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The Canucks and Pick Value

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.

Pick Valuation

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).

Those draft pick valuation models are – Michael Schuckers, Eric Tulsky (now with Carolina), Don’t Tell Me about Heart (now with Colorado), Jibblescribbits, and Stephen Burtch.

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.

The Trades

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
 Total 325.73

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
401.09

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.

Conclusion

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.

  • It’s pretty shocking how many times the Canucks did a player-for-player trade, included a draft pick, and wound up getting the lesser player, or gave up picks to get players they hardly used. 2nd round picks as part of the Sutter/Bonino and McCann/Gudbranson trades are obviously the most egregious, but giving up a pick to trade Kassian for the corpse of Brandon Prust was bad, as were the picks given away in the Pedan and Etem trades.

    • canuckfan

      The Kassian trade was a must do situation at that time it did not matter what or who came back. If Kassian had not been in the car accident his life path may have taken him into the dumpster and we would have said the deal for Prust was good. I still think the Sutter trade is good as Bonino wasn’t doing anything here whereas Sutter is a good shutdown player and penalty killer. McCann for Gudbranson trade is still looking like it was even when you look at what they have done and what happened to the player Panthers drafted with Canucks pick.

  • andyg

    If I had a choice I would move anything that was not bolted down for picks. Look at the ufa market to fill some holes next year. Draft picks should be like gold. Time for the twins to move on and a couple of more years of top five picks are in the cards. No pain no gain.
    It is either go all in for a real contender or be happy with a mediocre team for years to come.

    • Ho Borvat

      I agree bang on with this one providing we are referring to players like Vanek, Gagner, Del Zotto, etc. Benning is well above average so far with his draft choices turning into bonafide prospects. Players like Boeser / Horvat / Lind / Pettersson / Dahlen / Gaudette should be the prime focus to cultivate those players into high end point producing talent. The more picks, the more chances can be taken to pick up some role players in the draft that can compliment this talent ( pests, toughness, utility box players). Then use the higher draft picks to hone in on some defensive prospects (wouldn’t Dahlen be nice…) That should set up potential for a serious contending team in 2020/2021. The only thing I wouldn’t do as Benning would be to approach the Sedins to wave their no trade clauses. They have been gold for this city and deserve to go out with the same team they started with, which is clearly their desired way

      • Rodeobill

        I agree with this, and the previous remark, keep the Sedins, but if we are to be a bottom 5 team, we can do that just as well with a team made of UFAs, AHL stars and have tonnes of picks, ands still be as good as the oilers. Heck, look at LVK this year mash a team together out of spare parts and who knows!?

  • DJ_44

    Great analysis and clear presentation.

    One can quibble here and there, but you have presented an unbiased analysis that is defensible, professional, and free from snark.

  • wojohowitz

    What they could not do in years past was trade depth for picks and now they could. For example Goldobin shows so much potential he could be traded for a late first rounder or Boucher (who is having an excellent season) could be moved for a second rounder and this on top of the expected players for picks.

    • Picks aren’t an end in themselves, though – the point is to get talented young players with them. If you think Goldobin shows so much potential, why would you trade him for a pick that has a lower likelihood of turning into an impact NHL player?

      • wojohowitz

        Opinions on value are subjective. Benning might see potential but Travis Green sees no hope for Goldibin. It`s like Nik Jensen who looked excellent as a rookie but Willie refused to play him. Benning has the final say but Green has input – as in; That guy will never play on my team.

  • Killer Marmot

    No matter how you slice it, the Canucks have bled draft pick value over the last four years.

    When rebuilding, trading a draft pick for a player is perfectly fine if that player is young. As an example, the Canucks traded second-round pick for 22-year-old Baertschi.

    Similiarly with Pouliot. He was 23 years old, so giving up a 4th round draft pick in the deal is not a problem. It did not hurt their rebuilding efforts. And similarly with the Linden Vey trade (although that one did not work out well).

    Thus if this analysis was meant to show that Benning’s trades have hurt their rebuilding effort, it falls short.

    • Dirk22

      Did you miss the part when he said “some of those deals worked out, and some of them flopped.” You could do that for every GM yes, but it’s the overall picture that is a net loss and that is what Benning is being judged on.

      Even the ‘wins’ can be debated. Who would the Canucks rather have right now? Sven Baertchi or Rasmus Andersson (21 years old/6’1/214 lb/Right shot dman/ 26 pts in 38 AHL gms) who the Flames drafted with that 2nd rounder?

      • Killer Marmot

        Except whether these trades actually worked or not was not my point.

        My point is that when rebuilding, trading draft picks for older players is bad, but trading draft picks for younger players is okay. It’s not defeating the purpose of the rebuild.

        • It is if you’re hemorrhaging picks for marginal players, though. Benning’s given up a *lot* of picks for AHLers and tweeners – players who were never likely to make an impact at the NHL level. Baertschi was a fine move, but he’s also moved picks for players like Etem, Pedan, Vey, and Larsen, none of whom were likely to ever be more than depth players. You can easily sign similar depth players as free agents and hang on to your picks to try and find impact players.

          • Killer Marmot

            It is if you’re hemorrhaging picks for marginal players, though.

            Are we worrying about whether the trades worked out in practice or not here? Biech and Dirk22 says we’re not. I say we’re not — that can wait another day.

            My point is that the strategy of comparing picks gained against picks lost is flawed if many of the picks lost were traded for players whose careers had barely begun.

          • You can’t just say “trading picks for players is a good strategy” without consideration for the picks and players traded, though. Whether it’s good or not depends entirely on the execution.

            If you want to look at this without talking about who won or lost trades, then you just look at the fact that Benning has a net loss of draft picks. That’s bad. Or you look at circumstances in which those picks were lost, and consider the trades, in which case you see that Benning was giving up a lot of these draft picks for players with very minimal upside. That’s also bad.

          • Killer Marmot

            Etem went for a 2nd round pick. Pedan went for a 3rd round draft pick. Larsen went for 4th round pick, Etem for another player and a 6th round pick.

            After you get past the 3rd round, the value of the draft picks falls to almost nothing, so only Etem and Pedan went for anything of much value.

            That’s not “hemorrhaging picks”, and ignores the many times Benning picked up picks in trades.

            Vey

          • Puck Viking

            @ marmot.. so your saying any picks in rounds 4 to 7 is not worth it? It just so happens that one of our best prospects was taken in the 5th round so Adam Gaudette says hi.

            You then go on to talk about pedan etc.. well the thing is we could have kept our picks and drafted a player and then once again go out and sign a pedan type player thus still getting a pick and a below average player who unlike a pedan would have played in the NHL.

          • Druken Lout

            Who’s to say the free agents you want to sign are willing? Teams trade low value picks for players before free agency so they get the inside track, it’s about signing the player you want before other teams can. Is that worth the premium of a pick, sometimes when you have a defined need.

          • sloth

            The article is about the theory and the approach, not the outcomes. Nobody knows what a pick or player will become, but teams have unique needs and use different methods to fill those, and there are theoretical underpinnings to the approaches teams can use.

            This article falls short because it purports to analyze pick “quality” when it really doesn’t differentiate from quantity. If the Canucks traded their 5th overall for 10 7th rounders they’d be bleeding pick value in exchange for pick volume. As it is they’ve traded 11 picks for 9 picks of equal value over 17 transactions involving 27 players and 26 picks. There’s a whole lot of nuance to calculating the value of those transactions to a franchise, and comparing the picks that came in and went out doesn’t really tell you anything without more context. Teams get 7 picks per year, s o you need to consider the total drafting strategy, comparing the picks exchanged with all picks kept as well. I posted at length below if anyone wants to check my approach to this.

            Management has made a clear pattern of trading mid-value picks for mid-value older prospects, because the prospect cupboard was empty, because ownership has demanded a semblance of a chase for the playoffs, and because it takes time to overhaul a scouting department and actually rebuild through the draft. Management was obviously expressly prohibited from going scorched earth (“Edmonton-model”) and I’m ok with that. I disagree that players like Etem, Pedan, Vey, Larsen, and Baertschi are available through free agency, because even though they didn’t pan out they all had more upside at the time of their acquisition than the average plug who is available for a league-minimum contract. The outcome wasn’t there, but the value and risk associated with the players and picks exchanged is relatively reasonable in my estimation. There was an identified need for the Canucks to address their older prospect pool first, and that cost draft picks.

            But I’d like to point out that the Benning regime has managed to make the league standard 28 draft selections in their 4 years in charge, so to say they’re hemorrhaging picks is a pretty significant overstatement. Should they have been more aggressive in pursuing extra picks given the state of the prospect pool? Yes probably, but let’s not forget that the Gillis regime made only 37 selections over his 6 years, 5 less than the baseline 42, and before that Nonis only made 24 selections in his 4 drafts before Gillis.

    • Puck Viking

      Why do people keep talking about how it was ok to trade for sven. He is a middle six forward who could have been replaced via free agency then that player could have been moved at the deadline and we could have rasmus andersson or oliver kylington.

      We lost that trade and if you waive pom poms we broke even. It was lack of direction once again and blind ignorance in thinking that we didnt need picks and that some how getting some random mid 20s players would magically turn this team around.

  • Burnabybob

    It’s worth pointing out that some of those trades were for young prospects whom Benning believed were a good bet to become NHL regulars. Trading draft picks for prospects is kind of a wash, at least theoretically.

    Hopefully the Canucks can add more picks or prospects at the trade deadline this year. Vanek, Gudbranson and Hutton all look like possible trade bait.

    • Did anyone ever think Emerson Etem, Andrey Pedan, or Philip Larsen would ever be more than depth plugs in the NHL? The only young player Benning gave up picks to acquire who had a fairly high upside was Linden Vey.

      • Dirty30

        Yes, particulary EE, but like JB I was wrong in my evaluation of talent.

        Vey was, in my mind, “Mason Raymond lite” and more of a detriment than a value player. His deployment was severely skewed by WD’s bias and his play was too often a Ice Capades compendium of fancy moves that Baertschi kept emulating to his detriment.

        I give JB credit for trying to fill out the roster but the cost has been obviously much higher than needed or warranted.

    • Puck Viking

      Are you kidding?? All of those trades were a disaster, he went out to pick up projects. He should have just signed free agents like he did this past summer and kept his picks. All of those terrible trades set this franchise back at least an additional season.

  • rootofroots

    I think the fact that Benning and his Scouts are actually turning out to be pretty good at this drafting thing, makes me both upset by the loss of picks and confused as to why they gave them up at all.

    • LiborPolasek

      Ditto. Hopefully, JB had learned his lesson(s) and would be more willing to keep the picks. Perhaps, JB was trying to build a succession plan on the fly by acquiring players on the cheap with potential to fill a specific age group while drafted players are given time to develope; the previous regime did not really provide him with those players to keep or trade. Great article !!!

  • OMAR49

    Great analysis but I believe the logic is flawed. Unless, I am reading this wrong the discussion is solely about the net change in draft picks and does not take into consideration the value (or lack there-off) of the players involved. Not withstanding the unexpected success of a late round pick like Gaudette the chances of a 2nd round pick making the NHL is only 44%, for a 3rd pick it is 30% and it continues to drop from there. For example, trading a 2nd round pick which only has a 44% chance of making the NHL for a former 1st round pick, such as Baertschi makes a lot of sense as the chances of him making the NHL are much higher, however, in this scenario it is simply viewed as the loss of a 2nd round pick. There can be no argument the Canucks traded away draft picks and based on that scenario they are worse off but I wonder if that would be the case if the entire trade was taken into consideration.

    • The issue though, is that with the exceptions of Baertschi and Vey, who are both players who had pretty high upsides when Benning traded for them (and Benning traded the highest draft picks for these players), the players Benning traded for were depth plugs. Sure, the likelihood of any individual 3rd, 4th, or 5th round pick turning into an NHL’er is relatively low, but you’re giving up that potential for players you could easily sign for no loss of picks on the free market.

      Let’s say for the sake of argument that the picks Benning gave up in the Etem, Pedan, Larsen, and Prust trades turned into *one* Adam Gaudette-level prospect. Would you trade those four players for Adam Gaudette? I sure as heck would.

      Also, regarding seconds for Vey and Baertschi – you’ll note that Benning ended up trading two 2nd round picks for one middle-six NHL winger. That’s more or less the same as what he likely would have ended up with had he just made those two picks. He didn’t really come out ahead, or behind.

      • OMAR49

        All of what you said is very true, but the article only talked about draft picks and I think it’s a mistake to limit the discussion to just that. We should be discussing the trades as a whole and assessing their over all value (or lack there-off)

      • tru north

        Good point Omar! … seems to me like the point to all of these deals isn’t just to increase the ‘potential’ (admittedly measured somewhat imperfectly) of Canuck draft picks but to improve the hockey club. Given that, how can the other assets involved in any trade be removed? Honestly … kinda like buying a vehicle and buying a ‘fully loaded’ vehicle.

        As to the chance that draft pick ‘may/might/could’ turn into the player you are trading for ie. Vey, Baertschi … sure enough but think about the timeline and discount rates. Would you rather have a player now or maybe in 4 years?

    • goalfiSh

      What Omar said^

      And furthermore to that poont… Using the stock market as an analogy, you never gain or lose until you sell. The moment the Canucks cut bait on Linden Vey they locked in their losses and took the hit. The value of that 2nd round pick is gone forever. That is most definitely a value decrease.

      A player like Baertschi however represents a net increase. He is still on the team and is in all likelihood worth more today then a 2nd round pick. The Canucks could still trade him today for more then their original investment, and in the meantime they have collected dividends as Baertschi has been a mainstay on the roster for over 2 seasons. This can hardly be deemed a decrease in value.

      Even in the case of Erik Gudbranson (who is also still on the team), while his value is seemingly lower then that of the draft picks given up to acquire him, the Canucks have not locked in their losses. They still own all their shares of Erik Gudbranson, and his stock could* recover, and they may* still yet recoup some of that seemingly lost value. Is it likely, no. But is it possible? Yes. Absolutely.

      So rather then saying that trading a 2nd for Baertschi represents a decrease in value, as the data suggests.. i look at it as the Canucks drafted a 23yr old NHL ready Baertschi in the 2nd round, and he is an asset and represents a positive contribution to their portfolio of young talented forwards. That is excellent value in my opinion, and needs to somehow finds it’s way into the data. It would push the needle back closer into JB’s favour.

      Pip pip

  • As much as we’d like to go back in time and say the rebuild started earlier, don’t forget that our cap management masterminds Gillis and Gilman have NTC or modified NTC to all players with any significant value: the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Higgins, Hansen, Garrison, Bieksa, Edler, Hamhuis, and Luongo. So are you saying that Benning’s first job should have been to convince all of his core players that the NTC clause they got for a hometown discount was now invalid? Great way to make a good first impression. We got lucky with Garrison giving in, although he didn’t really want to go (remember the “they have a way of making you feel unwanted” quote?). The Kesler trade was a disaster and Hamhuis trade deadline was botched. We were really lucky that Hansen, Burrows and Bieksa put the team and city ahead of themselves.

    So realistically, starting the rebuild earlier is really about flipping those few bit pieces like Matthias and co. for late round picks that, according to the value chart, are pretty useless?

    • Except that these NTCs ultimately didn’t matter and Benning traded Kesler, Hansen, Garrison, and Bieksa, Luongo was gone before Benning arrived, Higgins retired and the Sedins and Edler are still with the team.

      The idea that players who waved NTCs put the team ahead of themselves is just not reasonable. None of those players are Vancouver natives. They all want to win. All of them knew winning wasn’t going to happen in Vancouver. Why stay? Bieksa and Burrows both parlayed those trades into much larger contracts than they likely would have received had they continued playing with the Canucks.

      The Hamhuis trade was absolutely botched but you can’t lay that on the Gillis regime. The return for Kesler – a totally solid 2nd line centre who went on to win two cups, a defenceman with lots of upside who couldn’t put it all together, and a 1st round pick, was fine. That Benning went on to piss away all those assets is, again, something the Gillis regime had nothing to do with.

    • LTFan

      Forever 1915 – the Kesler trade. Benning had just arrived in Vancouver and the Kesler camp had already stated that he wanted out of Vancouver. I believe his contract was a NTC and if it was to be waived Kesler could give a list of teams he wanted to go to. Anaheim was one of two teams on Kesler’s list. So Benning did the best he could when dealing from a weak position. The point is Kesler wasn’t coming back to Vancouver and was a distraction to the team. I would give Benning a pass on the Kesler deal.

      • Oh, and I do give Benning a pass on the Kesler deal. The point I was trying to make is that calls for an earlier rebuild was severely hampered by all of the NTC’s.

        From the article: “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. ”

        Benning managed to move most of the NTC’s but to think that he could move a substantial part of 11 NTC’s in his first or second year is pretty unrealistic. So realistically, the pieces that he could have moved earlier would have been bit pieces that would have returned very little, as per the pick value chart.

        I’m challenging the notion that they could have had significantly more value if they tried moving more than what Benning did earlier. Alternatively, Benning could have had more draft pick value if he bypassed trades that would have cost him draft picks (e.g. Pedan, Pouliot, Etem, Prust) and tried to swing trades where he didn’t have to throw in a pick, trades that would have been player for player, given his prowess for drafting and love for draft picks.

        • That’s a straw man though – people who argue the team should have started to rebuild sooner are not saying Benning should have completely gutted the team of all talent. They’re saying he shouldn’t have thrown away draft picks, traded away young talent, and signed pointless, high-dollar veteran contracts.

          If the Canucks had held on to more of these draft picks, made better use of their first round picks in 2014, and rather than signing big money veteran contracts, done as the Leafs did and leveraged their cap space and deep pockets to take some bad contracts off of other teams in exchange for picks and prospects, they could have been far further ahead than they are now.

          • KCasey

            All of these arguements are so near sighted and ignore so many factors that play into every level of a franchise. To compare picks to picks in a scenario designed to make a biased assesment doesnt do justice to the trickle down effect every trade has on a roster. So to say they lost a 2nd round pick in the Vetotrade and call it that and just count the beans and move on neglects the aftermath of what that trade does after the transaction. The rest of the roster has competition from a new guy therefor motivating them to step there game up and work harder in practice to get ice time. Than you factor in what happens when you trade that same player away and those same guys get a jolt that playing hard and being in the coaches good books doesnt gaurantee you a place and you need to keep working to be an even better player. Thats just one small point in a whole sea of factors. Mcann. They traded him and everyone lost there minds over asset managment….well that is everyone except the players in the locker room who all apparently had no love lost over the trade. You think if Mcann stayed in the locker room these last two years playing the role of being a good little asset while all the other assets in our locker room slowly eat him alive that everything would be magically better just because we have a guy that some consider to have high upside. The NHL is not a game where you just collect people with stats that support your theory of what is good. It is a very delicate act of balancing characters in a locker room and having those players skills compliment one another.
            Last point to touch on is the arming cap space to take on bad contracts. Everytime someone uses this its almost as if they think that the entire league is felled with GMs that love to first ink bad contracts…than find joy if bleeding assets to rid those contracts. This also shows lack of sight to think that other rebuilding teams dont seek out these options and take them when available. Hell its so easy that the Canucks can just throw somebody a 3rd round pick to take Erikson. Everybody would make that trade cause its gaining assets right. Use your noodle people.

  • Big D, little d

    Put me down on the side of those who think the conclusion here is flawed. Think of it this way; draft picks are money and players are assets. If after doing a bunch of buying and selling you only look at how much money you have left, you only see half the picture. You also need to consider how much you have increased/decreased the value of your assets.

    I think a proper analysis would include a valuation of the players under contract and then consider if the increase in value justified the expenditure of draft picks.

  • fretallack

    Cool idea – If I’m interpreting this right, I think, rather than % loss, it seems like comparing the net loss of “Points” : – 75, can be compared to pick value. 75 points looks like approximately a 28th overall pick. So that’s what we’ve given away, overall, net, considering picks only, for all benning’s trades. If that’s right I think its a super cool conceptual way to look at it, by baselining all the pick values like that you can consolidate the overall loss to the value of one pick. Right?

    • krutov

      according to the specific examples a 33rd overall is worth 80.33 points. so 75 points is more like about 36th overall i think.

      i am surprised to see analysis that we are only down that much in aggregate opn draft picks once they are weighted by value. benning has chased a lot of rainbows in the last 4 years. apparently he’s done so for basically the trade cost of baertschi in draft picks.

      i think it is fair in this analysis to also list the young assets he gave up who could be part of a rebuild, which would be basically forsling and mccann.

      so if benning got baertschi, sbisa, granlund, gudbranson, sutter, dorsett, goldobin, dahlen, and pouliot in return for trading aging players plus forsling, baertschi and the equivalent valuve of a high 2nd rounder in draft picks, he’s actually done pretty well, and it vindicates benning’s view about draft picks.

      i am a bit skeptical ryan’s method is not too generous to benning though.

      • Bud Poile

        Not to mention Benning never began revamping the Canucks horrid scouting dept until after draft two or one year on the job.
        There was a dire need to fill the roster/prospect pool and he wasn’t intent on using the Crawford/Delorme regime to fill them.

        • krutov

          just to be clear i meant to say i think ryan biech’s analysis seems too generous to benning, not the other way around. my gut tells me benning has given out more value in his tenure than just a 2nd rounder.

  • WiseCanuck

    Who cares … lets put this one to bed once and for all with the ONLY stats that matter…

    Canucks under Benning…
    S1… one and done after inheriting a team still good enough for 101 points
    S2.. no playoffs – 28th in the league
    S3.. no playoffs – 29th in the league
    S4.. no playoffs – 28th in the league

    Under Gillis/Gilman…

    5 division titles, 5 playoff births, 2 presidents trophies, 1 western conf title, 1 game 7 SCF, 2 art ross, 1 hart, 1 selke… See the disparity here? get a grip guys – Benning must GO!

  • MM

    Good article. I do disagree slightly with the comment that, “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.” I say this because in the summer they can rent FAs and then sell at deadline day. Hopefully they do that this year with Vanek and Guddy.

    Do if they continue to suck next year. say they make improvement based on draft momemtum paying dividends but miss the playoff by a couple spots, they can still sell next year’s Vanek and Guddy again. Maybe they can rinse and repeat on Vanek alone!

  • MM

    Reading between the lines here, what i see is the Canucks finally have an amateur scouting staff led by JB that can really produce. What they’ve always lacked and still do is a Pro-scouting staff that can produce. Can you imagine a canucks team with a superior pro-scouting team that never traded Jared McCann for Guddy, or a 2nd for Vey, or made the Etem deal, the bonino – sutter trade, forsling for clendenning. How many fails has the Pro-scouting team made and why do they still have a job? They should clean house there just like they did on the amateur side…

      • Bud Poile

        That’s a fairy tale.
        If the scouting department is wretched the GM is left with terrible choices.
        The Delorme-led scouting dept. was one of ,if not the worst in the NHL.
        Benning replaced Delorme after evaluating and promoting his replacement in Brackett after draft 2/year one.
        Crawford was canned within a year.
        The entire scouting department was revamped in year 3.
        This scouting dept was the laughing stock of the NHL and it was in place for decade(s).
        Look at last year’s draft choices and compare them to any Gillis draft.
        Benning had the scouting background and abilities to gut and streamline a horrid scouting dept..
        Burke,Quinn,Gillis and Nonis had no scouting backgrounds,player assessment,development nor managerial experiences.
        The NHL’s worst drafting franchise was just replaced and most fans here,including CA writers,can’t even give credit where it’s due because they’re too daft to connect the historical facts.

  • sloth

    “No matter how you slice it, the Canucks have bled draft pick value over the last four years.”

    Have you actually tried slicing it every way though?

    The Canucks traded away 11 draft picks for 9 picks in return… 9 / 11 = 81.8%… so they lost 18.2% of the QUANTITY of their draft picks in those exchanges, which aligns very closely with your assertion that they lost 18.7% of the VALUE of those draft picks, which was based on the quotient of the SUMS of the consolidated values of the 11 picks going out and the 9 picks returning.

    But if we look at the MEAN values of the picks traded and received, we see that the Canucks traded 11 picks with an average consolidated value of 36.5 each, and received 9 picks with an average consolidated value of 36.2 each. The difference in the sums of the values of the picks going out and those returning is 75.36, or two picks valued at 37.68 each (mid-late 3rd rounders). So yes, the Canucks essentially traded 11 picks for 9 picks of equal value – yes they just gave 2 picks away for nothing… except they weren’t for nothing, they were lost over 17 trades involving 27 players and 26 picks changing hands… analyzing the loss of value of the picks is fairly meaningless without a way to analyze the value of all the other assets that were exchanged in all those transactions.

    Furthermore, I’d challenge that you’ve missed a HUGE piece of this analysis – the picks that were NOT moved. Every team gets 7 picks every year, so Benning has had access to 28 over his 4 drafts as GM – and just looking at the 20 picks that were involved in transactions does NOT tell the whole story of the Canucks’ management of the pick value at their disposal. They’ve made 28 draft selections during Benning’s tenure 7, 7, 6, then 8 respectively. I don’t know how to reconcile with the stated net loss of 2 picks via trade … the Tortorella pick is one of the two, where did they recover the other? Did Gillis leave with 1 extra pick in the stable? Either way, loss of 1 or 2 picks over 4 years is just 3.5% or 7% of baseline pick quantity for that time period. However, the point of this piece was to analyze how the Canucks have managed pick VALUE, not quantity. The combined consolidated value of each of the Canucks’ actual draft picks in the last 4 years are as follows:

    2014: 483 (7 picks)
    2015: 233 (7 picks)
    2016: 321 (6 picks)
    2017: 470 (8 picks)

    That’s a total value of 1507 across 28 picks, an average of 376.75 per draft, and an average value of 53.8 per pick. If the Canucks indeed gave up 75.36 in trades, that’s just a loss of 4.5% in total consolidated pick value over 4 years. There are lots of valid criticisms of the Canucks approach to this “retool-on-the-fly-turned-rebuild,” and I would have liked to see them be more proactive in accumulating picks, but the conclusion that they are “bleeding pick value” doesn’t really hold up for me given the full context and my understanding of these numbers.

    Does anyone with a better statistical brain than me see any big holes in what I’m saying here? It’s a totally new stat set for me to get my head around, so maybe I’m totally out to lunch, but the use of the numbers in the article really doesn’t seem logical to me…

    • truthseeker

      Wow. Nicely done. The original article didn’t seem very logical to me and your analysis really fills in those gaps I’m too lazy to investigate. Plus I suck at math.

      I would love to hear a counter response from the writer or anyone who takes issue with what you just posted.

      Until I hear a better argument I think yours stands victorious.

      • Cageyvet

        I couldn’t agree more with truthseeker, thanks for a great follow up response. I love how the actual percentage and values attributed were virtually identical, makes you wonder if it was worth all the hoops he jumped through.

        • sloth

          Thanks for the feedback. I’d love to hear a response from Ryan as I genuinely find this fascinating. I wonder what it would look like to try and reconcile “pick value” with “player value” using some sort of modified pGPS type system to value the players exchanged at the times of the transactions?

          Also wanted to update that I realized one of the 11 picks traded away was the 2018 4th-rounder, which obviously wouldn’t show up on Bennings actual selection record yet. So there was a net loss of 1 pick via trades over 4, but a gain of 1 pick thanks to the Tortorella compensation. If we still look at this as a net loss of 1 pick and ignore the 2018 pick, that total lost pick value across those 4 drafts was 45.59, equivalent to the 67th-overall pick. That amounts to a loss of 3% from the baseline pick value available to the team over Benning’s 4 drafts.

          • sloth

            So to summarize, Benning has just about broken even on both pick value and volume during his tenure, essentially just dealing away the one extra pick they got from the Torts debacle, but actually losing less value than the value of that specific pick…

            Whether breaking-even is good enough, given the situation of the franchise, is totally up for debate, but to say they have bled value or even quantity is just plain wrong based on the statistical models and baselines as I understand them.

            For the record, I hope Benning is targeting picks at the deadline and in the offseason, and that the Canucks head into 2018 with surplus pick value either through quantity or quality, especially since the results of recent drafts have been so promising since the scouting shuffle. For me his job depends on the outcome of this trade deadline, and I’m hopefulthat he makes these right moves for the franchise, and also that ownership can recognize the moves he makes as being beneficial to the franchise.

        • truthseeker

          Hopefully all the people reading those Province articles that have been using this article as some kind of source have read down to Sloth’s comment to see how fundamentally flawed the conclusion is. Unfortunately the lazy Province writers Botchford and the other one just took the article as gospel without questioning it’s conclusions.

          This is how nonsense spreads….