Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Monday Mailbag: December 4th

Without the chance to talk to Nikita Tryamkin himself, I can’t give a worthwhile answer. It’s all up to him. Based on what I know about his exit, I’d say it’s 60/40 that he doesn’t come back.

I don’t think anyone’s trading for Jordan Subban with the way his season has gone down with the Utica Comets.

It’s still early, and I’m not someone who follows the Utica Comets on a game-to-game basis. Based on my sparse interactions with him to date, Comets head coach Trent Cull seems to be a decent coach.

I haven’t heard anything too alarmingly negative from or about him. A lot of what I have heard tends to suggest that he’s placing a premium on development in Utica, which is encouraging. I guess what I’m saying is that the jury is still out on Cull, which makes sense since he barely has two months worth of action under his belt in the Canucks organization.

I don’t know, and I can’t say I particularly care.

First of all, thank you. I really appreciate it and I’m sure the rest of the team does, too.

As for Thatcher Demko, I don’t know what the Canucks plan is for his development or whether he’s ahead of it or not.

I’m willing to bet that the Canucks might’ve preferred a one-year deal for Anders Nilsson, but they had to offer the second year to lock him up. That’s purely speculation though. Whatever the case, having to trade one of Jacob Markstrom or Nilsson to accommodate Demko if he’s kicking down the door for an NHL job is something I am fairly certain the Canucks can handle.

The Buffalo Sabres had the most efficient power play in the league last year, and we all know how that ended. It’s hardly a guarantee of a trip to the post-season, but by large, a top ten power play would be a good omen, yes. For a team with significant deficiencies at five-on-five, like the Canucks, good special teams is one of the few options available to them to mask that and have short-term success.

I suspect that Nikolay Goldobin will find his way back to the Utica Comets as Brandon Sutter returns to full health. Then again, if he has another game or two like the one in Nashville, maybe he gets to stick around a bit longer.

Jake Virtanen had most of his shifts in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, so that was an encouraging sign for his long-term ice-time prospects. We’ll see how long Canucks head coach Travis Green sticks to the plan.

Analytics or otherwise, there’s no justifying a decision like that. Not at this stage in the Canucks development arc, nor in Kevin Bieksa’s career. The two were good for each for a long, long time. But all good things must pass, and so on.

The Canucks were justified in moving on from Bieksa, too. The signs of age-related decline were overwhelming. To the Canucks credit, they recouped solid value for Bieksa, too. As for Bieksa, he’s not what he used to be, certainly, but looks better with the Ducks than he did in his last season with the Canucks. Everyone was better off for that split, it seems.

I don’t have the coding chops to tell you how Horvat does against specific bins of competition, i.e. against star players, etc. I can tell you that he’s playing the highest quality of competition of any active Canucks forward. I’d like to be able to tell you that he’s performing well in those circumstances concerning his two-way results, but that remains a work in progress. Let’s put it this way — Horvat’s two-way impact right now is in the middle of the pack among Canucks forwards.

The Horvat line looked hemmed in against the Maple Leafs, but so did every other Canucks line. In fact, Horvat’s line did better than most of the Canucks forward groups.

Oh, totally. That’s a realistic and achievable goal.

I have no clue. For the Canucks’ sakes, I hope not.

It has to happen eventually, right? Brock Boeser isn’t your average NHL’er, so I don’t expect his shooting percentage to drop to league average numbers. Right now, he’s scoring on north of 20 per cent of his shots, though, which we know isn’t likely to last. The Canucks are also scoring on nearly 12 per cent of their shots at even strength with Boeser on the ice. The difference between his actual and expected goals is massive.

It’s hard to project if, much less when players are going to see their percentages normalize. I think Boeser will finish the year with about 30 goals and 25 assists.

The Canucks are in the bottom-ten of the league in Corsi for percentage and expected goals percentage. I don’t think you’re being bamboozled, but I don’t think they’re going to look as good in the wins column in March/April as they do right now either.


I can’t quite tell you who has the best bang for their buck in dollars per Corsi ratio, but according to www.CapFriendly.com, the best dollars per point player not on an entry-level contract is Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault. The Knights are paying about $32,500.00 per point by Marchessault.

I’m not sure if he’ll still be available to the Canucks if they’re drafting in the 8-12 range, but if Michigan defenceman Quinn Hughes is there, they have to take him.

If the Canucks have to re-sign one of Erik Gudbranson or Thomas Vanek, and I would advise strongly against either of those options, then I lean towards Vanek. I’d sign him for another one-year deal for about the same money ($2.5-million) as the Canucks have invested in him currently.

If Elias Pettersson is producing around the point per game mark, then that would constitute a good tournament for me.

The outlook of the Canucks season should have no impact on their plans at the trade deadline. The Canucks aren’t even close to finished with this rebuild, and with that in mind, they have to stay focused on the future at the deadline and sell off every asset that isn’t going to be a significant part of this Canucks team when they’re a contending team.

I probably lean towards Boeser just because he’s already shown that he is an NHL player. Things can often go awry with even the best prospects. Boeser is an NHL’er, guaranteed. That’s the difference for me. That said, I’m amenable to an argument for Pettersson.

I haven’t seen any research to suggest that this isn’t anything other than an old hockey adage.

    • KCasey

      And yet here you were anxiously waiting to slag JD the moment the chance presented itself…almost as you were trying to, ya know, act self important and knowledgeable somehow.

      JD cant catch a break with the toxic comunity around here. You throw slander at the guy than demand more content that is provided for free to begin with and when content arrives to throw some trash at him and demand he do more to provide you with even more ammo. Hella strange. Do I think JD is flawless, no not quite, but he is still working tirelessly for peanuts and trying to be a little different than your average vanilla cardboard copy canucks content. Do we have to agree with all his thoughts and ideas, obviously not be in the same token he doesnt have to be concerned with cries and moans of every person that has some groundshaking theory on how he should do his work and handle his staff. Some might even consider that to be a form of profesional intergrity despite the flack he catches for being spineless somehow when he is clearly sticking to his guns.

      • crofton

        I was ready to slag him, too…if he deserved it. KCasey, if you haven’t noticed, most of the posters here are far more even in their responses than JD is (normally) in his blog…they will give credit where credit is due. However, if you assume that bloggers are in line with, or would like to be in line with journalists, and I do, then you expect balance reporting. JD rarely writes a blog that isn’t filled with smarm, or outright trashing some players. And credit where credit is due, at times, which are far too infrequent, he does manage to write a decent balanced column. So we know he is capable, we can only assume unwilling.

  • Dirty30

    1. Are we going to get post-game reviews for the Canucks in the future and;

    2. Will they be of any appreciable quality?

    I’ve noticed at other team nation sites you demonstrate the ability to write well, give fair and balanced reports and seem to actually show some interest in what you’re writing about.

    And here we get leftover garbage.

    It’s tough enough being a Canucks fan at times, particularly with Gary “sucks donkey dong” Bettman and his game management minions, to homers like Don, Ron and the whole Eastern media moron squad.

    If you’re going to pretend to be a professional writer then at least pretend a little harder on acting like a professional.

    You don’t have to like your job and I don’t care if you ever do, but it’s time to show a modicum of courtesay to fans and some respect to your job.

    • Steamer

      Thanks Dirty 30 – much more articulate than I could manage so early. In truth, I only come to CA to read what you & a few others have to say; articles overly dependent upon often questionable statistical analysis.

    • Locust

      You have all heard me rant here about the comparisons of CA to other Nation sites – it is a disgrace what we have here. The differences are appalling and speaking just for me, that is why I will never ‘back it down’ until changes are made.

  • apr

    Give the guys a break with the post Leafs update. They are entitles to celebrate as well on a Saturday – and as we have seen from some of the writers – its better to get someone who watches the game and provides astute commentary, then someone who looks at the data, highlights from sportsnet – and then draws massively ignorant conclusions.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    If the Canucks are in the mix at the deadline, I doubt they cut bait. It’s easy enough to talk about the “process” of the rebuild, but from a business standpoint, it’s not just the playoff ticket revenue in play there. It’s the ability to show tangible progress year over year. Getting a taste of playoff action would also be a real positive for our youngsters. Plus, stranger things have happened than a Cinderella run, and treating a playoff spot as expendable is never advisable. I happen to think the team should trade Gudbranson regardless, since I don’t believe he helps the team that much (even in the playoffs where the “whistles are put away”), but is a couple more 4th round picks really worth giving up a playoff spot for? I suppose the real question becomes whether the team is willing to trade Tanev, but I am not convinced they are going to do that regardless of where they are come spring: he’s got two years left at a very affordable price and is only 27. Older than most of the “core” but young enough that he could still be a major part of the next good Canucks teams.

    • I doubt the Canucks go full “burn it down and sell everything”, whether they’re in a playoff spot or not, but would the Canucks be any worse if they moved Gudbranson and Vanek at the deadline and called up Weircioch and Goldobin to play in their stead? Probably not.

      Given the teams that are sweating for goaltending this year, they could probably get a good haul for one of Markstrom or Nilsson without hurting their season much, too.

      • It’s a little early to say that Goldobin will be better than Vanek. After all, if this was last year, Vanek is on pace to be Vancouver’s top scorer (52 pts). I don’t think one could say that about Goldobin, he has to prove that he can drive play and not be a perimeter player.

        • If Goldobin ended up being better than Vanek, he’d be an incredible steal by the Canucks.

          But that’s not what I was saying – all I meant was Goldobin could probably plug in for Vanek for the last 20 games of the year without hurting the team’s playoff chances.

      • apr

        If Vanek keeps this up, he looks like he could be worth a 2nd round pick or a top prospect from a contender – definitely not as much as Evander Kane who is a RFA. The emergence of Pouliot makes Gudbrandson redundant, and I think he’s a perfect for Dallas. We may finally pry Nuchuskin and a top pick from Dallas after all….

        • DJ_44

          Poulliot makes Hutton redundant. If Gudbranson will sign for similar $ to his current salary then donit. If not, trade him. Seriously look at recouping anything for Hutton. A second and a third or fourth would be great.

          Although Holm was hurt Saturday… Get him up when he is healthy.

        • I’d rather see Benning try to acquire Honka at a low cost rather than Nichushkin. Looks like Hitchcock is mismanaging Honka into nothingness so maybe Benning can pull off a Pouliot Pt 2. and add a second puck-moving offensive defenceman. If we could trade Vanek for Honka, I think that would be a good move.

    • Rodeobill

      I cheer for us to win each game, but a part of me is also really excited about our prospects. I think we have reached the goal of “remaining competitive,” but no matter what, we still need to finish this rebuild. At least another great draft like last year would go a long way towards being not just competitive, but contenders for years to come (especially if we have some more high end D prospects).

  • Quiet weekend here at CA. I guess beating the Leafs doesn’t warrant mention, but at least the mailbag is reliable.

    Off topic: I watched the Oilers-Flames game in Edmonton on Saturday. Who knew there are two pubs with the same name. Glad I didn’t wear my Canucks jersey. Oilers fans are a devoted bunch and don’t tolerate anything Canucks, or BC for that matter. The Oilers fan base is disillusioned, frustrated, and angry. This place is gonna blow up real good, unless the Oilers turn this thing around, and soon.
    However, I do understand their sorry plight. Who wants to live in that desolate wasteland, enduring endless winter, and cheering for a bad hockey club.

    Make your money and get out.

  • Drancer the Prancer

    “The Canucks are in the bottom-ten of the league in Corsi for percentage and expected goals percentage.”

    Lol @ Burke just waiting for the Canucks possession game to slip enough where he could use the “they’re getting lucky!” narrative.


    2/3rds of the league are between 47.5 – 52.5% SA Corsi.

    This isn’t the 2014-2015 Sabres that were getting hammered nightly.

    Parity is real.

    The Canucks were above average from a possession standpoint a month ago.

    And with an easy travel schedule through game 40, it’s plausible the Canucks get right back into the middle of the pack.

    I’ll be on TSN 1040 later this week outlining my reasons as to why the Nation Network should terminate JD Burke’s contract…or at least increase his dosage…

  • Buckman

    Honestly for those of you still going on about the post game report get a life. Would you rather go to the province and pay to read? Or Sportsnet who only post post game reports about the Canucks? Go through how much content they posted this past week and see they give daily content on the Canucks, plus on things other sites don’t talk about. I for one am grateful and make this a go to site to read about the Canucks and their prospects in particular

    • North Van Halen

      Sorry dude but you are just wrong. JD wrote more articles in a day for Oilers Nation last week than he did in the entire week for this site.
      I’ve long said the 2 biggest reasons to visit this site is the quantity of Canuck content (mid summer you can see 3 articles in a day) and the message boards.
      Unfortunately it’s clear this is no longer a fan site but a site these bloggers think will advance their careers since it has helped quite a few over the years. If you look at the sparsity of actual Canuck articles the last couple of weeks other than Canucks & Comets game reviews there has been almost none. Just the Prospect Report -which is vital and we love please don’t stop. JD is clearly stretched too thin with his work at the Athletic, increasing his hits by posting on Oilers Nation & his attempt to get Army radio off the ground. This site is hurting right now.

      JD maybe it’s time to pass the baton…

    • Silverback

      Paid for by the generous taxpayers of Edmonton. The katz foundation for fiscal rape thanks the season ticket holders and the taxpayers of Edmonton for buying this lovely home for them. Hip hop hooray!

  • TheRealPB

    I don’t really care that CA didn’t do a post-game writeup of the win over the Leafs but at this point — especially with 7(!) posts to make up for it today, but is it just pique that you won’t even acknowledge that you didn’t do one and that there were lots of grumbles about it? For a site that has helped many of you leverage your good work into industry positions either in media or with teams, I’ve always been a bit surprised but how non-responsive you often are to those that read these pages. I don’t necessarily think you owe the readers that much, but surely you owe something. And unlike at least a couple of the former editors, JD you seem positively unwilling to respond to criticism or suggestions, except in the mailbag where you can cherry-pick which comments you want to highlight even more. It seems a strangely thin-skinned approach for someone who is pursuing a media career. I don’t want this to come off as too harsh; I think this site on balance does some really good work and there’s reasons I choose to read here instead of other places (though if anyone has any suggestions for good discussions of the Canucks I’m all ears — PITB is kind of half-alive too these days). But would it have killed you to have just said everyone was busy and we didn’t want to put Cat onto another snide recap so sorry?

    I also think it’s unrealistic to think that if we’re in the thick of the playoff race at the TDL that we’ll engage in a sell-off. Gudbranson yes, because I think the Canucks have realized he’s not that good and certainly not worth the money he’ll hold out for. But getting rid of Tanev (who most other teams will want), Vanek (who’ll likely get some interest) or any of the others who *might* be tradeable (I actually think Eriksson and Gagner might have some value) would be a non-starter I think with a fickle enough fanbase. The only way I see it happening is if there’s a deal to send the Sedins to a contender (and even there I think it would only happen if the Canucks ate salary and took a couple of mid-range picks back) and then a firesale started. Otherwise if it’s a competitive team the calculation would most likely be you’d have more positives from developing young players and giving the Sedins a good farewell than any benefit from low-to-mid-range picks. For all the celebration of the Leafs tanking, their success is a result of great drafting from bad prior seasons coupled with great luck (Matthews) and leveraging their economic power to rid themselves of the Clarkson and Phaneuf contracts and eat other bad contracts to get things like the 2nds for Polak and company. Those vets they picked up during their openly tanking season (Matthias, Winnik, Polak again) were mostly worth 4ths and 5ths, which are of negligible value.

      • TheRealPB

        That’s not quite true. Winnik and the 5th did net them Grundstrum (2nd) and Carrick, but the main part of the deal was the Leafs eating Brooks Laichs’ $4.5 million contract and stashing him in the AHL the next year. The Caps saved $3 million a year in real dollars and $2.5 million against the cap. Spaling and Polak didn’t go straight up for 2 seconds, it was their ability to take and bury Raffi Torres (maybe not so much the $2 million cap hit but the useless roster spot) that made that happen. Matthias got them a career AHLer and a stay-at-home d-man in the 4th that looks unlikely to make it.

        I don’t disagree with you that it was good value. But the narrative around the Leafs rebuild often focuses on the idea that they tanked and signed cheap vets that they flipped at the deadline. There was some of that for sure but I think much more significant was the ability to shed boat anchor contracts (Phaneuf, Clarkson, to some degree Kessel) due to their economic power and unshakeable fan base. This is why I always think it’s so dangerous to look at the Leafs as a model for anything — in the NHL there really isn’t any team that is comparable in its ability to do so (maybe the Rangers or the Canadiens at one point but I doubt it now).

        • Dirk22

          you’re right – those deals did include eating salary but the Leafs are hardly the only team that has ever taken on bad contracts, despite their financial standing. Look up “buried NHL contracts” to see.

          Unshakable fan base?…Canucks did none of the above over the last three years and attendance is the worst it’s been in almost 20 years. Would it have been even worse if they took on contracts and buried them to get draft picks? Nonsense. You’re saying the Canucks couldn’t have buried a $4.5 million dollar contract but can spend $36 million on Louis Eriksson? Doesn’t really make sense. I’d argue the presence of a couple extra prospects around would be good for business.

          The Leafs have a good team now but they’ve also set themselves up to be good for a while by loading up on draft picks through the means discussed. It’s an astute way of gathering building and maintaining a prospect pool – argue against the value of those all you want but to say only the Leafs are capable of doing that is ridiculous.

    • bobdaley44

      You’re kidding right? You really think the Leafs had a plan for their current success? Maybe winning the Mathews lottery and thats it. What if they picked 8th that year. You think they would be a contender now with Kadri and Nylander leading them? Trade the Sedins and start a firesale? Really? For mid round picks? Not sure what games your watching but they’re playing pretty damn good. The teams working hard and going good and now you wanna get rid of everybody for mid round draft picks?

  • jaybird43

    You know guys, I think it would be decent to lay off the personal slags on JD. Knowing journalists, and the internet, he’s probably being paid the princely sum of $20-60 bucks an article.

    “Oh he’s a professional” I hear some of you say. Yes, and he’s a human being first. So how about we treat him like that FIRST, and then a millionaire journalist (sarcasm) SECOND. Some of you truly embarass yourselves …