Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: July 17th – Part Deux

I had to reach out to resident Collective Bargaining Agreement expert, Ryan Biech, to tackle this one. It’s his understanding that the team cannot buy out a standard player contract, but that they have that option for amateur or professional tryouts. I’m inclined to believe Biech on this matter because the CBA is kind of his thing.

If the Canucks have another season like last year, I’ll be surprised if Canucks general manager Jim Benning has a job by its completion. That’s a hard sell to the fans.

Assuming Adam Gaudette continues on his excellent post-draft trajectory, I think the Canucks can expect a player who can play in all phases of the game and in their middle-six at evens. I wouldn’t describe him as someone with more upside than Bo Horvat, but that’s more a credit to Horvat than a knock on Gaudette. I could see Gaudette replacing Brandon Sutter.

I think it’s more likely that Erik Gudbranson’s camp is making some demands that are out of line with the Canucks’ budget for the player than anything else. I’m sure the Canucks feel let down by Gudbranson’s short debut as a Canuck, but if they could sign him to a contract that they deemed reasonable, I’m sure they would have by now.

I don’t think there’s any coach that rolls his lines to quite the extent former Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins did in his time as a Canuck if that’s what you’re striking at with your question. As for Canucks head coach Travis Green, I’d defer to one of Jeremy Davis or Biech on this one. I just don’t watch the Utica Comets enough to speak with much authority on this question.

In general, I think Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is lashing out against some of the “analytics moves” made last off-season. That combined with a need to cut salary has made for a peculiar offseason in Sunrise if there ever was one. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Panthers next season, and how the rest of the league interprets their success or failure. Somehow I think the “analytics guys” end up in the media’s crosshairs regardless of the outcome. Won’t that be fun?

I’m not going to take the time to look into this (sorry), but I don’t think the Canucks number of “unproven” forwards with one way deals anything out of the ordinary. Consider for a moment that Vancouver had Brandon Prust and Chris Higgins playing out half a season with the Utica Comets while making $2.5-million each, and the contracts of those three won’t seem an issue at all.

His best option for the foreseeable future regardless of any other circumstances is to move Chris Tanev. The most realistic outcome is that the Canucks move Ben Hutton, given his handedness and the team’s language about the young, charismatic defender. That’s especially true if Olli Juolevi makes the team in October, and I wouldn’t rule that out.

I can’t run that exercise because I don’t have full access to the database and don’t feel inclined to pester Jeremy Davis for this information. At a glance, Brandon Sutter’s production doesn’t align with how highly the Carolina Hurricanes drafted him. I would expect his pGPS relative to the expected pGPS of an 11th overall pick are a little out of place.

It would be far better for the Canucks if they had a fourth line that was all about speed and secondary scoring, just as a rule. I don’t think you’ll see either of Sam Gagner or Nikolay Goldobin on it (for different reasons) but I like the idea.

Considering Juolevi plays the opposite side of defence as Tanev, I don’t see a connection between the two. With or without Juolevi in the lineup next fall, I don’t see the Canucks trading Tanev.

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  • MoeLemay

    We are rebuilding….
    Linden and Benning deseve three more years regardless of how this years ends….
    We will then have a better understanding of how his drafting is turning out….
    I have a suspicion his drafting is going to look good….

      • Bud Poile

        Agreed,yet nobody cared to mention that Gillis had six years to gut the franchise.
        The bum is probably still on the payroll.
        ‘Build through the draft’ is what has to happen.
        Benning has had two losing years of building.
        Only the very impatient and uneducated expect a gutted franchise to be rebuilt after two losing seasons.
        Excellent NHL draft stats in this graph piece.
        You wll notice Vancouver at the very bottom:

        • Bud Poile

          Drafted players playing

          In this regard, the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators came out on top. Each drafted 37 players who skated at least once in the NHL this season.
          The Maple Leafs — long criticized, perhaps unfairly, as a poor-drafting team — came in eighth in this regard, tied with Carolina, having drafted 30 of this year’s NHLers.
          The worst team? The Vancouver Canucks, who’d drafted 19 of this year’s NHLers.

          This is the Gillis draft record Benning inherited.

        • Dirk22

          “Only the very impatient and uneducated expect a gutted franchise to be rebuilt after two losing seasons” – Bud

          This is your best work yet, Bud. You have to be trolling right? You’ve spent the last couple of years telling us how this team will be competitive in Year 4 and 5 (next year and the year after) of Benning’s plan. It’s the ultimate Trumpism – projecting your screw ups onto other people. Do I need to dig up some of your quotes Bud? Not going to be a good look for you.

          Those of us (correctly) preaching rebuild never expected this team to be competitive now – what was expected was that management would have done everything in its power to build for the future and stop this nonsense of ‘retooling on the fly’ – it took until the 2017 trade deadline (aided by the realities of the expansion draft) for Benning to finally be proactive with acquiring decent young talent. Two great moves. Why has this taken so long? How can you support these moves now but not question why these sorts of moves haven’t been made earlier?

          • KCasey

            Dude what do you mean taken so long to trade veterans. Year 1 they had a legitimate year and made playoffs with a respectable record so obviously werent trading that year. Year 2 they started off with the mindset that not a lot had changed and could and arguably should have made the playoffs. Didnt pan out that way and they tried to trade Vrabata to no takers and Hamhuis to a team that pulled out last second. That was the lesson learned moment. Following year he gets it done in a rather respectable way in terms of quality back and players lost. Sounds like your just a doom and gloomer with an incredibly near sited point of view. Use your noodle and take into account that this is only the 3rd year. The first 2 were the possible winning years and last year it was the commit to rebuild full force. Just the way the cookie crumbles my friend.

    • El Kabong

      JB’s strength is drafting, if they suck again next season (likely) then he’s the one I want making the picks. I’d like JB in charge for the next two drafts and then see about a new GM with trading skills. Trade Tanev this season, trade Edler next seasons trade dead line.

    • Rodeobill

      I dont know if I am a JB fan, but a plan takes time and changing it halfway through sounds like it could have serious complications. He seems to at least have one now and we should probably see it out a little further.

  • I am Ted

    So, it’s summer and not a lot going on. Not too many articles from CA which is understandable. I guess it was something else keeping them too busy to even mention development camp from a couple weeks ago. Makes sense….wait, what? Good old B. Burke 🙂

  • KCasey

    Im sensing some foot in mouth talking from numerious posters here. Everybody is all they need to tank and draft high. They need to aquire assets and leverage veterans. Than within a season and a half turn to the OMG there losing games and in the bottom of the standings and losing money cause they’re not competive…cant be one foot in one foot out with this boys. Benning inherited one hell of a mess in regards to a prospect pool and an ever so small opportunity to win with the sedins and a peice of the old guard. Played well season one and got bounced in the first round. Tried ot again season 2 and ended up drafting high just like yall wanted anyways. Made an early attempt last year and was staying close tell about half way and than gave you all exactly what you wanted, traded vets and bottomed out. The prospect pool is now in the top 10 of the league or on the cusp of it. All with what you all considered ‘not enough draft picks’ in all the oh so many 3 measily season. Guess what….this team isnt gonna be any better next year, and there gonna tank, just as you have hope wished and prayed for and at the end of it all you want his head to roll. That is some cut throat and ruthless thinking if you ask me. Than they can being in a new GM so you can demand he tank so you can put his head on a pike too. Snap out of it and recognize good things take time and great things will take even longer. 3 seasons is peanuts compared to all the teams that have just recently turned the corner….I wont name names but will say they aquired some once in a lifetime players in drafts that come every 5 to 10 years. Breath. Take a hot bath. Drink a soda pop and stop flapping your chops. Patience my young Padewans.

    • Dirk22

      “All with what you considered ‘not enough draft picks’ in all the oh so many 3 measly seasons” – K Casey

      First of all, Benning has had four drafts to build the prospect pool. When comparing prospect pools with other teams, 4 drafts ago is pretty much the extent – a few but not many ‘prospects’ left from 2013 or earlier – guys like Subban who probably won’t make it at this point. So saying he’s had ‘3 measly seasons’ is a mean nothing comment. He’s had the exact same amount of time as every other GM to build a prospect pool which is about 4 drafts. And if we say he’s put together a borderline top 10 prospect pool that’s encouraging but also should be expected considering the draft positions he’s had. 3 top 6 picks in 4 years. Only Buffalo and Edmonton have had similar opportunities, as far as number of top 10 picks over that time. He’s had, relative to other teams, top-5 drafting position over the 4 drafts – I’d say being a borderline top 10 team as far as prospects is doing a decent but hardly exceptional job.

      Also, youre implying he didn’t need to have more picks over these last 4 drafts? Would you agree everyone is quite excited about the 2017 draft? funny how that works when you have two second rounders. Imagine if he had at least one second rounder in 2016 – a much deeper draft. Use your noodle KC – this management team had wasted a lot of time and assets trying to, and failing at, being ‘competitive.’

      • TheRealPB

        So he’s built what was widely considered in the bottom three of prospect pools when he took over into a borderline top-10 — wouldn’t you say that’s evidence of success? Going by your own logic that would suggest that we have been rebuilding since 2014, not 2017 as some would argue. I take your point that more draft picks mean more chances and I particularly don’t like the losses associated with Gudbranson; however, he still made what would be considered lower-risk bets in acquiring and flipping draft picks for assets that seemed like good options (Garrison-2nd-Vey, Bieksa-2nd-Pedan+Lockwood, Gudbranson-McCann+Ang+Mascherin). I think i”d have a bigger problem with trading out prospects and picks for veterans, but he’s instead used the Aquilinis money to acquire those (Eriksson, Miller, the signings this year).

        I think overall there continues to be a perception problem — it’s not that the route was NOT to rebuild, it’s that they thought they could rebuild by adding some young players with SOME realized potential to surround the Sedins while slowly whittling away at a ossified core that you couldn’t simply wish away because of all the NMC/NTCs. They accomplished the latter — the old guard with the lumbering boat anchor contracts are gone — but they failed in large part because the players in their early to mid-20s were simply not that good (Sutter, Sbisa, Gudbranson, Vey, Etem, etc). I think Benning will be given 1-2 more years to see what he can do. If under a new coach and (presumably) a new system, Horvat, Baertschi, Markstrom, Boeser, Juolevi and Virtanen don’t show marked improvement in the next two years then yes it would be a management change. None of this suggests the Canucks will be any good in the next two years, but if the point totals for some of those young players and their skills advance I think that’s the main benchmark for accomplishment for the management team.

        • Dirk22

          PB – first of all, find us some evidence that the Canucks we’re widely considered a bottom 3 prospect team when Benning inherited them. Let’s not start with the hyperboles. A quick internet search will show you that Promman of ESPN had them ranked 20th and Hockey Futures had them ranked 24th. Can’t find anything that puts them at 28th or below. An improvement to a borderline top 10 team is definite progress but you’d have to admit that with the draft positions they’ve had that should be an automatic. You don’t finish as low as they have for 3 of the last 4 years without some tap ins to build a very strong prospect pool. I will continue my assertion that too much time and too many assets were wasted by these guys in their playoff pipe dreams. Why did it take 3 full seasons to realize what every other pundit in the NHL media could see back in 2014.

          • Bud Poile

            Note the “worst ranking” below:
            Gillis’ staff whiffed on a large percentage of the picks that they did keep, especially in the early going. At the time of his termination, no team had fewer draft picks that had reached the 50 NHL game plateau…
            Note the particularly dark redness of many of Vancouver’s columns – they rank worst in terms of number of 10-game, 25-game, and 200-game players, and are down near the bottom in every other category.
            In terms of Mike Gillis’ record, though, he went in the complete opposite direction. Not only did he not compile that many draft picks, he made poor selections with the ones he had.
            Mike Gillis bears responsibility in both letting Delorme run the show for as long as he did, as well as in failing to recoup the draft picks he traded away while chasing a championship.
            But the man flat out could not draft hockey players. Or at least, the group he created and managed couldn’t.
            Jeremy Davis

          • Bud Poile

            Note the worst team ranking yet again :

            Drafted players playing

            In this regard, the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators came out on top. Each drafted 37 players who skated at least once in the NHL this season.
            The Maple Leafs — long criticized, perhaps unfairly, as a poor-drafting team — came in eighth in this regard, tied with Carolina, having drafted 30 of this year’s NHLers.
            The worst team? The Vancouver Canucks, who’d drafted 19 of this year’s NHLers.

          • TheRealPB

            You’re right, I meant to say bottom third, not bottom 3. That’s a big difference and that’s my mistake. And yes, with the finishes they’ve had, they SHOULD have a much better prospect pool by now — and the do. Would they be better off with Rasmus Anderson than Baertschi? Maybe. Filip Gustavsson rather than Lockwood? Again, maybe. Ang, Mascherin and McCann rather than Gudbranson. Definitely. But I still think you and i fundamentally disagree — I don’t think they chased a playoff pipe dream. I think they said all of those things to cover themselves as best as they could with an ownership group that did in fact have those pipe dreams.

            Taking a gamble on young players for prospects in my view doesn’t mean abandoning a rebuild. Signing veterans on mid-long-term deals when it won’t impact your ability to resign your young prospects isn’t either. Dealing picks and prospects for veterans or getting them off the waiver wire is. If we had been picking up Stoll or trading for Hanzal or Weber or someone like that I would agree that there was no sense of a rebuild in 2014. If you were facing a team that had an aging roster full of no move clauses and a fairly sparse (at best) prospect cupboard, how exactly are you going to “blow it up” when you don’t actually hold the hammer to do so? Kesler was leaving town on his own accord but it takes a while to turn over guys like Higgins, Garrison, Bieksa, Booth, Burrows, etc, all of whom held the power in that respect. I just don’t know what people expected the Canucks to be able to do. All that talk about retool, rebuild, whatever — what do you expect an incoming regime to publicly say? Maybe it’s better to have called it a makeover but that’s exactly what happened and in fairly short order.

          • TheRealPB

            Dirk, I completely agree with you about Vrbata and Hamhuis. I think he badly mismanaged both of those situations. Vrbata should have been put into a position to succeed (and yes it’s on him that he sulked while doing babysitting duty for Horvat and Baertschi and his time in Arizona showed that he again wasn’t inclined to getting flipped for picks last year) and the Hamhuis situation was totally ham-fisted. On the bright side I think JB learned from those mistakes and did a much better and more careful job of dealing with vets in trading Burrows and Hansen this year — not just in the return but in the way in which they were handled professionally. I think that signing vets and flipping them for picks works only if you have a way of actually increasing their value — Gagner and Del Zotto might be those guys, but realistically only if they get enough ice time to pad their stats. That has an impact on available development time for the youngsters so it’s a bit of a Catch-22.

          • RoCkFaThEr

            Dan hamhuis shot himself in the foot when he said he would be willing to be traded and consider coming back when his contract was up. No GM and their right mind is going to give up assets for a player that he cannot retain. Just my opinion

        • Bud Poile

          Gillis had the worst drafting record in the entire league.
          He left the team with next to nothing except Hutton and Horvat – whom he forfeited an NHL starter to get.
          No fture,no development.
          The best core Canucks team in team history all untradeable,ageing vets.
          Management was changed.
          The team now has a top-ten prospect pool after 1.5 down years.
          Instant Gratification Inc. posters.

          • Dirk22

            Bud – I’m trying to have a reasonable conversation with someone who can actually articulate themselves beyond choppy 4 word sentences peddling Benning propaganda. Go find another conversation – or better yet, go apologize for your original post on this thread where you’ve clearly contradicted your entire presence on these boards.

            Anyways, PB – it is a tough job turning over the roster with no-trades but it’s don’t every year by numerous teams. St least those no-trades served a purpose by getting guys signed for below market value – unlike Eriksson and Sutters deals. It’s not easy but it shouldn’t be. This guy is paid millions of dollars – figure out a way to acquire more picks, more prospects. Sign some guys and then flip them. Figure out how to trade Hamhuis. Trade Vrbata when he actually had value. I could go on and on. This guy is hired to build a Stanley Cup contender – not merely a team that can compete for the playoffs. If that’s not the case then there’s your problem.

          • Bud

            Exactly. This jerkoff is jumpin on evry thread with the same parroting bs. No one wants to hear it and the fukin mods just let him ruin decent conversations while he takes the p*ss out of decent posters. Time to google some other Canucks boards, this one is a goner thanks to this drunken idiot who obviously has no life.

    • Lol. 3 out of the last 4 drafts, we’ve had a Top 6 pick. Future’s looking shaky with Virtanen but Pettersson, Boeser and Juolevi seem to be a solid core with paired with Demko, Horvat and Stecher. How much can we afford to spend on a core when they’ve finished their ELC? *** But we need to tank more!!! ***


    B*llocks. Canucks won’t win in the Pacific with their collection of mentally and physically weak smurfs, there is not enough size or grit on this team. Bring in Daryl Sutter and Dean Lombardi, two hard-asses who know how to win cups and slap the opposition around.

    • Braindead Benning

      Yo Kearns,

      WTF were you “sniffin” “guzzlin” or ” smokin” your ramblings actually make more sense then when “Bud” is Complety high off the JB jock vapours

  • Braindead Benning

    I think no matter what spin, argument or what has been done NOW or in the PAST this team will be probably finishing 23-30 which is quite sad considering they really do not have any TOP end prospects given the picks high picks presented.

    All the wasted 2nds given away in trades and trying to compete has set this process back by at least 2 years…

    Just because JB traded 2 respected and contributing NHL players for a couple of prospects can’t mask the illusion of his inability to see a proper direction and follow through.

    Total incompetence.

    • Bud Poile

      What a load of drama doo-doo.
      He got a second for Garrison to acquire Vey.Fair gamble.
      Baertschi for a second is a landslide victor.
      The second and third excanged in the Sutter trade were only a few picks difference on trade day (high second-low 3rd).
      The Gudbranson second was a solid investment.Guddy brings back a second at the TDL.
      So unless you’re referrng to the Vey trade any incomptence is elf- loathing nd has more to do with you than any trade hurting this club.
      Connaton AND a second for twelve games of Derek Roy or a second and third for Bernier (then trading him for Ballard -along with two first-rounders )is the template for “total incompetence”.
      Then there’s two-fourth rounders for a handful of games of Pahlsson or getting a fourth round pick for the highest scoring d-man on the club.Now that’s asset management.
      Alex Mallet,Rodin and Yann Sauve were the only Gillis second round picks.The other three were traded away.
      Out of six Gillis drafts the only second that made the NHL is Rodin and he was signed as a free agent by Benning!
      Now we’re talking incompetence.

        • Bud Poile

          Don’t let a few facts ruin your glowing man crush for Gillis,PQW.
          Keep those intelligent responses coming.
          Canucks Army staff obviously tolerate and encourage articulate posters such as yourself for the quality of commentary you bring to the site.

  • LTFan

    PQW your continual criticism on the way that the Canucks Management group is managing the team is – tiring. How about some ideas on what you would do if you were GM. Remember other than drafting Junior players – transactions and trades take both sides to make a deal. There are lots of moving parts. Over to you and your suggestions.

  • KCasey

    I hate when people bring up other drafted players as some sort of be all end all stopping point for what the status quo is. Especially when you pin those players not being drafted soley on Benning and neglect that countless other GMs also passed on them in the same token. Maybe being passed on by so many GMs is what lit the fire under these kids to excell and push to become what they are, couldnt say for sure but thoughts to ponder. As to having more draft picks being a positive thing, I totally agree. However my point was regarding how he did more with slightley less. I agree that it would have been better to aquire more picks however you, I or the fairy green goblin have a clue as to what he did or didnt do all these years to aquire more picks. Speculation is ignorence to reality. As to the comment on Benning drafting in the top 6 three out of four years that is a mean nothing comment cause anyone worth a dam knows you have to hit in rounds 2 and beyond to really build a prospect pool. Demko and Gaudette prove that. Not to mention Boeser was take late 1st round and may have some of the best upside of our entire pool. So ya those high picks have the most value but the sum of the draft is greater than its parts ya dig.

  • Canuck4Life20

    “Nylander, Ehlers, Fiala, Larkin, Ritchie, Fabbri, Pastrnak, Tuch, Schmaltz, Tkachuk, Sergachev, McAvoy, Konecny, Glass, Villardi, Foote, Liljegren and Hague were ALL passed over by Benning and all the above have or will play for their teams right from the draft! Unacceptable.”

    I didn’t realize that Segachev played for the Canadiens last season. McAvoy didn’t make an appearance until with the Bruins until after his college season was done last spring. Konecny was drafted in 2015 and played another season in the OHL. Fabbri played another season in the OHL after being drafted in 2014 and so did Nick Ritchie who also spent half the next season in the AHL. Nylander spent a year in the AHL after being drafted and Ehlers played another year in the QMJHL after being drafted. Fiala played in Sweden and the AHL and suited up for a total of one NHL game after being drafted. Tuch spent a full two seasons in college before appearing in 6 whole games this past season. Nick Schmaltz spent two more seasons in college. And none of Glass, Foote, Liljegren or Hague were projected by anyone to play in the NHL next season prior to the draft.

    Out of the 18 players that you claim played for their teams right out of the draft, only 3 actually did and likely will. Facts don’t lie, but you and your multiple accounts certainly do.

  • RoCkFaThEr

    I get it, you love Gillis and so did I.
    But he’s not without his warts, and neither is Benning.
    Gilles was a buyer, Benning is a builder, two different architects.
    But the foundation is the same, it’s the Vancouver Canucks.
    It’s really easy to look in hindsight to say that somebody should have picked this person etc etc… but the picks that we have today are really solid picks!
    But this is what we have, a person trying to fix past mistakes.
    You say you’re a Canucks fan, so get on board sunshine….. these Benning picks just might surprise you one day.
    I can only imagine what you were saying to yourself back in the Mike Keenan days… You know… before we had free blogs.

  • Dirk22

    You have to hit in rounds 2 and above you say – so having one second rounder in three years for a rebuilding team is an utter failure. Dahlen, one of the team’s top prospects was a mid second rounder in 2016. Imagine if they had one or two picks of their own in that round, including the 33rd that they traded.

    Of course I agree that it takes more than those top picks to build a prospect pool but you can’t discount the value of those picks. Take Juolevi and Petterson out of this pool and you’re looking at a pretty mediocre group. As good as Gaudette looks for a 5th rounder would he even register in a top 50 prospect ranking? Top 100? Was he considered for the US juniors last year?