Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: February 27


As it so happens, I sent out my request for Monday Mailbag questions yesterday and almost every single one was about how badly this year’s trade deadline can go. I figured you would get bored of my answering that same question worded many different ways, so I sent out a request for different questions. Wherein there’s a problem is I’ve never fielded more questions in my life. What I’m trying to say is: don’t expect terribly long answers in this week’s mailbag, as I’m trying to get to everyone and make sure I do due diligence.

Well, it’s not looking good. I can admit to that much. I still reckon we’re in the nascent stages of deadline dealing though so there’s ample room for that to change. Then again, wouldn’t it be nice if the Canucks realized they should be selling, oh, I don’t know, weeks ago?

I don’t blame people for getting antsy. I’ll say that much. One second the Los Angeles Kings were right in the thick of it for Ryan Miller, and the next they traded for Ben Bishop; one second the Minnesota Wild are reportedly interested in Jannik Hansen, and the next they throw a fistful of draft picks at the Arizona Coyotes for Martin Hanzal. 

I don’t want to say with any authority how the Miller sweepstakes are going to end. I just don’t have a clue. As far as I’m concerned, though, it’s a two-horse race between the Anaheim Ducks and nowhere — that nowhere being another few months in Vancouver. The Ducks have an obvious need, but they’re short on cap space and seem more interested in investing what little they have left elsewhere. Basically, don’t hold your breath.

I’d imagine it’s fairly obvious at this stage that I don’t tend to agree with the Canucks front office on, well, much of anything. Let’s be fair, though. They plucked Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames for a late second-round pick and took Markus Granlund from them a year later for Hunter Shinkaruk. They’ve had their moments, to be sure. Honestly, though, I doubt they get much done at this deadline. They waited far too long, it seems.

Alexandre Burrows, Ben Hutton, Jannik Hansen, Jack Skille, Jayson Megna, Ryan Miller and Philip Larsen.

Atlantic: Boston Bruins

Metropolitan: Washington Capitals

Central: Minnesota Wild

Pacific: San Jose Sharks

Well, I think the Canucks have done a right terrible job with Jake Virtanen to date. He trained with them all off-season and came to camp about 15 pounds overweight. That doesn’t get nearly enough air time, in my humble opinion. Then there’s the fact that he probably shouldn’t have played in the NHL at all last season; then how they bungled his usage early this season.

As for Brock Boeser, well, I frankly haven’t a clue what the Canucks have done to foster or hamper his development. They don’t even have the kid under contract. There’s just not much they can do as is.

The Canucks can’t afford to rush either player. Boeser is a fantastic prospect, but he’s not the saviour. There’s a Boeser in most team’s prospect pools — the kid needs a little help along the way from his friends. As for Virtanen, just stop expecting the world of him. He’s never going to be a top of the lineup power forward. At his best, he’s probably Raffi Torres. Adjust expectations accordingly.

I work for a company called HockeyData Inc. and we track underlying metrics for junior hockey around the clock. It’s fascinating stuff. Really wish I could say more on what we do. I think anytime you can add to the available pool of information, that’s worth doing. 

When Todd Bertuzzi was in his prime, he captivated me in a way no other hockey player has since. His ability to absolute destroy an opposition game plan and take over games in a matter of seconds always caught my eye. He’s probably the biggest reason I have such a fascination and fixation on power forwards.

I honestly still get shivers whenever I discuss the havoc Bertuzzi wreaked on the St Louis Blues in that playoff series from the early-2000’s (can’t remember the year off the top of my head). I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it since, and that accounts for Ryan Kesler’s series against the Nashville Predators in 2010-11.

Isn’t being a Canucks fan the absolute worst?

If the Canucks can’t pull off anything at this year’s deadline — and that’s a big if — then I think the market’s dissatisfaction will trump last year’s in a big way. That will be two straight years in which the Canucks, a team bound for a bottom-five finish, won’t have secured anything in the way of futures in a league where teams do that annually like clockwork. I thought last year’s deadline was confidence shattering. If it happens again, that’ll be something else.

Right now I’m leaning towards Owen Tippett. Holy hell, is that kid ever fun. The power in his stride and the release on his shot… it’s unreal.

Well, they told fans last year they couldn’t get “anything” for Hamhuis. Then they said they could, but they didn’t think it made sense. Who knows at this point? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.

I’m definitely the type of beer drinker who lets the season point him towards his next brew. I’ve spent much of this winter chasing porters (and often coming up empty, to my chagrin). I love the Granville Island Winter Ale, too. In the summer, I’m big on Newcastle’s Brown Ale — it’s surprisingly light and drinkable. Last summer I got really into saison’s, too, so I’d imagine I’ll carry on down that path when the weather gets warmer.

Markus Naslund – President

Kyle Dubas – General Manager

Travis Green – Coach

I’m going to defer on this to Ryan Biech. If you don’t follow him on Twitter already, you probably should. Seriously, though, I imagine we’ve a bunch of content down the pipeline on these topics.

People think I’m negative? Well, I’ll be damned. Let’s just put it this way: if the Canucks take Michael Rasmussen in the first, your angst will be very much so justified.

I would rule out Brandon Sutter, right off the hop. We see a nominal third line centre on a good day; the Canucks see the second coming of Patrice Bergeron. I wouldn’t rule out Sven Baertschi or Markus Granlund, though, especially if they can’t put something together for Hansen.

I think the Canucks will probably sign both by the time Vancouver’s season’s ended. I reckon Boeser makes the Canucks out of camp next year, too. Adam Gaudette will need seasoning — though he might get a game this season.

As of right now, I’m leaning towards losers. Still, lots of time left, though. Things can change. I certainly hope they do.

I’ll have a Barbacoa Quesarito with Double-Meat and Guacamole.

I don’t get the sense that the Canucks front office reads too much into what the media has to say. So, no, I don’t think it will have any impact.

Well, I can’t get any worse, right? I see you, comments section.

I wouldn’t be upset if they put in a claim. They might need Teemu Pulkkinen on the other side of the deadline. By that same token, I’d just keep the contract slot.

I think the captaincy is Henrik Sedin’s until he retires or is dealt somewhere else.

I don’t see Alexander Edler getting traded at this year’s deadline, no. If the Canucks did want to move him, though, I could see Edler fetching a first-round pick and a damn good prospect.

I haven’t watched much of Nico Hischier, truthfully. I’m a big Nolan Patrick fan, though. I’ve watched a lot of Patrick, too. He’s still number one on my board.

If the Canucks find a way to trade all three of Hansen, Burrows and Miller, then power to them. They’ve killed it.

  • TheRealPB

    I’ve disagreed with a lot of the negativity on CA in the past but I am absolutely on board with you about the trade deadline bungling in the past. No matter how bad Jokipakka and Pollock might be, Tyler Parsons was worth a couple of months of Rusell and surely would have been for Hamhuis as well.

    If we can get anything for any of Miller, Hansen and Burrows it will be a win. Given the market for forwards I am most hopeful for the latter two. I seriously doubt we get much more than Tampa got for Bishop for Miller — Bishop is a younger and in my view a better goalie but in line for a bigger UFA day.

    • apr

      I disagree with a lot of things Benning and Linden have done, but I don’t understand how they bungled up last year as badly as you have stated. Vrbata’s trade list was a joke. And who knows if that offer was the same for Hamhuis. There is history between the Nucks and Stars owners. Its ridiculous to think that Hamhuis (and particularly his agent) were only approached to waive the NTC a few days prior to the trade deadline. And no, accepting a 4th round pick for Hamhuis would have a detrimental impact on future deals.

      The reality is that again, Benning is handcuffed with NMCs. There is absolutely no market for Miller. If I’m Anaheim, I pick up Halak over Miller because its cheaper to get him. Bishop is simply better than Miller. Maybe we get a third rounder for Burrows. Maybe medium grade prospect for Hansen. But I would rather the Nucks keep him and expose Sutter in the expansion draft (as no way LV picks up that contract).

      • TheRealPB

        As I’ve stated elsewhere NMCs are a tool of the trade and Vancouver is no different than most teams in the league in having to deal with them.

        My problem with last year’s deadline was the fact that they did little to build up either Vrbata or Hamhuis’ value and with the former while I agree his trade list was a joke, the relationship between him and management was so poisoned by the deadline that nothing good was going to come out of it. Hamuis was resigned to a move and yet they overplayed or misplayed their hand. I don’t really think that whatever they took was going to hamstring them in the future. For all the talk of JB getting “fleeced” in the Shinkaruk deal, for example, this season has borne out the fact that he probably sold high (as with Lack).

        But all is forgiven to be honest in the value we just got in the Burrows deal. That is a great one.

  • HockeyTruther69

    rasmussen is big and tall and is over a point per game. not to mention he is from surrey so you know hes got a great shot. i have him #5 in my rankings

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Full disclosure: I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. So I tend to gravitate towards the defense of JB on last year’s trade deadline.

    If Dallas had been close to a similar deal for Hamhuis as Calgary eventually got for Russell (reports said yes), then would you take a mid round draft pick from Dallas when they circled back? If you did, wouldn’t every GM in the league now see you as a mark?

    NTCs and NMCs really do seem to affect value. Vrbata reportedly nixed any realistic trade destinations. They also make it difficult to play teams off one another.

    This deadline will be a disappointment to many no matter what happens. Either JB will not get value for Hansen, Burrows or Miller because of NTC/NMCs, or they won’t get traded because the return sucks. It’s a no win situation.

    • I am Ted

      Yes, it won’t be easy to deal these three guys. However, I think the real rub for me will be the same as last year – Benning waited too long. For some insane reason the Canucks think the playoffs are a realistic goal (this year and last). Ideally, Benning would’ve realized this isn’t the case and started moving pieces a month ago.

      It might be too late now. Honestly, I don’t think he’d be getting much for Miller and Burr. The other move he should make is dealing a D man. They have too many and can’t carry them all next year which means a few will have to be exposed to waivers when camp breaks in September. The deadline is a good time to max value on a player (usually).

  • Hockey Warrior

    There are hundreds of NHL players and literally thousands of PROSPECTS out there and it’s the job of the GENERAL MANAGER to assemble them into a WINNING TEAM aided and abetted by the COACH. It’s NOT rocket science, it just takes the RIGHT people doing the RIGHT job.

    Benning and Willie D (Linden is just a PR figurehead hired by the owners as a buffer) are NOT the right people to do that job, as THREE LONG YEARS have proven – even with the owners SPENDING TO THE CAP, HIGH DRAFT PICKS, UFAS and a marketplace full of QUALITY PLAYERS waiting for a chance to shine it’s been an EPIC FAIL.

    The SHORT-SIGHTED fans and bloggers need to stop OBSESSING about the over-hyped deadline and start DEMANDING for a new GM and coach to rebuild and move this franchise BACK to where it was under AV and MIKE GILLIS, who rank alongside PAT QUINN as the BEST this jinxed, troubled franchise has EVER had!

    Prove me wrong….

  • Roy

    “Wherein there’s a problem is I’ve never fielded more questions in my life.”

    You guys need an editor. Your blog has consistently good info – and consistently sloppy/bad writing. It’s pretty clear you have a fact-checker (mistakes are rare), but good lord that sentence is objectively awful.