Anchors Away!

Well, with the expansion draft upon us it looks like many teams are finally being forced to make decisions they probably should have made years ago.

With the Girardi buy-out, the Rangers are just the latest example of a team that finally realized that a sunk cost shouldn’t be influencing decisions you are making that affect the future.

And if the Canucks were to adopt that kind of thinking, their protected list might be a little different than it is expected to be.

As I’m sure you loyal Canucks Army readers recall, it was almost six months ago that our own JD Burke suggested that Brandon Sutter should be exposed in expansion draft, and since then the #ExposeSutter movement has taken on a life of its own.

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And while Sutter is a player that Jim Benning once definitely didn’t compare to both Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, this is a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to forget what they gave up to acquire him, forget the contribution they thought they would get from him, and cut their losses. Because much like Dan Girardi, there’s not many other options with this contract.

Not only does Sutter have a No Trade Clause, he’s just not worth the value on that contract.

Heck, he’s barely playing at a fourth line level:

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But despite that performance, he’s getting top line ice time and second line money. Sure, he has a good shot and can score some goals, but as a top-of-the-roster NHL centre, he needs to be able to distribute the puck and create offense. Instead, his stick is where pucks go to die.

Benning thought he was getting a player that would anchor this roster for years, and instead he just got his own anchor:

But despite the possibility of getting out from under that contract, there’s no guarantee that George McPhee would take it off Jim Benning’s hands. What exposing Sutter would definitely do, however, is ensure the Canucks can keep Brendan Gaunce.

Look, I’m not comparing him to Brandon Sutter, but when he was in Carolina, Sutter started out with 6 points in 50 games getting fourth line minutes. Look at Markus Kruger (in Chicago). That’s how you shut down opposing forwards. When we look at Brendan Gaunce and all the things he brings, he’s going to be in the next wave of core players. His best hockey is still ahead of him.

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Anyway, whatever you may think of the relative values of Sutter and Gaunce, this is certainly a better idea than trading trade Chris Tanev so that you can protect Luca Sbisa. I mean, there are plenty of reasons why you should trade Tanev, if you get the right assets in return, but protecting Sbisa is definitely not one of them.

But I guess that’s the kind of idea we should expect from 200 hockey men. Presumably, the same 200 that have a “tough time wrapping their head around protecting a guy with no goals,” but don’t seem to bat an eyelash when it is suggested that the Leafs should protect Matt Martin or that the Blues are considering protecting Ryan Reaves.

And with all that being said, I should give Benning props for being right about one thing. Sutter really is a lot like Patrice Bergeron:



    • Buula

      That last graphic was hilarious..

      I’m surprised it hasn’t come up more in the last few days with all the Guance expansion attention but isn’t Vegas only allows to take so many UFAs? He might not be desirable versus other UFAs out there…

      Hopefully one of the award winning minds at CA will do an article once the protected players are released

  • Bud Poile

    At age 29 Sutter can be contractually traded.
    Since he is one of the best f/o men on the planet that wouldn’t be difficult.
    The Canucks have $14m in capspace and are rebuilding so Sutter’s salary is not much of an issue.
    Some CA writers keep repeating the JD mantra because they have no independent thoughts to express of their own.
    Here’s one:
    Jim Benning overpaid for Sutter. Without the draft picks, the deal does not look as bad. Both centers are depth scorers and Sutter is younger.

    Sure, Bonino is winning Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh while Sutter faces criticism by fans and sports media in Vancouver. But are the players really that different? And did this trade really hurt the Canucks?

    The answer is no.

      • Fred-65

        Come on that’s not needed taking a O/A from his rookie days to last season average ….meaningless. Last season he was the best F/O player on the team at 54% ….what he did the year he broke into the league doesn’t interest me.

        I’m in no way defending Sutter, but, he’s a coaches player. Same game every shift not the sort of hot and cold player. His salary is too much but as a third line centre he’s consistent. and he put up decent points for a 3rd line centre ( 17+17). It’s not his fault Vcr is that barren of quality centres they’re wanting him to play higher up the line up. But he sure puts a dent in the Cap

        • Jackson McDonald

          He was 54% last season but hasn’t been above 51 or so percent in any of his other seasons. So calling him “one of the best on the planet” is a stretch no matter how you slice it.

          • Pat Quinn Way

            Are you seriously telling us you cannot see that this guy bud is a troll posting a ridiculous statement like that Jackson? You yourself called him out for ruining this room for the writers (you) and the commenters (us) yet he and his multiple sock accounts are here everyday peddling sh*t like this and you are responding like it’s a legit post. What gives???

    • Pat Quinn Way

      “Sure, Bonino is winning Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh while Sutter faces criticism by fans and sports media in Vancouver.” – Bud the Dud

      “The only thing that matters is the playoffs” – Bud the Dud

      “With Nick being out that’s a huge part of our team missing” – Sidney Crosby

      Oh dear, the troll Bud gets outted and humiliated again. Newsflash Dud… if the Pens thought Sutter was important they wouldn’t have traded him. Bones is a WINNER… Sutter is on the golf course as usual. Ya get me old toad?

        • Pat Quinn Way

          Oh dear it’s a Bud the Dud meltdown – you on the booze again Bud… double posting, typos and abusive, uncalled for language. What’s the deal? You have been crowing in vain about Sutter over Bonino since the trade so don’t turn tail and deny it now fella…

          “Bud makes the forum an unwelcoming place for both the writers and commenters” – Jackson McDonald

          pot-kettle-black Dud!!!!

      • bobdaley44

        Bones is slow and couldn’t defend his grandmother. Christ i’d look good in that lineup. You think playing behind the two best centres in the league helps him look good? Sutter hate is such crap. What else is Crosby gonna say about him? They won without him didn’t they?

  • clutch fan

    Even a broken clock’s right twice a day- need to protect Gaunce over Sutter. Anyone who watched the Canucks games last year can see that, Gaunce never had the opportunity to play in favorable scoring situations, Sutter was given too many chances IMO (another reason to despise WD deployment). Vegas aren’t dumb enough to take Sutter (they do so at their own peril) but a reasonably high chance they would take BG.

    • DJ_44

      A reasonably high chance they will take Gaunce? Why? Zero goals? He is coming off of shoulder surgery. If VGK take Gaunce, he will be waiver wire material soon enough.

      • Thriller

        I agree with this line of thinking. We as Canucks fans are presenting a bit of our own bias towards Gaunce much like we are a bit towards Tanev. “Tanev is worth 10” ~Canucks Fan “Tanev is worth 8” ~Market Value. While I’m not saying this is true, perhaps the league (VGK in this situation) doesn’t value Gaunce as much as we would.

        For any of those that are interested, answer these two questions.

        Is Gaunce a 3rd / 4th line center?
        Can you get a better player in Free Agency / Another 30 teams?

        Given what CBJ just gave up to VGK, I’d argue that by the time VGK circles its gaze to the Canucks Wastelands, they’ll be happy to pick-up Sbisa rather than Gaunce.

        • truthseeker

          The problem with you’re argument is that Tanev actually puts up the numbers. There is statistically not a better shot suppressor in the NHL. So no, it’s not “like Tanev” at all. Tanev’s value is established. It’s people like you who continue to under value him simply because you think canuck fans “always over value” their players.

          • Pat Quinn Way

            Is this chump still banging on about his man crush Tanev ffs. lmao

            What part of VERY LITTLE VALUE don’t you get kid? The whole league wants fast skating, quick puck moving D who can jump into the play and PUT UP POINTS and also QB the powerplay ala the Preds and Pens pal… just like the Tan Man you are two steps behind mate, yesterdays news… get over it!

  • defenceman factory

    If anyone is interested in reading a fair and balanced article on Sutter by someone who actually understands hockey go back and read Jeff Veillette’s article from May 12.

  • DJ_44

    Brendan Gauce: “The next wave of core players” “His best hockey is still ahead of him” ….. excellent observation @petbugs….. so, you are predicting a rising limb on the graph in Gaunce’s case. Mind you, with zero goals, is there another trend that is possible?

  • TheRealRusty

    Haha. Someone sure woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning…
    As with Sutter, the issue is that he is a 3rd line center being paid like a 2nd liner. One can make the argument that any replacement 3rd line center in from UFA would cost us just as much. My only concern is the cost to acquire such a replacement level player (Bonino and picks) and whether we could have drafted younger player with those assets we surrendered; while at the same time gotten our 3rd line center in free agency.

  • Killer Marmot

    To claim someone with 17 goals and 17 assists “is barely playing at a fourth-line level” is patently absurd, particularly when Sutter was Desjardin’s go-to man for defensive-zone faceoffs.

      • Killer Marmot

        Who was the Canucks principle “defensive centre” in situations like penalty killing and defensive-zone faceoffs.

        What is that so hard for people to figure out?

        • Dirk22

          Was actually pretty much a wash with he and Bo for PK time. D-zone face offs I’ll give you that but that doesn’t take away fro all the offensive opportunities he was given. The guy was a first unit PP fixture the entire season and spent half the time playing with the Sedins at 5 v 5.

          • defenceman factory

            You are right. That happened. The coach who did it got fired.

            Sutter is not a top six centre. The trade was Benning’s worst.

            Gaunce doesn’t make the line-up on most NHL teams. Vegas will have their choice of fourth line forwards, in the expansion draft, free agency, trades and waivers.

          • kablebike

            Do you watch the games Dirk? This team is bereft of elite talent and Sutter was all they had to play those minutes against more talented teams. Next year might be different.

        • Dirk22

          Why would you include defencemen? He was 2nd in total ice time for forwards- only 33 played more. 3rd in PP time behind 22 and 33. Playing a lot of PK doesn’t take that away!

  • Puck Viking

    Leave Sutter exposed in hopes we can get out from that terrible contract. With all the PP time gifted to him even Gaunce could score. Its not about being better now, its about setting yourself u for the future and we already Ericksons terrible deal on the books for the next 5 seasons.

    In no way would Vegas take Sutter anyway, they would take Sbisa as they could move him at the deadline for scraps. Gaunce at least has the chance to be a 3rd liner, which is all Sutter is on a good day.

  • Dirk22

    Gaunce produced at a good rate as a 21 year old in Utica. Hasn’t really shown much at NHL level but also hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. Why would you want to give up on somebody who could potentially be part of a group that grows into something competitive. Maybe he develops into a good 3rd line centre or winger? It’s not like it’s going to break the rebuild to lose him but it’s just another example of poor asset management.

    • DJ_44

      Poor asset management? You must not understand what that term means. ZERO goals.
      Your version of asset management is akin to lottery ticket based retirement planning ….. waaaaay “higher ceiling”.
      Weren’t you up in arms about Corrado as well?

      • Dirk22

        Again the guy produced in the AHL so there is a possibility he could turn into something worth keeping around. There is zero possibility Sutter’s going to be around when this team gets competitive again…..but I’m sure we’ll hear all about how you need guys like that around because he’s teaching the youngsters how to win!

        p.s. Who needs Corrado when you have Benning’s boys manning the blue line! No way he would have gotten any playing time with Guddy, Sbisa, Larson and Biega ripping it up like they did!!

  • canuckfan

    Sutter should be protected winning face offs is something that we cannot give away if he were still with Pittsburgh he would have had a cup. If the rade was not made Canucks would have been worse, Penguins didn’t get better after the trade we did. Pen’s got better after the trade with Leafs now they have scoring threats from almost every line Bonino was not doing anything in Vancouver and would be washed up and done if the trade was not made.

  • Pat Quinn Way

    Keep up windowlickers… hearing that Brendan Gaunce is one of the UNprotected players on our list… no surprise that Benning is covering his own fat a*s first again – on the bright side, another nail in Jimbo’s canuck coffin here guys! 😉

    • Killer Marmot

      I have nothing against Gaunce, but protecting a centre who got 17 goals and 17 assists over one who got no goals and 5 assists does not seem wildly irresponsible. In fact, by doing it that way, Benning can likely keep both.

  • Jamie E

    A thought…Maybe Bo Horvat is blossoming offensively because there is someone else on the team (I think his name is Sutter) who does most of the heavy lifting in the defensive zone leaving Horvat free to be deployed more often in the offensive zone. Two years ago, when Sutter was injured, Horvat got massacred in his own zone and his offensive game suffered and stalled. Last year – and this must just be some odd coincidence – with Sutter healthy, Horvat’s offensive game improved. It’s almost like these two things are weirdly linked with one another.

    • Dirty30

      And two years ago Bo had two years less experience as a rookie. Sutter had little to nothing to do with that. It’s gotten rather pathetic when we can no longer argue about who is the Canucks best player but who is their worst.

  • Freud

    The simple minded arguments, like faceoffs or goals, justifying Sutter is astounding. The most astounding is the argument his role or line mates limited his effectiveness. Let’s look at exactly what Benning said in the link in this piece.

    “You win with players like Brandon Sutter. I’m not comparing him to Patrice Bergeron, but when I was in Boston, Bergeron was a great two-way player for us. Look at Jonathan Toews (in Chicago). That’s how you win in the playoffs. When we look at Brandon Sutter and all the things he brings, he’s going to be in our next wave of core players. I believe his best hockey is still ahead of him.”- Jim Benning.

    Benning thinks Sutter should be able to handle any role and make any line mates better. That’s exactly what Bergeron and Toews do. So, there are no excuses for Sutter, he’s Vancouver’s Bergeron, right.

    Or, Benning’s evaluation of Sutter shows incompetence at an alarming degree.

    Which is it, fanboys?

    Either Sutter sucks or Benning’s an idiot. There are no other options.

  • Missing Lou

    I find it hard to tell how good/bad Sutter really is. I agree Vancouver gave up too much to pick him up and I was a Bonino fan while he was in Van (good for him to pick up a couple cups). If Willie played him where he belonged (not first line ice time) he stats might be more favorable. I read that face offs aren’t important bla bla bla. Watch the Stanley Cup play offs and look at how important the face offs are. Sutter had some good shots last season that hit the post too many times… if those went in his goals for would be decent. If he stays, I hope Green plays him where he is supposed to play. I still say good bye Sbisa good luck in Vegas.

  • LTFan

    I looked at this article last night and there were 57 replies. Today it is up to 63 but the last reply on this page hasn’t changed. So where is page 2 on the Comments?

    • Locust

      a few of the trolls joined this story late and have replied to comments above….don’t bother reading though, both those idiots are just posting crap and hoping someone responds. What a life…..

  • The Canuck's Curse

    Been reading for a while. Joined today

    This is my first post. Glad to be on board.

    I’ll say, let’s see what a new coach can do. The last two years of Willie was an even better shut down system for players than Sutter was for the Sedins. The vets clearly tuned him out. I’ll give Sutter the benefit of the doubt until Christmas