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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: September 18

We need to be careful to avoid getting carried away when discussing Jake Virtanen’s hot start to the Canucks’ pre-season. There have been good moments, sure. I thought his goal on Saturday, while a touch flukey, was a good display of awareness. His board battles, defensive reads and speed are noticeably better. I’ve really like Virtanen’s work on the forecheck, too.

I still see a lot of the same problems in Virtanen’s game that I think are going to limit his offensive upside, though. The majority, if not all, of Virtanen’s shots are from the perimeter. He’s not making himself an option to his linemates on the attack.

What I’ve seen from Virtanen is encouraging. He looks like he’s back on track to being an NHL player. How good of an NHL player? Well, right now I’m seeing someone who could be a capable third-liner at some point.

I honestly have no idea how the Canucks could keep Brock Boeser off the opening night roster at this point. It’s entirely possible he’s their best goal scorer as early as this season, if he’s there. I like that Boeser’s improved his skating, if only slightly, over the summer. I spoke to him about that after Sunday’s game.

Do I like the Vegas Golden Knights white gloves? I love them. I own a pair of snakeskin Eagle mitts myself, so I’m all for gimmicky hockey equipment.

The Golden Knights young guys looked pretty solid. Tyler Wong had himself a hell of a night. Cody Glass, taken sixth-overall, right after the Canucks selected Elias Pettersson, had some great reads in the offensive zone. They have some damn good prospects.

If it ever comes to that point, I’d imagine there would be a mutual agreement between the two sides to go their separate ways.

I think Nikolay Goldobin becoming a top line producer in the 60 point range is possible; I don’t think it’s terribly likely, though. Goldobin is probably going to settle into the 35-45 point range over the course of his career, and I’ll leave open the possibility that he can break through a glass ceiling. His creativity with the puck really is something to behold.

As for Goldobin’s pre-season, I liked his work Saturday far better than on Sunday.

The players will probably adjust to the new officiating by about December. That combined with the likelihood that the refs will lighten up on things by the midway mark of the season will probably mean the new standard won’t hold up over time. I certainly hope that’s the case. This hockey is downright unwatchable right now as it’s currently called.

Anton Rodin was one of the few bright spots for me yesterday. I liked the three or so turnovers he forced in the second period. Rodin should’ve had a goal, too, but a way-too-early whistle took that away from him. The next time he had a prime chance to score, he made an ill-advised pass that went the other way. I bet Rodin takes the shot if that early whistle doesn’t steal a goal from him. Let’s hope his confidence is back the next time he makes a couple of good plays to take the puck away in space.

I haven’t been a fan of Philip Holm’s game. A couple of big giveaways in the defensive zone have led to goals. Perhaps it’s a byproduct of adjusting to the North American game, but there isn’t anywhere near enough urgency in his game. The puck is like a grenade on his stick. Holm isn’t a write-off, but he’s got a long way to go before he’s playing in the NHL.

Boeser is better than Wayne Gretzky, yes.

It wouldn’t surprise me.

No.

The Canucks have many needs throughout their lineup. They’re not a team that can really prioritize based on position at the draft. That said, there’s going to be a tonne of great, offensive, puck-moving defenceman early in this year’s class, so it just might happen organically.

If Derek Dorsett isn’t one of the Canucks best 12 or 13 forwards, which is possible if not likely, then yeah, I’d put him on waivers for the purpose of reassignment.

I don’t have a damn clue. At first, I thought it was all the weight Olli Juolevi put on in the offseason that was causing him troubles. He couldn’t move laterally in Penticton, and frankly, he can’t in Vancouver either. There have been a couple brutal mental errors too though so I’m less sure than ever of what’s wrong with his game. All I can say is that something isn’t quite right.

No.

Assuming I’m reading this correctly, I’d prefer Clayton Keller and Timothy Liljegren of the available options.

Honestly, I’ve answered this question like four or five times this year. I’m really sorry, but I’m just not feeling it anymore. I’d recommend going through any of the Monday Mailbags I’ve done this summer. There’s like a one-in-three chance you’ll find an answer to this one no matter which Mailbag article you stumble on.

No, on both fronts.

Because he’s a defenceman who’s played defence his entire life. There’s almost no reason to think he’d be good at forward other than “he scores points”.

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is taking his team back. He’s trying out a bold new strategy, getting rid of almost all their good players. Let’s see how this works out.

Well, Erik Brannstrom didn’t play. So I thought he looked better than most of the Canucks blue line. Nick Suzuki was quietly effective. He had a couple good plays in the offensive zone.

Rasmus Dahlin.

Virtanen is definitely in better shape. I think there are lessons that Virtanen should be able to take from last season. Hopefully, in a few months, it will be obvious that he’s cleared those hurdles and he’s better off for it.

Yes.

The Toronto Maple Leafs.

Markus Granlund

    • DJ_44

      Hmm. I am not so sure I agree with that Toronto is ‘better-constructed’. They were and are constructed differently, but I give Edmonton the edge in defense and goal to be honest. They also have a superior 1-2 C punch (as you noted), but fall short in winger quality. Interesting arguments.

  • Beefus

    I agree that Virtanen is skating well and his compete level is high. I still wonder about his hockey sense though. He often looks confused in his own end and on more than one occasion completely left his position to join three teammates in the corner. Hopefully the coaches can correct this tendency in Jake.

    • canuckfan

      Just way too many wrist injuries players who can’t check became lazy and slashed instead this was something that just increased overtime.
      If Canucks are going to slash (take a lazy penalty) they will be slaughtered every night. The penalties they took on Sunday killed any opportunity to being able to stick to a game plan.
      Bump the other player or use your stick wisely not to slash but to check. Refs were lazy before and mainly looked at whether or not the stick broke. I agree need to keep calling and should not be tolerated.

      • DJ_44

        I agree. It is worth noting that it was reported the canucks had yet to have the rules interpretation meeting with league officials… It looked like LA and Vegas did not either.

        That said, there were allot of new slashes that were not called in the toronto Ottawa game yesterday that were called (on both teams) in the two Canucks games. Consistency would be nice..
        Although they do not want to penalized the leafs when they were down by 3… Or 4 .. Or 5

  • Rodeobill

    I agree with what you say about Holm, I think Pedan, McEneny, Chatfield, even Biega outplay him, and we have a better high risk/high reward defenseman in Subban already. I don’t understand the brisebois hype either. I also agree with what you said about Rodin. He doesn’t stand out like Boeser, but last night whenever a decent play was happening he seemed to show up. My hunch is if his knee holds up and he gets some of his game back the canucks will be leaning on him this year for his 2 way abilities.

  • DJ_44

    So you are not a fan of Holm, but yet he has the advanced stats that you do back flip over (or at least you use to promote or slag players that fit your eye or do not).

    He had some give aways, but to suggest the puck is a grenade on his stick is a bit rich. A minor amount of time to adjust is expect, and I am okay with a few games in the AHL for this to occur. The reality is he is highly mobile defenseman that also knows how to hit, can make a first pass and shot the puck from the point. To compare him to Pedan is laughable.

    I would also put him ahead of McEnemy at this point (and I like McEnemy).

  • TD

    After the LA game, some commentators (ex players) were talking about how good Boeser was, but also what he needed to develop on to be even better. Boeser has looked great and may be the Canucks best scorer this year. I would, however, send him to Utica if that is the best place for him to reach his long term potential. The NHL is not a development league. I think Boeser will stay and he has shown he is better than many other NHL players, but while he is a good story for this year and will make watching more entertaining, the Canucks should be looking at the long term with Boeser. Put him where ever his long term development will be occur. He will stay because of the PR nightmare that would occur if they sent him down, and I hope that is for the best. My concern is that it might not be the best place, especially considering where the Canucks will finish.

    • Bud Poile

      If BB continues to score at this pace during the 9 game trial period it’s going to be a tough decision.
      Brock has skating issues but that won’t be remedied in Utica.
      The Canucks haven’t had a sniper like Brock and they could use the help.