Canucks Army Wednesday Mailbag: January 11th


Better late than never, right? That’s the hope for this week, as I bring you the Canucks Army Monday Mailbag two days later than usual on this glorious Wednesday. My apologies, but technical difficulties made getting this out in time for Monday an unusually difficult task to say the least. With that, let’s dive right in.

We’re hitting the ground running here. For starters, it’s highly unlikely that they have an unexpected player of that magnitude crack their roster from out of nowhere.

I guess it depends on how far you’re willing to go with this. Do I think there’s somebody who can step in and play at the level Troy Stecher or Ben Hutton have? Not really, no. I do, however, think Joseph Labate can steal a spot with a good training camp on the Canuck fourth line. He almost did this season.

If the Canucks thought different of Jordan Subban, I might throw his name in the hat. Every minute from training camp onwards with the Canucks has been on borrowed time for Subban, though, so I’m not ready to start revving that engine. 

It’s a shame I’m answering this question now instead of Monday. Had I responded to this Monday, the Sedins would have only one game with Loui Eriksson on their wing to their credit in 2017. As of yesterday, that’s two games straight.

That’s who the Sedins should play with most regularly. That should be their primary linemate at even strength. Obviously, the three haven’t looked imposing at any one point this season. That’s reflected in the disparity between their 53% Corsi For and 48% Expected Goals For. I’m of the belief that they’ll build chemistry as the season wanes and level out, though.

If that fails (and I don’t think it will), I’d be willing to see Anton Rodin or Reid Boucher playing on their wing. Hell, why not?

Jackson, I’m fairly certain you’ve asked this already. My memory being as bad as it is though I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and answer all the same.

You wrote an article on this subject back in December, if memory serves. I read the article, and it had many compelling cases therein. I still think people vastly exaggerate the impact lineup decisions have, but I’m open to the idea they have an impact worth noting all the same.

So, I guess, you win this time. More or less, anyways.

I like Sven Baertschi better than most. I think he’s already proven himself a highly capable second line winger, and he’s starting to convince me he might have low-end first line upside. I do not like Baertschi as much as Gabriel Landeskog. Not even relative to what the two forwards make.

Landeskog is an exceptional left winger with two-way bona fides and leadership credentials not entirely worth dismissing. He’s worth the price of admission. At least where salary is concerned, that is. If the price is a top pair defenceman, first round pick and additional piece, then he’s certainly not worth the price of admission, no. 

I’d like to see the Canucks more aggressive at their own blue line. I think the Canucks have already shifted their philosophy from where it was at the beginning of the season, but they’ve been far too passive when it comes to defending the neutral zone for my tastes. 

The data you’re looking for just plainly isn’t at my disposal. I wish I could help, but you’re asking for something I don’t have.

Having watched a fair amount of North Dakota Hockey last year, I’d say the three shared a symbiotic relationship. If you’re asking me which of the three has the highest ceiling, it’s Brock Boeser without even a moment’s hesitation — though I’m warming up to Nick Schmaltz, in general.

That’s a fairly nebulous question, so you’ll have to forgive me if my answer isn’t satisfactory. That’s the kind of thing one addresses over an article, or series of articles.

I’d focus primarily on building a strong back-end with puck-moving defencemen. I wouldn’t shy away from defenders with size, but I’d lean more towards players like Josh Manson than I would Erik Gudbranson. Or Mattias Ekholm, even. Those are my prototypical kind of defencemen.

On offence, I’d place a high premium on intelligence with and without the puck. I’d want players that can process the game at a high level and play a possession-based attack. My team would play a puck possession based attack, miles different from what the Canucks employ at this moment, which is a hybrid rush offence.

I’ve gone back and forth on this topic a fair amount over the last year or so. More often than not, though, I’m skeptical.

Nikita Tryamkin is probably one of my favourite defencemen in the league when the puck is off his stick. He’s everything the Canucks think they traded for last May. Tryamkin can single-handedly end a cycle and takes away the blue line better than any current Canuck.

The problem is, Tryamkin struggles to make good on his excellent defensive plays because he recuses possession as soon as he takes it with glass and out clears or flips of the puck into the neutral zone. Until he can move the puck efficiently, he’ll struggle to play outside of a third pair role.

Here’s the good news, though. Tryamkin was moved to the right side when the lineup needed it of him, and he’s never looked more comfortable with the puck on his stick. I’d like to see more of that.

Man, I have no damn clue.

I’m not entirely sure what you’re alluding to. Let’s make this much clear, Benning hasn’t even had his first coach. Willie Desjardins was a Trevor Linden hire. With that, I doubt Benning even gets to his first coach. This ownership group isn’t renowned for their patience. 

I mean, I suppose it’s possible. My real question, though, is whether Jesus thinks a burrito is a sandwich or not. Me? I think it is.