Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: May 8th

Well, I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to answer this question. I’m not a part of #mymodel Twitter and generally think these types of games are just a coin flip. I’m going to side with the Anaheim Ducks in this one. I couldn’t tell you why, if for no other reason than I’m more or less uncertain with why I’m siding with the Ducks myself.

Of all the sports, you found the one major sport outside of hockey that I’m least interested and had to ask a question about it. I really can’t help you here, man. I’m sorry.

Overall, I think it’s some of Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s tidiest work. I wasn’t overly enthused with the Brock Boeser pick at first, but that’s looking like it’s going to pan out in a big way. Didn’t like the Guillaume Brisebois pick and his game hasn’t really endeared itself to me since, but I know the organization holds him in high regard. Each of the Canucks five picks after Brisebois were sound process bets, save for Adam Gaudette and that’s the one on track to pan out best.

The Canucks didn’t have garbage luck in the draft lottery — not this year or last. They finished in their most likely draft position and second most likely draft position in consecutive years. That’s not bad luck — those are the odds. Now that I’ve dispelled that myth, let’s get to business.

I don’t think the results of the draft lottery impact the Canucks perspective on, well, anything. They shouldn’t influence their perspective, anyways. And that’s certainly the sense you get from Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden’s language in interviews and press releases after the process.

If anything, the fact that the Canucks aren’t likely to draft a player that can step right in and make the team for next season and have an immediate impact only makes them less willing to part with Chris Tanev. The main reason they don’t want to deal Tanev is that they don’t want a losing environment, where players come to the rink each day knowing they’re going to lose 4-1 at best. Drafting fifth rather than first or second doesn’t help that cause.

Unless I’m missing something, I’m fairly certain that Nolan Baumgartner joining Travis Green’s staff behind the bench in Vancouver was all but confirmed. I’d expect the Canucks make that official at some point this off-season.

I can’t guarantee the Ryan Spooner rumour stays a rumour. I wish I could, but I can’t. The sense is that the Canucks aren’t married to Ben Hutton, and that if they see a move that will increase the Canucks ability to score, he could be on the way out to make it happen. Boston needs a defenceman. The Canucks are already connected to the Bruins in several reports. You do the math.

I haven’t heard anything about the search for a replacement for Green in Utica. The sense I get is that AHL teams usually draw from the junior hockey ranks, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they took a serious look at someone like Dave Lowry or Rocky Thompson.

The best thing the Canucks can do to support the AHL franchise is to have enough NHL depth that they don’t have to constantly steal the Jayson Megnas and Michael Chaputs of the world from their ranks. The Comets would’ve been a far better team with either of those players in their ranks, but alas, by November they were both regular Canucks.

  1. Carey Price
  2. Henrik Lundqvist
  3. Sergei Bobrovsky
  4. Braden Holtby
  5. Cory Schneider

I suppose the potential for the Canucks signing Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher certainly exists. We, of course, won’t know the extent of that potential until Butcher either signs with the Avalanche or hits unrestricted free agency at summer’s end.

I’ll say this much; I haven’t heard a tonne about the Canucks being interested in Butcher. That isn’t to say that they aren’t — not in the slightest. I know they’re interested in signing Darren Raddysh of the Erie Otters, though. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could get both?

That would certainly help ease the pain of the Canucks moving on from Tate Olson and Carl Neill, such as that was.

I’ve had to answer a similarly worded question to this one in the past, and my answer now is more or less the same as it was then. The Canucks don’t need toughness. They’ve invested more capital than a significant portion of the NHL in “being hard to play against”. The problem is, the Canucks aren’t talented. They don’t score and they can’t defend to save their lives.

I would like to imagine a scenario where the Canucks have the nucleus for a competitive team in the works and that at some point we can discuss how best they can build around them, and perhaps toughness becomes a part of that question. We are so very, very far away from being able to quibble with style points, though. Finding players with toughness is such a low priority at this point.

Being fast contributes to a team’s ability to control shot and goal differentials far more than being “tough”. Now we’re talking.

They’ll be a faster team next season, frankly. They have to be. One has to imagine they’re going to get younger and many of the players the Canucks have prioritized as a part of their rebuild have speed as one of their primary attributes.

Will they be fast enough? I doubt it. They’ve still a long ways to go, but I think we’ll start seeing the odd step in the right direction as soon as next season.

Well, I have a hard time seeing a Sedin trade happen next season. The Canucks shot themselves in the foot in that sense when they retained salary on Jannik Hansen as part of his trade to the San Jose Sharks. Now the Canucks have two of their three salary retention spots dedicated to Roberto Luongo and Hansen.

I think at this point I’ve accepted that the Sedin twins are more likely than not to retire Canucks. Whether that means getting assets in return for them or not, I think they’ve earned that right, and I wouldn’t begrudge the team for acqueiscing to the Twins if they want to stay or can’t find a place to trade them that makes them happy and keep them to the end.

The only way I can still see the Canucks trading the Sedin twins is if they extend them beyond next season at a team-friendly rate and retain salary on both twins at the end of their deals in a trade. That, and the Sedins need to prove to the league they can produce at, at least, a second line level. That’s important, too.

I haven’t heard anything about whether the Canucks want to try the Anton Rodin Experience out for another season. That said, if I were a betting man, I’d put a couple of bucks down on Rodin returning to the Swedish Hockey League.

I’m probably the wrong guy to ask this question to if you’re expecting even a vaguely-angsty response — just this once, I swear. I have Timothy Liljegren slightly higher than Gabriel Vilardi on my draft board, and I know the Canucks do, too.

It won’t surprise me if Liljegren has a Jacob Chychrun like trajectory and surprises everyone after falling far lower than he should in the draft. Liljegren has suffered a tough year, to be sure, but he’s still a hell of a prospect. I still see him as the best defenceman in this class, if only by a hair.

I have Alex Formenton as the 83rd best prospect on my board, so I’m, again, probably the wrong guy for this question. Even then, I feel guilty about having Formenton as high as I do. I can see his production trending upwards as his role likely expands next season, but I don’t see him as a player with any NHL transferable talents.

They are not. Oh god, I really hope they are not.

If you listen to the Canucks Army Podcast, we had a good discussion about whether to sign Bo Horvat to a bridge contract or a long-term deal. I was once firmly in the long-term deal camp, but Satiar Shah made a few compelling arguments in favour of a short-term deal. I’m less certain of where I stand at this point, to say the least.

I don’t see the Canucks trading Tanev as being likely this year, whether it’s for a first round pick or a premier prospect. They don’t want to suffer blowout losses night after night and Tanev is, in their estimation, a strong safeguard against that. I’m firmly in the camp that they should trade Tanev, though, and Ryan Biech wrote an article on that very topic this week too.

Trust me when I say it hasn’t.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks didn’t have garbage luck in the draft lottery — not this year or last. They finished in their most likely draft position and second most likely draft position in consecutive years.

    Not correct. Yes 5th was the second most likely single position this year. However, their chances were…

    35.2% chance of picking earlier than 4th.
    34% chance of picking 4th.
    30.7% chance of picking 5th.

    In other words, the chances of picking 1st, 2nd, or 3rd were, in aggregate, greater than picking 5th.

    • truthseeker

      How’s that logical?

      Shouldn’t you either be comparing combined odds to combined odds or single position odds to single position odds?

      I don’t get this use of “combined” odds as if it matters, considering the draws for the top 3 are independent events.

      (Yes, I know the odds are “dependent” in the sense that one team winning changes the odds for the next draw….but it only changes them slightly.)

      At no point in the lottery did we have a 35% chance at winning any single position in the top 3. Who cares what the combined odds were?

      • Killer Marmot

        In general, you want to avoid thinking about the odds of each possibility separately. These are called “modes”, and they can be deceptive. This is the mistake that I think Burke made.

        Thus I chose to think of the odds in three categories: (A) Below 4th pick. (B) The 4th pick. (C) Above 4th pick. All of these have about the same odds. That the Canucks landed in option (C) can reasonably be called poor luck.

        Yes, option (C) had only one possibility. These things get awkward when there is only a few choices.

        • truthseeker

          OK….but that still doesn’t tell me why. If the explanation is long and drawn out I understand you not wanting to lay it all out here…but at least a link to somewhere explaining why it’s deceptive, would be helpful.

  • Re: my question. I don’t see these prospects, so I’m just going by what I read/hear. But it seems that the “consensus BPA” is, more often than not, the way to go. And the Canucks rarely seem to stick to that. So even if the market needs a bit of a Chychrun-style correction after an overreaction, this still makes me very nervous when Benning acts like he’s the smartest guy in the room, because there are few rooms on this planet that allow for that to be truth. Nothing about Benning or the Canucks’ draft history should give them any confidence that they “know better”. Thus far (whether or not Juolevi ultimately pans out), ignoring consensus has not looked good on this guy or this team.

    On the Chychrun trajectory comparison, there’s the issue that Liljegren can’t take much of a precipitous fall like Chychrun if the Canucks are dead-set on taking him at 5th, and there’s enough smoke there that I’m assuming there’s fire. If it’s a misstep, it’s yet another one that really has the potential to set the rebuild back by quite some time. And if he really values Liljegren much more than other GMs, he should trade down, not turn his first selection into a hot take.

    • TD

      It would only be a guess that Benning could get Liljegren with a later pick. If Benning traded down he could also miss on the player he wanted and set the rebuild back.

    • Neil B

      Trading down from 5 is a bit risky in as volatile a draft year as this one. Liljegren could go anywhere from 4th-15th and surprise no one.

      Liljegren-Chychrun was probably a bad comparison; absolute talent levels aside, I’d probably say Liljegren’s likelier trajectory path is one of Seth Jones, where a recency bias and a hockey bias against top-5 D bump him down the list beyond where his talent would suggest he goes. I’d be perfectly happy with him at #5.

  • Locust

    What to say to prove beyond a doubt that you don’t really understand “the game” and would just rather look at post game stats and metrics = “The Canucks don’t need toughness”

    • Vchiu

      We’re years away from being a cup contender again. Toughness can be bought in the form of UFAs, deadline deals. Speed/skill players are mostly drafted and should be the priority now

    • Dirk22

      I’m pretty sure he’s implying that acquiring toughness should not be the priority at this point – rather than you interpreting it as “teams should not have toughness.” Which ‘tough’ players do you think would improve the Canucks? Reaquire Prust?

    • defenceman factory

      I’m often frustrated with CA’s penchant for purse swinging Corsi winners but I do agree the Canucks should not acquire players right now solely to add toughness.

      The Canucks need some skill players with some size and snarl to their game. The objective is the Stanley cup not the President’s cup. Few of their current young players bring much physicality. Forth line face punchers won’t help win many games if your team gets beat to every puck. Getting to every puck first only to get pushed aside isn’t much better.

  • Steamer

    NO SPOONER! Like Sutter, but worse!!! Benning acquires Spooner, trust that the Apocalypse is imminent & no amount of picks or prospects may stem the tide of evil that shall – like locusts from the skies – befall the team. You thought Eriksson stunk?!

  • Double U Tee Eff

    I’ll bet Baumgartner is in the running for the Utica coaching job and thats why he’s not been announced yet as Greens assistant. Once they finalize the Utica vacancy, Greens assistant will then be named.

  • Ronning4ever

    “They don’t want to suffer blowout losses night after night and Tanev is, in their estimation, a strong safeguard against that. I’m firmly in the camp that they should trade Tanev, though”

    I’m confused about how the author can acknowledge the former (the need/rationale for stopping blow out losses) but retain the latter (that we should trade our best Dman all the same).

    I can’t think of a team in worse shape right now that the Avalanche. They lost a Jack Adams coach, tanked (and how!), didn’t get the first pick and few of their previous quality, high picks are basically asking to be traded.

    I get that from a raw numbers perspective, trading Tanev pulls off the band aid quickly and nets a good return. But you have to hold a room as a hockey coach. The Canucks can’t legitimately claim they have a solid base of talent and a bright future right now. Maybe in 2 years if they’re lucky.

    I can’t imagine a player like Raddyish agreeing to sign with the Canucks if they are basically just not even going to try. Tryamkin mentioned a bunch of reasons for leaving to the KHL…though it got lost in the dissection – losing so heavily, so often was one of them.