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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: Quinn Hughes, Rasmus Dahlin and the West Coast Express

I could see all of Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina playing in the NHL next season and doing very well at that.

Sorry, buddy, I’m just not qualified to answer this question. I’m not usually the best resource for NCAA hockey, and this year especially I’m way behind on that level. With all my work covering the Canucks, I just haven’t had as much time this season as I have in years previous to keep up with lower levels of hockey. The sacrifices I make to do this job; I tells yeah.

This might piss off some of you, and I’m sure you’ll let me hear about it in the comments section, but I’d go with Connor McDavid.

He’s not the hero we need; he’s the hero we deserve.

One quick note, which might strike some of you as pedantic, but Jason Botchford has been in our corners for more than the past few weeks. A lot of the shoutouts and voluntary exposure Botchford’s offered this website has definitely played a substantial role in its growth, and for that, I am immensely grateful.

I think that it meant more to me a few years ago when I was just getting started as this site’s managing editor. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate it now that I’ve had the job for a few years. It’s just that I feel like I’ve worked my ass off and sacrificed a lot to make it in this industry, so it seems more deserved at this stage when someone noteworthy appreciates my work in any capacity.

That was more of a tangent than a direct answer to your question, but I hope it provides some insight into my mindset.

For whatever it’s worth (probably not much) whenever someone reaches out by email or direct message on Twitter or whatever to let me know how much they appreciate my work, it doesn’t matter who it is — it puts a massive smile on my face and is immensely gratifying. Even if, as I admitted, I feel it’s deserved in some respects. I’m nothing without you, and whether you’re a casual reader on this website or one of the industry’s big-wigs who’s invested themselves in our content in any way, that’s a truism.

I’m leaning towards Quinn Hughes. I have him at second-overall right now, though, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

Troy Stecher has to be up there.

In spite of trying to be playoff competitive, the Canucks have the worst points percentage in the NHL over the last three seasons. You tell me.

Adding assets in the form of draft picks in prospects. There is no way a team this bad should be this attached to a failing roster. If I’m the Canucks, I’d let every team in the league know that the only untouchables on my roster are Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat and that our doors are open for business.

I’m sorry to hear that, though I understand where you’re coming from in this instance. Covering this team isn’t exactly a riot.

The Canucks will make him a healthy scratch for the first two games; then he’ll step in and be their best player for the rest of the season.

I have to be honest, I don’t know, and I’m not sure I care as to why the Canucks have had so many logos. If I had my way, the Canucks would change their logo again, and go back to the stick-in-rink on the front of the jersey.

There are better options to fix the Canucks blue line in free agency than what’s currently available to them in their organization, but Clayton Stoner and Andrej Sustr don’t qualify. I wouldn’t want the Canucks to sign either of those players. They’d fit in on the Canucks insofar as they’re not especially good hockey players.

Jake Virtanen, Markus Granlund, Reid Boucher, Troy Stecher and Derrick Pouliot.

You’d have to be concerned at this stage, no? They cleared Chris Tanev to play on a broken leg, and that’s just the most recent eyebrow-raising decision. One could also point to letting Erik Gudbranson play for as long as he did on a shoulder that clearly needed surgical repair. And the list goes on and on.

I put most of the emphasis on the players for showing up to training camp in poor shape, though, I could see the Canucks training staff sharing some semblance of the responsibility.

I have no doubts in my mind the West Coast Express era would have borne at least one Stanley Cup with a non-Dan Cloutier goaltender.

None that I can find.

You’re wrong. You’re just plain wrong about this, and I don’t think I need to elaborate.

In the Eastern Conference, my bold Wild Card prediction is that the Florida Panthers will edge out the New Jersey Devils for the second spot. The Columbus Blue Jackets will hold the top Wild Card spot. In the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings will lock down the two Wild Card spots, and the Dallas Stars won’t make the cut.

The Winnipeg Jets will go the farthest in the playoffs among Canadian teams. And the Edmonton Oilers are the most disappointing Canadian team.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Wars
  3. Revenge of the Sith
  4. Return of the Jedi
  5. Rogue One
  6. The Force Awakens
  7. Attack of the Clones
  8. The Phantom Menace
  9. The Last Jedi

Don’t @ me.

There are a few problems with this blue line. For starters, Hughes won’t be in the NHL next season. It seems highly unlikely anyway. There’s no way that Nikita Tryamkin is going to be in Vancouver either. And based on the seven defencemen that leaves the Canucks with, there’s no way Gudbranson slots in ahead of Ben Hutton. That doesn’t work for me.

Obviously, the Canucks would be a better team if they could have stayed healthy the last three seasons. I just don’t think it would’ve made much of a difference, frankly. It would just hurt their draft position. It’s not like a clean bill of health is the difference between making the playoffs or not. This team is just terribly constructed.

  • Ronning4ever

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Freedman’s 30 thoughts and the CA Monday mailbag are my weekly go to’s for hockey news. I would add Ryan Biech’s Prospect Mailbag to that list if he’s ever granted the time to get it off the ground.

  • LTFan

    Team Logo – I would stay with what we have. From the day they unveiled the stick-in-the-rink logo I absolutely hated it.

    J.D. Burke on Rasmus Dahlin – “The Canucks will make him a healthy scratch for the first two games; then he’ll step in and be their best player for the rest of the season”. Just had to get that in didn’t you. For what it is worth, IMO Brock Boeser will probably be our best player next season even if we do Draft first and get Dahlin. Pettersson will also attract a lot of attention and do well.

    • truthseeker

      It’s all just opinion but I don’t mind the current logo at all. Looks good. I do like the stick in rink logo, and I also like the flying skate with the white home jerseys. There are a few color combinations in the naslund years that don’t look great but aside from that the only ones that are truly awful were the V’s. Some people think nostalgia can make those ones “cool” but no…it can’t. They’re awful…forever. lol.

      Personally I loved that “make him a scratch” line from J.D. It’s an absolutely fair critique of Green’s over all philosophy. I’ve been happy with Green’s over all coaching. I think his style of play is about the only thing you can say has made this season more of a success over the last couple even if the points totals don’t reflect improvement. But he also seems to have (in my opinion) some very stupid and antiquated ideas about how players should be treated. “Sending messages” just for the sake of sending messages. The scratching of Boeser for the first two games may have been a minor thing in and of itself but it was still one of the dumbest things I’ve seen a coach do in recent memory. There was absolutely no reason for it. The kid was already the best player on the team. Can you imagine if Crosby was scratched in his first two games because the coach didn’t want him to feel “entitled”? Seriously…that move was a total joke. And the excuse made that Boeser was “tired” was total nonsense as he had what…like a week off from the end of camp to the first game?

      Once again I have to say that it seems like Green has a lot of this old boy “that’s the way Al Arbour did it too me back in 1869”. Apprentice learning has huge blind spots in it and that’s pretty much what NHL coaching is. Hand me down philosophies. And it seems like properly motivating guys has been an issue with others on the team. Hard to know from the outside who’s more to blame, the player or the coach, but when you see clear evidence of stupidity like the Boeser scratch, it makes me wonder about his ability to motivate with other players.

      • Kneedroptalbot

        His 1st year in Tampa, Barry Melrose scratched Steven Stamkos a lot. Was it right or wrong?
        Stamkos turned out to be one of the best players in the NHL.

      • Dirty30

        I find Green’s basic philosophy refreshingly honest — “Do you want to be playing in this league? Decide now.” It puts the onus on the player to take responsibility for his actions and bear the consequences of poor decisions.

        Was it right to sit Boeser? Maybe not. But what options does any coach have in those situations? Sit, watch, learn and then show coach you’re ready to buy in and do what it takes. And Boeser did that up to the point of injuring himself.

        JV18 has been buying in and while he has a long way to go, he also demonstrates steps forward in his game that are reassuring.

        Guys like Hutton and Goldy are still on the fence.

        The older guys are a concern in that either Green has a blind spot or figures these guys aren’t the future and is just running out the clock on their contracts.

        • truthseeker

          As I said, I do like a lot of what he’s done. And from all second hand accounts he does seem to communicate with his players better than Willie did. Lots of speculation there though.

          He has the option of playing the guy who was clearly the best player in camp. Simple as that. It shouldn’t even be a question. Even from the outside it was an obvious mind game which was totally unnecessary.

          He just seems to have a lot of that “favoritism” that made Willie so frustrating. Why is it Jake doesn’t get more ice time when he is clearly playing better than most on the team? Why is a guy like Leipsic get so much more rope than Jake when Jake has proven he will put the work in and proven with his numbers that he’s pretty reliable? Where’s the “healthy scratch” for Leipsic, or many others who’ve deserved it as much or more as Jake or Hutton?

          Green seems to be a pretty good system coach. At the beginning of the year players were buying in and it was going fairly well. I like that for next year. But what I don’t like is the impression I get that he’s a bit insecure and felt the need to “come in strong”, take control and establish this weird vibe with the young players by “message sending”. Seemed like in a very haphazard way.

  • Steamer

    Not sold on Quinn Hughes;see him as a one-man-breakout, but not a lot of offensive flair. Boquist, on the other hand, has a big-league shot & is also an elite skater- would be my pick at #2 or thereafter, although can understand taking Tkachuk, Zadina or Svech- just see Boquist as an obvious fit for a need. So many questions on various D- Bouchard,Dobson, Wide, not to mention the mercurial Merkley -gonna be interesting to see who goes where & when?

    • Jabs

      I agree, I am not sold on Hughes, not even a little bit. Craig Button, who is a real scout btw, has Bouchard as the second best d-man as of today…..This is something that I would agree with but I do like Boquist too.

      • Gino über alles

        Look where we are in the standings and where we’ll be by the end of the year, unless there’s a miracle then it’s likely that we’ll have one of the following available when we pick:

        1. Dahlin
        2. Zadina
        3. Svechnikov
        4. Boqvist
        5. Bouchard
        6. Tkachuk

        No matter where we land we’re getting a bona fide top pair defenseman or a first line winger, both of which we desperately need, so I’m already sleeping a bit better at night. This season has been a total gong show but 3 years from now we’ll be glad we went through it.

        • Chadallac

          I hope we don’t pick Svechnikov. He feels like a bust to me. Hope we draft a Dman honestly. The Russian Canucks curse would put me off if I was GMJB/PTL. Not to mention the fact he may actually be 20 years old.

  • Sandpaper

    I know CA wants us to believe that in todays nhl, players like Hughes are super-duper stars.
    As an analytic site how about some stats/percent of small players in the league compared to other eras.
    Small guys have always been in this leaguè, no need to over-inflate there value, when many of them are available in 3rd or 4th round.
    Has anyone seen the signings/drafting of Flyers, Bruins and Kings recently. Very rarely do they pick someone under 6 feet 180.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    …you think Revenge of the Sith is a better movie than Return of the Jedi…as in, you think a movie with Padme and Hayden Skywalker etc is actually better than a movie with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford etc? To quote a certain, recently minted, supervillain near the end of the former: NOOOOOOOOOOO

    Also, I am not sure how you can write off Laine quite that easily, JD. Do you know which player leads the NHL in goals over the last two years? Yeah, it’s Patrik Laine, with 79, 3 more than second place Ovechkin. That’s right, he is the single highest goal scorer in the league since he entered it (he’s technically 2nd in GPG, after Malkin, for that span). Look, I can totally appreciate the incredible talent of Matthews, and am not trying to forcefully argue for one over the other, but your summary write-off of Laine doesn’t entirely fit with the facts either.

    • There are many things wrong with JD’s list. The Phantom Menace is a bad film, but it does not reach the depths of awful that Clones managed. Revenge of the Sith is also a bad film, only remembered fondly by some because it is significantly less-bad than the two films that preceded it. Rogue One is ponderous, lifeless, and boring, and while Last Jedi has some major issues, it doesn’t come close to the depths of awful plumbed by the prequels (or by Rogue One).

      I believe Matthews and Laine have the same GPG in that span, but Matthews has missed some time with injury. Still a pretty damn impressive 1-2 punch from that draft.

      • Not that anyone asked but:

        The Empire Strikes Back
        Star Wars
        The Force Awakens
        Return of the Jedi
        The Last Jedi
        Revenge of the Sith
        Rogue One
        The Phantom Menace
        Attack of the Clones

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        No, Laine’s is higher by a small margin, and GPG obviously accounts for time missed to injury (Laine also missed time due to injury, last year, though by now Matthews has missed more). Laine’s PPG is modestly better too, though I do acknowledge he plays an easier position. It’s a comparison we can make for years to come (not unlike Crosby vs Ovi) and which will likely be an open question as their careers progress. For JD to write off the point without digging into it is not just condescending, it’s also ignorant.

        I’m going to go with:
        Empire Strikes Back
        Star Wars
        Return of the Jedi

        Huge, huge gap

        Revenge of the Sith
        The Phantom Menace
        Star Wars: the Soft Reboot (you know, the one that told the exact same story as Episode IV, aka The Force Awakens)
        Attack of the Clones

        Then there were two more movies I can’t comment on that I didn’t watch because I can’t stand “cinematic universes” or “soft reboots” and Star Wars is trying to serve me both, meaning that I decided to check out. They may have been better, or more original, but I had already made the call after “Episode VII”. In other words, I loathed The Force Awakens and was cursing JJ Abrams and the horse he rode in on as I walked out of the theatre. (I actually hate JJ Abrams in general – talk about someone who hates their source material and it shows. You want to see how to do a “soft reboot” so well that this Curmudgeon will actually not hate it, try watching Mad Max: Fury Road). I agree with you about Attack of the Clones, it was an absolute abomination and frankly, mind-numbingly boring. I tried to watch it a second time at one point, and couldn’t even get 15 minutes in. I thus rank it even lower than the Soft Reboot. The Phantom Menace was bad, and truly atrocious in some parts and ways (nonsensical plot, annoying and poorly developed characters, massively convoluted action climax, etc) but still had the tiniest little inklings of charm here and there. Revenge of the Sith was marginally better than those two, and did tell an original story (looking at you here JJ), but was still a massive step down from the original trilogy. Jedi had a few issues, and the Ewoks have not aged well, placing it clearly below Star Wars, which is still a beautifully crafted piece of storytelling over 40 years later (wish I could get a copy that doesn’t have all that special edition crap though).

        Saving the best for last, Empire is one of the truly great films of any era, an absolute gem where practically every scene and every character is iconic and memorable. I watched it on a plane a few weeks back (American Airlines had a very limited selection of movies I could get into) and it still makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

      • I am Ted

        Last Jedi was a pile of horse shat. The Force Awakens wasn’t much better. I lump those two steaming piles in with the sequel trilogy. The originally trilogy and Rogue One are solid films. Empire is definitely #1 and A New Hope is #2…maybe then Jedi followed by Rogue One.

    • Jabs

      The writers of this site think that the Dark Side are the good guys. Same as on the How I met your Mother TV series, Barney thought that the blond kid was the good guy and was the Karate Kid and Ralph Macchio was the bad guy who ruined the happy ending .

  • KCasey

    ‘They’d fit in on the Canucks insofar as they’re not especially good hockey players.’ That is a savage play with the words there JD. Catches both players with a one two combination followed by a right cross rocking the Canucks jaw. I know this staff has some dirty tricks up the sleeves but hot dam that was ruthless.

  • Super Pest

    Thank you, JD for your honesty in answering the question, re: Botch.
    Some of us DO appreciate the hard work you guys do; it’s just easier to believe the negatives 🙁

  • truthseeker

    In my opinion every star wars movie sucks. All of them. Even Empire. Awful dialog. Lucas was a terrible terrible writer. Awful dialog and predictably boring “good vs evil” one dimensional characters. And the acting was atrocious in the first three. Mark Hamil was awful. Ford was even worse. Fisher and Ben were good I guess but with the awful dialog…..

    They were fun movies as a kid…but I’m not a kid anymore. And I can’t forgive awful writing simply because of nostalgia.

    But hey, at least the special effects were awesome.

      • KCasey

        Not to call you wrong, because everyone movie taste and preferences differ, but I think a 37 billion dollar profit spanning multiple decades flies right in the face of your conclusion that the entire franchise sucks as a whole. Suffice to say your the minority here…a very small minority at that. Whats worse is I bet most if not all of your friends and family are fans or at least enjoy the entertainment of it (because it is just entertainment after all), and when the next film comes around your play it cool with them all and put your cash down to sit right next to them in the theatre to watch. In the end Disney wont care that %1 of its audience isnt really a true fan when they do the math and find out they made an extra $100 mil off of the bandwagon crowd. I wont say that makes Disney right or wrong but they certainly have the right recipee for a successful franchise.

        • truthseeker

          ahhh the old “it did well financially so it must be good” argument. Do I have to explain why that’s illogical?

          and no….I won’t.

          But yeah in the end it is just our opinions…if you enjoy them then great.

      • KCasey

        If this is directed at me Ted I would rethink that and maybe check some facts and stats. Truthseeker said that the finacial arguement illogical but in reality its actually the be all end of of what people are enjoying. It works that way in almost every single movie franchise. Star Wars didnt make 37 billion dollars from just movie theatre ticket sales guys. People wemt and saw all these movies and apparently enjoyed them as well as the whole theme so much they went out and bought the t-shirts and toy lightsabers and lego models and even socks and lunch boxes. People dont buy merchandise for things they hated….and star wars is the merchandise king. You guys all said that the prequels were the worst of them all, I agree, so do the financials in both ticket sales and marketing sales. Thats simply how it works folks. People consume what they enjoy. We will use the Canucks as an example here, people arent happy with the product and the financials show that. Look at any movie anywhere, if its a good movie its does well, and usually when something does well they make more…they do this until it no longers sells as that is there proof that its run is over. Star wars has how many movies and and tv specials and even cartoons and they all turn profits. Not sure how there is any arguement there. You guys think most if not all of the films were trash which is fine to say in regards to your personal taste of what you enjoy in movies….but dont try and convince hundreds of millions of people who evidently think otherwise.

  • Jimjamg

    I heartily agree, 2003 was the year we really blew it, not 2011. In 2003 we absolutely should have won the Cup. Best line in hockey, The Sedins and a young Kesler were our “depth” scoring and a defence lead by Jovo-cop, Salo and Ohlund (we can only dream of such a defence corps now). But we were beaten by a not-very-good Minnesota team riding a hot goalie in the first round , while we suffered with sub-par goaltending from Cloutier. Then had to watch a mediocre New Jersey team win the Cup that should have been ours.

  • Steamer

    Article about Svenchnikov’s age was, frankly, amateurish & libelous, which is why, I suppose, it has been removed from the site. If you truly wish to attain – let alone maintain – professional credibility, JD, I suggest you either ‘buy-out’ both Jeremy Davis & Jackson MacDonald, or at the very least, scrutinize each & every article they submit. Level of writing & journalistic integrity are both taking big hit here at CA. If you’re not concerned, you’re part of the problem.

    • truthseeker

      It’s kind of a shame though because at it’s core it made for a pretty great article and subject. I was hoping they would have rewritten it and put it back out in a more neutral way.

      I’m pretty critical of this site and what I think are their blind spots when it comes to their use of advanced stats, but at the same time that article minus finger pointing made excellent points about the effects of age differences in judging players coming out of lower levels.

      What’s amateurish is not owning up to mistakes like that and at least printing some kind of retraction, which would then give you the freedom to print the article again in a more unbiased manner.