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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: April 17th

I think you’ll all be surprised to hear that the one trade I would undo isn’t from the current Canucks’ front office. In fact, it’s from the Mike Gillis years. If there was one trade I could undo, it’s the trade that sent the Florida Panthers Michael Grabner and a first-round pick for Keith Ballard.

While I have a great deal of sympathy for the Canucks in that situation (doubt they make that trade if they know the full extent of Ballard’s injury status that summer), it’s probably the one move that hurt their chances at a Stanley Cup in 2011. Think about it. Ballard ate up north of $4-million in salary and cost the Canucks all their premier deadline assets for average-to-below-average play on the third line.

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The process was sound. If Ballard plays at half the level for Vancouver that he did previously in his career, that’s a boon to the Canucks’ blue line. Unfortunately, he was a shell of his former self.

Like I said during my Facebook Live appearance for the CBC Vancouver, I’ll never advocate for someone to lose their job. That extends to the Canucks’ front office. In a perfect world, they change course and become a progressive front office with the ability to turn this around.

As for Canucks president Trevor Linden, I envision a scenario where he steps down before he’s fired. In fact, there was talk last year that if his reputation started taking a bigger beating than he was comfortable with, he’d resign.

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I’m the wrong person to take this complaint up with, though I sympathize with your cause.

If you’re aboard #TeamRebuild (and how on god’s earth could you not be on #TeamRebuild at this stage), then you’re for the Canucks trading Alex Edler and Chris Tanev. It just has to happen. Wherein the problem lies is Edler isn’t waiving his no-trade clause. The Canucks are going to have to bite the bullet on that one, barring a significant change from the Swedish defenceman.

As for Tanev, I’d cut bait this off-season. Having him in the lineup doesn’t change the Canucks’ short-term fortunes, and the reality is he’s going to be nearing 30-years-old by the time this team is competitive again. He’s a right-shot defenceman, and those cost a pretty penny. If the Canucks can yield a fortune in futures for Tanev, they have to do it.

I checked in with Ryan Biech for this one, and he told that if Olli Juolevi does go to Europe, his entry-level contract will be tolled for another season. As for the likelihood of that happening, I’m not sure. Honestly, I think he cracks the Canucks’ blue line next season. If not, Europe is probably the best option. Not sure if that’s the plan, though.

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This was probably a group discussion with every member of the front office involved. Though, to Linden’s credit, he fought hard for Desjardins last season.

  1. Travis Green
  2. Dallas Eakins
  3. Todd Nelson

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There are tough guys available in free agency every year. Which is a significant part of the reason why you don’t give players like Derek Dorsett a four-year contract valued at $2.65-million per season. As an aside, I don’t think that “toughness” is a need for the Canucks. They need talent, desperately.

As for free agents, I’d expect the Canucks to move on from Anton Rodin, Philip Larsen, Jack Skille, Drew Shore, Michael Chaput, Alexandre Grenier, Chad Billins and Borna Rendulic.

If I were the decision maker in that front office, I’d run from Ryan Miller unless he wants to sign a one-year deal at a heavily discounted rate without any form of no-trade protection. Which is to say that I wouldn’t bring Miller back.

The Canucks would be wise to run with Jacob Markstrom and a restoration project, young goaltender like a Jonathan Bernier or Darcy Kuemper type as a 1A and 1B scenario. Eventually, the Canucks will be forced into a scenario where they have to trade one of the two. That’s how you buy draft picks, etc. in free agency.

The Canucks are so far from having enough offence it’s almost unfathomable. Will a coaching and systems change help? It’s certainly possible. How much it will help is another question entirely, though.

That’s just a good old fashioned PR spin. Though, technically, it’s difficult for things to get worse than they already are. Perhaps that’s cause enough for optimism?

If Benning is willing to trade Tanev, I think that something could work out for both sides here. All the more so if the Canucks are willing to take on Ryan Callahan and his albatross contract. Benning’s pulled off some pretty crafty moves. The Alexandre Burrow for Jonathan Dahlen trade was larceny and getting a prospect of Nikolay Goldobin’s quality for Jannik Hansen was pretty great too. Hopefully he has more where that came from.

There isn’t anything we haven’t already covered extensively on this platform. Though, heads up, we’re going to be launching Canucks Army Coaching Candidate Profiles this week.

In that role, Brandon Sutter could prove semi-useful, I am sure. He’s been a slightly above or below replacement level forward his whole career per DTMAboutHeart’s WAR model, so that role actually seems fitting.

Not in the slightest. Now, by that same token, I’ve always thought highly of Desjardins as a person. He’s always been personable and approachable. I just disagree with how his final year went down. Whether he was dealt a bad hand or otherwise, he relished playing the worst cards.

As far as seventh or eighth defencemen go, one could certainly do worse than Alex Biega. The same is true of thirteenth forwards, I guess? Whatever the case, I never quite understood the logic behind giving Biega a one-way deal or signing him for two years. It’s not like this was in response to the expansion draft, either. Whatever the case, it wasn’t worth losing sleep over then and isn’t now.

Because he has a personality? All jokes aside, I think it’s a numbers game kind of thing. For reasons that escape me, this franchise thinks that defence is an area of strength. Of surplus, even. They can’t move Edler and have Nikita Tryamkin and Olli Juolevi to accommodate. Maybe they’re right and there isn’t room on the left side for Hutton?

For me, it’s just a question of who the better player is. The Canucks can’t be picky enough to decide based on style. Either way, I think Nolan Patrick is still the first overall pick in my estimation.

Again, I will not advocate for someone to lose their job. By that same token, Desjardins is far less responsible for the state of this team than Benning.

The Canucks only have the one contract spot remaining this season, and I would use it on Darren Raddysh. He’s looked great these playoffs and is running the series between the London Knights and Erie Otters.

One can make a case for about seven-to-ten different players going in the three spot in this year’s draft. If the Canucks can find someone who’s willing to surrender assets to move up into the three spot, then by all means, they should go for it. As for 33rd overall, I can see a scenario where Maxime Comtois is available. And if he is, they should bite.

Last week, Jyrki asked which non-Denmark or Latvia nation will get into the top ten rankings for hockey nations. Yohann Auvitu is neat, so I’m going to go with France.

Could I see Darryl Sutter joining the Canucks in an advisory capacity? No, probably not. Why would he? What’s the appeal? It’s happened often enough (especially in football) that I don’t rule something like that out entirely.

The Dean Lombardi one seems like a non-starter. Not sure the Canucks would ever even think about it with Benning there.

On the one hand, Travis Green took this talent-averse team pretty far. On the other, Green isn’t going to be there next year. By that same token, the Comets are due for an infusion of young talent that could include the likes of Brock Boeser. Let’s go with a yes. Why not?

His coach’s profile is in the cue. We will discuss that possibility in due time.



  • Bud Poile

    “Like I said during my Facebook Live appearance for the CBC Vancouver, I’ll never advocate for someone to lose their job.”JD Burke

    You keep saying that,but you actually it is the polar opposite:
    “As for Canucks president Trevor Linden, I envision a scenario where he steps down before he’s fired.” JD Burke

    “You’ll all be surprised to hear that the one trade I would undo isn’t from the current Canucks’ front office. In fact, it’s from the Mike Gillis years.” JD Burke
    Yes,I am surprised you didn’t take yet another shot at Benning but with the Booth,Ballard,Hodgson,Pahlsson,Roy,Luongo and Schneider transactions on the record you don’t want to be seen as a complete Benning basher.
    BTW, the Ballard/Grabner transaction also included a Vancouver first AND Steve Bernier.

    • Seth

      Well maybe he was holding back. The one thing is, its really just cries from the peanut gallery. I mean, what JD would have done differently in terms of UFA signings and trades that could arguably realistically occur as opposed to a NHL17 simulation. Its easy to complain how someone did something stupid or wrong without providing an alternative. Maybe Nill always wanted Russell more than Hamuis. Or there were other things behind closed doors?

      Would have it been possible to pry PK Subban from Montreal for the limited trade assets we had? Not likely. It did take a Norris winner to get a Norris winner, which for the record, our franchise has never had one.

      That said, I’m not a fan of all of Benning’s moves, but no one is perfect. Not even the great Pat Quinn.

    • Dirty30

      At the time, Salo had been hurt (again), Willie Mitchell was hurt, and Ballard was a top four D-man who should have been a bonus to the Canucks. Bernier was useless– even the Sedins in their prime couldn’t make him look good — Grabner wasn’t doing anything and that first turned into a plodder that still hasn’t recorded 100 games as a fourth-line plug despite being a first round pick.

      Out of the entire trade, only Grabner became anything and only after he left the Canucks. It seems even the great AV couldn’t make anything out of him or Ballard or Bernier or Ostevitch.

      In retrospect, bad trade … but is Gudbranson any better than Ballard at this point? JB gave up a first in McCann and what happens if he suddenly morphs into the next Grabner?

      Gillis also signed Hamius … did JB do anything with that asset?

      All GMs make mistakes …

  • Memo to Sharks: You guys are going nowhere fast. Your power play is awful, worse than Canucks. You can’t complete a pass. What is it with passes going to nowhere. Your lack of finish is going to cost you this series. Close your five hole. When Zack Kassian dominates a series, you shouldn’t be in the playoffs. This is not the same team that went to the cup final last year. Shape up or ship out.

  • Killer Marmot

    As far as seventh or eighth defencemen go, one could certainly do worse than Alex Biega. The same is true of thirteenth forwards, I guess? Whatever the case, I never quite understood the logic behind giving Biega a one-way deal or signing him for two years. It’s not like this was in response to the expansion draft, either. Whatever the case, it wasn’t worth losing sleep over then and isn’t now.

    Having someone on the roster who can play either forward or defense is a valuable thing. It takes a minimum of 11 hours for a player to get from Utica to Vancouver airport, and usually more depending on the connections, which means it very difficult to call up players on short notice.

    There was a game this season when the Canucks played with 5 defensemen. Having a fourth-liner who could switch to D and do a decent job of it would have been a valuable thing.

  • Ronning4ever

    The one thing about the WD presser I found interesting, was that he seemed to indicate that a) he knew the playoffs were out right away and b) his method of playing youngsters and developing them seemed to hinge on things we just don’t see.

    I always thought WD operated on a “win now” basis, but this seems to say, no. CA has repeatedly pointed out how the likes of Boucher and Goldy got scratched in favour of much lesser players and the coach seemed to say: “yeah, it’s cause they weren’t ready” when it came to things like preparation, practice, ability to take direction, etc. I thought that might change a few minds.

  • TD

    While I am in favour of trading Tanev and Edler, I worry that would cause the Canucks to throw their young defence men into situations they are not ready for. The youth will likely develop better while having a bit of shelter. But if Edler won’t waive his no trade, he could be the protection while Tanev gets traded. Tanev probably has more value on the market.

    I would be okay with resigning Chaput as a fourth liner/AHL player. If Rodin’s knee is okay, I would love the Canucks to give him another shot. As long as it is around 1 million on a one year deal, he could be sent to the minors. I thought he was “real good” in the preseason before the knee failed and he brings a talent level the Canucks desperately need.

    The Canucks need to get away from Miler as there is no benefit to the future with him. A reclamation project would be okay, but I want the Canucks to take one of Dallas bad goalie contracts as Markstrom’s backup and see if they can obtain Nichushkin for taking the contract. With Nichushkin going to the KHL, Dallas wouldn’t lose a player and would get out of their nightmarish goalie situation.

    I hope they don’t move Hutton, he looked much better at the end of the year. Tryamkin is a left shot, but prefers to play the right side. I liked Hutton and Tryamkin together at the end of the year. They both need to continue developing, but they could become a real solid second pairing in the future.

    Does Nolan Patrick’s injury history scare anyone? He looks like a great player, but he has an injury history reminiscent of Sami Salo.

  • Double U Tee Eff

    Trading Cam Neely and a first round pick for Barry Pederson is the biggest bonehead trade in the history of the canucks. The Grabner trade pales in comparison.

  • Bud Poile

    “Benning’s pulled off some pretty crafty moves.

    The Alexandre Burrow for Jonathan Dahlen trade was larceny and getting a prospect of Nikolay Goldobin’s quality for Jannik Hansen was pretty great too. Hopefully he has more where that came from.” JD Burke

    Baertschi,Granlund,Boucher,Gudbranson,Dorsett,Stetcher,Tryamkin,Boeser,Gaudette and Demko were all good moves.

    “Again, I will not advocate for someone to lose their job. By that same token, Desjardins is far less responsible for the state of this team than Benning.” JD Burke

    “Brandon Sutter could prove semi-useful, I am sure.” JDBurke

    17 goals-4th highest

    17 assists-5th highest

    Best f/o % on the team. Defensive and offensive zone team specialist and team leader:

    http://puckbase.com/stats/faceoff-percentage?team=VAN&zone=def

    http://puckbase.com/stats/faceoff-percentage?team=VAN&zone=off

    “The Canucks would be wise to run with Jacob Markstrom…..” JD Burke

    No,they would not.

    • I am Ted

      Again, you have to consider who is forming grammatically incorrect statements here on the CA blog. He is a definite mental midget so take his comments with a grain (or pound) of salt. It is nice when CA posts news and facts but when they provide their own thoughts…yikes…that’s when it gets stupid. CA! Come for the news, stay for the stupid editorials!

  • Bud Poile

    “Benning’s pulled off some pretty crafty moves.
    The Alexandre Burrow for Jonathan Dahlen trade was larceny and getting a prospect of Nikolay Goldobin’s quality for Jannik Hansen was pretty great too. Hopefully he has more where that came from.” JD Burke

    Baertschi,Granlund,Boucher,Gudbranson,Dorsett,Stetcher,Tryamkin,Boeser,Gaudette and Demko were all good moves.

    “Again, I will not advocate for someone to lose their job. By that same token, Desjardins is far less responsible for the state of this team than Benning.” JD Burke

    “Brandon Sutter could prove semi-useful, I am sure.” JDBurke

    17 goals-4th best.17 assists-5th best
    Best f/o % on the team. Defensive and offensive zone team specialist and team leader:

    “The Canucks would be wise to run with Jacob Markstrom…..” JD Burke
    Again,another no.