Now that Ben Hutton is back in the saddle, the Canucks have plenty of warm bodies on the back end. It’s for that reason that Vancouver’s latest whipping boy, Philip Larsen, came out of the lineup last night. Larsen struggled since returning from injury, but there’s reason to believe he’s got more to offer. The team also gave up an asset to land the young defender, and could use for Larsen to make good on that investment.
So, do you think Larsen deserves another shot? Would you let him play through his struggles, or sit him in favour of someone else? If you want him in the lineup, who comes out in his stead?
Last week I asked:
How would you handle the Canucks goaltending situation? Do you re-sign Ryan Miller? Let him walk? Trade him? Who’s the starter next season?
There are only two scenarios in which we should keep Miller:
1. We have a shot at winning a cup with him this year. 2. Nobody is willing to give us more than a late pick for him.
Neither of these are realistic scenarios. Trade him.
If we want him to split time with Markstrom again next year then we have to opportunity to re-sign him in the offseason.
Chris The Curmudgeon:
Miller is having a very solid season, and there a few teams out there that could use an upgrade in goal for the stretch drive and the playoffs, which he would represent for them. IE: his value in trade is high at the moment. Therefore, they should definitely explore this option for him. If not, then start talking contract extension now (quietly, ie: Benning needs to keep his big mouth shut about any progress), with the clear message that he’s going to start being phased out in favour of Markstrom. The reason to start that conversation now is that if he’s unwilling to accept that role moving forward, we’re not going to keep him past the off-season anyways, and the reason you need to do it quietly is that if other teams know re-signing is a no-go, it removes Benning’s trade leverage. The most annoying thing that Benning does is blab in the media about their desire to move certain players, or how the value of some guys is low for whatever reason. As salesmanship goes, doing that is just asking to get low-balled.
TL;DR version, yes, trade him while he has clear tangible value.
You can’t have a back-up earning $3.7M, cap management dictates that Markstrom is the starter next season. Unless Miller takes a massive haircut on a one-year deal, I wouldn’t resign him. We need his cap space to give raises in the short-term: Horvat, Baertschi, Granlund, Tryamkin, and Stecher. (Gudbranson?)
The UFA market for goaltenders is *weak* next off-season and has no real starters except Ben Bishop. If we can sign a half-decent back-up (e.g. Scott Darling, lol, good luck) or someone who can share the load at a reasonable salary (e.g. Brian Elliott), that would be a victory.
Of course you shop Miller. Quietly — JB being JB’s worst enemy!
If you can increase the return by carrying his salary for the rest of the year you take it. You’re looking for a decent pick so salary doesn’t matter. You can bring Demko up to get some games and experience.
If Markstrom is your future then play him — if he’s not, then shop him. He’s an expensive backup otherwise.