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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: December 18th

I don’t think that either Troy Stecher or Ben Hutton are exceptional players by any means, but are they good? Certainly. Ben Hutton’s one of the Canucks better defenders from a puck possession standpoint, and as Jeremy Davis alluded to in his piece on Hutton from earlier in the season, a lot of his micro statistics check out at the top of the pack among Canucks defenders. Troy Stecher’s having a rough season — injuries and usage being the issue — relative to my expectations going into this season, but he’s still been relatively fine.

For the Canucks’ sakes, I hope that it’s more of a Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett type than it is an Evander Kane. Perhaps they look into a prospect with real potential that’s wearing out their welcome with their current team, a little like Nic Petan with the Winnipeg Jets or Michael McCarron from the Montreal Canadiens.

If the Canucks are going to acquire a top-nine forward, they’re going to draw from their defensive pool to do so. One has to think that Erik Gudbranson is the player they’re dangling the most, and that should be able to get the Canucks a top-nine forward, and maybe even more. I worry, though, that they might be just as eager to move on from someone like Ben Hutton too though.

I can’t speak for the writers at CanucksArmy, but for myself, it’s more of an item that I would explore next season, frankly.

Maybe a 25% chance?

I don’t think so, but frankly, I’m not an expert on the collective bargaining agreement. That’s more Ryan Biech or Jeremy Davis territory. Biech does a prospect mailbag on Fridays, so maybe try to ask him about that topic then and he’ll get back to you.

If Olli Juolevi can’t crack the Canucks next season, then there should be some concern about what’s going on with his development. He should be on the Canucks next season, and if I were to handicap his chances, I’d say he’s rocking about a 75% right now.

That depends on who is available. If the Canucks part with someone on their blue line for a band-aid type of quick fix or someone without a long-term future on the team, that would be a massive mistake.

I have to be honest, I never heard much about the specifics of the situation, just that the Canucks were fielding offers for Erik Gudbranson based on significant futures. Are those same pieces available to them at this juncture? That’s hard to believe. Gudbranson hasn’t been good this season no matter how you slice it. In fact, he’s been quite the opposite.

There probably isn’t a game plan for Dowd. He’s a 13th forward. You don’t usually invest much in the way of game planning in that type of player.

Petbugs and I would be doing the cooking, that much is a given. I would smoke a turkey in my ugly drum smoker, and it would be amazing. Petbugs would control all of the sides, and he’d kill it. I’d expect sweet potato yams ala Vernon Davis, and probably some stuffed mushrooms and the like. And stuffing. So damn much of it. I’d go for seconds and thirds.

Let’s call it an even tie between the Sedin twins.

There are no circumstances in which I feel the Canucks should make Evander Kane a part of their team. They could trade MacKenze Stewart for him, and I’d call it a loss. I’ve written at length about this topic, and you can find my thoughts on that in this article.

Hopefully not one, I guess.

Andrei Svechnikov on Team Russia, Miro Heiskanen on Team Finland, Robert Thomas on Team Canada (sorry, I broke the rules), Rasmus Dahlin on Team Sweden, and Timothy Liljegren on Team Sweden all jump out at me. And Quinton Hughes on Team USA, of course.

That depends on their age and their league, so it’s hard to pin down any one number. In fact, if it is possible, I’d suggest Ryan Biech is the one to have the answer. Or Jeremy Davis. But it’s easier to ask Ryan because he does the prospect mailbag on Fridays, so I’d reach out to him.

Kole Lind is producing at an elite clip — of this much, I am most confident. Jonah Gadjovich is doing well for himself, but I wouldn’t call his production earth-shattering by any means.

For me, it’s Michael DiPietro.

That’s a difficult one to answer. I think Kole Lind should have made the roster to begin with, but so too should have Nick Suzuki, Owen Tippett and Cody Glass. So even though Lind is playing out of this world hockey, I’m not sure he’d get the inside track on any of those other options.

Unfortunately, he is probably done.

The Canucks recalled him last night, so I guess there’s your answer.

When I last checked, Derrick Pouliot led the team in even strength ice-time from about mid-November onward. I would expect his spot in the lineup is secure at this stage.

Ah, fuck.

    • Sandpaper

      Thanks for correcting the reference to Svechnikov playing for team USA.
      If I knew how to edit my comment, i would change it to reflect the correction in the article.

      • J.D. Burke

        Thanks, on both counts, I think? As for the Svechnikov error, you’ll have to forgive me. I watched a lot of his games last season when he played in the USHL, hence my saying Team USA. I mean, that’s my guess as to why I said that, anyway.

    • defenceman factory

      There is no doubt Joulevi is a smart and skilled Dman. At training camp his skating had regressed from the previous year. He showed up at 6’3″ and nearly 200 lbs, with no speed and poor agility. Very disappointing.

      We’ll get a good look at him at the WJC. Still hopeful he turns into a good defencemen.

      • Wise Canuck

        At fifth in the entire draft you damn well better be drafting an elite defenceman not just ‘hoping’ for ‘good’. Need you be reminded that Sergachev was picked four spots lower and is already excelling on the best team in the NHL playing alongside Victor Hedman. Sergachev was available to the ‘draft guru’ Benning. There are no excuses here, this is a results business from the draft table on.

        • Rodeobill

          He also probably had taken a long look at Sergachev, but decided to put his chips on Juolevi’s Hockey IQ. All in all, it was a sound bet at the time, just hoping his physical potential can catch up to his mental one, but yeah, Sergachev is looking good right now.

          • Wide Awake in Ubud

            Bud Poile/beers after… try engaging your pea brain before opening your yap and embarrassing yourself day after day..

            “Sergachev has one of the best, if not the best, shot on our team from the circle,” Tyler Johnson TBL

            “(Sergachev has) tremendous offensive instincts, an unbelievable shot,” D Victor Hedman said. “To see him get rewarded is always fun. He’s earning his breaks, too. He’s been working hard in practice every day since camp started. He is alot of fun to play with for sure” – Victor Hedman TBL

        • jaybird43

          Wise one, remember that Juolevi was ranked about 4 spots higher than Serg too. At the end of the day, its not how many perfect picks the GM missed, its about how effectively you’ve built up the prospect pool. And it’s widely acknowledged that the Canucks now have a pool in the top third of the league. That’s all JB …

          • Dirk22

            In the last four drafts they’ve had three picks in the top-6. Only other team to have that is Edmonton. It’s a tap in from there to have a prospect pool in the top third. Imagine where they’d be if they actually focused on building that pool from the start instead of the ‘retool on the fly.’

          • Bud Poile

            Three picks doesn’t make a prospect pool when there wasn’t one before.
            The Canucks roster and farm should be full after 6 Gillis NHL drafts.
            It’s all but empty.

          • Wide Awake in Ubud

            Benning has failed miserably in four drafts with just ONE pick, Boeser, turning up trumps – busts McCann, Virtanen and Juolevi were chosen over available proven NHL studs like Larkin, Sergachev, Ehlers, Nylander, Tkachuk, Tuch, McAvoy and Keller – any ONE who would’ve changed the face of the franchise immediately.

            Gillis had ONE top ten pick in six drafts because he was managing an elite SC contender you fuk-en nonce. Yet he still managed to pull offan astounding draft trade for our star player at nine, Bo Horvat.

            now… explain the following and do it NOW…

            “Trade Tanev for a center. Draft the best offensive d-man.” Winning – Bud Poile before the 2017 draft

            “and whatever high end player they pick up this draft – either Tkachuk or my preference Nylander” – Bud Poile

            “Last year Marner, Tkachuk, Provorov, Matthews, Nylander, Laine,etc. jumped straight from the draft table into making an impact at the highest level.” – Bud Poile

            ” The Canucks need players that can contribute out of the gate, particularly on D. I would take Liljegren or Heiskanen. Glass or Vilardi if they go for the future. Hopefully it’s a player that is close to NHL ready come September” – Bud Poile

  • TD

    Gadjovich may not be an elite point guy, but he could turn out be be a Thomas Holstein type player. A net front presence and goal scorer. That would be a massive win for the Canucks, hopefully that happens.

  • DJ_44

    I worry, though, that they might be just as eager to move on from someone like Ben Hutton too though.

    Why would the Canucks want to move on from a CanucksArmy consensus top-4, shutdown pairing, NHL d-man like Ben Hutton?

    JD must have been converted after Ben’s stellar defensive efforts (and massive offensive contributions) since his writings after the Boston and Buffalo games.

    The Boston game.

    Ben Hutton struggled tonight defensively. He was on the ice for four goals and didn’t look great on any of them. Hutton’s been great in transition, but some of his work below the goalline could use improvement. Needs to be more engaged physically and be willing to take the hit to make the play.

    The next night in Buffalo

    Ben Hutton has to get better in the defensive zone, full-stop. The way Hutton played that Eichel goal would leave most pee-wee coaches pulling their hair. There is absolutely no room or time to make a play, so Hutton shouldn’t take his eyes off the attacking forward to try and fish a puck out of his skates that he clearly can’t find. You have to take the body on that play. I can’t stress enough how painfully obvious that would — or rather should — be to anyone who’s ever played the position. There’s a lot to like about Hutton’s game; it’s just that the defensive side of it is not there yet. It doesn’t even look close most nights.

    Careful JD; beware of “confirmational bias”.