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Photo Credit: Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights Select Luca Sbisa from Vancouver Canucks in Expansion Draft

After months of waiting, the Vancouver Canucks found out which of their players they’d lose to the league’s newest expansion franchise. The Vegas Golden Knights selected Luca Sbisa with their second pick in the Expansion Draft during the NHL Awards Show.

Sbisa, 27-years-old, originally joined the Canucks as a key piece in the Ryan Kesler trade. In three seasons with the Canucks, Sbisa never quite lived up to his billing as a potential top four defenceman. Sbisa’s turnovers made him the brunt of fan anger and his nickname as the ‘pizza man’. In 199 games with the Canucks, Sbisa scored 32 points (seven goals and 25 assists).

It almost goes without saying that the Canucks front office feels this loss more than their fans. Whether fans, writers or analysts felt Sbisa was playing well or not, it never seemed to matter. No Canuck played more at five-on-five last season than Sbisa and his 1334:02.

The Golden Knights will take on the final year of Sbisa’s contract and the $3.6-million cap charge attached to it. According to Ryan Biech, that leaves the Canucks with $19.5-million in space.

  • I am Ted

    Luca is a solid #5 or #6 D man and could still improve. He had his warts but the real killer for fans was the contract amount. It wasn’t a gross overpayment by any stretch but I could never understand how Sbisa’s camp managed to get a wage increase after an atrocious season. Anyway, I didn’t dislike him as much as most but I am glad he is gone.

  • I thought Sbisa had a pretty good season last year, sorry to see him go.

    Usually I pass on award shows, but this one is a must watch. The NHL has no shame for making me sit through this, but it’s actually pretty good.

    Our defense is taking a serious hit. Sbisa, Tryamkin, Larsen, Olsen, and Neill are no longer part of our organization. Jim Benning better draft some Dmen. Forget about trading Tanev, which I thought was a bad idea anyway. We need all hands on deck. Perhaps Pedan gets an opportunity.

    And here is Torts winning coach of the year. Good for Torts to turn things around in Columbus.

    • Killer Marmot

      Yeah, the D is suddenly looking understaffed.

      Juolevi, Pedan, McEneny, and Subban will all be licking their chops to fill out the roster come next fall.

    • Thriller

      Lets be real here.

      Neill – Did he even play an NHL game?
      Olsen – Did he even play an NHL game?
      Larsen – We took a chance on a guy who was cut from the Oilers (while they have an amazing Forward lineup, their d was not great and to get a guy that couldn’t even make it there… well that’s something).
      Tryamkin – Top 4 potential loss (for now).
      Sbisa – #5/#6 D-man

      Most of your losses are from players that wouldn’t make a significant impact. If we sign one UFA or let Pedan / Juolevi /McEneny or god forbid Subban fight for a job, this makes this “serious hit” meaningless.

  • Carl Jung

    Vegas wouldn’t have selected Sbisa if he didn’t have positive value.

    Stick tap to Dale Tallon for using CA Alumni’s best move (Marchessault) to address their worst move (Smith extension).

    • Erik Lonnrot

      Sbisa has some value. I think he’s improved over the years from a replacement level at best player to a legitimate third pairing D (although probably not on a top team.)
      That being said they made some selections just to help them reach the cap floor so we shouldn’t rule Sbisa’s bad contract out as a contributing factor.

  • TheRealPB

    I have nothing against Sbisa; he seems like a pretty decent guy. But this is a really good outcome for us. Gaunce may not be more than a bottom six guy but he’s a hard worker and I’d rather have an appropriately paid bottom-six forward than an overpaid bottom-pairing d-man. For me Sbisa just never panned out. He just never showed good decision-making in terms of the transition game or simply getting it out of his own zone and the only times he did was when he had limited and sheltered minutes on the third pairing — certainly not worth $3.6 million a year. More importantly I feel like he blocked the path of prospects like Pedan who I really hope will get more of a chance now. For all the talk of his toughness, Sbisa was way too easy to play against; there were so many times I saw rebound goals scored with him not clearing the crease and even more often a forward cruising through the front of the net and tipping in a point shot.

    The concern about our d taking a ‘serious’ hit is overblown. Larsen was a washout and hopefully Holm is a better option. Olson and Neill seemingly got bypassed not only by other drafted prospects but by Hatfield and McEneny over the last year. I’d be surprised if we didn’t add at least one serious D prospect in this draft. Losing Tryamkin hurts that prospect list on D; losing Sbisa is losing a semi-serviceable depth defensemen who is relatively easily replaced.

    • Rodeobill

      I wonder if JB will take a long look at UFAs this year to plug some gaps. Might even pick up someone better for cheaper? Maybe some trade deadline flips? I expect there to articles forthcoming on this speculation CA!

  • Killer Marmot

    Hats off to Benning. Trading Burrows and Hansen for players ineligible for the draft meant that the Canucks had little to lose from the expansion draft.

  • Carl Jung

    Even with Vey flaming out, the Garrison trade looks like a stellar contract dump at this point.

    And Bieksa forced the Ducks to give up Theodore – maybe the most valuable asset lost today.

    Good times.

  • DJ_44

    And in other news, the Flames “lost” pending UFA Derek Englland. I guess that was a throw-away pick they were talking about. Where’s that upside Shinkaruk was suppose to have? Waiver wire come October….and we will rightly pass.

    • TheRealPB

      That’s a good question. I would easily rank Garrison, Miller, Methot, Merrill, Schlemko, Schmidt, and Emelin above Sbisa. I’d also say that McNabb, van Riemsdyk and Theodore and Reinhart are all on the rise. I’d actually put Sbisa ahead of only Stoner and Engelland — that to me was the most perplexing pick as I definitely thought they could have either picked better talent off of the Flames or gotten a bit of a ransom off of them. Not only are LVGK better on the back end than a good 6-7 teams in the league right now, overall they are icing a better roster than the bottom third of teams did last year. I know everyone’s expecting them to flip players for even more pics but if they go with this group I think they have a really good shot at being quite competitive.

  • I would say Sbisa was a great teammate that wouldn’t hesitate to drop the gloves to stick up for his team but he was a terrible hockey player. He simply could not process the game mentally which meant he was out of position and unable to anticipate and neutralize opposition plays.

    Despite the other defensive losses such as Larsen, Neill, Olsen, and Tryamkin, at the end of the day, our Top 5 is still preserved (i.e. Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Stecher, Gudbranson) and we have Holm, Pedan, Biega, and possibly Juolevi, McEneny or Subban ready to take up the #6 and #7 spots. Maybe we can score a decent UFA at a reasonable cost such as Franson or Daley. We’re still on course and I’m looking forward to seeing which defenceman Benning takes at #5, #33 or #55, if any, on Friday.

    • kablebike

      I disagree that Sbisa was a “terrible” hockey player but I suppose the term is relative and what you mean by it. Is he “terrible” compared to Doughty, Karlsson, Burns, Hedman, etc.? Certainly. Is he worse than 20% of the other NHL regular defencemen? Probably not.

      • By terrible I mean that when I watch him, I get a deep sense of dread that is fulfilled when the opposition scores and Sbisa is either out of position or flopping on the ice. When it’s the dying minutes of a close game and Desjardins puts him on the ice and the opposition scores. He is as bad as Bartkowski but slightly bigger and more physical.

      • Freud

        Of the 180 d-men who played 2000 even strength minutes over the past 3 seasons, Sbisa was 169th in puck possession. He is worse than 94% of regular defence man. Sbisa played the most shorthanded minutes of any d-man on Vancouver last season. The PK was 29th in the league.

  • Freud

    My favourite part of the awards show was watching Vancouver become the laughing stock of the league when the little kid mentioned he was a Canucks fan. Good times.

    • Bud Poile

      Luka ranked second over all team mates in hits and third in blocked shots-second amongst Nucks d-men.
      When announcing the selection Vegas mentioned both stats.

      • Pat Quinn Way

        Good riddance – A nothing player who cost us RYAN KESLER, Sbisa will add no influence whatsoever to any team competing for a Stanley Cup.

        “I’d suggest you’re not really a fan. Content with a sh*tty product that is going nowhere. (Only) a troll would come here and try and tell this fanbase that everything is alright.” – Freud

        Bud Poile, pheenster, I Am Ted, apr, LTFan, crofton, Jamie E, bobdaley44, Locust, RoCkFaThEr, Cageyvet ALL the same poster. Get a life!

        Go away fool – you’ve been rumbled!

        • crofton

          Your posts under that user name do a huge disservice to the memory of Pat Quinn, but don’t ever take off your tin foil hat, you’re already deluded. Case in point…..Sbisa did NOT cost us Kesler….KESLER cost us Kesler. Actually your last post made me think you’re Donald Trump. Sad.

      • Freud

        Aquaman should be thanking the city for tolerating this mess.

        Guys who never have the puck usually have high hits and blocked shot numbers. That was covered in kindergarten along with the alphabet.

  • Forward Thinker

    I do not think that Sbisa going to Vegas is a big deal. There are at least four AHL defenders ready to compete for the third pairing. For me, the biggest question is how Gudbrandson will play this year. I think at least two are ready for the bigs and the top four, Stetcher, Hutton, Tanev and Edler are going to be better this year than last. If they cut back a bit on Edlers ice, I think he will show better. Play three defensive pairings fairly equal with the seventh D rotating into the third pairing. Defence by committee.