Canucks Twitter likes to rip themselves apart on debates without end. Part of that is due to the format, as you can only convey your thoughts in 280 characters or less at a time. Since it’s a public forum, it allows these discussions to become a debate among multiple people in multiple threads with differing opinions. It’s why it appears that a section of a fanbase is ripping themselves apart as they won’t see eye to eye.
This isn’t limited to just Twitter, but that medium does allow a way to see both sides of an argument. One such argument stuck out to me, and that was one about Jim Benning’s tenure and his movement of draft picks. The main crux of the argument is that the Canucks have only traded away two more picks then they acquired with Benning at the helm. But every pick does not have the same value, so such a simple explanation isn’t providing the full picture.
Luckily, everything is at our fingertips in the age of the internet. So we can go back, look at all the trades that involved picks and then use pick valuations to determine how the Canucks have done over the last four years.
I am going to use the consolidated Draft Pick Value that was created by PDWhoa here. I had done this post using two different methodologies, and it created very differing results. Using the consolidated methods gives us one metric.
I recommend reading the post by PDWhoa, as it provides links and in-depth information on five different valuation methods used in the consolidated (I will link them below).
When combined, you get this valuation chart:
Unfortunately, I could not get the interactive embed to work, hence the image, but the responsive infographic can be found directly here. PDWhoa also provided the numerical value of the draft picks on this spreadsheet here.
Every Canucks trade that has included a pick since Jim Benning took over the Canucks is as follows:
Just a quick point. Some of these trades are wins, and some are not.
I’ve excluded the Gustav Forsling for Adam Clendening trade, as there was no pick exchanged. I’ve included the trade from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft where the Canucks had traded down with the Chicago Blackhawks (second from bottom). I’ve also excluded the second-round pick compensation for Columbus signing John Tortorella; they don’t get credit for a defunct rule.
Now, without any of the players included:
Some notes about removals and which picks were kept:
- To Vancouver – 2014 second-round pick from Tampa Bay, as that was flipped for Linden Vey the next day. The 2015 seventh to Tampa Bay remains but removes the 2014 second going out the door to Los Angeles.
- To NYR – 2014 third-round pick, as that came from Anaheim in the Kesler deal. We keep the 2015 third-round pick in the Anaheim deal, as it was sent in the trade.
- The 2017 fourth-round pick received from San Jose in the Hansen deal has been removed, as that pick was later traded to Chicago in a trade down situation.
- The pick that was sent to the Islanders for Pedan remains, as it came back in the Sutter deal. It was still an ‘out’ pick and then part of the deal where a different pick with value is sent out.
- The 2016 second-round pick acquired from Anaheim remains as it was included in the Sutter deal, with another pick coming back.
With those removed, it leaves us with the following picks coming in:
2014 1st round pick, 2015 3rd round pick, 2015 7th round pick, 2015 7th round pick, 2016 2nd round pick, 2016 3rd round pick, 2016 5th round pick, 2017 5th round pick and 2017 6th round pick
These are the picks that have been traded out during that same time:
2015 second-round pick, 2015 third-round pick, 2015 seventh-round pick, 2016 third-round pick, 2016 second-round pick (ANA), 2016 second-round pick (VAN), 2016 fifth-round pick, 2016 fourth-round pick, 2017 fifth-round pick, 2017 sixth-round pick, and 2018 fourth-round pick
So, with that, we have nine picks coming in, and 11 going out.
Picks moved converted to valuation
Since the 2018 draft has not happened yet, I have automatically assumed the Canucks will remain where they are to allow me to assign the pick with a value.
Now we can switch the picks, based on their overall selection, to the two different valuation methods. The numbers will be completed different as Tulsky used grouping of picks more and a lower numerical valuation model. The Canucks acquired the following nine picks:
|Draft Pick||Selection||Consolidated Value|
|2014 first-round pick||24th OVR||111.9|
|2015 third-round pick||66th OVR||46.27|
|2015 seventh-round pick||210th OVR||9.33|
|2016 second-round pick||55th OVR||53.28|
|2016 third-round pick||64th OVR||47.57|
|2016 fifth-round pick||140th OVR||17.52|
|2016 seventh-round pick||194th OVR||10.4|
|2017 fifth-round pick||135th OVR||18.12|
|2017 sixth-round pick||181st OVR||11.34|
Then the picks that the Canucks have sent out over the last four years:
|Draft Pick||Selection||Consolidated Value|
|2015 second-round pick||53rd OVR||54.99|
|2015 third-round pick||84th OVR||36.19|
|2015 seventh-round pick||204th OVR||9.69|
|2016 second-round pick (VAN)||33rd OVR||80.33|
|2016 second-round pick (ANA)||55th OVR||53.28|
|2016 third-round pick||64th OVR||47.57|
|2016 fourth-round pick||94th OVR||31.62|
|2016 fifth-round pick||124th OVR||21.37|
|2017 fifth-round pick||126th OVR||20.95|
|2017 sixth-round pick||157th OVR||15.33|
|2018 fourth-round pick||97th OVR||29.77|
Using the consolidated valuation, we see a value decrease of 18.8% over the course of the last four years.
When I used just Tulsky’s methodology, there was an increase of 6.6% in value. But I found that the variance in the value of picks was much closer and with a smaller valuation threshold and is more reflective of perceived trade values. This point is mentioned by PDWhoa as well and seems to be a common point at that, as it varies greatly from the other ones.
On the flip side, when I just used Schuckers, the Canucks saw a decrease in value of 18.7%, which aligns very closely to what the consolidated values presented. This isn’t surprising, as it is the one that I have heard referenced in conversation with ‘hockey people,’ not just the hockey analytics community.
All of these are not perfect, as they are all a few years old. The landscape is ever-changing, and I would be interested to see how teams have updated their valuations to reflect that.
No matter how you slice it, the Canucks have bled draft pick value over the last four years. Looking solely at draft picks moved before a player was selected, the organization has lost almost 1/5 of their asset value, and that was me being generous including the Jared McCann selection, who presented the most inwards value and then was traded less than two years later. If you removed that selection, we see a value decrease of 46.7%. But the Canucks do currently have Erik Gudbranson and could flip him for other picks, which is why I still included that value as a positive.
The other significant value coming to the club were two picks that were shuffled around in the Andrey Pedan, Kevin Bieksa and Brandon Sutter deals, as well as the Jannik Hansen deal that brought in a 2017 fourth-round pick, that was then used to trade down on the draft floor for fifth and sixth-round picks.
Obviously, the majority of the deals were completed before knowing the exact draft position, but it’s still a lot of picks going out the door.
You can argue the direction of the organization as they have used many of the picks to fill an age gap that they felt needed to be filled. Some of those deals worked out, and some of them flopped. Sometimes that can be necessary to help dress a competent lineup through injuries or not missing out on those reclamation projects that pan out. But if you are constantly chasing that, you will end up running into issues down the road.
Which it appears they have as the Canucks are still trending towards a bottom-five finish again this season.
Yes, their prospect pool is improved from when the Benning regime took over, but it’s clear that they could’ve had more value in their draft pick base had they just committed to the rebuild earlier. At this moment, the Canucks will enter the 2018 NHL Entry Draft with only six selections and no extra picks for the next two years. Even if the organization is trending upwards, they won’t be a position to make upgrades with extra assets; it will continuously be rearranging the deck chairs. Which it appears has been the case for the last few years.