

      This year’s draft is supposed to be a lot like the 2009 draft, with a handful of good players, then a significant drop off.

      The difference between a 1-3 pick and 9-11th pick that year was Tavares/Hedman/Duchene and Cowen/Pajaarvi/Ellis.

      Keep gushing about 4 game win streaks and this is going to be our year end prize. Either a quick exit in the playoffs and a below average draft pick or no playoffs and a below average draft pick.

      For a team with a solid foundation for 2nd line forwards and d-men, and in desperate need for top tier talent to make them truly contenders, this no man’s land will be hard to overcome.

      • TD

        Hischier is looking like a top 3 pick which means the lottery. Edmonton finished 29th and picked 4th, the Nucks finished 28th and picked 5th. There are no guarantees that a bottom 3 finish will win the lottery. The three goals last night were from Baertschi and Horvat. Do you want our young players to regress so that we can finish in the bottom three and still likely miss out on the top three picks. The worst team still only has a 20% chance and there is no way any team can take #30 from Colorado.

        • Freud


          I can use just as many lottery results to argue the opposite.

          This is a discussion that needs to be based in probabilities, not definitives.

          My note pointed to Horvat and Baertschi as being a solid foundation.

          Adding the likes of Erikkson/Gudbransen in an effort to go from 25-30 place to 15-25 place does not make sense if you need elite forwards. It does not make sense when giving up cap space, younger players or draft picks either.

          And neither had a role in any of Horvat or Baertschi’s success last night or this season. Young guys regressing on poor teams has never been proven.

          Of course you might not get a lottery result, but your chances are based in your planning.

          • TD

            I agree the Erikkson signing was stupid and that we need some elite forwards. Gudbranson was 24 when we traded for him. Theoretically, he should be part of the future core at that age. In reality, I hope his poor play was related to his injury because I don’t think he has helped the team much this year. If anything his play may have helped their draft position.

  • TD

    I was on reading the write up on Horvat’s good season and this was a comment from a Calgary fan:

    CowtownDave Rank 21
    Interesting how perspective works. Out here, the Flames are on the rise, Mony is money, etc. In Van, it’s teetering on the edge of the abyss, and Horvat is having a “decent” season. Yet the 2 teams are separated by 3 points and Horvat is putting up better numbers with arguably inferior linemates. Maybe it’s a time zone thing, or a natural light thing.

    I understand the difference that our first line is 10 plus years older than their first line, but we are pretty pessimistic. On the flip side, Tanev is our second oldest d man. That d corp looks pretty good and very young with lots of decent prospects. I think we were spoiled with the excellent teams around the 2 President’s Trophies. I love the way Horvat and Baerschi are playing. I would love to see Horvat on the first PP. 39 games on the first PP instead of very limited time on the second PP and he could easily have 10 extra points which would have him near the top 10. Sutter to the second PP, Horvat to the first!

  • wojohowitz

    Watching WJC; Was picking Juolevi a mistake? Jost? Keller? Sergachev? Fabbro?

    Tkachuk just turned 19 last month. What advice did his father give him? Don`t shy away. Get into the scrums. Demand respect. What are they saying about him? Just like his old man.