Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: Ilya Kovalchuk, Elias Pettersson, The Sedins and The Draft

I’m going to assume that you mean Ilya Kovalchuk and answer with a resounding yes. The only problem with this plan is that I can’t imagine any reason why Kovalchuk would want to come to the Canucks.

I’d probably just give Bo Horvat the captaincy.

It shouldn’t cost any less than the Edmonton Oilers first round pick. That contract is that bad.

If you’re Canucks general manager Jim Benning, you shouldn’t think this is a team you can turn around in a hurry — let’s start there. For that matter, if you’re John Tavares, and you’ve rarely if ever had a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, why would you think that the Canucks are the team to give you that opportunity? They might be one of the few teams in the league that give the Islanders a run for their money regarding sheer ineptitude at the top of the organization.

With that, I can’t see any way the Canucks can land Tavares period. The only way they’d have even a fighting chance is with a contract offer that’s in Connor McDavid territory for Tavares.

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The winning to finish the season and start the season are, unfortunately, probably going to embolden the Canucks this off-season into thinking this team isn’t far off from competing. They’ve already fallen for this trap three consecutive off-seasons, so it’s not like they deserve the benefit of the doubt.


I feel like the Sedins would probably start as advisers to the general manager if they ever worked their way back into the hockey world.

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It’s hard for me to make that comparison. Those moments were of sheer, unbridled joy. And the dragon slaying, along with the stanchion goal, were so, so special. The Sedins’ final days were special too, but for entirely different reasons.

I’m going to cop out, and just say that they were all amazing moments in Canucks history, and I was able to savour each, and I feel incredibly grateful for those opportunities.

I don’t have any idea where Alain Vigneault will end up, but concerning where I’d like to see him land, one of either the Calgary Flames or Dallas Stars would be neat.

I’d like to see Jake Virtanen’s production take a step forward before I go that far. A lot of what Virtanen does on the ice with regards to controlling on-ice shots, goals, expected goals, etc. suggests he’s above that level of play, but Virtanen’s production still lags closer to fourth line territory.

If I were the Canucks, I’d look to sign these players to one or maybe even two-year deals with the plan of flipping them at the deadline for futures: Valtteri Filppula, Joel Ward, Leo Komarov, Kris Versteeg and Thomas Hickey.

That depends on who is available to the Canucks, naturally. If Quinn Hughes is there, that’s who they should take; if not, go with Oliver Wahlstrom.

I’m not sure what it would cost the Canucks to get Erik Karlsson sans-Bobby Ryan, so it’s hard to say how that affects the price. Regardless, I don’t think the Canucks make sense as a suitor.

The Canucks shouldn’t take on Ryan’s contract. It’s too long and far too onerous. It’s one of the few contracts that might impede their ability to compete when the Canucks are ready to do just that. Anything less than a first round pick and a prospect isn’t good enough. Taking on $7-million is a tall ask.

You’ve seen Edmonton suffer criticism for wasting Connor McDavid’s entry-level contract years because, well, they wasted his entry-level contract years.

If the Canucks land Rasmus Dahlin, it does put on added pressure to contend within a three-year window. You’ve got one of the best luxuries in the entire NHL at your exposure, so you better make hay with it. I’m not sure that means selling off everyone who isn’t ready to immediately compete, though.

I say under.

I’ve heard the Canucks like Noah Dobson, and it seems likely he’ll be there around ninth overall. I’d like that pick, too.

Elias Pettersson will probably get a shot in the Canucks middle-six to start. It’s not like Brock Boeser started the season on the fourth line (when he eventually got into the lineup), and Pettersson is coming to town with even higher expectations offensively. I could see Pettersson on the third line with a centre the Canucks sign in free agency and Jake Virtanen.

Nope. And nope.

It depends on where the Canucks are drafting and who’s available. Still, I think there’s enough variance in this draft that one can reasonably address a positional need while taking the best player available on their board.

I lean towards Nikolay Goldobin. Let Goldobin try and build off this late-season success with Bo Horvat. The two seem to have some legitimate chemistry.

Brandon Sutter.

Yes, and no. I think when Benning, etc. show concern for size, it has more to do with a player’s ability to hold up over the course of a brutally difficult, physical, injury-laden 82 game season. It’s got more to do with protecting the players from unnecessary physical harm than having a team of goons.

I don’t want to say whether it was the greatest send-off ever or not. I haven’t been exposed to all of them, so I’d just be talking out my ass. On the other hand, I thought it was exceptionally well done by everyone involved. The Canucks did an excellent job of celebrating the Sedins’ careers and making sure their last two games at home were special.

The media killed it, too. Both of the local radio stations had awesome lineups of guests. Everyone on the beat offered excellent insights on the Sedins’ careers. Hell, I thought our coverage was downright excellent. There was a lot of Sedin content this week on CanucksArmy.

Pettersson is probably going to start his career playing a lot on the wing. Hell, that might be where he plays most of his hockey at the NHL level.

You’ve got me beat. I’d love to see the Canucks make some additions to their staff. I just can’t for the life of me figure out why they think the status quo is working.

Adam Boqvist has the biggest bust potential in the top ten. Ryan Merkley the biggest start potential outside of the top ten.

Somehow I think it’s going to suck even more than this season. If such a thing is possible.

  • Not a question, but a comment: No post-game update for the Sedins’ final game (despite all that Sedin content), and still not even in the top-ten in midterm prospects report (at this rate, we’ll be into next season before this season’s reports are finished).

    I know you guys are all busy and I’ve shrugged my shoulders at past missed post-game updates, but c’mon. The final game of the season, the Sedins’ final hockey game, no update? And the midterm reports has turned into a complete joke. If you’re too busy to keep on top of this stuff, perhaps its time to bring on another writer, or someone to offload some of the editing responsibilities to?

    • St Albert

      FFS get a life. Constant whining on here about game 82 that meant nothing, the last insignificant game of yet another lost season – newsflash season over, we lost and the Sedins got tons of coverage here all week (too much imo) and funniest of all you and all the other whiners watched it wtf do you need a recap for… get over it, season over, go get a life!

      • Green Bastard

        How ’bout you stop being a biotch? When your mom said get a hobby like fishing, she didn’t mean “trolling”. Are you pretending not to be “Wise”?

      • @ st albert

        You telling others to get a life ? You, the guy who writes multiple comments on Xmas day? You, who spends every waking hour patrolling canucksarmy and oilersnation? You, who can’t land any new contracts?
        “Crunch numbers, first one free.” Second one free too. Hahaha.

    • J.D. Burke

      Hey Goon,

      Let me start by expressing my disappointment that we couldn’t put something together for Saturday night’s game. It was just the perfect storm. I was expecting one of our writers to cover the game, and didn’t find out until Sunday morning that some real life problems got in the way of covering the game — not going to apologize for that, you must remember that we’re people with families, full-time jobs and other responsibilities that will sometimes get in the way of our coverage.

      Most Saturday night games, this wouldn’t be an issue. I’d get up, notice the lack of a recap, and tackle it as soon as possible — I’ve had to do this before, and come through. Unfortunately, I had obligations of my own that took up most of my Sunday. By the time I had a minute to write, there were recaps on several other outlets. It just didn’t work this weekend.

      You’re right to expect this type of coverage from us, and usually we deliver. As for the Mid-Term Prospect Profiles, it’s tough because I’ve had to take on a lot in the last few weeks and just haven’t had the time. I’m going to try and pick this up again soon — no guarantees. My apologies for the frequent delays.

      • TD

        Thanks JD, I often write about how I disagree with how one sidedly negative you are in your articles, but I appreciate your writing this here. I also appreciate how the whole site focused on the Sedins this week with awesome coverage and did not focus on the blown tank (it’s hard to believe they went 6-1-2 down the stretch after losing 7 straight). The articles and tone did a great job helping us fans celebrate the Sedins for their careers and who they are as people.

      • redrocket

        i could be wrong, but in regards to the missed game recap…my guess would be that people are less annoyed by the lack of coverage and more so about missing the chance to comment on the game. in these inevitable situations maybe just posting a box score or something could work, so folks can still comment about the game.

      • truthseeker

        this is a free blog. personally I don’t care if you guys miss things or don’t write a story about an issue. even a big one. I won’t complain over not getting a free lunch.

        Real life is far more important than hockey. Frankly, if I don’t see an article about something that’s just what I assume is happening. You all have better things to do. In a way, I respect that even more. No need to apologize and no need to justify. There are plenty of other places to get information if one can’t wait.

  • Dirty30

    Now that the Sedins are gone, does it behoove JB to call Chia and offer to take Lucic if Edmonton gets the number one pick? Would Dahlin be worth taking that contract? How badly would it impact the Canucks competitiveness over time?

      • speering major

        If the Canucks are comfortable buying out Lucic in 3-4 years I don’t mind the deal at all. The Canucks need to build a D core in a hurry. Drafting 2 or D in the top 15 is exactly what they need. I would also move Tanev for a first rounder. Next season is going to be painful regardless, and the faster the rebuild the better. The team is selling the future anyways. Tickets will be bought to see Brock, Bo, and Petterson. The cheers Demko got were telling

        Lucic provides some toughness a young roster needs. He also has leadership and respect. Lucic is also likely due to bounce back somewhat offensively (short term) in the right situation. The Caunucks need to balance bad contracts with signing RFA’s though. Guys like Brock and Petterson will require cap space before Eriksson or possibly a Lucic deal expires

  • apr

    Even with the Sedins retiring, there is a huge glut of forwards that needs to be addressed. Only Brock and Bo are locks. Petterson is probably a lock. Svechnikov/Zadina/Tkachuk will probably be locks as well. The veterans: Sutter, Gagne, Ericksson. JV, Goldy, Gaunce, and Leipsic (I think) will need waivers. Dahlen, Lind, Gadjovich, and McEwen will be knocking on the door if one f them opens eyes. Baer and Granlund are definitely in trade territory. Motte, Archibald, Jokkinen, cheap FA/PTO flier (ie Upshall, Burmitsov, etc).There is now $14 million burning a hole in JB’s pocket and you know his eyes opened seeing James Deal be the first to congratulate the Sedins last Thursday.


    Baer- traded for late 1st – 2nd
    Granlund traded for a dead contract (Orpik, Hossa)
    Reaves as the 13th forward (love Archibald story, but just not consistent enough – Benning is going to bring in a “heavy forward to protect Brock, EP, and Dahlen – may as well be a bad a$$ if he’s going this route (his and the team’s love/admiration for Derek Dorsett is undeniable, underlying stats be damned).

    • Killer Marmot

      There is not a “huge glut of forwards”. It takes about 20 or so forwards to get through the season. In 2017-18, 24 forwards played for the Canucks.

      • Plus there are only two legitimate top-six forwards in the organization right now in Horvat and Boeser. Guys like Virtanen, Leipsic, Goldobin, Erickson, Sutter, Gagner and Dahlen are all third-line talents at this point in their careers – maybe second line in a pinch. Virtanen, Leipsic, Goldobin and Dahlen may all develop into second line players, but they’re not there yet. The Canucks have lots of depth on the wings, but they’ve got a major talent deficiency up front, too.

        • apr

          As said throughout the Sedins tributes, it took them 4-5 years to arrive – and the same for Ryan Kessler to become Ryan Kessler. Burrows was supposed to be a star at roller hockey; not potting 30 goals riding shotgun with Sedins. I like what we have seen from Jake (see him blow by McDavid) and Goldy. Leipsic looks like the Nucks version of Marchessault/Gourde. There aren’t any elite talents now, but I think there is a framework there that is getting clearer. That said, the D needs a lot of work.

          • I took a long break from watching games this year and was really pleasantly surprised by the progress from Virtanen and Goldobin when I started watching again. They’re still not top-six talents, and may never get there, though. Leipsic too. Player development isn’t just a straight upward trajectory, and you can’t count on all of these players getting incrementally better this year from next. One might take a huge leap forward while two take steps back, for example. The Canucks can’t move forward simply crossing their fingers that all of these players are going to reach their peak potential – that’s simply not going to happen. They have to add more high-end talent to this team.

      • speering major

        No thanks on Neal. An optimistic timeline for the Canucks to be a playoff team is two more full seasons. At that point Neals production is likely to drop off substantially. Also, he’s a UFA that would command term (like they all do)

        Gauance should never crack the top 12 of any NHL team. Sorry but he cannot put the puck in the net to save his life. It’s below enforcer production

        I think they should move on from Baertschi if the market for him is that high. If they can get a 1st rounder for taking on Lucic I don’t mind that if they are prepared to buy him out eventually. Granlund can play up and down the line up and I don’t think they can get much in return. Goldobin should be given an extended chance to fulfill an offensive roll. With those linemates he could still put up enough points to get trade value if they don’t like what they see. I think it’s a big jump for Dahlen so it seems like a good idea to let him succeed in Utica first. If he does, that will be a nice opportunity to ship out another forward for futures

        • DeL

          I like Goldy w/Bo and Brock what have they got to lose. I would like to see how Liepsic/Gaudette/Virtanen look as a third line. I’ve seen numerous Petterson highlights no way you stick that kind of talent on the third line. Send him to Utica for the playoffs to get comfortable with ice surface size and physicality of NA game.

      • TD

        KM, I think we know that they need more than 13 forwards, but any forwards not in the top 13 have to be exposed to waivers. Ideally, you have your 13 on the opening day roster (maybe one or two more with preseason injuries) and then some good prospects that aren’t waiver eligible. Depending on who makes the Canucks that will be Lind, Gadjovich, Motte, and maybe some of Dahlen, Gaudette and Pettersson. There will always be some decent journeymen from the Comets like Chaput, who can fill in on the fourth line. They can use more depth everywhere, but at some point they will start losing them to waivers.

        • Killer Marmot

          I think we know that they need more than 13 forwards, but any forwards not in the top 13 have to be exposed to waivers.

          First, the standard practice is to have 14 forwards on the roster. Canucks lately have gone with 13, but that doesn’t mean they have to continue that practice.

          Second, there are always injuries, even at the start of the season, which means that you can carry more than 14.

          Third, some of the players will already be in the minors. Motte and Goldobin are examples.

          Fourth, some of the younger players will be waiver exempt.

          Fifth, it’s pretty easy to get someone passed waivers in the weeks before the season opener. Of course, you shouldn’t try it with a highly desirable player.

          • TD

            I agree, but count the forwards. A “huge glut” may not be accurate, but the Canucks are in a position where they may have to expose a decent player. Bringing in more forwards will guarantee we have to expose players to waivers. Also, lots of teams use 2 extra D and 1 forward. The Canucks seem to do it because of injuries combined with the ability to play a D up if needed. Very few replacement level forwards can play D.

  • Big D, little d

    >> Virtanen’s production still lags closer to fourth line territory.

    JD, I think you need to adjust your expectations as to what production comes from 3rd and 4th line wingers. Jake was 10-10-20, which is T-62 for production from right wingers. That puts his production right on the bubble with the worst 2nd line wingers in the league (or the best 3rd line wingers, take your pick). If you want to go by ppg, and limit it to players with a reasonable amount of playing time (lets say 30 games, just for fun) then Jake is 0.27 ppg which is T-74 for right wingers. That still puts him solidly into 3rd line production (arguably positions 63 – 93 in the league).

    • TD

      What kills me on that comment, is JD went away from the stats and looked at what actually happened. Yet when he looks at Hutton, he’s all praise because of the underlying stats while ignoring 6 assists in 61 games.

      • Holly Wood

        Another guy that has figured out that JD is a cherry picker. He is all analytics in some scenarios and occasionally uses the eye test. I have said all year that JV 18 is on the cusp of becoming a real good player. But at least JD is consistent when criticizing upper management, while pining for an intern position. It’s funny cuz just when he shows a little credibility he becomes a putz

      • TD

        Where does Hutton’s 0 goals and 6 assists in 61 games rank him? I like Hutton and Virtanen, but both need to improve for them to contribute to a winning line-up. They both have good underlying numbers, so why are you now looking at Virtanen’s actual numbers while staying focused on Hutton’s underlying numbers and not the actual lack of production?

        I am trying to rationalize your inconsistencies. I think Virtanen is showing way more promise then ever and has had more highlight reel rushes than any other Canuck in the last quarter of the season, but he has to start scoring. Conversely, Hutton needs to actually contribute as well and not just have promising moments.

        I liked what Green had to say about both players in his press conference today. He acknowledged the solid underlying analytics, but said both players have to improve if they want to be productive NHL players. That seems to really summarize both of current games fairly well.

  • Holmes

    Disagree with the assertion that Boquist has the greatest bust potential. The kid is almost a full year younger than Tkachuk, Hughes, Bouchard, Zadina and Dobson. At that age, a year of development time is huge. Boquist is a stellar prospect now. Level him out age wise with the other kids, he’s a steal at fifth overall or wherever he goes.

  • LTFan

    Hmmm – I agree with JD about the coverage on the Sedins by CA. You guys did a good job. While there was no write-up (so far) following the final game in Edmonton – it was anti-climatic after the Thursday game against Arizona. The crowd in Edmonton was very quiet and the game was not very exciting. Both teams were concluding a disappointing season.

    I can see the Canucks making the playoffs next year or very close to it.

    The next thing to look forward to is our Draft position – that will be determined on April 28th.

    • Ser Jaime Lannister

      Can give me an example of the lines you have for next year on forward and D and whos the starting goalie? include trades or FA signings as well if there is any.

  • TD

    There were two slags on Benning in the comments. The first was comparing the Canucks and Islanders and saying they were the most inept in the league. The second was indicating they likely won’t add to the front office and will stay status quo as they have for the past 4 years. Its the same narrative and one stated with blinders on.

    Benning has definitely made mistakes, but name one GM who hasn’t. The Canucks will have 2 players at most on the team next fall from the team JBTL inherited in Tanev and Edler. It’s possible they both won’t be returning either. The team had 7 aging players signed to longer contracts with no trade clauses. Very few players on the current team were in the system when JBTL took over (Gaunce, Horvat and Markstrom with only Horvat being considered a decent prospect at that point). Beyond the almost complete turnover of the line-up, the Canucks have a decent prospect pool. Benning maybe could use some help and the rebuild may be further ahead if Benning had a perfect track record, but this team is dramatically different and in no way has the status quo been maintained. If it had, we still may have Garrison, Bieksa and other players on the team and Kesler may have left as a free agent after holding out during the last year of his contract awaiting a trade.

    I don”t understand why JD has blinders on the good stuff that has happened and focuses solely on the bad. With an 18 year old draft and no lottery wins, the draft picks will all take some time to make the line-up. And even then, a successful drafting team would only be changing 2 players a year through the draft and the second player may end up being closer to 4 years until they make the team. If JD were a glass half empty Canucks fan, I could understand his one sided blind negativity. But he constantly professes to no longer be a fan owing to his job as a writer, so where is the journalistic integrity to examine both the good and bad and to accurately portray the situation.

    I probably already know the answer. It’s that he fires up the fans in both directions with his comments and all that really matters are the hits on the site, because the more hits he gets the more he can charge advertisers and make money. Truth or integrity be damned.

    It’s been a tough 3 years (they made the playoffs the first year) and I think they will have at least one more hard year before the improvement starts, but the situation was bad with old players and no prospects. Now there is at least hope for the future.

    • jaybird43

      JD is probably subject to confirmation bias. Plus he’s young and forgets to look around at the peer group to see how tough this rebuilding actually is. How long it actually takes. Based in looking at comparables. He’s subject to the same cherry picking examples we all see, and probably all do, from time to time here. Youth …

  • Nuck16

    “The only problem with this plan is that I can’t imagine any reason why Kovalchuk would want to come to the Canucks.”
    Any reason?? hahaha…how about $? Seems to me it’s the only thing he cares about. Over pay on a one year deal, then flip him at the deadline and eat some salary…fetch a 1st rounder if he produces up to expectations.

    • Virtanen’s speed is so underrated. If you watch him on the backcheck especially, he’ll blow by everyone and manage to make up a one zone difference and catch the puck carrier at the defensive blueline. It was almost comical how much faster Virtanen could backcheck compared to the Sedins when he was playing with them.

  • I think the UFA talk should be shifted from 2018 to 2019. Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, OEL and Tyler Myers are all UFA. We don’t have any Top 2 pairing in sight, even if you count Juolevi. We should look to only 1 year deals now to preserve space and then try to shore up the defence by signing Karlsson or OEL. A 7 year deal for either player gives us time to draft, develop and introduce any in-house Top 2 D.

    • Sandpaper

      Plus Seguin up front that same year.
      Let it play out next season woth the stop gaps, see how the youth play, then make a decision on whether or not some expensive signings might help out.