Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: January 30th


We had Canucks Army alumnus Patrick Johnston on the Podcast last week, and we discussed this very topic. The further into the discussion we delved, the more we realized Bo Horvat’s skill set works best when paired with a player to help clear space and drive the net and another to play high and cover defensively.

If the situation I’m describing sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the exact kind of setup he’s running alongside Sven Baertschi and Alex Burrows. You can tell it’s the perfect setup, because their underlying metrics seem to indicate the three as a unit are far better than one would expect to get from the sum of their parts.

So if you were to take players made in a similar mould on a higher scale, that would seem like a good place to start. Without diving too deeply into this, I feel like a Patric Hornqvist, Horvat and Michael Frolik line would do some serious damage. 

The Canucks absolutely should be sellers at the deadline. There’s no way around it. I don’t want to get back into why they should be sellers. It’s fairly obvious at this point, and I figure we’ve covered that ground a hundred times over.

With the points they’ve stacked through an accommodating January, they’ve put themselves in a position to be competitive to the last barring something unforeseen. So, no, there’s almost zero chance they sell at the deadline.

I wouldn’t worry about the Canucks being buyers, though. They might pull off a trade in a similar vein to the Hunter Shinkaruk for Markus Granlund deal from last year’s deadline. Maybe Jordan Subban is this year’s Shinkaruk?

Per my last answer, I just don’t think they can accrue a record bad enough between now and the deadline to convince themselves to part with veterans that they might see as helpful to a late-season push.

I don’t have anything to add to the conversation that Canucks Army’s Associate Editor Ryan Biech didn’t already cover in this great article on that very same topic. If you haven’t already, you should give it a read.

Per my response to a similar question, I just don’t see the Canucks as movers at this year’s deadline. They’ve gone on record as not being wont to part with draft picks and they haven’t much else of value that they can part with, without digging into the crown jewels of their nominal rebuild.

I’d like to imagine a world where the Canucks are in the hunt for Matt Duchene, but even when national media broaches the Colorado Avalanche centre’s availability, the Canucks aren’t counted among the teams most interested. Probably a byproduct of the cost.

The Canucks blue line is a position of relative strength, but I’d hardly count them among the league’s most endowed with defensive talent. Let’s throw that out there to start.

I don’t want to give a definitive answer one way or the other for this question, because I think the answer could really go either way fairly easily. I’d want to — and maybe I should — do an article wherein I look at their contracts, age and all the available data before drawing a hardened conclusion.

I’ll say this much: I wouldn’t be upset with this trade if it went down. It’s certainly justifiable, at a glance.

Well, there’s just so much that can happen between this year and next. It’s really hard to say. You’d have to factor in expansion, the trade deadline and the draft to boot. I really can’t understate the potential for movement between now and then.

With that, I’ll give my best try. Here’s my lineup. Brandon Sutter is lost to the Expansion Draft. Jannik Hansen is dealt at the trade deadline.

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Jiri Hudler

Markus Granlund – Patrik Berglund – Anton Rodin

Brendan Gaunce – Michael Chaput – Derek Dorsett

Jake Virtanen

Alexander Edler – Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton – Chris Tanev

Luca Sbisa – Nikita Tryamkin

Andrey Pedan – Philip Larsen

Jacob Markstrom/Thomas Greiss

Who knows how ‘realistic’ this lineup is. It’s just one that I wouldn’t mind the Canucks rolling out next season. 

I know you meant no offence, and this tweet was likely sent just for the sake of getting a good laugh in. I get that. I just don’t think we should be trivializing Donald Trump’s presidency, and the impact it’s having. This man is a monster. So I’d have much, much rather a five-year extension for Gudbranson.

I think they can begin making moves around early March.

    • Dirty30

      What’s there to like?

      Did the Canucks do any due diligence on either player to ensure both were healthy? Did JB have any idea of how either would fit into the team and make improvements in key areas?

      I think Rodin is done in the NHL. If his knee is that delicate, then one knee on knee hit — even if incidental — and he could be crippled for life. How he is expected to keep up and take the punishment these guys take is beyond me.

      He can probably play in Europe for another decade instead.

      • apr

        So you think that Sutter doing the heavy lifting away from Bo has had nothing to do with Bo being an all star? Sutter is also potting 20 goals this year. Maybe if the Nucks traded for Kessel and Hagelin – you would like Sutter more?

        Gubrandson. I bet you were one of the guys who were clamouring to waiver Sbisa, or better yet – get a 7th rounder for him. How about giving a guy with wrist injury a little leeway before you go all out Sbisa on him.

        I do agree your assessment on Rodin though.

        • Dirty30

          Wasn’t Sutter’s extended absence due to hernia and then a puck to the face the time that Bo became a superstar all on his own?

          If Sutter was doing any heavy lifting it was the paycheques Benning gifted him.

          And yup I was down on Sbisa — almost invested in a pizza franchise with him because he could deliver in under 20 minutes. Boy was I wrong! Sure, he’s never the dude you’re going to want out there in the final minutes of a one goal whatever, but he’s making better decisions and sticking up for other guys and that counts.

          Guddyhad six previous seasons to look better than Sbisa … let me know when he does.

          • Bud Poile

            There are two superstars on this team.

            Neither of them are named Bo.

            “Wasn’t Sutter’s extended absence due to hernia and then a puck to the face the time that Bo became a superstar all on his own? ” Dirty Dirty

            Bo Horvat 2015-16 +/-: -30

            Bo’s penchant for being scored on every other game when on the ice has decreased rapidly this season due to Sutter taking the most face offs on the team – and leading in FO % wins.

            I like Bo but he was a sieve last season without Sutter padding his rear end.

          • nuck99

            Um the best forward on the canucks is bo horvat. Im sorry but saying brandon sutter is padding bo horvats rear end is absolutely hilarious to me. Bo horvat last year was a -30 no doubt but look at what he went through. The team scored their lowest goal total in the last 15 years. Bo horvat had to go up against the other teams best lines which mind you brandon sutter does do more him and bo share those reposonsibilites (check hockey Bo and Brandon both have the same perecentage of off zone starts. Brandon does have a better faceoff perecentage but bo also has a really good faceoff %. Bo IS LEADING THE TEAM IN SCORING!!! im sorry but not even the sedins are doing that. Brandon sutter player the most mintues on the team playing more than 2minutes more than bo. Along with that he plays 1st pp time with the sedins. Brandon played with ericson this year and he did nothing with that. It only seems he scores when on the pp or thats whent he collects his points. This team would be in turmoil without bo horvat. He is in his 3rd year and brandon is a grizzled vet and bo is better (which is why he is an allstar). Brandon played along with malkin and never got 40 points. Imagine bo with malkin.. the sky is the limit at that point. Bo is the better player.

            Thank You and have a nice day.

    • Locust

      Instead of getting into the ‘dislikes’ from JD, as it would be a very long list, let’s just look at the players he is positive on….

      1) everyone in the NHL not on the Canucks roster.

      2) everyone in the AHL not in the Canucks farm system.

      3) anyone and everyone with no Canucks attachments or affiliations.

      Pretty simple…..

        • crofton

          Which is why we come here right? To hear opinions about dogs, cats and moms? But I can’t tell….are you defending the writing style of a blogger that so obviously hates what seems like all things Vancouver Canucks?

        • Locust

          Good one, made me laugh.

          Can you imagine JD writing for Golden Retriever Monthly ….. “Chuck is probably the worst Canuck dog in history. He sucks at being a dog and if it’s something I am used to being around, it is dogs. He has no future, no hope, all the dogs suck, the owners of the dogs suck, the trainer and coach of the dogs suck. That being said, all the other dogs in the league are effin fantastic, they are and will always be better than any Canuck dog, past or present. Canuck dogs suck. All other dogs rock. I hate Canuck dogs. I can’t tell you why, but I do. Canuck dogs suck and I should know as I manage a Canuck dog website.”

  • wojohowitz

    On Gudbranson I would say; It took Sbisa 2+ years to get comfortable. Perhaps Guddy follows the same trajectory. Also many thought Sbisa was way overpaid at $3.6m per year but now it looks reasonable although I must admit that Guddy at 5X5 does look hard to swallow.

    On Sutter I would say he is a character guy who does provide some leadership which is why Benning acquired him and he does do some things well (like faceoffs) and he is a solid third line center plus his contract is not onerous.

    The easy and expected moves from Benning are the three vets (Miller, Burrowws and Hansen) for draft picks. The harder moves to make are the defencemen. I know nobody wants to see it happen but right now Tryamkin is very impressive with a lot of upside so think big – how about Drouin from Tampa or Rask from Carolina or Duchene from Colorado. Tryamkin is worth that much.

    Will Henrik be captain for one more year or is it time to make that change?

  • Bud Poile

    The disdain and ridiculing of Sbisa,Sutter and now Guddy has more to do with JD’s contempt of Benning than common sense.

    Sbisa has proven to be a defensive mainstay and value for the contract,Sutter has proven to be the backbone for Horvat’s success and Guddy will end up continuing to show the pundit is a detractor of Canucks management instead of an unbiased analyst:

    “Say what you will of the Canucks brain trust, but they are men of conviction. There is a very legitimate case to be made that Sbisa was the ninth-best defenseman within the Canucks organization last season, yet they stuck to their guns throughout and even went so far as to re-sign Sbisa to a indefensible three-year extension, with an AAV of $3.6-million.”

    J.D. Burke

    To be fair,J.D. has zero professional player evaluation or development skills but it just makes him look silly to bash management while having such a poor record of judgement.

    The numbers game has it’s obvious shortcomings.

    • To be fair, Bud Poile has zero professional player evaluation or development skills but it just makes him look silly to endorse management while having such a poor record of judgement.

      Case in point: “Sbisa has proven to be a defensive mainstay and value for the contract.”

      • Bud Poile

        Obviously,you’re another blogger that has never played defense nor understands what value is,never mind how to evaluate whether a d-man is capable of fulfilling said value of contract.

    • I am Ted

      Well said. Like I’ve said many times, most of the CA staff don’t have much of a clue. It’s like a 1st year university student situation – gains a bit of shiny, new knowledge and all of a sudden that person is an expert on everything. J.D. should go back to posting as NoMind00.

      I don’t mind Sutter and I want to see what a healthy Gudbranson can do here. I’m not a huge fan of either but there ya go. I also think it’s moronic to think the Canucks would loose Sutter in the expansion draft and replace him with a series of vets that would cost a lot and want term – tossing any form of a rebuild out the window.

      I would hope Benning is looking at other deals over a Tanev for Duchene move. Duchene and Landy aren’t lighting it up for the Avalanche like they used to so why would anyone pay such a high price for them now? It’s not like either would be coming here to a high-flying scoring team. If Tanev goes then look at a need and make sure the returning player is younger. Someone posted a Tanev for Draisaitl deal and that might be enticing.

      Hansen should be moved at the deadline and if the price is right so should Miller and Burrows (assuming Canucks are out of the playoff run). Maybe a deal with Dallas sends them Miller and they send us Nichushkin and one of their vet goalies they need to move out (might help with their cap issues for next year).

        • I am Ted

          Agreed. Also, I think Nichushkin would cost a bit more than what I noted but not by much. Nich seems to be a bit of a head-case so who knows. Anyway, that’s the way I’d like to see the team move.

          • I’d rather see us spending more time and resources developing Virtanen into our primary power forward. Not worth spending assets on a guy who left the league without explanation and has already had a significant hip injury, he’s Dallas’ problem.

          • I am Ted

            I only suggested Nichushkin because he does have talent and would be a buy-low candidate.

            Developing Virtanen and adding assets are two different areas. I’d rather see the best man win when it’s a battle for positions. Virt has been am epic disappointment so far but he still has time.

  • Dirk22

    What is happening in this thread?! Sbisa’s a defensive stalwart? Sutter is making Bo better by winning faceoffs? And it’s all JD’s fault? Fascinating stuff.

    • Freud

      It’s morphing into a message board.

      Lots of cheerleading and wishful thinking. A place where questions and concerns hurt your feelings, so you regurgitate whatever old narrative gives you hope.

      If you don’t like the info, instead of leaving, you blame the writer so as to feel better about yourself and your team.

      Funny thing though, the ignorant masses keep forgetting the most hated writers here have gone on to NHL jobs.

      • apr

        Uhm who was most hated? The first two guys who went to Florida were providing amazing analytic information. There are still a lot of really good writers that still write about analytics, and Ryan’s pieces are always top notch. Its JD’s “put the lotion in the basket” whimsical diatribes on certain Canucks players that is more of a joke now.

        I wish more Canucks Army writers move on and find NHL jobs, as I like to think our readership has contributed to that. And if some NHL team wants to hire a CA writer to troll their fans, well the States just hired someone to troll its “ignorant masses”.

        • Dirk22

          This is a blog. Blogs are opinionated. Disagreeing with the opinions is fine but it’s not fine to cry foul (or worse – trolling) when they don’t line up with yours.

          Make a case for them if you want to defend the acquisitions of Gudbranson, Sutter, Sbisa, or even Benning. I’m assuming those are the certain Canucks players you’re referring to.

          • Dirk22

            Great! so why always the issue with the CA writers not agreeing with these opinions? All criticism is deemed ‘negative’ and not in the spirit of being a fan.

            ….and you’re picking Arizona as your poster child for an analytics franchise? The one that hired an ‘analytics’ GM only about 9 months ago? The one who has stated he sees a balance between analytics and the old school approach to being a manager? The one with one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL? Nice call.

            Why didn’t you pick Toronto? Or didn’t that fit your narrative? Is Kyle Dubas a number cruncher or a ‘hockey man’ as you stated?

      • I am Ted

        Nope. No it isn’t. I am fine with criticism and commentary that doesn’t line up pro-Canuck. I liked Benning until last trade deadline. Some huge issues I’ve had with Benning:

        1) Took too long to start Hamhuis talks at the deadline and ended up getting nothing in return for him.

        2) Just after the deadline, the team was floundering. Canucks had a legit shot at finishing last and getting Auston Matthews. They should’ve gone full tank in the last couple weeks. Scratch some injured guys like Henrik more often etc. Nope. They keep rolling and at the end of the season they sweep Cali – which they’ve never done like that. They finish 6 points better than the Laffs. Canucks miss out on a generational centre and if they drop a spot then they would’ve had Laine.

        So, I am definitely not a kinda guy. There are a few other issues like hoping the coach isn’t back next year and being a bit too slow with the rebuild but I can see how they want to teach the youth now how to do it right and not turn into the Coilers.

        J.D. provides some decent numbers but he isn’t bright enough to properly address some of his commentary. He keeps yapping on and on basing his assessment on mostly analytics. Not a good idea. The numbers are not a use-alone tool. It’s an indictment on him.

        Sure, some of the analytics guys got picked up by a couple of NHL teams and that’s great. Good for them – I am sure they aren’t running the team. Well, maybe in Florida but we’re seeing what’s happening there 😉

      • Bud Poile

        Number crunchers are not hockey men,they’re number crunchers. They sit in back rooms and crunch their numbers while the hard work of running a franchise is done without their assistance.Input? Yes,and that’s minimal.

        If you don’t like that fact you can leave and find another franchise where number crunching dictates the day-to day operations of a professional sports franchise and their sports writers.

        You can bash other fans there,ridicule them for not taking the numbers to heart and worship them even when the numbers don’t fit your narrative.

        Arizona comes to mind,it certainly is not here where analytics have been seen to be a bit player.

        See how that works?

  • Whackanuck

    So J.D. hates the Canucks players and staff. I’very stopped having a problem with that though I often disagree. Everybody gets their say here and we have the range from Benning sycophant to hater.

    I could never understand the Sutter trade-he’so overpaid as a third liner and not skilled enough to be a second liner. Maybe somebody will take him in a trade. How restrictive is his NTC?

    The guy I would trade is Hansen and only to protect both Granlund and Baer. The market for Miller is small IMO, hence poor return as is the return for Burrows. And for Chr× st’s sake stop the Gudbranson and Tryamkin trade talk. And while I’d trade Tanev due time his fragile body I laugh, I laugh that by himself he’d get Duchesne or Landeskog. Colorado is not going to give those guys away and they are far more likely to gas Sakic than make a roster changing move like that.