Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports

On Negativity

Listen: Elliotte Friedman made some comments about the Vancouver hockey market, and it made a lot of people very upset. (If you’ve somehow missed it. you can listen here.)

It’s been discussed ad nauseam, I’ll admit, but there’s more that ought to be said.

For those that can’t be bothered to click, here’s the gist: Vancouver is a tough market. The negative attitude here takes its toll on the executives and their families. Maybe it’s fair to speculate that it’s had an effect on the on-ice product, either by influencing front office decisions or by scaring away potential free agents.

I’d like to keep the focus off of Friedman as much as possible. Mostly because I think media gossip is a lot less interesting to the average fan than many of us think it is, and also because I think he’s just expressing an honest sentiment that many in this market share. The idea that the Vancouver commentariat is too negative has been around as long as I can remember, and the sentiment that it negatively affects the team has been brewing for some time.

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Just look at some of these comments, and the upvote counts.

There’s evidence to suggest it reflects how the front office feels, too. No, I’m not talking about the asinine suggestion that Friedman is carrying water for the Canucks. (Friedman gave a humourously sarcastic nod to the conspiracy theories on last night’s broadcast. Say what you will about his comments, but at least he has a sense of humour.) I’m talking about the team president’s comments:

“Every time we do something, there’s a reaction. It’s more times bad than good. But, hey, it is what it is.”

To their credit, Linden and Benning have actually taken the criticism in stride for the most part. There’s a lot to pick apart when looking at their track record, but they’ve shown relatively thick skin. This is reflected in another of Linden’s comments:

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“I’ve been here since 1988 as a player. I’ve been scrutinized as a player. I’ve been scrutinized in this role (as president). It’s a Canadian market. People care. They’re passionate. I knew what I was getting into.”

If you look at the history of the market and the organization and hear someone suggest it’s been toxic at times, you’ll quickly see that that idea scans. When the team was at its height, the fans and the media could be very tough on the team. On the media side of things, the coverage of the goalie situation got particularly ugly. The fans get in on the action, too. It’s not often you see fans stage protests outside the arena, or to start chants calling for the GM’s head. And of course, there were the riots.

Now, as ugly as things could be, the coverage from media outside the city took the cake. But that’s a story for another time. The point is, it’s not like the criticisms of the overall attitude in the market came out of nowhere.

Now, with that out of the way, I think it’s more than fair to point out that there are a couple of holes in the sentiment that the market is even partially to blame for the team’s failings.

Context is one.

For five years, the team has been bad. It’s been in desperate need of a rebuild. With the exception of the mirage that was the 2014-15 season, they’ve been a bottom-of-the-league organization.

For the most part, the market has been patient.

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There will always be naysayers, but part of an NHL executive’s job is to tune out the noise.

Last year’s deadline was heralded. Many believed Trevor Linden and Jim Benning had finally learned from their mistakes and were changing gears. The market might be in for some painful years, but the decision to jettison two respected veterans and the assets they got in return suggested management had what it takes to do what was right for the long-term health of the franchise.

There was euphoria surrounding the draft. They swung for the fences on all but one of their picks.

They went a little veteran-heavy in free agency, but you could convince yourself this was to give the organization the opportunity to move out other pieces in exchange for futures. Suddenly it looked like the front-office might be adapting to a changing game, and looking at getting more creative and savvy with their roster construction.

The last few weeks put an end to all those fanciful ideas. The general manager was extended. Even with the long history of questionable decisions, the extension was defensible given the recent track record.

The last week, however, was genuinely puzzling. The organization’s moves were utterly at odds with the philosophy of the past year. Actions speak louder than words. The Gudbranson extension (and decision to forego the futures the team would have received by trading him) and the players targeted at the deadline seemed to say to the market, “We extended the general manager because of all the great things he’s done this year; but we’re not going to continue in that well-received direction. Instead, we’re going back to a poorly received direction that involves doing what didn’t work in the two previous seasons.”

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The idea that the response to the Thomas Vanek situation from fans in the aftermath of the deadline is actually a reflection of residual anger about past decisions hasn’t gotten nearly enough play in the past day or two. Gudbranson was far and away the team’s best trade chip, and taking him off the market increased the pressure to get a Vanek deal done. It also increased the pressure to get a good return. It wasn’t unreasonable for fans to look at the deals the team signed in the summer and the pack of moveable veterans and predict the team could enter the 2018 draft with eight or nine picks. Instead, they lost one in the Derrick Pouliot trade and added a couple of reclamation projects in their mid-twenties. The team’s recent history is littered with those types of players, and many didn’t work out. Heading into the summer in the NHL’s basement with six picks in the upcoming draft isn’t something that’s going to make sense to fans, especially when the team’s draft record has been so well-received overall. So really, the reaction isn’t about Motte or Vanek. It’s about a body of work that looks uninspiring.

For years, the fans in this market have heard they can’t handle a rebuild. The team’s own management has gone so far as to make this implication. They’ve responded by keeping the arena 80-90% full on most nights.

When you look at the team’s bottom line — the only thing that really matters — it’s hard to come away thinking the fans aren’t supportive enough. And if the media is on a crusade to turn fans against the team, it hasn’t worked. Not in any tangible, meaningful sense.

Yes, the fans can be critical; but they buy the product. Ticket sales are strong for an awful team in an ostensibly fickle market. In no other industry is it considered unfair for consumers to criticize a product they spend hundreds of dollars a year on.

Managing a hockey team can be a hard job. It’s stressful. The travel is tough. Family time is limited, and the hours are crazy. Sometimes, executives may feel unfairly maligned. But let’s put a notion to bed right now: not a single NHL GM should feel put-upon.

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Contrast that to the fans. Hockey is rightly seen as a sport for rich folks; but concerning fandom, it still has a notable working-class contingent. There are fans in this market that work long hours, make very little money, and are feeling squeezed by a skyrocketing cost of living. For those people, following the Canucks is a way to wind down. An escape, even. By and large, those fans are still invested. They still tune in at 7 pm to watch their team get pummelled, and a few of them even scrounge up the cash to see it happen live and in real-time. Painting comments about the fans being the problem in Vancouver as class warfare feels a tad hyperbolic, I’ll admit; but the implication that the fans that buy the product the millionaires in the front office are peddling need to be more considerate about their feelings doesn’t sit right with me.

There’s a quote from my favourite author, Kurt Vonnegut, which I’m reminded of:

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves… Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters.”*

Vonnegut was talking about the American working class, but I think there’s still a parallel to be drawn here. Obviously, the Venn diagram of working-class Vancouverites and Canucks fans is not a perfect circle. I have all the time in the world for discussions about how the Canucks’ poorest fans have been squeezed out of the arena experience, but unfortunately, that would be too long of a digression in this instance. The prescriptive element of what Vonnegut was discussing is that last sentence. There is absolutely a large community of fans in this market who, when confronted with a team that’s languished in the league’s basement for the better part of half a decade, blames the fan community for not being supportive enough. According to them, the organization is fighting a losing battle because the market is impossible to please.

There’s a sentiment that exists in all facets of journalism, (not just the inconsequential realm of sports,) that assumes that if you don’t find yourself straight down the middle of every issue, you must have a bias. The reality is that not every issue has two equal sides. When things aren’t going well, and it’s hard to find a positive angle, that’s going to be reflected in the coverage. As bad as things have gotten, we’ve got a ways to go before the newspapers start calling for heads in the manner that we’ve seen from other Canadian markets.

At the end of the day, though? As far as the media is concerned, I’m sure they can take the heat. It’s part of the job. They’ll always hear that they’re too negative. And if the last 24 hours are any indication, they’re also ready, willing, and able to defend themselves.

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The fans, on the other hand, can and should say whatever they want. The media and the organization would all be out of a job if not for them.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds.

*It’s not Whitman, but it ought to count for something.

  • Dirty30

    Can you find one positive article on Canucks Army? The Editor of this site is a self-professed “not a fan” of the Canucks and most of the bloggers (not ‘journalists’) write pieces that simply trash whatever the team does or doesn’t do according to a tired negative narrative.

    No one seems to be asking for any Pollyannish take on a lousy situation — no one likes their team losing year after year (and not one of us wants to become a pathetic shell of a human being with only inflatable friends to console us like most Oilers fans), but at times it would be appreciated, refreshing even, enjoyed to some extent, to read something that doesn’t just start and end with negativity.

    By the way, the new guys played really well yesterday against the Rangers. Sure, not as exciting as having a couple late round picks at the draft, but they certainly showed some skill and tenacity and were actually a lot more entertaining than advertised.

    • Kickpuncher

      Last night’s game was probably the most fun I’ve had watching this team in 4 years. And therein lies the problem.

      Thus far, the Canucks have been the worst team in the league since November, and have been bottom-5 in the standings for 3 (soon-to-be 4) years running. Fact is, there’s not much to be positive about when that’s going on, and that fosters an environment that’s more conducive to critique than it is to positivity.

      Every once in awhile there’ll be a positive prospect update or an article extolling the virtues of a tweaked power play or new coach, but given the state of the franchise, a 3:7 ratio in terms of positive:negative is about par for the course right now.

      When this team starts winning and getting results, do you think the negativity will continue? I don’t. But until then…

    • Dirk22

      “Can you find one positive article on Canucks Army?” – D30

      Plenty of positive articles on the following topics…just from the last year: Boeser, Horvat, Hutton, Stetcher, the 2017 trade deadline, the 2017 draft, Canucks prospects every week, the twins!, Leipsic for Christ’s sake!, Philip Holm and get this Philip frickin Larsen! etc etc etc.

      “but at times it would be appreciated, refreshing even, enjoyed to some extent, to read something that doesn’t just start and end with negativity” – D30

      This I don’t get. What do you want to hear? What would be a positive take on their situation – they have some great draft picks? That’s been covered extensively. This site clearly feels the Canucks have some good players coming up but also clearly feels this organization isn’t doing all they can to create a contending team. I’m not trying to be glib or snarky but I honestly don’t know what people would expect to hear or want to hear. I guess you could have an article speaking on the importance of ‘mentorship’ or the value of guys who may not provide much in the way of making your hockey team better now but we will see dividends down the road. Again, I’m being sincere here – I genuinely want to know what people who consistently moan about this site would want to hear.

      • Dirty30

        As noted — “something that doesn’t just start and end with negativity” – D30

        There are topics outside ‘managerial incompetence, lack of direction, poor asset management (drafting, contracts, trades etc) that could be interesting.

        But the first sentence in my post says it all — drop the negativity. Learn to do critical analysis rather than just criticize; understand that marginally robust statistics aren’t necessarily better than what people view in play on the ice; and the endless snark from some of the bloggers is simply immature and tiring.


  • detox

    Media mob mentality. One outlet starts pounding some point and the next day or sooner they are all hitting it. valid or not.

    Maybe the club should have been all in on the tank but there is no patience in this market. none.

    • Kickpuncher

      If their assessment was that this market has no patience, then what the hell was the point of trying to be competitive for the last four years and instead consistently finishing at the bottom of the league?

      At least if they had embraced a rebuild from the start, fans would have more young up-and-coming players to be excited about. As it stands, all they’ve been subjected to is boring hockey, mediocre veterans, and managerial excuses that put the onus on the fans instead of those at the helm of the franchise.

      You want a recipe for impatience, they just assembled the ingredients and brought it to a simmer, all on their own.

  • Killer Marmot

    The trouble with criticizing any one move by management is this — we are only ever privy to part of the story. Linden, Benning, and Green are almost never free to tell us everything.

    That means that fans can only fairly judge most events through the rear-view mirror, when some of the underlying facts have leaked out.

    A good example is the Granlund-Shinkaruk trade. Most fans didn’t like it at first. But the Canucks organization had a far better feel for Shinkaruk’s NHL potential than the fans, due to Shinkaruk’s play in Utica. They weren’t free to come out a say “Shinkaruk’s a dud” — you don’t do that to a prospect. All they could do is trade him for what they thought was an underappreciated player.

    • Freud

      So let’s look at all management’s moves and their philosophy.

      They said from the beginning they could turn things around quickly, they want to compete and be in the playoffs every year. Most of their moves were in this direction. They ended up 29th, 28th and 29th the last 3 years. They stated their goal and failed dramatically.

      A large faction said from the start this was a bad idea. That’s not hindsight, that’s call being right.

      Stop with the excuses.

      • Killer Marmot

        I was addressing the difficulty of critiquing any one move, especially at the time that it’s made.

        I think it’s perfectly fine to critique the overall performance.

        Address what I actually said, not what you imagine I said.

    • Benning’s bad moves need to be balanced against some of the less heralded good moves. Take last night for example, Markstrom and Nilsson were terrible. Oh, so that’s why Benning spent $6M per year on Miller and tried to bring him back, against the wishes of Canucks Nation. Oh, because Benning knows his team. Same with Subban, terrible defensive player and likely never to be an NHL regular.

      This team has shown that they have the ability to severely beat good teams like Washington or Dallas. They’re not consistent and the team is still clearly deficient in many areas but the potential is there, and most of Benning’s future core isn’t even here yet. We seriously need to fix the goaltending situation in the offseason to contend for a playoff spot. From there, as we see more core players filter in, we’ll start to become a contender.

      • Dirk22

        I’m going to take your last sentence and discuss it a bit because I think this is where there is a big divide among the fanbase.

        I don’t think there is anyone (Benning supporters or detractors) who doesn’t like Petterson, Gaudette, Juolevi (maybe?!), Lind, Demko etc. Those players everyone can agree are good prospects and everybody is excited to see them. Where the divide happens is those who think those players alone (plus Horvat, Boeser and co) will be enough to make this team a ‘contender’ as you just stated (assuming you mean a team in the realm of TBay or Winnipeg).

        I’m on the side where I don’t think that’s anywhere close to enough and I think many agree with me. I also think this is why there’s such an outrage when this team refuses to part with the current core (excluding Sedins) to give itself opportunities to find more gems in the draft. To think that all those prospects are not only going to hit but they are going to hit to the level of contender status is very optimistic – and many think fool-hearted.

        • Pettersson, Dahlen in Top 5 of Swedish league scoring, Gaudette leading Hobey Baker nominations, Demko in Top 5 of AHL goaltending, the prospects that made WJC20 teams…seriously, what else could these prospects possibly do to prove themselves?

          Where I will agree that the future core is lacking is in defence. Clearly, we don’t have Top 2 defenders to anchor that core. But that can be solved in a couple of ways: trading Tanev in the off-season or drafting an impact defender in the 2018 draft.

          I think it’s hilarious that we have such accomplished prospects that aren’t good enough but getting a 3rd round draft pick at the trade deadline is a major victory. Screw Pettersson, Dahlen, Gaudette, Demko, Boeser, Horvat, Juolevi…our problem is clearly that we don’t have enough 5th round draft picks.

          • Dirk22

            The Rangers have 7 picks in the first 3 rounds of this upcoming draft. They’ve added 4 of those since January. With those picks, along with their others, I’m pretty sure they’re going to come out with at least a “Gaudette,” a “Lind” and a “Juolevi.” At least 3 prospects that project well. That’s the point people are trying to make.

            And even if you don’t buy any of that, why wouldn’t you want more prospects (just in case?). What’s the advantage of having all of these veterans in lieu of them? You admit you think trading Tanev is an idea – that’s exactly the type of thing people are screaming for….it seems there are no issue then.

          • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see more prospects. I envision Benning will be able to draft well enough to keep the cream of the crop and trade off the surplus prospects for picks (i.e. the Chicago model).

            But what I object to is the idea of a fire sale now and fielding a crap team. I’ve explained in other posts that the reason is that we need to field a competitive team. Look at the last NYR game, we lost but it was so fun to watch. Even if we lose, if it’s an entertaining game, then people will keep investing their time and money. Would you have watched that game if it was Desjardins behind the bench and Megna/Chaput/Skille/Bartkowski on the ice? Moreover, it’s a bad message to core players like Horvat and Boeser, to give up on their season and a portion of their career even before the puck drops in October.

            And with regards to trading Tanev, I’m thinking premium or no trade. Roster player, 1st round pick and blue-chip prospect. The NYR trades are examples of what I would expect, keeping in mind that they did rentals where as Tanev is a hockey trade. They got roster players (Namestnikov, Spooner), prospects (Hajek, Howden, Lindgren) and picks (1st, 2nd and 7th round picks). Otherwise, no way would I surrender a cost-controlled premium shutdown defender in his prime for anything less. Furthermore, the place for that kind of structural trade is the draft/offseason. The trade deadline is for rentals where the number of buyers is limited.

          • Dirk22

            So you would love to have more prospects but don’t want to break up this good thing the Canucks have going on?

            Can you not see why some people don’t understand that mentality. I’ve been around competitive sports playing and coaching my whole life and understand the arguments for culture and know the importance of having the right habits and all of that – really I do. I cannot, however, understand how you can be reluctant to break up a group that for three years has been among the worst in the NHL. What are you afraid of there?

            And, on the other hand, if there’s no trade value anywhere on this team doesn’t that say a lot about the players?

          • DJ_44

            What I cannot see is the anger at how the Canucks handled the trade deadline. It is a complete cop-out to claim it is a culmination of all the moves management has made. The centerpiece is the Gudbranson signing. Signing a 26 year old soon be RFA to a 3 year deal at a very reasonable AAV (confirmed by others around the league). They further confuse the situation as a sunk cost or saving face.

            It is basic asset management. You have an asset. If he was shopped prior to the deadline (and I am sure they asked) the potential return was not what the Canucks deemed he was worth. So they maintain their asset by signing him with no trade restrictions.

            Gudbranson is a solid defenceman. He has value. There is no need to sell cheap; none. Keep him. His recent performance with Edler increases his value. There is also a 2019 draft. I believe that it also has players and they are picked in rounds. I hear it is even in Vancouver. Screaming for draft pick at the TDL simply did not align with the best time to shop the assets that may be tradeable.

            The outcry and negativity was purely for negativity sake and led by the usual suspects. Why else would articles repeat assertions from 2014 (and fulfilled the following season) about turning it around quickly and assume it is meant to continue? The desire to be competitive is not bad. The plan has always been to transition the team. This is a better description of what is occurring compared to re-build. Slow and steady in a positive direction. The reason? Re-builds are slow processes. 4-7 years depending on the crap that was left to deal with. Toronto took 10. Boston actually rebuilt-on-the-fly. The reason they were successful so far? Their 2011 core was younger than the Canucks and is still producing at elite levels.

          • Dirk22

            The people screaming for trades are well aware rebuilds take time – exactly why they want to start stockpiling prospects!

            Ask yourself why Toronto took 10 years. Do you think it had anything to do with Burke? Does this paragraph sounds famililar?

            “Fans and media calling for Brian Burke’s head are doing so based on the following theory. He fast tracked a rebuild by refusing to “do it properly” and use his own draft picks to restock the team. He has traded away picks in favour of a shortened rebuild and is now paying the price. A patient fan base was willing to accept the time it would take for a proper rebuild and Burke’s plan has clearly failed based on missing the playoffs again for a fourth season.”


          • Ser Jaime Lannister

            @Forever 1915 Are you even watching these games? It wouldnt be a fire sale, theres only 2-3 guys who have some value on this team that we can trade and arent part of this core (Tanev, Edler, Sven) You say we need to field a competitive team? This team has been garbage for the last three years and this will be the fourth. We replaced the Megnas,Skilles,Barkowskis with Gagner,MDZ,Dowd… These players are terrible, this team will be competitive when we aquire better players…and the games are exciting to watch when we play our youth, that is what fans want too see.

            As for Tanev i agree as long as we fetch a 1 round pick, roster player, and a prospect make the trade.

          • Dirk22…how can you ask a season ticket holder to give $1,500 to $2,000 so they can sit through 41 games of AHL pluggers? This is still a business and you cannot give up on your fans, specifically the ones that actually pay money. I’ve worked in huge corporations and busted my tail in small business so I can speak from experience. Honestly, how many people on Team Tank actually spend money on this team? Zero? Easy to tell Benning to tank when it’s funded by other people’s money.

            Moreover, it’s not that the players don’t have trade value. The point is that those players with value are in use, in the roster. For example, if Gaudette steps in and plays better than Sutter, great, now you can trade Sutter. When there are replacements ready to step up, like Pettersson or Gaudette, possibly Juolevi next year or Lind, Gadjovich, Lockwood or Brisebois the year after, then you can start moving guys on the roster now.

          • With regards to Burke in Toronto, the problem was that he didn’t convert on his draft picks. Shall I share some facts since I’ve scrubbed the EliteProspects draft database from 1998 to 2017 and cross-referenced it with every GM in that period?

            In the four years as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Burke presided over 4 drafts and had 29 draft picks. That contradicts the rheoteric from your link that said “Burke has traded away all our draft picks.” He had four 1st round picks, four 2nd round picks, four 3rd round picks, two 4th round picks, five 5th round picks, five 6th round picks, and five 7th round picks. So he actually had one more draft pick than a standard team get alloted.

            The problem is that he didn’t convert on 27 of 29 (93.1%) of his picks. Only Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri has played more than 200 games. Connor Brown was at 137 games when I scrubbed EP. He blew two 1st round picks in Tyler Biggs and Stuart Percy. He failed to draw a single roster player outside of the 1st round.

            Post-Burke? Just as bad. Only Marner, Nylander and Matthews are producing. Otherwise, there have been zero players drawn from beyond the 1st round? Oh, and you say that sell for rebuild worked for Toronto? That’s an absolute lie. Lamoriello get 18 picks in 2 years and only Matthews is playing. None of those players from the 2016 or 2017 draft are playing so to say that Toronto’s sell-off-and-tank strategy worked is a total myth. A patently false lie that is refuted by the facts.

          • Ser Jaime Lannister

            @ DJ_44 Guddy has been playing in the bottom pair most of his time here, he has some of the worst metrics on this team, he has made other players around him worse, so the CAP is bad when you look at what bottom pairing D man should be paid and what we paid him. I am not going to buy his “resurgence” playing with Edler, he still hasnt impressed me.

            The argument is does this asset help or hurt this team. IMO giving his numbers, who hes played with, the style of TG system and how he wants it to be played, he has more cons than pros. His PK has been above average ill give you that, but not enough to deserve a contract like that.

            As for his Value IMO its going to decrease, the game is becoming a speed game and being able to transition up and down the ice fast and effectively, and being able to making those exit passes on point. I just cant see him being able to adjust to that new style, you are probably the only one defending Guddy on here DJ haha and i give you props for it. I love what he brings, just wish he could turn into Josh Manson, and thats not going to happen.

          • I do watch the games, not all of them. And the team has a terrible record, that got substantially worse when Horvat got injured. They have been 23-26-7 with Horvat and 1-6-1 without Horvat. They were competing for a playoff berth until they lost Horvat and no one stepped up.

            But if the Canucks were truly an awful team, they shouldn’t be dominating any games. But in the 24 wins, there were 16 wins where they scored 4 or more goals. 10 wins had 5 or 6 goals, absolutely dominated the competition. So is this team really that structurally bad that they need a complete teardown?

            No, I disagree. What they need is more than Horvat driving play. Getting guys like Pettersson, Dahlen and Gaudette in the next year or two helps. What they need is Demko, not Markstrom or Nilsson giving up the first goal on the first shot because when we lost, we got blown out no thanks to our goaltenders. If Juolevi can make the transition, he easily replaces MDZ. The team is not a contender but is definitely not as fundamentally bad as people make it out to be.

        • TD

          I agree with most of what you are saying, but please elaborate on the current core you want traded. Please stick to players who have value and be realistic to refer to no trade/movement clauses. Please also tell me the value you believe these players are worth in trade.

          • Ser Jaime Lannister

            This is Edlers last year, if JB and TL havent gone to him yet, and told him that he is not going to be part of the core here in vancouver, and he will not be given a new contract, there is no reason no him to waive his NTC and go to a contender. Edler is going be 32, he can prob still play for 3-5 years if he wants maybe longer, but its not going to be in Van. So there is no reason for him not to waive, hes gonna be traded at the dealine, hell be away from his family for a couple more months big whoop hell be fine. IMO edler should fetch us a first round pick, anything more thats a bonus. As for Tanev i would wait till next years trade deadline. Let him groove Juolevi for a bit (just pray the dude doesnt get hurt again….) and he should fetch a first,prospect,and roster player. I can see the argument to trade Sven as he holds value, hes a decent two way player. Not sure what i want to pay him and that will be the biggest deterrent, he hasnt done much point wise without Bo and Brock, hes not a top LW imo and not sure if i want to pay him second line money when a prospect could be given a shot there. His value may get hurt given the contract hes going to sign, but at this years trade deadline i think he wouldve fetched a second round pick.

      • liqueur des fenetres

        When Miller was backstopping the team to bottom 5 finishes people were demanding that Markstrom play more. Not because they wanted Miller rested for a playoff run, but because they knew the team would need a started post Miller, and it might be a good time to evaluate Markstrom before you hand him the starting job.

        • LiborPolasek

          I was listening to team 1040 and they were discussing the Canucks goalie situation: mostly Markstrom. The guest had indicated that when Markstrom was in Florida, it was already somewhat known that Markstom has a tendency of having slow starts that usually result in a soft goal atleast once a game. Perhaps with a decent goalie (not a superstar) our season would had been very different despite the d core; probably, not a whole lot better but better. Markstrom is a very talented goalie but mentally that is another story.

  • Griping about the negativity in the media seven or eight years ago made sense. I found it baffling to read Tony Gallagher complaining in The Province every other day about how Vigneault needed to be fired when the team was leading the NHL and competing for the Stanley Cup.

    It’s equally baffling now to see people whining and moaning about the media being negative about the team and their decisions. As Jackson notes, this is a team at the bottom of the league, and a team that has finished worse in the standings every year since 2012, with the sole exception of the 2014-2015 season. When there’s something to be positive about, like the 2017 trade deadline, 2017 draft, and to a lesser extent, the summer free agency period, the media, whether it’s a blog like Canucks Army or writers in the Sun and the Province, are positive about it. But there’s a *lot* more to be negative about when a team keeps getting worse and management has not shown the ability to learn from mistakes and implement a plan to turn things around.

    It’s not just this blog that thinks the Canucks are on the wrong path and making regular, significant mistakes. Read the Athletic, listen to 31 Thoughts or the Steve Dangle Podcast, read Sportsnet – national writers and people who cover the league in general and not just the Canucks are pretty much all in agreement that this is a team on the wrong path, and one that’s not getting better any time soon.

    • Killer Marmot

      It’s not just this blog that thinks the Canucks are on the wrong path and making regular, significant mistakes. Read the Athletic, listen to 31 Thoughts or the Steve Dangle Podcast, read Sportsnet – national writers and people who cover the league in general and not just the Canucks are pretty much all in agreement that this is a team on the wrong path, and one that’s not getting better any time soon.

      Suppose next year the Canucks had the following forwards in their lineup…

      Horvat Boeser Baertschi Granlund Virtanen Leipsic Petterson Gaudette Dahlen

      That’s a fairly impressive group of young players, the oldest being Baertschi at 26. And it’s completely plausible. Further, players like Gadjovich and Lind would still be waiting on the sidelines.

      Would you still think the Canucks are on the wrong path?

      • Rayman

        If, and only if they pan out. In Sports, only result matters, right?

        And no matter what people/team/market says, i only spend MONEY on good products. If Canucks wants my hard earned cash, they better put on a money worth product on ice. Or else, my money goes to other things.

        • Killer Marmot

          Yes, there’s always risks and unknowns in hockey. Nothing works out quite the way you plan.

          But the very fact that the Canucks are in this position suggests that things are not nearly so bleak as some of the curmudgeons would have us believe.

          And so far as your comment on money, I would spend cash to watch the above players.

        • kablebike

          Perhaps that is why you are a bandwagon fan. You only pay when the the going is good and bail when it is bad. Fans like you make me sick. Buy a ticket this year cheapskate.

        • Wiseguy

          You cant compare any team to Buffalo, Edmonton or Phoenix its just not the same, these 3 teams have been so bloody bad at everything they do for so very long its pathetic, truly pathetic. If we are on the same path for 6 more years minimum then you can make us the fourth,

          I know you only mentioned Buffalo but I had to add the other two as these three teams are in a league by themselves when it comes to failure over and over and over…

      • Super Pest

        Hmmm… depends who’s coming after them? Boy do we have holes in the prospect pipeline… I’m excited but what if they don’t work out. What if only Gaudette makes it? Or only Petterson?
        Then what? We need more options. Every team thinks” they prospects, but how many actually turn into NHLers?

    • Big D, little d

      That would be a much more persuasive argument if I believed that those writers were all expressing independent opinions arrived at by individual thought. I have a lot of respect for people who generate content on a deadline. It’s hard. Harder than most people realize. But a lot of times writers avoid that hard work by just regurgitating something someone else has said, without putting any real thought into it. In that case you don’t have many opinions that are all in agreement, you just have one opinion repeated a bunch of times.

      Plus, any time Ryan Lambert agrees with an opinion I’m pretty sure that opinion is wrong.

  • Killer Marmot

    The one thing that has gone undeniably well is the rebuilding of the prospect pool.

    If next season brings with it the introduction of Juolevi, Petterson, Gaudette, and maybe Dahlen or Demko into the lineup, one will no longer be able to ask when the Canucks are going to get serious about rebuilding.

  • Big D, little d

    >> At the end of the day, though? As far as the media is concerned, I’m sure they can take the heat. It’s part of the job.


    >> The fans, on the other hand, can and should say whatever they want. The media and the organization would all be out of a job if not for them.

    Can I quote these the next (and every) time I see CA staff get all defensive when we criticize their articles? What with, “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” and all.

    Snark aside, there’s quite a larger discussion to be had here in regards to the anonymity of the Internet encouraging the expression of dissent in socially inappropriate ways, and the role of the media in facilitating the positive feedback necessary to raise that dissent to the level of groupthink. But that’s quite beyond the mandate of a sports blog so I’ll just stick to the snark.

  • Gampbler

    I think the industry as a whole has really taken on a devil’s advocate role in hockey in the past few years, questioning every micro decision and fanning the flames of discontent for ratings. Neil Macrae and Tony Gallagher were entertaining/annoying as pro disturbers but now there are many. I’m not saying that the media need to constantly pump the tires, but at least be balanced and avoid knee-jerk reactionary articles or posts.

    • DB1282

      there have always been negative nellies griping about the Canucks from day one, Al Davidson trashed them way before Neil McCray, some of the negative comments over the years have been deserved, I don’t like the public comments targeting the players though, even the worst player in the league is way better than any beer league player, I was a beer league player and played in a charity game Featuring one of older Canucks Dennis Kearns, when He played I used to call him a bum, when I played against him I knew who the bum was, it was me and my fellow team mates, Kearns was such a good skater and stick handler we couldn’t touch him and he had already been retired for years, after that game I rarely criticize any NHL player

    • Gino's 3rd Cousin

      I used to hate Mcrae and Gallagher as a kid. I was a pure fan. The problem with a lot of the detractors these days is they don’t elicit hate from me. The reaction is a combination of boredom, fatigue and being underwhelmed by the persona/voice.

  • Josh Misfeldt

    Thought this was a great article. It would suck to have write about one of the worst teams in hockey every night, i do not understand why you guys get so much heat. I am just glad you guys are honest and realistic about this team and its future. Yes, the Canucks have some good prospects and they should have some good prospects. They have been bad for awhile.

    • NucksLifer

      I don’t agree. In fact, I can’t tell what Jackson is trying to say. He appears to be saying that the Vancouver market isn’t negative but then he seems to contradict himself (and, in a delicious twist, writes yet another negative article!). And then he seems to admit the market is negative, that such negativity is justified and that the fans are entitled to be negative. He argues that the team should just suck it up. This is a classic straw man. Nobody is arguing that the fans can’t be negative – they can do whatever they want, and whether it is “justified” is both subjective and irrelevant. Friedman simply pointed out that the constant negativity has an impact on the team executives and the players. In saying this, he is entirely correct. Some of them – like Linden – are able to suck it up and deal with it. Others are unable to do so. Christ, I well remember how the fans were ready to run the best goaltender in franchise history out of town…until he was on his way out and the fans decided to love him again. The fans can do what they want but, as I tell my children, actions have consequences.

      • truthseeker

        Yeah it’s another really badly written article.

        I like a lot of what CA does. It’s clear they pay a lot of attention to young players and give great information about them. They keep up to date with timely articles. But…

        Recently JD Burke mentioned he’d just barely gotten through high school and doesn’t have any formal training in journalism etc. To me, when I read an article like this one, and others from some of the usual writers here, I get the same feeling. Whether it’s struggling with basic prose like this, or basic elementary flaws in logic, it feels like it’s written by people who don’t self edit and don’t have the ability to be self critical. I’m not trying to say a university degree is necessary for learning basic logic and critical thinking skills. It isn’t. And there are a ton of Uni grads who are just as illogical as anyone else. But in education, those skills begin to be emphasized more in university and are addressed in a much greater way than in high school. So I think for people who don’t do post secondary, it’s even more important to recognize those skills as essential to proper communication and learn them some other way.

  • RobG

    Two thoughts.

    1) “Just because Benning isn’t doing the rebuild exactly like you want doesn’t mean he’s doing it wrong.” – Something most of the air chairs here need to remember. He has his marching orders from ownership and he is executing those orders to best of his ability. If you don’t like the direction of the team or the execution of the rebuild take it up with ownership, not Benning.

    2.) Jackson, you made some pretty gross assumptions regarding Gudbranson. You assumed that the Canucks never explored trading Gudbranson and that they planned on extending him all along. I would like to challenge that assumption and ask that you provide the facts to back it up. Can you sit there and tell me with a straight face that you honestly think Benning did nothing to try and trade Gudbanson before they extended him? Perhaps the Canucks extended him because they explored the trade market and didn’t like any of the offers on the table so they decided that the team was better off signing him to a short term deal in the hopes that he improves and increases his trade value. Again, you just assumed Benning is terrible at his job and doesn’t know what he is doing.

    You along with many other people on here are part of the negativity cycle. Without having any knowledge about what is going on behind close doors, you make the kind of assumptions that I mentioned above and don’t give this management group any benefit of the doubt. You stick with the narrarive that “Benning doesn’t know what he is doing” and pander to the negative news cycle to generate page clicks.

    I find it ironic that you wrote a piece on the negative attitude in the Vancouver media when you and almost all the writers on this site are some of the worst offenders generating and perpetuating the negativity.

    • Killer Marmot

      The Gudbranson extension (and decision to forego the futures the team would have received by trading him) and the players targeted at the deadline seemed to say to the market, “We extended the general manager because of all the great things he’s done this year; but we’re not going to continue in that well-received direction. Instead, we’re going back to a poorly received direction that involves doing what didn’t work in the two previous seasons.”

      McDonald, you are flat out wrong on Gudbranson. Benning’s options were this:

      1. Re-sign Gudbranson.
      2. Release Gudbranson at the end of the season.

      Option 3, trading Gudbranson, was never in the cards. With four points on the season, he was not “rent a player” material. No team could get enough value from him over the next few months to make it worth their while.

      Vanek was a plausible “rent a player”. He can improve Columbus’s gawd-awful power play. But even here, the market was obviously not good.

      That’s not to say I approve of Gudbranson’s contract. I thought it was too much money for a 3rd-line defenseman. But Benning should not be criticized for not trading him. With Gudbranson due to become a UFA at the end of the season, there was no market.

      • RobG

        Benning had the same options with Vanek.

        1. Trade him
        2. Re-sign him.
        3. Let him walk for nothing.

        Thanks to the media and fan culture, he was going to get skewered for all three… Unless of course he was able to dupe some GM into giving up a 1st round pick and a high end prospect.

    • Giant-Nation

      It is Francesco not Jim – Bashing Benning is a joke along with Linden. The Aqualini’s told Gillis to sell what he could to put the best team together for a push at the Stanley Cup and Gillis did just that. The rebuild on the fly IMO was a Ownership driven strategy that they thought could keep bums in the seats and possibly enter the playoffs while rebuilding. Think about how much Jim likes picks and how he believes it is his strength. I would think Jim upon arrival in Van thought if he blew it up and made a decisive move to sell off for picks it would be the best decision. I don’t put any of this on Jim or Trev I think Francesco wasn’t prepared for us to be selling of good assets for picks and was terrified of having his team in the bottom of the league for to long…. well the plan failed. Now the team in it’s current state has no strong assets to move and we are 4 years in to rebuild with prospects on the way because we are 4 years in we are on the cusp of ushering in possibly 3-5 rookies next year to add to another bunch of long players. At this stage selling off is far more risky as the drafted talent is about to show up and if we don’t have veteran leadership upon their arrival the room, the approach and mindset of a pro hockey player may be lost. I was all for the tear down even 2 years ago but now the talent is here and gutting the team as they arrive IMO is not the best move.

    • NucksLifer

      RobG hits the nail on the head with this one. There are many ways to rebuild or rejuvenate or improve an NHL team. One method is to tear it all down to the studs. Other methods involve different levels of retaining continuity and stability while bringing in new blood (apologies for egregiously mixing methaphors). Any of these methods may work in a particular situation and any of them may not. For some reason, a narrative has arisen – primarily in the media and the blogosphere – that there are only two alternatives – a complete tear down or a treadmill. This is a fallacy. The Canucks have obviously chosen to maintain some stability but they are obviously in the middle of a rebuild.

    • Roy

      Benning is the GM, you frothing simpleton! Good lord, he has a role and agency – and responsibility to the team and fans as well as ownership, and the colossal, steaming turd he laid that you’re painting gold with your utterly baseless bullet-taking melodrama…if he can’t pull the trigger, it’s because he’s bad at selling and trading players. That’s it. Stop defending him. He’s awful at the job, and every year you wistfully murmur, “next year” makes you seem and sound as delusional and moronic as Oilers fans. This team is a tire fire and nothing Benning is capable of doing will fix it, and they gave him three more years! Yet Canucks fans flock to Benning’s defence. It’s ludicrous. It’s almost like you want him to fail, or you like failure. That is actually probably the closest thing to the truth.

      • RobG

        You’re right, this team is a tire fire, their place in the standings makes that very clear. And you’re right, Benning is the GM, but the only person he has responsibility and accountability to is the man signing his paycheck. I won’t fall on a sword to defend Benning because he has made many mistakes and questionable decisions but clearly the man at the top thinks he is doing a good enough job to sign him for another three years. Benning is a pawn, a middle man, hired to do Aquillinis bidding, if it wasn’t JB it would be some other poor sap sitting in the chair taking the same heat. If people have an issue with the direction of the team, their anger and frustrations should be directed toward ownership, not management.

        Bennings trade record speaks for itself. Your comment about his ability (or inability) to sell players is accurate. He’s not that good at it. But here’s the thing – Good players, players that other teams are willing to give assets for, don’t need to be “sold,” their on-ice performance speaks for itself. GM’s will fall all over themselves to get good players at the TDL and JB’s lack of return on expiring contract says more about the quality of players being traded than it does about Bennings ability to sell those players. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and call it a unicorn.

  • Ho Borvat

    Maybe the fans should be directing questions at Mr. Aquilini to see if he had a hand in the direction of this team when Benning and Linden signed. It would be interesting to know if Benning and Linden are trying to keep that information at bay and take responsibility for ALL of the actions for the past 4 years to protect their jobs. Maybe the aspect of keeping bums in the seats overshadowed the start of the rebuild?. I think probably. If that probably is a definate then the proper thing to do would be for someone to man-up and address the media. You can’t complain about the Holm for Leipsic deal, I think it’s great to take a gamble on a player that could potentially be a great character piece. He looked fantastic last night, hopefully that continues. And the Vanek deal….really, what did people think he would fetch?? He’s slow, brutal defensively and tends to disappear in the playoffs. That’s the reason no one wanted him for this season and Canucks signed him late in the summer, because NO ONE ELSE WANTED HIM. And we were expecting a handful of picks?? C’,mon…and Dave Pratt is beaking off about if they knew they weren’t going to get picks 6 or 8 weeks ago, then they should have had a plan B — Seriously?? 6 or 8 weeks ago there were so many teams that were on the bubble of making or not making the playoffs so it doesn’t even make sense that you would have a solid grip on the situation at that time. Look at the cupboards….. there is pasta, crackers, cookies and cereal. Four years ago there was one can of soup and it had already expired. Don’t go running after Benning and Linden with burning torches just yet people.

  • wojohowitz

    The owners and the management have been dishonest to their fanbase and that is where the negativity comes from. A quote from somewhere last night was; Bettman used the word `rebuild` more times yesterday than management has in four years. Then there is the reason why no picks came back – Benning signed players to contracts (Del Zotto and Gagner) that could not be moved and that is a recurring theme – bad contracts. Compounding the problem is many fans remember the good times not that long ago. We know our hockey and we know good management.

    • Killer Marmot

      That is one of the strangest comments I’ve read here.

      First, what does Bettman have to do with anything? He doesn’t speak for the Canucks.

      Second, Del Zotto and Gagner can most definitely be moved, or even sent down. They do not have NTC or NMC contracts.

      • wojohowitz

        Bettman was talking about the Rangers and how they sent a letter to ticket holders announcing a teardown. It was honest and direct – something the Canucks have not done. Del Zotto (2×3) and Gagner (3×3) have contracts that can`t be moved – in fact I would say with those contracts they could not be given away – bad contracts.

        • Killer Marmot

          Ah. When you say “can’t be moved” you mean “contracts so poor they can’t be given away.”

          I count maybe four with the Canucks, and only one that’s very serious (Eriksson). Every club has such contracts. What the hell were the Leafs thinking with Patrick Marleau, for example, or the Oilers with Milan Lucic?

          • Ser Jaime Lannister

            We have seen TG coach…there is no way hes sending MDZ or Gagner down, i mean MDZ had an “A” on his jersey ffs what a joke. MDZ will be (has to be ) traded next deadline and Gagner the year after most likely. These guys dont have value and the return will be the bare minimum but we all knew that before they signed.

          • TD

            Eriksson contract is bad and the reason it was signed was bad (I suspect ownership wanted to make the playoffs), but Eriksson isn’t playing that poorly. He’s a defensively reliable forward with some upside. If his contract was for 3 mill, I doubt people would be critical. Hopefully, we won’t need his salary cap space before he is gone.

          • Andy

            The leafs want a veteran player who can keep up with their young core of Matthews/Marner/Nylander.

            The Oilers thought they were done their rebuild and traded away Taylor Hall and signed Lucic after drafting McDavid.

            The important thing is the Canucks have no such generational player, and signed a complementary piece despite having very good mentors (Sedins) and defensive players (Sutter/Granlund, according to management.

            If the team was going to be as bad suspected, why not sign a boatload of 1-2 year contracts, pick up draft picks at the deadlines, keep your veteran holdovers who refuse to leave/being under appreciated value (Sedins, Edler/Tanev), and try out your ‘maybe’ young players (Virtanen, Archibald, Hutton, Stetcher).

            Unless we’re worried about a losing culture… we can’t be finishing 30th when we could be finishing 28th…

  • OMAR49

    My problem with the media is they seem to form a collective opinion on how the Canucks should be managed. Regardless of the circumstances, they refuse to change or even alter that opinion and are constantly hammering the team using the same reasons, day after day after day. Gudbranson is the perfect example. I can’t count the number of articles I have read talking about his poor metrics over and over again. Now the new whipping boy is the management and I’m sure we’re going to see the same thing over and over again. Once is an opinion and everyone is entitled to an opinion. When we start seeing the same negative story recycled over and over again it becomes propaganda. Not only is that a problem but it’s boring.

  • Jamie E

    Canucks fans – “This team needs to rebuild and that means finishing at the bottom of the league for a few years so you have a shot at drafting elite talent.”

    Canucks finish at the bottom of the league for three years.

    Canucks fans – “But you’re not finishing at the bottom of the league the way WE want you to finish at the bottom of the league.”

    • Kickpuncher

      I mean, if you don’t see the difference between selling off veterans to maximize future assets while losing vs. hoarding mediocre vets in a desperate attempt to stay competitive, losing out on future assets, and still losing… that’s on you.

      • Jamie E

        If Jim Benning had sold the farm in his first year (hard to contemplate with a 100 point team) there would have been NO ONE and I mean LITERALLY NO ONE to step into the Canucks line-up to replace them. Instead he decided to find some players in the 20-24 year old cohort who were actual NHL players to bridge that missing gap. He has drafted pretty damn well, pick most picks take 2-4 years before showing up.

  • TD

    There was never going to be anything quick about a rebuild, but if even half of their top prospects turn out (I’m only talking about the top ones, not the lower picks that are not showing well), then this team will look a lot better soon. I am worried about the D as we really lack prospects and the NHL depth is weak. Everybody wants draft picks, but no one seems to want to admit that any picks beyond the top couple in a draft take 3 – 4 years or longer to work out. Most first round picks take 2 – 3 years. With no prospects besides Horvat worth talking about, how did anyone figure this would be faster. For those that wanted some more late round picks, even if we struck gold, when do you think those picks would arrive? Personally, I would like to see Tanev traded, but I want top D prospects and not draft picks. Those draft picks will be years from being in the NHL and probably even one or two years further before they learn the league and become competitive.

    Everyone seems to agree about how bad the Canucks’ prospect shelves were when Benning got hired. They also agree that we had few good young players on the team and lots of aging players with no trade clauses.

    Benning has made mistakes and has said things in the media that may cause confusion, but look at what was there when he took over and what is here now both with the team and in the system. It looks pretty good.

    Beyond trading Tanev and possibly getting Edler to waive, what other actual moves would people have wanted to see that could have made a difference right now. Yes, we could (and maybe should) have traded Guddy for a 2nd and 4th. How would that help the Canucks over the next 3 – 4 years when lots of the other prospects are on the team?

    Where is the article examining Leipsic’s and Motte’s first game. It’s only a one game sample, but break down the analytics from the game and write about the skill sets they showed or didn’t show in the game. That’s what I was hoping for today. There was hope watching a very entertaining game, but it didn’t continue through to CA today beyond the game recap.

    • Kickpuncher

      I see your point with regard to this trade deadline in isolation, but the thing is, a lot of fans view this cumulatively. Following your timelines (3-4 years post-draft for a prospect to turn out), Benning’s inaction during his first two deadlines is what’s causing so much frustration now. The fact that there were no prospects besides Horvat worth talking about should have been obvious to Benning when he first got here. Instead he tried to plug holes with average vets rather than sell for more prospects that would be helping today.

      Had the rebuild been committed to in a responsible (and earlier) fashion, we’d be seeing more prospects in the lineup now, and have a better sense of who was or wasn’t going to turn out. Instead, because of earlier mistakes, we have a lack of youth in or near the lineup that can be assessed properly, and instead we have to do this entire process on a delayed basis (3-4 years delayed, thanks to 3-4 years spinning wheels with a half-assed attempt to compete rather than accepting reality.

      It looked like Benning finally understood this last year, but then this year just reverted back to his old habits.

      Also, let’s be realistic — even among our top prospects (I’m assuming you’re talking Boeser, Juolevi, Demko, Virtanen, Petterson, Dahlen here) if half turn out as projected, that would be incredibly fortunate. Boeser has given the team a head start in that direction, but there will still be a lot of luck required to hope a couple of the others can transition in and be key parts of the lineup.

      • RobG

        Replace every Benning with Aquillini in the post above. The frustration of the fan base when pointed at Benning is misdirected. The team should have been blown up in 2013. Gilles and Gilman knew it but ownership wouldn’t accept it. JB’s first two years his marching orders from ownership were to rebuild around the existing veterans, and that’s exactly what he tried to do. Once it became clear it wasn’t going to work ownership changed gears and Benning was given the marching orders to rebuild.

      • TD

        In Benning’s first year the team had over 100 points and was in the playoffs. They didn’t trade players away, but neither did they buy rentals. In the second year, the two players in play were Hamhuis and Vrbata both of whom had no trade clauses. I heard Hamhuis’ list was very short (Chicago and Dallas) and he did not approve any moves until the last moment and by that time it was too late. Vrbata had a horrible year and no one wanted him. The part about Hamhuis I heard about as a rumour. I have no idea how much truth there is to the rumour and no one else does either. Maybe Benning should have gone to him earlier, but that’s on the assumption that he didn’t talk to Hamhuis earlier. That’s the problem with no trade clauses/movement, while everyone believes the GM can get the player to waive, its not really that easy. Year three went well. I was quite happy with the return from this year’s deadline when I watched the game last night, although I would have preferred a D man. Benning turned two UFA signings in the summer into two players that have a chance to play on the team. One of them was outstanding playing on our top line and was held to only two points by some outstanding goaltending by Lundqvist.

        Re our top prospects: I don’t count Boeser as I am saying he is already there. Virtanen is there as well but with a lower ceiling so I wasn’t counting him. I think that having 50% of Petterson, Dhalen, Juolevi, Guadette and Demko wouldn’t be incredibly fortunate. 50% would be incredibly fortunate at the point they were drafted, but not after how they have developed since they were drafted. Many of their picks that have not developed very well since their draft have a smaller chance of making it than they did when they were drafted. I don’t see Lind and Gadjovich as having as good a 50% chance, but Lind’s year should have caused his % chance to make the league to have increased from when he was drafted.

        I still see them as having a huge weakness on D and we have to pray that Demko succeeds after the inconsistent way our goalies have been this year.

        I wish the Canucks had more chips to play and am in favour of trading Tanev as long as the offer was better. I would love for Edler to waive as well, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I don’t think people have been realistic in the talent available to trade and just assumed that players could be traded despite their no trade clauses.

  • argoleas

    Canucks are fast approaching some major decisions with their rebuild, and it’s not specifically about draft picks. It has to do with waiver-eligible prospects. If this team wants the Sedins to return, while not doing anything with their other veterans like Sutter, Gagner, and Eriksson, then something will have to give with the prospects and younger players.

    Will this team then be forced to trade Granlund away, or give up on Goldobin? Some will say yes, but may it be premature? Do you give up on a prospect will rebuilding because you want to keep too many (very) aging veterans? What rebuilding team does that? Did Rangers do that?

    For me, this is my greatest beef with the team’s messaging. Deciphering entrails may be simpler. IS it still a retool, refresh, or a rebuild? Except now they will not be able to hide from this. Now their actions will have real consequences.

    The same issue exists on the blue line: Tanev, Guddy, MDZ, and Edler. Do you then give up on one of Hutton or Pouliot or Stecher? I think most people here would say that Hutton can go. But here’s a young player that has experienced some real adversity. Doesn’t a rebuilding team take the time to see if he comes through that adversity, instead seeing that on another team while Edler turns 37 and is still here? And where’s the room for Joulevi, or will he spend another year in Utica, and then we have to listen to another year of whining about Sergechev and MacAvoy?

    Benning has been re-signed. Linden is running the show. Over the next 6 months, key decisions will be made that will set the direction of this team for the next decade. We will be watching.

    • TD

      Very good points, I wrote down the forwards on the assumption that the Sedins returned and we didn’t trade anyone. They need to make some trades to open up space. Maybe they can pick up some better defence men if they trade a couple of forwards.

      • crofton

        And having to deal with THOSE trades will be dealing from more of a position of strength. A GM’s dream…to have more good players than available positions.

        • argoleas

          A bit of caution: When you have a surplus of players and you HAVE to trade or waive some of them, other teams notice. Pouliot was a classic example of this.

      • argoleas

        Based on last night and some assumptions, here’s the starting roster in 2018-19, and the 5 extras




        Seems to me that Canucks have given up on Boucher. He will most likely get an extension, but not in long term plans except as a emergency filler. Gaunce could turn into a 13 forward.

        Motte and Gaudette will be waiver exempt, but have a feeling that Gaudette will quickly establish himself as one of the top 9 forwards. Who comes out?

        So we get to Granny. For now, he’s my candidate for most likely to be moved, being the oldest.

        And if Pettersson and/or Dahlen show they can take a spot, oh boy.

        I suppose that if Leipsic shows he can consistently stick with Bo’n’Flow, that could make Baer tradeable.

        But again, should all these trades for 25-yr olds happen just because they want to keep a few vets a bit longer, because reasons?

  • Bure Fan

    Great click bait again from CA – look at all these mutli id rubbernecks falling over themselves to comment more than on the post games… JD and co are having hernia’s laughing at these blowhards.

    • TD

      Most of the fun is debating with the other fans in the comments sections. I enjoy Beich’s article and some of the other ones. The recent game recaps have been good. The rest are often hard to finish, but I enjoy debating with other fans in the comments sections. I often disagree with some of the comments and people disagree with some of mine, but I enjoy coming here for a respectful debate. I wish I enjoyed the articles more, but CA gives us fans this venue to discuss our team.

  • crofton

    Negativity? The Vocal Minority. In a feeding frenzy. How else do you explain running at (reported elsewhere) 95% capacity? If the constant JB/TL bashing by JD 1 and JD Light et al represented more than 25% of Vancouver’s fans, I would be truly shocked. Obviously all fans would never agree on every move, but with attendance figures like that ( the paying fans, I would remind you, not those like me and many thousands who also have our opinions, but don’t pay for a seat every night), the approval rating must be pretty damned good. And some people you can never please.

  • Killer Marmot

    Negativity is a natural result of our own big fat egos.

    Long-term hockey fans start thinking they’re pretty smart after a while. In particular, they start figuring that they’re smart enough to run a hockey team. And naturally, their opinions about how to do things will be different than whoever is in charge now, so that must mean that the current management is stupid.

    Whenever that occurs, we should remind ourselves of the following:

    1. We don’t have access to anywhere near the information that management does.
    2. We’re not nearly as smart as we think we are.

    • tru north

      By “Long-term hockey fans” you’re including and meaning the CA writers, right?
      I know it’s hard to read some of these articles and imagine a Canucks fan writing them … Hey! Now I know why Canucks fans get upset at some of these articles … they’re not written by Canucks fans! The authors are trolling us! Dare I say “Eureka”?

      • Killer Marmot

        I don’t think the writers are trolling us, and some are clearly Canucks fans. But Burke isn’t, and that sets the mood for the entire site.

        The default mode for some of the writers seem to be to criticize management even when they lack adequate information. It would often be better to say “This deal is a little questionable, but without more information we should give Benning the benefit of the doubt — at least for now.”

        The Vanek-Motte trade is a good example. The assumption seems to be that Benning could have gotten an early draft pick, and it was only his ineptitude which prevented that. That’s a big assumption, and likely unwarranted.

        • tru north

          Pretty much agree with you, although I do think some articles and/or some content within them are written solely to get reactions from readers.

          As to adequate information, I also believe that anyone who doesn’t think that Benning was trying for other trades (Guddy, etc.) is ‘special’ … He is known as “Trader Jim”. If anything had been what he thought was good value or needed by this team it would have been done. In his professional opinion it wasn’t and didn’t.

          • Killer Marmot

            Gudbranson was becoming a UFA at the end of this season. I have no idea why people think he was “rent a player” material. To me he looked untradeable except perhaps for a very high draft pick.

  • Larionov18

    It is true. The media is overly negative. I remember being livid at Tony G’s articles on a regular basis all the way back to the early 90’s. Half full sometimes people.

    • Super Pest

      It would all full if management spoke the same message consistently. Too many veterans for a rebuild and three bottom five finishes in a row. Exactly what Linden said he would NOT do. So now what? Whoops? You might as well have torn it down, Trevor. We’d be closer to relevance now. Admit an error in judgment or initial plan and move on.
      Stop talking about competitiveness and the playoffs. Give the fans hope with youth. Torts said it FOUR years ago. Should have listened. 🙁

  • Tanti Fan

    I want to comment on this article in relation to the Sedins, based on the comments I see below.

    Negative media is part of the game. I am sure it has an impact on the front office, and the players, as we know can happen in larger Canadian markets. In regards to the media relationship with fans – if you are a Canucks supporter, I believe ‘bloggers’ have no negative impact – it is just fun to read what you have to say. I read 2 sites daily – Pass it to Bullis – Daniel is a positive bloke; and this site, which is full of negativity. I like reading all the articles and the comments because I like reading about the Canucks, period. In my mind, the seats are 80-90% full because ‘we’ support the Canucks, and I bet many of the fans do not even know about this site!

    Do you remember the Canucks in the 70s, 80s (when they would make the playoffs with losing records), 90s when they were absolutely terrible (minus a couple of final runs in 82 and 94), and the constant ‘poor’ management decisions (Cam N trade, Bure situation, Messier and trading Linden, etc.). Or, do you remember the amazing thinks like how Bure got to Vancouver, or the Sedins? Throughout the Canucks history, is has not mattered how they did in the standings – we supported the characters that were a part of the ‘fun’ side of life – Tiger Williams, Tony Tanti, Gino, Kirk, Pavel, Linden, the Sedins, etc.

    My point – it is 100% ridiculous in my mind to criticise the former management for leaving the prospect pool depleted, and even more ridiculous to criticise the current regime for their asset management. The Canucks had some great years with the Sedins under Gillis, and it was fun to be involved as a fan, and I still love watching them play. I want them to play for as long as they can and contribute – I do not think there is any comparative negativity in the league to hall of fame players like there is in the Vancouver ‘blogger’ media, and those of you who comment. If the Sedins want to come back, supporters of the Canucks would be lucky to watch them play for another year or even more – despite the standings, the Sedins are a major draw for the Canucks and they are playing well – anyone who thinks they must leave is missing the point about being a Canucks supporter.

    It shocks me that any in the media could think that it is better that they not be part of the team, especially after the last few years of poor coach deployment – it was not so long ago that the criticism was based on not playing them enough in critical situations!

  • bobdaley44

    Friedmans absolutely correct. Not sure what fans were thinking would happen. Gillis and his poor drafting and NTC’s ruined this franchise. Couple more prospects especially on D to add to the one’s we have and some veterans on short term contracts to show what it takes. This town has some of the worst fans in the league. Same crap Benning, Guddy, Sutter, trade everybody for draft picks, should have took this guy or that guy, blah blah blah. Im ok with the direction they’re going. Best group of prospects we’ve ever had.

    • Giant-Nation

      Im very concerned with our defensive depth, JB knew this and went after Julevi, he should be a solid NHL man, but not what we thought we had. I think JB drafts a dman again with his first pick. Lets get the whole Utica team up here and get everyone a taste of the NHL we need to lock down 3rd worst team before the lottery… any bets we draft lower than where we finish overall in the league again!!! – lets hope the luck arrow finally lands in Vancouver.