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Photo Credit: NHL.com

Listen: JD Burke Talks Prospects, AHL/NHL Bubble Players, Horvat Contract

Canucks Army Managing Editor JD Burke joined Bro Jake and Jason Botchford on TSN 1040’s morning show to talk about some of the Canucks top prospects, including Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser, and Olli Juolevi.

Burke fielded a wide array of questions about the Canucks’ opening night roster, and the eventual landing points of players like Jake Virtanen, Olli Juolevi, and Brock Boeser. Burke also discusses bubble players like Nikolay Goldobin and Anton Rodin, as well as the impending Bo Horvat contract and what to expect from Loui Eriksson and Markus Granlund next season.

Listen below or follow the source tweet for full details. Enjoy.

JD Burke: Utica best place for Virtanen next year



  • If junior hockey is like high school and the AHL/NCAA is like doing an apprenticeship for a blue-collar trade or a degree for a white-collar profession, I can’t see what’s the big deal about keeping Virtanen in Utica until he’s demonstrated competency (ideally mastery) of his game. A degree or apprenticeship is usually 4 years and Virtanen has the AHL-equivalent of 1 year. The only draft busts here are the armchair GM’s who whine about who the Canucks coulda/woulda/shoulda drafted.

    • Roy

      Why do people on the comments always denigratingly straw-man anyone who critiques the way the club is run, including draft picks? Virtanen hasn’t proven himself worthy of a top ten pick yet and he may never do so. So yeah, he doesn’t look like the best #6 considering who went after him. Those are facts. And analogies, like yours, are specious. The bottom line is, there is justification for concern and critique. Anything else is just pin the tail on the donkey.

      • truthseeker

        So is Michael Dal Colle a bust too? Is Snow the worst general manager ever for taking him?

        Are the Flames and almost every other team after them morons because they didn’t take Pastrnak? After all…he seems to be the guy producing more points than almost anyone else from that draft. And that seems to be your standard right? What they’re doing at the moment with no regard for any other consideration?

        So is every GM who passed on Pastrnak just like Benning in your eyes?

        Is every player who hasn’t produced from that draft year a bust? Or only Jake?

        • ENFORCER

          Yaya – stop your squawking pheensterseeker, you are as mentally and physically weak as Benning’s smurfs. Brock Boeser is his only draft success in four drafts so wake up child and stop being a fk’in crybaby.

        • Dirk22

          I’d say the Dal Colle pick isn’t looking great although its not close to Virtanen. MDC put up 41 pts in the AHL last year which is far more encouraging than Virtanens 19.

          Jake’s not a ‘bust’ – he was just a bad choice at #6. That isn’t hindsight or self loathing as you like to say. It was discussed at length on these boards/this site before the draft why Ehlers or Nylander would have far more upside. It would be like if the Canucks had selected Rasmussen this year over Petersson.

          • Fortitude00

            Ehlers and Nylander were put in situations with far more talent surrounding them it stand to reason their journey will be easier then JV’s.
            I still don’t understand why fans think a guy who turns 21 in a month can be rated at this point.

            Trying to look for comparisons because there are a ton of first rounders who didn’t make it until third year after they were drafted. Bertuzzi whose game isn’t that similar to JV didn’t score his first 20 goal season until 7 years after he was drafted. He didn’t start putting up first line numbers until year 9. Hopefully JV doesn’t take that long to produce but its an example of why you shouldn’t give up on guys and judge them too early. I still believe he was the best pick for the Canucks as they needed to add his type of skill set and it’s very difficult to find later in the draft. Guys like Nylander and Ehlers are found all over draft boards which seems to escape some people’s thoughts.

          • truthseeker

            The hindsight and self loathing come from everything else you say on this site, not just Jake.

            But at least you’ve admitted he’s not a bust. (yet…and I agree he could be) I suppose that’s something.

            What’s hindsight on your part is your refusal to admit nearly everyone in this market was talking about the canucks need to bulk up and get size for the “heavy” division. Sure, you’ll trot out the one or two bloggers who may have recommended undersized wingers as “proof” of Benning’s “mistake”, but those people were in the minority.

            The canucks chose to draft for a need over “upside” in a totally different area where, at the time, the canucks didn’t need as much help.

            And how bout the rest of my questions?

          • Dirk22

            Truthseeker – I’m certain I’ve already had to go through this but here it is again. Hindsight happens often when looking back at drafts. If people were to turn around and say the Canucks should have drafted Karlsson that would be hindsight. If people said the Canucks should have taken Zetterberg that would be hindsight. To say the Canucks should have drafted Pastrnak over McCann would in most cases be hindsight. Ruing the Virtanen pick, however, is not hindsight just because it happened three years ago. I don’t know if you want me to cite a bunch of articles or newspapers to show that Virtanen was certainly not the prospect of choice at the #6 spot. Maybe you spend your afternoon listening to the Moj and Taylor which in that case might lead you to believe that local boy Virtanen was the popular choice. I don’t know what else to tell you.This was a highly scrutinized draft going in due to the high pick which is why so much attention and so much was written about who was a good choice at #6. I’m sure there were some who would have said Virtanen but certainly not me based on all the info I was getting from this site, as well as a bunch of other outlets. As a Canucks fan, Draft day 2014 was the second worst day of the past 7 years.

            As for ‘needing’ a player of Virtanen ‘s ilk because of their division – do you not see the stupidity of that mentality? Drafting an 18 year old for your needs ‘right now’ doesn’t really make sense does it?

          • truthseeker

            It wasn’t just about Virtanen. It was any player with size. Could have been Ritchie. Could have been Draisaitl if he had happen to fall. But what was common was not drafting another undersized winger.

            And really? The canucks shouldn’t draft for need? So they should have taken, say a winger over a center this year? Nonsense. Need for your team absolutely plays a role. So does best player available. It’s not “one or the other”. It’s a balance. A give and take depending on the year.

            And it also wasn’t about “right now”. The canucks had NO size up front either now or in the pipeline. Aside from Jake, they still basically don’t. That one guy they got this year in round 2 or 3 being the exception. So of course you have to consider those things. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think you wouldn’t pay attention to areas of weakness when drafting.

          • But Dal Colle had it easier than Virtanen. Dal Colle wasn’t thrown into the fire and then pulled out in such a high profile manner. The Tigers were also a marginally better team when looking at player stats. Finally, Green intentionally played Virtanen on the third line with Banks and Hamilton, not Top 6, so he could develop better habits. Process (habits) were prioritized over output (points).

  • truthseeker

    Personally I think the overall trend in the NHL is to baby their prospects too much. I mean, I get that it’s a balance and some kids need “development”, but too often I think they miss out on kids who can just come in and adjust quickly because they are those types of kids.

    People are so worried about ruining their confidence, but I think we underestimate the mental fortitude of kids today. They train harder than ever, they have support structures in terms of family and sports psychologists etc. In short, most of them will “get over” a bit of NHL failure if given a shot, and then need to be sent down.

    Look at the NBA. Most of these first round draft picks are coming off one and done college careers so they are pretty much the same age many NHL picks, and they are expected to come in and make an impact quickly. And in the NBA you can’t shelter a kid as much. There is not much “hiding” them with better line mates or on a lower line to play against the opposing team’s lesser players.

    I would like to see the canucks really throw a lot of these kids into the fire early on and see which ones run with it. Be honest with them and build them up to know that if there is a failure it’s not the end of the world. Go work on your game then try again.

    • Ceebs

      Amen brother! Learning from your mistakes and learning how to deal mentally with making mistakes just can’t be taught. You gotta take those training wheels off the bike and let the kid crash and burn a few times before he can ride that bike.

    • Adamemnon

      Having a chance to learn from your mistakes is exactly the point. If you’re playing 5-10 mins a night you’re not getting a chance to do that. If you look at the players on the depth chart ahead of him: Sedin x2, Horvat, Granlund, Baertschi, Eriksson, Sutter, Boeser, Gagner, Jake is not going to crack the top 9 out of camp.

      So, then, the question becomes: top line minutes in the AHL, an excellent league where he can have plenty of chances to make mistakes and learn from them in all facets of the game; or 5-10 minutes a night, where he’ll make a mistake and then stew over it for two days in between games, all while the media and fans pick him apart, until he has another small handful of shifts to try to prove everyone he has learned. I agree, prospects are tough, both mentally and physically, but no one’s tough enough to overcome a vicious cycle like that. He needs playing time, especially the opportunity to play through mistakes, and he will only get that in Utica.

      • truthseeker

        ahead of who? I never mentioned a particular player, let alone Virtanen. My comment was a general observation of the deployment of young players.

        If you would like to talk about Jake then fine, but that’s a different issue. And further, it goes along with what I said. The canucks actually followed my advice with him. They put him in the lineup, gave him his shot and he failed, so now they are building him back up in the minors. Exactly what I said.

        What I want is for guys like Juolevi to get a good look in the NHL before they put him in the minors or Sweden. (Obviously if he just completely fails in camp then of course, he shouldn’t make the team…but I don’t think I really have to qualify that, do I?)

        Some kids can make the jump. Simple as that. But teams seem hesitant, even with a good pre season, to take that chance for fear of “ruining” their confidence. I think that’s wrong.

  • wojohowitz

    You have to factor in the option of IR to start the season. There are three candidates; Gaunce, Dorset and Rodin. It lets them avoid the waiver wire and gives them a look at guys like Virtanen and Goldobin. They will be planning on not losing any players.

  • RoCkFaThEr

    I’m expecting some great things from Granlund this year.
    He just reminds me of a certain Swedish player we used to have who didn’t put up points in his first couple of years either, but had the vision from an offensive-minded coach to put him in certain situations.
    Fingers crossed.