Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: October 30th


In the absolute best case scenario where almost everything goes right for Jake Virtanen from this point onward, I could see him developing into a player similar to what David Booth was in his all-too-brief prime before injuries rendered him ineffective. That’s a compliment, by the way. That player was a play driving, shot generating offensive machine who could play in a team’s top six easily.

Not even close.

I don’t know if I’m willing to go there yet. Canucks general manager Jim Benning is a hell of an amateur talent evaluator, and a lot of his work with the Canucks in the mid-to-late rounds has been impressive enough to lend credence to that label.

The one thing that’s going to hold Benning back in this regard is his work in the top ten of the draft. He’s made progressively better picks with each visit to the top ten of the draft, but taking Virtanen ahead of William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers, among others, looms large. Even the Olli Juolevi pick, which was perfectly sensible, doesn’t look great in the context of Clayton Keller’s torrid scoring pace and Mikhail Sergachev’s instant success with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Elias Pettersson pick seems unimpeachable though, and that helps.

I’d expect that rate to improve, if only slightly, over the course of the season.

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Way, way too early to make any conclusions one way or the other. Sorry.

In Coyotes general manager John Chayka’s defence, all those players were still playing really well when he added them. And they’ve mostly played well as Coyotes, too. And I’d think that Chayka is of the belief his team is fairly close to turning the corner, and adding players like that will help put him over the top. And that’s not unreasonable. They’ve just had a brutal start. Sportsbooks like Bodog didn’t expect them to be a playoff contender, but nobody thought they would be this poor.

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If the Canucks are in a playoff spot, or even close to, at the deadline, I’d guess that they’re not going to sell off veterans. Remember the 2014-15 season? That’s the precedent for the Canucks. Speaking of, the Calgary Flames sold off assets left and right at that year’s deadline, still made the playoffs, and then handily beat the Canucks in the first round.

I swear, I get this question, or some variation of it, at least once or twice a week. Same answer as always: if the Canucks finish in the bottom three of the league again.

Well, if you’d just read Cory Hergott’s post-game Utica Comets recaps, you’d hear plenty about Reid Boucher. He’s on fire!

I said that Mikhail Sergachev was the best defenceman in his class at the time of the draft, and I think that his hot start with the Tampa Bay Lightning reaffirms what an absolute beast he’ll be in the NHL. So yeah, I’d have preferred Sergachev to Juolevi then, and definitely would now.

He’s pretty rad!

Nation Network Radio article went live two hours ago! That’s the future of the podcast.

Markus Granlund. He’s so, so smart.

Too early to say, but I’m comfortable with the notion that the difference in points won’t be that significant.

I watched a lot of Jett Woo last season. Good player. I could see him going late in the first round.

Not at all.

I have an article going live today on The Athletic Vancouver about this very topic!

  1. Good on faceoffs, for whatever that is worth (not that much).
  2. Makes a tonne of money.
  3. Usually durable.
  4. Scores goals at a middle-six rate.
  5. Great on the penalty kill!

I can’t see a Chris Tanev trade happening this season, no.

I would have to think so.

No, I think Canucks head coach Travis Green has always used his system. If it wasn’t high-flying in Utica last season, that was a byproduct of the available talent or lack thereof. I can’t speak to Utica Comets head coach Trent Cull’s system this season.

I’ve been mostly lukewarm on Derrick Pouliot. Has alright underlying results, but I’m not seeing a lot from him on a nightly basis. Check back in after about 20 games.


I’m not quite sure I get this question? I mean, all due respect, couldn’t anyone look up how many former first-round picks are in the Canucks lineup? Is that the question?

I don’t think the ice will affect Olli Juolevi that much one way or the other. You have to remember, he’s playing in Liiga. In Liiga they use a hybrid ice surface that’s somewhere between international and NHL size. I think what will help Juolevi most is just getting used to his new frame.

I could see Adam Gaudette developing into a Craig Smith type of player. Perhaps a little bit better. William Lockwood, if everything goes right, can develop into a low-end Jannik Hansen-type player.

Petrus Palmu is pretty slick, let me tell yeah. And I’d honestly bet that he plays out his contract with TPS and at least starts his season there next year.

I’m handing out toothbrushes.

Yeah, you can find all the details here:

Yeah, I think so. You can find all the details by following this tweet!

Clayton Keller.

The Canucks should trade Erik Gudbranson as soon as they can find a suitor that’s ripe with futures. As for his value, I’d like to think that the Canucks can get a return package similar to what they originally gave up for Gudbranson.

  • Sandpaper

    I hate the bully types like Virtanen, Gudbranson and Dorsett and will repatriation ad nauseum at least twice weekly. This routine is getting stale.
    Good too see some new blood in here recently, hopefully they turn over the keys to them.

  • Killer Marmot

    Canucks general manager Jim Benning is a hell of an amateur talent evaluator, and a lot of his work with the Canucks in the mid-to-late rounds has been impressive enough to lend credence to that label.</i?

    What impresses me is how Benning has assembled considerable depth in both Vancouver and the prospect pool through almost every means possible — drafting, trades, waivers, and free agency. And he seems to be getting better at it.

        • Budiman

          I think the argument is that if he’s a really great evaluator of young talent, and the GM of a rebuilding (or retooling or whatever you want to call it) team, that he should be picking more at the draft rather than less. The Gudbranson trade is a pretty clear example of this:

          2nd round pick
          4th round pick


          5th round pick

          Over his tenure, he’s also traded away 4 2nd round picks (and received 2). If Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich are the types of players he’s picking with 2nd round picks, I think you can pretty confidently say that the Canucks could have a few more high-level prospects coming through the system. Now, we did get Sven in one of those trades, so that’s a pretty great return on a 2nd.

          Also, say what you want about McCann and his attitude, but he’s got 5 points in 7 games so far this year.

          • Killer Marmot

            Yes, the Canucks have traded away four 2nd round draft picks and received two. You forget to mention though that:

            1. Benning received a first-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks and has traded away none.

            2. Three of the second-rounders were in exchange for young players who careers had barely begun (Baertschi, Vey, Gudbranson). In other words, he traded youth for youth, which in my book is perfectly fine.

            Not every trade that Benning has made has been a gem. Vey didn’t work out. Gudbranson maybe. But the contention that Benning has pissed a huge number of youth in bad trades doesn’t stand up.

          • truthseeker

            I like how they thumb you down but don’t respond to your point..haha….doesn’t fit with their stupid preconceived self loathing biases so they just reflexively thumb you down instead. In their minds Benning has “given up” all kinds of draft picks and no facts showing otherwise will ever get in their way.

            And not only has he received 2 second round picks….the 2nd he gave to Pittsburgh was a late second rounder and he got back and early 3 rounder for that. So that one doesn’t really count as “giving up a pick” either. He just slotted down slightly in the same draft.

            The morons will now thumb me down for calling them out for being the morons they are.

  • I see Virtanen’s ceiling as a power forward that can throw a game-changing hit yet still score off the rush with a wicked wrist shot. He lacks the hockey sense to drive the play but can be a unique complimentary winger to more skilled players (e.g. Pettersson and Dahlen, Horvat and Boeser). Can be Top 6 if he can master using his size and strength without taking stupid penalties.

  • Locust

    JD on Sutter …. “Good on faceoffs, for whatever that is worth (not that much).”

    Please … can anyone provide a quote or comment from ANYBODY that has ever played, coached, managed or watched ‘hockey’ at any level that could confirm that “winning a face off” isn’t important.

    Anyone ……

    Hello ……


    • BendingCorners

      One of those flaws in the stats approach. Goes something like this:
      Over a full season teams will/lose between 48 and 52% of their faceoffs and here is no strong statistical correlation between faceoffs and shots or goals. So it doesn’t matter much.
      Of course, it does matter, because having the puck is better than not having it, and winning a faceoff gives you a better chance of having the puck. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it does help. The problem statistically is that better faceoff performers tend to take draws against other good performers so it still ends up being close to a wash, making the effect on possession (as measured by shots taken or suppressed) hard to gauge. A 55/45 edge over 15 faceoffs translates to net positive 1.5 events per game which also leaves the statistics exposed to sample size issues, and potentially leaves them overwhelmed by other factors.
      A good faceoff guy who is solid defensively, stays healthy, plays a physical game and sometimes scores sounds like a good player to me.

      • Cageyvet

        What about when the faceoff is in your end, with 30 seconds to go, protecting a one-goal lead? Does a skilled faceoff man have value then? All things need context. I liked JD’s answer about Granlund being best away from the puck, but Sutter’s running a close second, with the responsibility of the center position defensively. Give the man his due, for once JD.

        • truthseeker

          I think Manny was pretty much all the proof one needed that having a good face off guy opens up a huge range of possibilities. Losing Hamhuis to that hip check was the number one reason we lost that cup. Manny going down with the eye thing may be a strong candidate for the number 2 reason, in my opinion.

    • canuckfan

      I do not get why Sutter keeps getting crapped on he has been a good player he has scored and finally now plays under a coach who actually know how to use Sutter and who to pair him with. If and when we make the playoffs Sutter will be one of the most valuable players.

    • Bornonice

      Unless a faceoff is won cleanly they’re pretty much a scrum that doesn’t start on the boards. Every F/O needs a winner and is usually given to the first team to “control” the puck whether it’s for 1.2 seconds or not. Sometimes a player will sacrifice a F/O but only to a certain direction and if your team knows that direction they can pressure it very quickly. They really aren’t that important except for the clean wins and those are rare.

  • crofton

    OK totally unrelated to anything here right now, but can anyone explain to me how Gudbranson gets essentially a 2 game suspension (5 and a game, plus one game) for his hit from behind, and Komorov does pretty close to exactly the same thing to Goestesbehere (sp?)and gets nothing? Not even a freaking minor penalty?

    • TheRealRusty

      Figuring out suspensions in the NHL by looking at who has the ear of tiny little Commissioner. If you are Toronto or Boston, you can expect a slap on the wrist. If you are one of the unlucky teams then you can expect the book thrown at you. This is one of the reasons why I do not support this league with all of my hard earned money anymore.

      Eg. Araon Rome hit on Horton. A first timer offender was given a 4 playoff game suspension in the Cup finals (equivalent of a 8 regular season game suspension since the league maintains that playoff games are worth more… total BS) for an open ice hit that was 1 second too late.

  • truthseeker

    I kind of like the fact I haven’t “noticed” Pouliot much either. Means he’s not causing defensive blunders to a terrible degree. And considering his defensive play was supposedly the problem, I’d say that makes it even better. It would be nice to see some of that offense he’s suppose to have though.

    • Bud Poile

      Pouliot is 2.5 months older than Stetcher,the team’s youngest d-man.
      This being his fourth year in the league with only 74 total games of NHL experience(Stetcher has 79 games of experience in his 1+ year), we are seeing a young d-man that has not played for one team since junior.
      By the new year he should begin coming into his own.

  • Bud Poile

    Re: “Even the Olli Juolevi pick, which was perfectly sensible, doesn’t look great in the context of Clayton Keller’s torrid scoring pace and Mikhail Sergachev’s instant success with the Tampa Bay Lightning.” J.D.

    Given the Tryamkin example/Russian factor and that Olli was ranked the highest and best all-round d man in his draft class, Benning made the prudent choice.
    6 of 7 scouting agencies had Juolevi ranked higher than Sergachev:

  • wojohowitz

    Not a bulldog fan huh? He was physically throwing himself at the Stars and was one of the few Canucks to play a tough grinding game. He will need a few days off to recover and that`s why he`s a perfect number 7 D-man because he can`t do that every game.

  • Jim M

    JD: if you get annoyed with being asked the same question again and again, why does that question keep making it in to the mailbag? I’m tired of reading those questions so, please, do us all a favour and stop including them.

  • ManicSt

    By my count, the 1st round draft picks in the Canucks lineup right now: 13. In 2001-2002, they had a total of 14 throughout the year (although Dennis Pederson and Todd Warriner weren’t on the roster at the same time).
    So, it’s not the most they’ve had, but I think it’s close.
    That’s my contribution to the world of trivia today!