The Canucks are in a tough spot. They’re without two of their best forwards in Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat, which says nothing of nothing having Brandon Sutter or Erik Gudbranson out of the lineup, too.
Unsurprisingly, this has forced Canucks head coach Travis Green to try and scrape by with less than ideal options as replacements. Lately, he’s been tinkering with having different combinations of Nic Dowd, Alexander Burmistrov, Michael Chaput and Nikolay Goldobin sprinkled throughout his lineup.
The problem (if you can call it that) is that with Baertschi’s injury, they can only fit three of them in the lineup on any given night. That’s made for some healthy debates in Vancouver about who should play and where they should play if they do end up entering the lineup.
Assuming you can only play three of Burmistrov, Dowd, Chaput or Goldobin, who do you play and where do you play them in the Canucks lineup? Or, alternatively, do you look to the Utica Comets for reinforcements. Hell, if you want to get really creative, Ryan Carpenter is on waivers today, so that’s an option, too.
Last week I asked: What should the Canucks do with their blue line when Erik Gudbranson returns to full health?
Both Edler & Hutton have struggled; can’t see Eagle being scratched & sitting Hutton isn’t going to increase his trade value. Guddy adds grit, but little else – best scenario is to move #44 for pick or prospect – there will certainly be buyers.
Might be better value at trade deadline if they can wait, but then who sits now?
I’m not impressed with Gudbranson or Del Zotto (who somehow avoids the attention that Gudbranson gets, perhaps because Benning didn’t trade for him).
So play them situationally. When up against big, tough, grinding teams, play Gudbranson. Otherwise Del Zotto.
I’m really not a fan of the “play the guy to increase trade value concept”. Why would you play the guy that is clearly the 7th defenceman right now, especially when he’s already had 21 games to prove himself and hasn’t shown much.
I’ll be straight up – I’ve watched most of the Canucks games this season, and Gudbranson seriously looks out of place. It seems like almost every time he touches the puck he either gets rid of it by dumping it into the opposing teams zone, or simply gives it away. I haven’t seen very many occasions where Gudbranson actually does something beneficial to the team, puck wise. To add to that, he has NO points in 21 games played. Now I know that’s not what Gudbranson primarily brings, but on a team that is struggling to score, I’d rather have a defenceman in my lineup that can at least put up a few points every once and a while, opposed to Gudbranson who can’t even seem to do that. Sure, he adds some physicality to the game, that’s great. But when he’s gone, other guys have seemed to step up, such as Virtanen delivering a couple monstrous hits last night against Carolina.
If you really want to get him some more games, I would be okay if they benched Hutton for a few. He’s seemed a little lost out there as well lately, and maybe a few games in the press box would give him a wake up call.
The reality is, they simply cannot bench someone like Pouliot with what he’s been bringing to the team.
I really don’t see Gudbranson’s value going up much more if they play him for a few more games, or even for another month or so. I’d trade him while there’s still any value to his name – and I’m honestly not sure how much there still is.
(come back McCann !!!)