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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: The Boest Man for the Job

For some reason, Borck Boeser has yet to crack the lineup in the first two games of the season. Most fans would like to see him action, but at what cost? Who would you take out of the lineup so Boeser can draw in? Or perhaps you think he should stay in the press box?

Last week I asked: How many points do the Canucks finish with this year? Where do they finish overall? How about in their division. Feel free to get creative with your reasoning.

Killer Marmot:

The Canucks didn’t have a terrible offense to start last year, but there was no depth to it, so when injuries hit, Benning had to inject fringe players to plug the holes. Still, the Canucks were not far from a playoff slot in February. The poor showing after that was due to mumps and trades, and meant little.
This year, Benning has got religion when it comes to offensive depth. Although there is still no elite first line, the Canucks might well get decent scoring from all four lines. And when the inevitable injuries hit, there is Rodin, Gaunce, Boucher, Molino, Dahlen, Goldobin, Carcone, and late in the season perhaps Gaudette, waiting for a call-up.
84 points and fifth in the division (the Flames will do a face plant). The Canucks will miss the playoffs, but they’ll do far better than the eastern hockey press now gives them credit for.

Big D, little d:

I’ll re-post my assessment from last year, changing surprisingly few words. Let us compare the starting lineup of the (2015/16) 2016/17 Canucks against what is expected on Saturday night. I’m using roughly comparable lines here and not sticking strictly to a First/Second/Third/Fourth definition.
“First” line:
2015 – Sedin/Sedin/Sutter
2016 – Sedin/Sedin/Eriksson
2017 – Sedin/Sedin/Vanek
Excuse me while I get a drink. Hard to see any progress here, other than the Sedins getting older.
“Second” line:
2015 – Baertschi/Horvat/Vrbata
2016 – Baertschi/Horvat/Virtanen
2017 – Baertschi/Horvat/Boeser
Yeah, I’m gonna need another drink here.
Tougher call here. Boeser probably has more upside but there will undoubtedly be a learning curve. An extra year of development for the (not so) young ‘uns but they’ll be playing first line minutes instead of second line minutes so probably playing stronger competition. We’ll say slight advantage 2015. That’s what we call “setting the bar low.”
“Third” line:
2015 – Burrows/McCann/Hansen
2016 – Granlund/Sutter/Hansen
2017 – Eriksson/Granlund/Gagner
Where’s that bartender gone to?
Can we get Burrows and Hansen back?
Fourth line:
2015 – Prust/Cracknell/Dorsett
2016 – Burrows/Gaunce/Dorsett
2017 – Virtanen/Sutter/Dorsett
Sutter has moved from the first line down to the fourth line, that’s gotta count as improvement, right?
Does it really matter? If it comes down to having made improvements in your fourth line, you’re probably screwed anyway.
Defense:
2015
Edler/Tanev
Hamhuis/Bartkowski
Sbisa/Hutton
2016
Edler/Tanev
Hutton/Gudbranson
Sbisa/Larsen
2017
Edler/Tanev
Hutton/Stecher
Del Zotto/Gudbranson
Well, we lost Sbisa/Larsen and Gudbranson moved to the third pair, so that’s better, I guess.
Goalies
Miller out, Nilsson in. Goaltending is voodoo so it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will be better or worse this year. I’m guessing worse. Someone get me another drink.
You can cherry pick improvements but overall this team looks a lot the same, just older. Does it depress anyone else that after three years of “rebuilding”, most of the names have stayed the same?
Maybe a few more wins from having the expansion team in their division? So long as injuries don’t decimate the team … (wait, that’s the same disclaimer I made the last two years and we all know how that turned out.) The starting lineup isn’t really much better but the depth is improved so maybe February to April won’t be the death march it’s been the last two years. I can see them hanging in that 20th to 25th range. But if Megna and Chaput get called up again all bets are off.

NeverWas:

Sedins have a bounce back year and produce at a higher-end 2nd line rate
Brock is the real deal, Bo and Bear take another step forward and the 3 become a solid top line
Canucks bottom 6 perform and provide decent depth scoring while not being liabilities
Battling goaltenders push each other and both have one heck of a season.
Prediction:
Canucks squeek into the playoffs off strong goal tending and while having no true elite line, having 4 decent lines with strong secondary and depth scoring. Overachieve and catch a wild card spot with 95 points.

Missing Kes:

Sedins another year slower, no Miller to steal some wins, a new unproven NHL coach and most other Pacific teams strengthening big-time. It’s gonna be a real bumpy ride guys. Vegas and us a lock for the basement.

Moderated Post:

It’s another season where the Canucks will benefit by getting to play against a lot of backup goalies, and undoubtedly some opponents will be less than focused thinking it’s an easy two points against a cellar dweller. One of the merits of the team over the past two seasons was its ability to snatch at least a point out of the jaws of defeat, battling back and taking a lot of games to extra time. The problem with going to extra time when more than 50 of your games are against conference opponents is that it’s much harder to gain ground in the standings.
The team has gotten better on paper, but the problem is that practically everyone else has too in the conference, so if the powerplay can’t start clicking the season will be deja vu all over again. The two wild cards in the conference are if Vegas can gel, and Colorado can be more respectable than last season.
So lets go with 33 wins and 11 OTL for a total of 77 points, 77 points being auspicious if it lets them draft a game-changing D.

Dirk22:

An increase in points this year cannot get people confused that they are witnessing a ‘franchise on the rise.’ Despite some youth on the roster, it will be the veterans who decide the fate of the team. Bounce back years from the twins and strong seasons from the likes of Eriksson, Vanek, Gagner and co. resulting in a 75-80 pt season say, mean nothing for the long term health of the team.
Are the youth ( Horvat, Baertschi, Boeser, Virtanen, Goldobin) and prospects (Dahlin, Petterson, Juolevi) progressing? That’s a much more relevant indication of if we should be excited about this team. An increase in points from a patchwork collection of veterans means nothing in the big picture.

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  • Dirty30

    Borck Boeser? Is that his Porn Star name?

    Anyway — problem with taking anyone out is that they’re either a vet and that never goes over well, or a rookie whose confidence gets dinged.

    Ideally, Green would switch a top six guy out and put Boeser in seamlessly. Realistically it’s likely better to pull either Jake or DD and both those create issues.

    The guy they should pull is Vanek but that’s going to be contentious this early on so likely Brock won’t get into the line-up until someone gets ‘Borcked’ (likely a groin issue).

  • truthseeker

    Personally I don’t think any of the forwards have looked terrible. It’s a tough call in my opinion. Eriksson hasn’t done much but he’s pretty safe defensively and doesn’t seem to cause mistakes when he’s on. Maybe Gagner I guess.

  • RIP

    Boeser wil be in Thursday. In my order of preference pull: Ganger, Vanek, Burmistrov. Consider though that Boeser needs to stay in the line up. If he is only playing 1 in three or 4 games then do the right thing and send him to Utica.

  • myshkin

    i sure wouldn’t take jake out of the line up, he looked great going up and down the wing. keep all the north/south players in the line up and take out anyone who spends too much time going east/west. they could have used groot a few times last night for the scrums around markstrom.

  • cobrachand

    We need a finisher,time to release the beast,put in snipe city.I say Vanek,Gagner,Burmistrov and Dorsett depending on the teams we play.Hopefully they put Brock in a position and players to succeed with.Should be on the powerplay halfwall firing away,if he scores or not, at least it will make are powerplay harder to defend,right now no threat of any one timer.

  • valleycanuck

    Dorsett gets my vote. Granlund – Sutter – Boeser as a line has the potential to feast on lesser competition in sheltered minutes. That seems like an ideal way for Boeser to spend husband first full season in the NHL.

    • apr

      That line does not play sheltered minutes – they are matched up against the teams best line. Boeser will get murdered chasing McDavid, Kane, Matthews. The only line that is getting sheltered is the Sedin line. We absolutely kill Vanek’s trade value (in a super deep draft) – where he can pot 50 points – so you have to see that through. So you sit Erickson, JV, Baer, or one of Burmitsov or Gagner (as you need a center). Erickson has a huge contract and Gagner just signed. You can flip Burmitsov if he has a good year, so you are sitting JV or Baer. Baer is in a contract year – so he is going to be super pissed – so at the end of the day, you are sitting JV – and frankly, I think JV is more ready right now.

  • Neil B

    Don’t panic. He’s coming into the NHL season from college, where you play 35-45 games, and them mostly on weekends. I’d guess that Green has a deployment plan worked out, broken into 5-10 game sections. Injuries may force his hand later on, but I’d guess that with a mostly-healthy forward lineup, Green will stick to his plan until situations force him to do otherwise.

    • canuckfan

      With all the training Brock has done in the summer with the prospects and then Young Guns Tourney then into training camp was likely tough on him compared to college that may have lead to him feeling a bit burned out and faltering a bit in the last couple exhibitions. He likely trained hard this summer and may have hit a point where he has over trained. I want to see him play but I am not a professional coach who has fitness experts at my disposal to help me in my observations. Give Green some slack he wants to win and needs Brock to be at the top of his game so is looking after Brocks and his best interests so that he can win games.

  • I am Ted

    47-53-6
    22-33-26
    21-89-18
    60-20-15
    42

    Give that lineup a go and roll 4 lines. If Brock and Virtanen can’t get more ice then maybe both of them should spend the first half of the season in Utica. THen Benning can make deals and open up room in December/January which will get them back.

    • canuckfan

      With all the training Brock has done in the summer with the prospects and then Young Guns Tourney then into training camp was likely tough on him compared to college that may have lead to him feeling a bit burned out and faltering a bit in the last couple exhibitions. He likely trained hard this summer and may have hit a point where he has over trained. I want to see him play but I am not a professional coach who has fitness experts at my disposal to help me in my observations. Give Green some slack he wants to win and needs Brock to be at the top of his game so is looking after Brocks and his best interests so that he can win games.

    • canuckfan

      47-60-21
      26-53-6
      22-33-18
      89-20-15

      The preseason line when Brock was out was pretty dangerous every time they were on the ice 47-53-21they could score a pile of goals all of them are good defensively and all are play makers could either be a power play unit or a top line .

  • Killer Marmot

    It’s a problem because the most likely candidates to sub out — Dorcett, Burmistrov, maybe Eriksson — are needed to kill penalties.

    I would put Vanek, Virtanen, and Boeser on a rotation, where one player sits out every night. Vanek is in his thirties, and this would help him get through the season. Such an rotation might not last long, as injuries will turn the Canucks’ talent surplus into a deficit soon enough.

    I would also have Boeser train as a penalty killer — which he played in North Dakota — to make him easier to slot into the lineup. Perhaps that’s already being done.

  • tyhee

    I just want the media, including Canucks Army, to chill out and stop trying to inflame the fan base with appeals to those who think player development means playing kids as much and as soon as possible regardless of circumstances, and those who didn’t watch the last couple of preseason games.

    It’s a long season.