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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: The Next Captain

The Sedins have made their decision: they’re retiring at the end of this season. It’s a sad moment for all of Vancouver, myself included.

Now the question shifts to what the Canucks should do this summer. It’s unlikely that the Canucks will be able to replace what the Sedins brought on the ice. Even in their advanced age, the Sedins have been productive players for the Canucks and two of their best players at tilting the ice at 5-on-5. Still, it’s possible that free agency bears some similarly useful options in the short term.

Replacing the Sedins off the ice, now that’s another matter entirely. That, I think, will be downright impossible. They’re the two best people ever to grace the sports scene of Vancouver period. Someone is going to have to step into their roles as leaders, though; someone is going to have to take on the captain’s ‘C’.

With that, my question to you is: what would you do about the void at captain? Who should be the next Canuck to wear the ‘C’?

Last week I askedIt’s not a “What Would You Do” per se, but a “Where Do You Stand”, and I want to know where you stand on the issue of tanking in hockey. The floor is yours!

Cageyvet:

I would do exactly what the team is currently doing. Shut down any vet with an injury, and play the kids, but don’t even try to lose by giving a half-assed effort. Not only is it going to build bad habits and a loser mentality, but it seems to be a truism that less than a full effort lends itself to injuries, and I don’t want to see Bo or Jake suffer any kind of injury.

If the old system was in play, and finishing position equalled draft position, then you could justify having Nillson in net and bring up Megna, etc., but the ugly truth is that the field has more chance at number 1 than the last place team. No matter what, we will get a top 10 pick, so it’s not a total disaster. My version of embracing team tank is you don’t fret about winning, develop good habits in your future core, and let the chips fall where they may. As long as you don’t keep the kids on the bench in search of meaningless wins, then send your team out to play hard every night, knowing that we will usually lose anyway because we’re just not good enough.

Sandpaper:

I would have JD Burke go and coach the remaining 5 games.

Reuben:

I believe in rebuilding but I also believe that throwing games is unethical, so I suppose that no, I don’t believe in a full tank. That being said, I also can’t support loading the team with overpaid “name brand” free agents on untradeable contracts. I think that, if you truly and sustainably build through the draft, with luck a team can contend indefinitely.

Obviously that’s a totally unrealistic fantasy in 2018 Canuckland. So if it were up to me, I’d spend to the cap floor. Short term contracts on free agents. Take salary dumps and draft picks at the trade deadline. No free agent pickups until July 8th, to help resist the urge to enter a bidding war on a blown out 32 year old. Then I’d fill the ranks with guys from the existing prospect pool. I’m pretty sure that after that, the tank would take care of itself. With some good luck on the draft floor the prospect pool would slowly replenish. At the optimistic pace of two NHLers per draft you’d have the beginnings of a real team after 6-7 years. Then I’d attempt to make a couple aggressive free agent signings to fill the gaps in the top 6 and 4 and maybe I’d have something.

Defenceman Factory: 

The purpose of the 82 games is to provide entertainment. If the incentive to lose is significant the games are not entertaining. If getting better odds from finishing last are still worth losing for the NHL doesn’t have it right yet. I absolutely hate watching teams trying to suck. Let’s make team tank extinct.

How about the bottom 3 teams don’t get a lottery pick. They pick 4th, 5th and 6th respectively in every round. Simplify the odds for the remaining 13 teams. The 4th 5th and 6th worst teams get the same odds in the lottery. Poor teams would be trying to win in order to get a lottery pick rather than icing the worst possible line-up. That would make team tank extinct and the last 10 or 20 games in a season would be much more entertaining.

argoeleas:

First, we should remember why this team is at the bottom of the league: it is rebuilding, it has aging vets while the emerging core is a few years away from truly taking over, the goaltending is suspect, and no depth to handle a really bad stretch of key injuries. All of these conspired to result in where they are. But if just Marky played better (i.e. like now), and just Horvat and Boeser were healthy all season, they would be probably 10 spots higher and we would not be having this discussion.

As such, I cannot support telegraphing to the players that they should play lousy. Vanek was traded, and other vets and top players are injured, and spots were filled with prospects and castoffs. Can we complain that somehow this group tailor-made for tanking still found a way to win? Marky is playing better (not just late season push crap), Goldy seems to be finally grasping playing away from the puck and hounding for it. Am I going to say to Gaudette ” hello Hobey Baker favorite, now go suck for a few games?” That is nuts.

I still do hope that they finish as low as possible, but I will not curse Canucks players for playing to win. I will in fact, cheer for the players on Buffalo, Arizona, Montreal, Ottawa, and Detroit play to win too!!! Go Eichel!!

Most of all I hope all the teams left on Canucks’ schedule also come to play and win. Not another Duck Suck, plz!!

Killer Marmot:

I don’t understand “fans” who want their team to lose. What is the purpose of being a fan except to watch fun, exciting games where the players and management are giving it their all? Team Tank wants Stanley Cups, but they don’t seem to actually like hockey.

Dirk22:

It’s not that complicated. The fans, myself included, wishing for the highest draft pick possible want to get excited about this team again and see guys like Dahlin, Zadina, Svechinov etc. No one expects the players currently on the roster to care and rightfully they should be playing for their jobs. Problem is, Brandon Sutter having a great game, or Sam Gagner having a great game does nothing for the long term prospects of this franchise. There is no ‘winning culture’ in jeopardy of being tarnished as this is the worst team in the league since the start of the 2015-16 season. This franchise will make it or break it on the backs of their 2018 pick, Horvat, Boeser, Petterson, Juolevi – none of which will be impacted by the last few games of the season.

The absolute only guy I can see anybody make an argument for is Markstrom – he’s the only player who might gain something meaningful from the last few games if he strings something together. That only matters if you think Markstrom is going to be part of this team’s future – maybe, maybe not.

In conclusion, this ‘real fans don’t cheer for losses’ sentiment is horse s$&@. Team tank fans want this franchise to get back to where they were about 9-10 years ago. The majority of players donning the jersey right now have nothing to do with that.

TheRealPB:

There is no way your head can cheer for a win and there’s no way your heart can cheer for a loss and therein lies the conundrum. It doesn’t make you any more or less of a fan to break either way and I think most of us are pretty torn. Yeah, the odds are still against you even if you finish worst but go and run the simulator and see how much better the positions you get are in 20 or 100 sims when you’re in 2nd versus 5th. I struggle so much with this; I want to see what Gaudette looks like, how Virtanen is progressing, what the possibly final games of the Sedins look like and all the rest. But I cannot deny that when the Ducks tied it up on the fluke goal I was slightly relieved and then felt deeply conflicted when Biega scored. Each time I feel like I should just turn off the game and look at the boxscore the next day. I probably should. I can at least take solace by watching an Oilers or Flames game these days and be grateful we’re not in their messes, totally crapping the bed while having the best player in the league or in having basically no draft picks in the first few rounds for the next two years. And in the case of the Oilers almost no prospects in the pipeline either…

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Eric Gudbranson for captain. He provides leadership and all the young players look up to him. 2nd choice would be Markus Grandlund, all the same reasons though he is more soft spoken. All the young Canuck’s aren’t ready for that role until the team learns to win consistently. Let the vets answer the tough questions while the kids are still becoming professionals.

  • OMAR49

    I think Bo Horvat is a future captain of this team, I just don’t think it’s now. It’s a lot of pressure to put on a 23 year old. Make him an alternate captain and give him 2-3 years to grow into the job. In the interim I would appoint Sutter as the Captain. He has experience as an alternate and the maturity to deal the media.

    • Holly Wood

      If Bo is the best option , then they should go with just A’s for at least one season unless one of the A’s jumps to the front. Too much pressure on a young player dealing with the media daily. Share the pain . Let’s not forget who was on the ice when Lewis drilled Boesser from behind, if that happen on the Bruins, tape on his hands or not Lewis pays the price. That’s the culture that still rules the game, whether the sweethearts agree or not.

    • So your offer is to make Team Captain a guy who calls out the fan base and his team-mates? OK then. Anyone but Horvat would be another PR disaster for Lindenning. But we all know that Benning will absolutely name Gudbransson as a captain and Sutter as an alternate because all of that intangible bs.

  • Goon

    Horvat strikes me as mature, seems to be a leader already, he’s one of the best players on the Canucks, and someone who is likely going to be on the team for a long time.

    If the team wants a stop-gap captain for a couple of years with the influx of young talent coming before they pick a long-term captain, I’d nominate Edler. With the Sedins retiring he’s the longest-serving Canuck, he has class, he’s still an excellent player, and someone I’m sure the younger guys look up to. He certainly deserves to wear the C for a couple of years before passing it on to Bo, or Boeser, or Pettersson, or whoever steps up in the next generation.

    • TD

      I’m not sure Edler would want the job as it entails talking to the media and he always avoids interviews and speaking with the media. I would like to see Horvat with an A, but don’t think the C is right at this time because of the pressure. Maybe a bunch of A’s and no C for a year.

    • ManicSt

      I was going to say the same thing TBH. In many ways I think Bo will be more vocal than Edler, who can anchor him and lead by example while the next gen matures.

  • Horvat as captain because he’s demonstrated all of the traits that this team needs. He’s an all-situation player that is relentless on the ice, is continuously improving his game to the point where he’s exceeded all expectations, and most of all, he wants the damn “C”. It’s the fire and aggression that Kesler brought that the Sedins never had. In quantitative terms, our playoff odds dropped from 60% to 0% when Horvat got injured. I’d keep Tanev as an alternate captain and make Gudbranson the other assistant captain, to formalize his locker room leadership.

    • apr

      I completely agree, but not because he is not mature – I just don’t think he needs that added pressure right now. Look what Edmonton and the Sabres are doing with McDavid and Eichel. The team is just floundering, regardless of their individual performances. I would wait a year or two (or till the Nucks are back in the playoffs and Bo maintains his trajectory) to anoint Bo. I would give the A to Bo, Guddy, and Sutter. Tanev is getting traded, and leadership just aint Edler’s cup of tea. Maybe to Vanek if he comes back as well.

  • Dirty30

    Bo. It’s his team and his time. There are enough vets left that there can be enough. A’s to go around to support him on and off the ice.

    There have been younger Captains in this league including Linden.

  • Jamie E

    Who cares? What difference does it make? Most teams have a leadership group rather than a single, clear leader anyways. Other than being the designated point person to give canned, non answers to the same repetitive questions the media ask after every game and being the “Complainer-in-Chief” when the coach wants a ref yelled at, does it matter? If it does, someone will have to explain why to me.

  • Kootenaydude

    Bo knows hockey. He has worked very hard to become the player he is. He brings it every game and is part of the future. Therefore I would make him our captain. Next would be Edler or Tanev. Although I would like to see Gudbranson and Tanev moved for a top draft pick. I don’t think he would come here, but a smart quality centre like Stastny would be a great fit too. The biggest concern I have right now Is Benning with 14 million dollars. The guy is good at drafting, but his UFA selecting is terrible!! Honestly which good UFA has he signed since coming here?!?! You know a player that is good enough for us not want to move at the trade deadline. The answer is zero. We need to bring in a UFA that is a winner. Not another plug that takes a roster spot. If we can’t sign a quality UFA, that’s the perfect fit, then fill the holes with our young guys. Guys like Sautner, Goldobin, Motte, Dahlen, Petterson and even Boucher. Finally keep a tough guy like Archie to protect our young guys. This is the Canucks most important off season yet. Let’s hope Benning doesn’t blow it!!

  • Nuck16

    Though with the current group we have, I see Bo as the logical choice, though might not be a bad idea to give it to a vet that’s only going to be around for another year or 2, as a stop gap if we don’t think Bo is ready, or if there is a chance someone else might grow into that role in another couple years.

  • degan

    Horvat’s young but I think he’s already shown he’s got the maturity and class to be a leader. And if we’re building a new core around players like him, Boeser, Pettersson, Juolevi, and Demko, he’s the senior member of that group.

  • Defenceman Factory

    I think Horvat for captain is fine.

    Want to make it clear this team is handing its leadership to the next generation put an A on Stecher. Wow that kid works hard. Same age as Horvat but perhaps less impactful.

  • TheRealPB

    Horvat because he’s calm, solid and a rising star. I don’t think he’d feel the pressure that much. They’ll probably give the A to Gudbranson and Sutter though my choices would be Edler and Tanev.

  • Rodeobill

    I think Bo will get it, and That would be my second choice. He conducts himself well, trains hard, work ethic, etc. I think that Sutter is a good choice because (barring no roster changes before next season) the extra responsibility and role will actually help HIS game. Bo has conistently improved each season and would also be a good choice, but I have a hunch that being the captain may hinder his focus in this regard more than help, whereas I get the feeling Sutter would blossom in that role, hold the guys accountable, and encourage them.

  • BC SPORTS FAN

    You can’t give the captain to Gudbrandson. All year he was our 7th best D-man. Benning tried to trade him but the other 30 general managers didn’t want this guy. Instead “Dim Jim ” resigns him.

  • browncoat

    Bo is the best fit to be the future Captain of the Canucks. He’s got the passion, dedication, drive, attitude, smarts, etc that you’d want in a leader. However, Bo is still progressing his personal game and Henrik was one of, if not the greatest Canuck Captains ever, and that’s a big act to follow. Let him focus on seeing what his maximum potential is, while learning what it means to be Captain Canuck. He keeps shattering expectations so let him do his thing, and keep getting better.

    If I’m in charge, I would have no one wear the C next year. It’s a big year of transition and I would like to let the young leadership group emerge naturally with players who are going to be here a while and play the “right way,” whatever that means. Once the draft and free agency are over and we have a better idea of who’s here, give the A’s to Bo, Tanev/Edler (both if Tanev isn’t traded) and a mix of youth and veterans. Preferably more youth but it doesn’t always work that way.

  • LTFan

    I agree with most commentators on this issue – Bo Horvat for Captain. Assistants – Chris Tanev or Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter. These are all veteran players and it gives the younger guys some time to learn what having the “A” on your jersey is all about.

  • speering major

    No captain short term (next season). Revolving or alternating the role seems fine. The last thing you want to do is strip someone of captain. I think Brock might emerge as a star in the league and face of the team next season. If that happens, you have to plan accordingly, which again means you avoid stripping someone else and assessing when Brock could be ready to take the C. Bo might be the captain but I would be very cautious. There is zero benefit in creating problems here. The upside to rushing to a new captain with a young player that isn’t a no-brainer face of the franchise type (Mcdavid, Crosby, etc) is almost non existent.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Stick the ‘C’ on Loui Eriksson as he likely isnt going anywhere for the next 4 yrs. But in all seriousness, it seems like the team is not ready to commit to Bo quite yet, so why not just have 3 revolving ‘A’s for next season? None of the other veterans ‘move the needle’ so to speak with the fans so who cares really.