WWYDW: Looking Forward

The Canucks’ fate has been sealed for weeks now, but somehow there are still ten games to go. There isn’t much left to play for, so let’s turn our eyes to next season.

The Sedins, and their decline in production, was a hot topic this week. I suggested teammate effects might be partly to blame. Assuming there aren’t any major roster changes next year, who would you like to see the Sedins play with next season?

Last week I asked: What would you do to make the last few games of the season more exciting?


Unless Boeser can gets in some games soon in NHL (ideally I AHL) there isn’t much we can do other than shutting down a few injured vets (Tanev and Sutter). Would be nice to see Subban, even if he’s brutal in his own zone.

Aside from WD opening up the game and playing more exciting run and gun and moving the PP to actually play with the Sedins stengths, the team is what it is.

Embrace the tank this year, shut vets down and give the young guns the playing time to see what we got.


So here’s a slightly different viewpoint — Utica is actually doing quite well, with Demko having won his last seven straight and the team poised for a decent run in the playoffs. I’m not sure I’d be wanting to drag up some of the players who are actually having success to join this tire fire. In particular it’d be better for Demko, Carcone, Virtanen, Cassels, maybe Roy and Subban (though it seems like the Canucks are going to move on from Subban, Grenier and Pedan). I know we papered Gaunce back down there to join them, I wouldn’t mind having Goldobin there too. In terms of playing out the stretch here, shut down Sutter and Tanev, cut the Sedins, Edler and Miller’s time way back, keep giving Granlund, Baertschi, Horvat, Boucher, Goldobin, Stetcher, Hutton, Tryamkin and Markstrom prime minutes (I realize some of them are banged up but when they’re back). I will concede that Chaput at 24 has at least some potential. I think the rest of the depth AHLers should give the actual vets a rest, not the prospects.


How to make things interesting:

1. Sit anyone over 30 or who has an injury needing rest.
2. Make Baer-Bo-Boucher your top line … give them a system that works to their strengths and let them loose.
2a. Do the same with other lines.
3. Sit Miller. Or, given his propensity for making coaching decisions, put him behind the bench. He couldn’t do any worse than the crew back there now.
4. Markstrom and Bachman. Time to decide if the former is your guy once and for all.
5. Bring up Subban. Play him til he drops. Remind him every time he sits down to watch Stecher because Subban either has to be that good or ride the bus into obscurity. Time to decide.
6. Evaluate every player you have and try something different in deployment and tactics.

Bottom line: Phil Kessel got vilified for being out of shape and not playing a 200 foot game … but he could score. Pittsburg deployed him differently than Toronto had and he was a machine during the playoffs. Not equating Goldy with Kessel, but if you have a player who can score then let him score.

Equally, trying to limit Bo’s talent by making him skate 200 feet every time he has the puck is nuts. The Sedins didn’t start as the Sedins, they had a lot of poor years until they learned how to control the game through the cycle. Bo doesn’t look like a cycle type of player … trying to stuff him into a Sedins style of play seems a waste of his strengths.

If this organization isn’t just blowing smoke about earning things then as your top scorer, Bo has certainly earned the right to play to his strengths, not the Sedins. This isn’t about disrespecting the twins, it’s about looking at an opportunity where you have nothing to lose and trying something different.

Even if that means putting Benning behind the bench for a dozen games — because WD needs to adapt or go away.


Easy – J. Megna as ‘player-coach’.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I think the choice should come down to Eriksson and Granlund. Loui has had an off-year on the scoreboard but has still been the one winger with whom the twins have driven possession. Give them a shot at playing together on an extended basis (not to mention on a properly coached power play) and see if somehow, someway, that contract can be salvageable. Granlund has also had his moments with them, looking a fair bit like a young Alex Burrows in his ability to fit into the cycle, find open space off the rush, and retrieve the puck in the corners or on the backcheck. Would also be worth a look.

    Most importantly, give them back their ability to cycle the puck on the power play, and give them both of those wingers and Stecher as a first unit PP, and watch them recapture the magic of old. If there’s one place that the Sedin twins’ much talked-about aging should have the least effect, it’s with the man-advantage where foot speed is not as much of a factor, yet the incomprehensible tactics (spread Sedins to both sides, overuse of Sutter, predictable cross-ice feeds, Megna etc.) have totally stymied that unit and probably cut about 15 points off of where each Sedin could be given a more appropriate strategy. Horvat, Baertschi, Goldobin/Boucher, Edler and Hutton would make a good second unit.

    Also, time to limit them to about 16-17 minutes a game. They can still be effective players but they’re being overused.

    • Neil B

      I’m wondering if the PP isn’t designed to the strengths of 2PP rather than tailor-built for the Sedins. If so, this might be another example of the team talking up a good storm about playoffs, but quietly in the back using most of the year as a development process for the kids.

  • Dirty30

    Goldy; Boucher; and then maybe Dahlen. Sedins need speed, skill and ability to retrieve the puck, as well as back-check if the play goes the other way.

    If Goldy is a scoring machine, then defensive capability is less of an issue if the puck is in the net. Coach would need good D out there to cover that line. Could be high risk-reward and needs a Coach who could handle that pressure.

    Boucher may not trend as a first line guy, but neither are the Twins at this point. He may not be fast, but that shot fascinates with possibility. Given the passing ability of the Sedins, Boucher could be lighting it up something fierce.

    The dark horse is Dahlen — probably too young to make the jump, but his hockey IQ screams for a match-up with two players who made an impact on the game playing smart. His development playing with the Sedins would be incredible.

    Bonus possibility — Biega: has speed, throws hits, defensively capable and might just pot a few goals from sheer opportunity.

  • Even with their decline, the Sedins do have a bit of magic to make a third linemate overachieve — with the scale of overachievement obviously depending a lot on who the guy is. Whether it’s just a nice bump in stats for a guy like Taylor Pyatt, season-defining chemistry for Anson Carter, or a total breakout for a player like Alex Burrows. So if it’s not going to be a more natural choice such as Eriksson, it would be interesting to see what they can do for a younger shooter like Boucher (or even more time with Granlund) to see whether there might be any synergies there that would add up to more than the sum of the individual parts.

  • Stick Eriksson with the Sedins for the entire season but change the deployment. During the Sedins’ prime years, they were sheltered in terms of on-ice situation (always starting PP, never PK) and now we need to start sheltering them in other ways, primarily ice-time. Working from the goal out, Sutter should be taking the majority of defensive zone starts, where his north-south speed and team-leading 55% face-off percentage can be best utilized. The Sedins should still be getting most of their starts in the offensive zone, where the close confines and Eriksson in front of the crease works to their advantage.

    If zone starts were broken down by player, an example would be (D/N/O):

    Horvat: 30%/20%/50%
    Sutter: 70%/20%/10%
    Sedin: 0%/50%/50%

  • TD

    Eriksson or Granlund appear to be the obvious choices. Eriksson has put up his worst seasons with a new team so hopefully he bounces back. The Sedins aren’t good in their own end any more, so controlling the play with Eriksson should prevent lots of goals against and will lead to offence if he has a bounce back season. Limit their minutes and match ups as well. Play Bo as the first line to see if he can play against the better players and let the Sedins roll against weaker players.

  • The_Blueline

    Ftom a pure business point of view, they should probably be traded. But I can’t make myself wish that.

    So, assuming that they will still be here, I want Bear and Eriksson to be the 1st, Sedins with Granlund the 2nd.

    And please start Boeser in Utica.

  • Moneyball

    Who should the sedins twins play with? Maybe gaudreau in Calgary, ovechkin in Washington, anywhere else but here. Get a pick for them or a trade. Time to rebuild and ditch the sedins. This is a hockey team not a seniors home.

    • Rob_Mac

      Broken record… List the General Managers that would make that deal… 12 million for 3 declining players who should be 2nd line at this point in there careers. but have had to play top line minuets because present and previous managements have not addressed that issue. |Points are points and till this year they still got them.

      • Moneyball

        100% agrees the sedins have a brutal contract and are only worth half. You retain salary t get the deal done. There highest value would be at the trade deadline, too bad they were not dealt then. They are not getting the points that’s the problem.

        • Neil B

          We can only retain salary on one player. We are currently retaining salary on Roberto & Honey Badger. We could try to sell retaining max 50% on one Sedin is like retaining 25% on both; but are they $5.25 mill per players now? Arguably, I’d lean ‘yes’. But I still don’t see any contender opening up a spot for the pair of them at trade deadline; and I doubt they waive the NMC to go to a pretender without a real shot at the Cup.

          And then there’s the NMCs, and their impact on the expansion draft. Do you want to drop 2 of your younger talent in favour of the Sedins? Because that’s what happens if you take them at trade deadline.

          All of that taken together, and I really dispute your assertion that their “highest value would be at the trade deadline”. No; we’d have been selling at a loss at the deadline. Their value goes up immensely on June 22nd. I still don’t think that they get moved; but after the expansion draft & before the rookie draft is probably their best window for returning value in a trade this season.

          • Moneyball

            You could be right. However when you look at a bubble team like LA getting the Sedins could send them to the post season. I don’t know what an NHL team makes per game in the playoffs but I bet each round is worth a couple million to the owner as the players are only paid for the regular season. At the deadline I could see bubble teams making a good pitch for the sedins. In the off season, I’m not sure they are a declining asset with big contracts as you point out. At this stage I don’t see the Canucks progressing as long as they have these two on the team. There is no combination of players the Canucks can attract with the Sedins to make the team good enough to win a cup and they take up ice time from younger players who would progress more quickly without them. I hope your right and they deal the Sedins so we can start to get on track for a more competitive club instead of the perpetual downward spiral the Canucks are in now.

          • Neil B

            Moneyball: (not sure why I can’t reply to your reply; is that a feature of the new format?)

            Oh, I’m not denying they could be an asset to a ‘bubble’ team, or even to a decent team not expected to make waves in post-season (OTT, for instance). I’m saying I don’t see them waiving NMCs to go there. If they waive, they’re going to a contender, or a near-contender; and a contender doesn’t add them at this trade deadline (with expansion looming). They add them in the off-season, probably dangling draft picks and/or whatever secondary scoring that Vegas didn’t take from them.

            The other issue is that I’m not sure that there is any real percentage in getting them to waive. They only have one year at this cap hit, and then they either sign a series of 1-2 year extensions, or they retire. When they do come off the books, Granny & Sven will need to get paid; both will be top-6 F at that point, and both will have arbitration rights. If Rodin is re-signed, it will likely be a $1 mill/1 yr ‘show me’ deal. Boucher will probably get somewhere between that & Sven’s 2-year deal at $1.85 per. Either/or, having the Sedin’s cap hit value available may be more valuable to the Canucks in 2018 than any asset they might get back in return for the twins.

  • Foximus

    Sedins are here until the end of their contract – at least. And they deserve it.
    I would agree with only bringing up Subban and see what he can do. Boeser goes to Utica. Do the rebuild right.
    We need another high pick in the draft so let some of the vets rest.
    Eriksson was brought in to play with the Sedin’s – let him. Hopefully next year they can be a solid 2nd line as some rookies make the line up.

  • Neil B

    I think the Sedins + Eriksson could make a very good second line that would help take the pressure off Bo’s unit. Selectively deploying Granlund there as well, when speed is at issue, could be a good option as well. I would much rather Goldie develop with Bo, if he can improve his play without the puck & generally just show a little bit more discipline.