Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: More Draft Talk, Max Domi and More Sedins!

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, one-for-one. Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome. Jonathan Marchessault to the Vegas Golden Knights for Expansion Draft Considerations (taking on Reilly Smith).

Honestly, I think there’s a 90% chance that every one of those players is in North America in some capacity next season. Jonathan Dahlen is going to the Utica Comets for their playoff run, and Olli Juolevi might not be far behind with Petrus Palmu.

Questions of what is or isn’t good for someone’s development are hard for me to answer. That’s an area of expertise I haven’t been exposed to in my line of work. My intuition is that all three of them are best served to take another step towards the NHL.

Something tells me the Arizona Coyotes position on Max Domi is akin to open to the possibility of a trade, rather than actively exploring one. That’s my interpretation of the situation, but I’m obviously missing a lot of information — like first-hand accounts from the general manager, etc.

It’s hard to say what the Canucks would have to give up. Maybe Ben Hutton and a little something extra does the trick?

The Canucks should have interest in taking the final year of Jason Spezza’s contract off the Dallas Stars’ hands. When I hear comments like these from Canucks president Trevor Linden, though, I suspect they’re not too, too keen on the notion.

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I think Pass it to Bulis wrote an article on that…

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Teams trip all over themselves to find prototypical power forwards that can take over a hockey game in a flash. For all my concerns about Brady Tkachuk as a potential top-five pick, there’s no denying he fits that profile to an extent. The last name definitely doesn’t hurt either.

That’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The player I have earmarked for second overall (Quinn Hughes) could very well be there at fifth overall, so that would be a shrewd move if I had any kind of assurance or intel suggesting that might be the case.

Sorry, buddy. It’s way, way too early to answer that question in even a vaguely meaningful way.

I’m just not sure yet. Let me get back to you on that one. Maybe ask that question a little closer to the draft.

Let’s watch some awesome playoff hockey. How does that sound?

I reached out to CanucksArmy’s own Jeremy Davis on the topic, and he told me that he has an article on the way that tackles this very question.

  • 1C: Bo Horvat
  • 2C: Brandon Sutter
  • 3C: Markus Granlund
  • 4C: Adam Gaudette

I’d just name Bo Horvat captain at the start of the season and leave it at that.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Canucks general manager Jim Benning took a run at Erik Karlsson; I just don’t think the Canucks have the assets to pull such a trade off and have it make sense for them.

I’m not as keen on moving Markus Granlund. I just don’t see the upside in such a move. His value is so low as to not even be worth exploring at this juncture.

As for Sven Baertschi, I’m still very much on board with that plan.

They’ll be fighting for 31st overall if that’s their plan in free agency. That’s not the worst possible outcome, so long as they turn some of those players into assets at the trade deadline.

I’m far more bullish on the steps forward that Nikolay Goldobin has taken than Jake Virtanen. At the end of the day, even if Virtanen’s on-ice play shows progress, he’s still towing about a 23 point per 82 games scoring pace. That’s about fourth-line scoring. Goldobin is closer to 30 points, which isn’t a huge gap, but considering his ice-time, deployment, etc. fairly noteworthy in its own right.

Markus Granlund with the lowest points per hour at 5-on-5 among skaters with more than 400 minutes.

In terms of specific weaknesses of the Canucks lineup in the post-Sedin era, I think that forwards, defence and goaltending stick out as the most glaring ones. Put another way: every part of this roster needs work.

I suspect that they’ll try to clear some room on their blue line through trades so they can be relatively active in free agency. The Canucks will probably try to find a free agent centre and some help on the wing, too. I doubt they’ll do anything to address their goaltending — their hands are kind of tied on that front.

No, but that’s not such a bad idea, now that you mention it.

I’d make that trade in a heartbeat if I were the Canucks. Rasmus Dahlin is the kind of franchise-altering, generational talent on the blue line that can turn a franchise around in a matter of years almost by himself. Brock Boeser is a special player but he’s not that.

If I understand this correctly, you want to know what the Canucks draft board should look like from picks two through nine, right? Let’s try this out.

2nd Overall: Andrei Svechnikov

3rd Overall: Filip Zadina

4th Overall: Brady Tkachuk

5th Overall: Quinn Hughes

6th Overall: Noah Dobson

7th Overall: Oliver Wahlstrom

8th Overall: Rasmus Kupari

9th Overall: Evan Bouchard

Sure, why not?

Oliver Wahlstrom.

Ryan Merkley, perhaps?

Jack Rathbone doesn’t register on the pGPS system, a byproduct of his playing high school hockey this season. It’s a blind spot with that particular metric.



Benning lost. Convincingly.

Evander Kane.

Funny story, this.

So, there I was at about 21-years-old, watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Carolina Panthers on a totally legal stream on my computer. Halftime struck, and I took the opportunity to scan Craigslist for jobs — just curious as to what was out there.

I had just moved out. Like most at that age, I wasn’t in the best place. I was working my ass off at a dead-end job, but still broke and generally dissatisfied with life. I’d scan Craigslist from time to time to see if there was something, anything out there for someone like me without an education or any real skills. This time, something caught my eye.

I had to do a double-check, but yes, there was a listing for “NFL Writer”. I loved football, and writing was one of my only strong suits in high school, so I figured, hell, why not? I applied, and through a series of phone interviews and trials, got the gig. Everything kind of took off from there.

Through hard work, an obscene amount of luck, and the right people believing in me, I got to this point by applying to almost any writing gig that crossed my path. I just worked my ass off.

I could see Adam Boqvist in the NHL within two-to-three years time.

Quinn Hughes will likely join whichever team drafts him at the conclusion of his NCAA season next year.

Noah Dobson is probably two-to-three years out.

Evan Bouchard is probably three-to-four years out.

I think Hughes is the safest bet to be a top four or top pair defenceman at the NHL level.

The Sedin twins are the two best athletes, and among the best people, the city of Vancouver has ever been lucky enough to host.

  • Sandpaper

    JD, a question was asked a little while back about an edit button, yòu replied by saying you would look into it, any further updates on this very important matter?

  • Steamer

    God you’re funny JD! You’d trade Boeser? As good as Dahlin is – Boeser is just as good. No mention of Boquist in the top 10? Even funnier! Having Dobson ahead of Boquist is something no analysts have suggested – likely because Dobson is a lower ranked player by pretty much everyone but you – & the positioning of Hughes at #5 only makes sense if this is a Bantam draft. Keep up the comedy!

    • El Kabong

      I would also trade Boeser for Dahlin.
      We have never had a true number one defensemen in the franchise altering mode. While I think the world of Brock its just to hard to pass on that trade. How about we just win the draft and have them both!

    • truthseeker

      Personally I think both you and JD are wrong. This question doesn’t have a simple answer.

      Right now Brock is the proven NHL player. And that means something. Nobody can predict how the change from hockey as something your “good at” to hockey as the thing that pays your bills and is your profession, will change a kid. So in that way Brock has a huge leg up on Dahlin. And JD seems to still be a little hesitant on Brock in terms of potential going forward. Correct me if I’m wrong but recently he sort of implied that Brock will be something like a good 30 goal type scorer? Personally, I think that’s a drastic underestimation of his ability. I had him at 35 goals for this season and 40 was easily in reach. I think he’s easily shown he has Ovi type potential to be one of the best goal scorers of his generation. 40 goal season should be the norm for Brock in the coming years, obviously with the caveat that he has some decent players around him and is injury free.

      Having said that, as I always say…and precedent proves, D has so much more value than wing. So much so that it just can’t be ignored when thinking about this scenario. And the fact that Dahlin is supposed to be a “generational” D talent, does make his value as a first round pick, even with no NHL experience, a huge thing. And let’s face it, teams do win from the back end or from center. They don’t really win from the wing. Which explains the low value of wingers.

      I personally don’t think any team who won the lottery would make that trade. D is just too valuable. But at the same time, if I’m the canucks, I’m not sure I make that trade either given the unknown quantity that is a prospect. Even a “generational” prospect.

      One last factor is that a “generational” prospect will in less than 3 short years require a “generational” contract. The canucks will be in the process of signing a lot of (hopefully) very good young players to 6 to 8 million dollar contracts. One or two of which would need to be sacrificed when Dahlin gets his 12 or 13 million per. As I’ve said many times before, I’d prefer a deep balanced D with a bunch of excellent talent from 1 to 6 than one “generational” talent and a bunch of filler. So personally that’s why I wouldn’t make the deal if I were the canucks. The canucks are already committed to a roster of depth rather than a top heavy “superstar” roster with filler, just due to draft position over the past few years. Dahlin would throw that out of whack. Stay the course.

      Of course…if we win the lottery…well…that’s a different story. Worry about the salary later and hope they can put it all together in the next 3 years, for a cup run.

      • Dirk22

        What planet do you guys live on? I love Boeser – even bought the shirt – but you can’t casually compare him to a) Ovechkin – the best goal scorer of this generation b) Dahlin – the best defensive prospect since let’s say… Hedman…except he’s more highly rated.

        And they don’t want to make that trade because he’ll get too good and be too expensive? Get a grip.

        31 GM’s make that trade laughing (including the bad ones like Benning and Chiarelli). This is the kind of stupidity that blind homer fans spout. Here’s something you won’t want to hear but, Boeser, as much as we love him, is a lot more Eberle than McDavid. Trust me I’m a huge fan but you give up that for a franchise defencemen everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

        • truthseeker

          I’m saying he has the POTENTIAL to be like Ovi. See that’s why I said “potential” in my post. Geezus for f…k sakes READ Dirk. Is your comprehension really that bad?

          And yes…he is the “best defensive PROSPECT since….blah blah blah”. What’s he done in the NHL Dirk?

          Salary cap is a concern. Do you think it hasn’t hurt Edmonton? The Hawks? It’s a factor. You have to plan around it.

          Well…eberle has never scored at the pace Boeser did this season but whatever Dirk. If you think he’s “more eberle”. OK…you’re entitled to your opinion.

          • Dirk22

            I’m fully aware Boeser has played only one season and any comparison to Ovechkin would be based on POTENTIAL. It’s a nice comparison – just like Horvat has the POTENTIAL to be like Crosby and Stecher has the POTENTIAL to be like Doughty. This is fun – who else can we do?

            You’re really going to hang you hat on not trading Boeser for Dahlin because Dahlin hasn’t been in the NHL? ..and Boeser has played all of one season? OK.

            Salary cap is a concern but to suggest it would prevent you from getting a generational player is about as dumb as it gets.

            On the spectrum of Eberle to McDavid where do you think Boeser sits? A high scoring winger, not known for skating with a high shooting percentage. Eberle scores 76 points in 78 games as a 21 year old. I still think he’s a great player and probably/hopefully better than Eberle but we have to be realistic for what he is.

          • truthseeker

            …and you don’t see how your critiquing against yourself? lol

            I’m not against getting Dahlin. But if they do…in anyway…it completely changes the way they need to approach building the team. Given the young talent that will need contracts, his (if he ends up being what people think he can) will be an outlier that could effect the team in a bad way.

            You don’t need a superstar to win in the NHL. That’s only one way of building a team. Depth is another. But you can’t do both. We’re on the depth route now. Well into it, in fact. Getting Dahlin means the team must then try to win in the playoffs in the next 4 years before contracts need to be renewed.

            And no…I’m not willing to give up Boeser for that. Yes Dirk. He has played one season and he excelled brilliantly in his 62 games. Dahlin has played zero games. He hasn’t showed anything. You’re so blinded by your argument to me you don’t even realize your entire argument hinges on way more “potential” (that you were so critical of…lo) than mine.

            But whatever Dirk. You can settle this right now. Put your money where your mouth is if you’re so confident Dahlin will easily exceed Boeser. You can choose the time frame. They’re a year apart so it’s pretty even. So Dahlin will be blowing Boeser away when? Next year? In two years? In 5? 10? Whole career? Just let us know the criteria you will use to measure the “success” of both of them.

            Whatever it is. Put up an amount of money to charity that is significant to you. Whatever that might be. Something that if you wrong, and you lose it, it will sting. How about 2 months of your salary? To a charity of your choice. Let’s truly see how much faith you have in your own argument and in Dahlin being a better NHL player than Boeser.

    • CGriz

      Cut the guy some slack.. He DID say he started as a football writer. Clearly hockey isn’t his game. Actually don’t cut him slack.. In one answer he ranked Hughes 2nd in another 5th. Hmmmmmm

  • Ken Priestlay Fan

    I would disagree with the assertion that Benning has lost out big time in his trades. The only one that’s conclusively stunk up the place is the McCann for Gundbranson one. The trade for Sutter wasn’t as bad as the contract he was subsequently given (Bonino wouldn’t have produced as he did in Pittsburgh and would probably have walked away in FA by now, so it’s only a loss in terms of swapping a 2nd for a 3rd- hardly a landslide) and I guess you could argue that trading away Forsling was a minor error (though hardly a glaring one). The Vanek for Motte/Jokinen is also not great, but I’m not sure how much of that was Benning’s fault and how much was suspicion about Vaneks ability to perform in the play offs. Then in terms of the good, Baertschi, Granlund both wins, Burrows for Dahlen a MASSIVE win, Hansen for Goldobin looks like it’ll probably be a win too. Pouliot for Pedan might not be quite so clear cut, but the idea was good if you ask me.

    The trades have been largely ok, it’s the FA deals and contracts that are really bad

    • Blind Side

      The underlining issue with Benning and Linden is a lack of patience. They could have signed more aging veterans to low risk contracts and plucked long shots from the waiver wire to protect the young players. Yes, their professional scouting still would have let them down, but the damage would be minimal. Instead, they tried to force things and ended up with the Gudbransen deal.

      You have listed the Baertschi trade as a positive for the Canucks. Is it? Defence is now a high priority for the team. The second rounder Benning gave up for Baertschi turned into a defenceman, Rasmus Andersson. Vince Dunn, also a defenceman, was selected shortly after. He played 75 games for St Louis this year. There were other defenders also possible in the range of that second round pick. Are we really better off having Baertschi instead of one of those defencemen who might at least be providing the team with depth now and hope for the future?

      I think there is a very good argument to be made that had Benning and Linden focused on the draft, limiting themselves to the cheap, easy moves I’ve suggested, this team would be much further ahead.

      • TD

        I don’t know if it was as much a lack of patience as seeing no players on the team under 30 other than Tanev. The Gudbranson move was a misfire, but Baertschi has proven to be a top 6 forward. He was the weakest link on a legitimate top line, but he was still on the line and producing. For the Canucks to ice a competitive team, maybe they become a great second line if Pettersson and others pass them, but he’s still a top 6 forward. That’s a win for a second round pick. There is no guarantee the Canucks would have picked Anderson or Dunn, and neither of them are established as a top 4 d man. The trade may work out for Calgary, but if Benning had kept the pick and drafted a top 6 winger everyone would be celebrating the pick.

      • Ken Priestlay Fan

        I also disagree with the trading away of draft picks, but you can’t argue that it wasn’t a win. And in a vacuum, getting a player of Baertschi’s quality with a 2nd round pick would be a great result- and that’s before you take into account that SB may well be traded and there’s a reasonable chance they get more than a 2nd for him

        • Dirk22

          I’m not sure how you call that a win. If Baertschi is really on the trading block right now that means he’s expendable. Baertschi’s been a fine player but Canucks would die to have a defensive prospect in the realm of Rasmus Anderson right now.

    • Forsling for Clendenning wasn’t a mistake. At the time, people said Benning was shrewd for getting Chicago’s top defensive prospect for a guy who had a real good WJC. The anti-JB crowd were all over Forsling when he had a hot start at the beginnign of this season but clammed up after Forsling was sent back to the AHL. Moreover, the reason why we traded Clendenning wasn’t because he was a bad player, it’s because Benning needed to include him to get Sutter.

      • TD

        One of the authors at this site praised the Forsling trade when it happened. Said Forsling was over hyped because of a good WJC, while his regular season was weaker and that was the better measuring stick. I think it was called a prudent move.

  • Burnabybob

    “What makes Tkachuk rated so high on everyone’s draft board? Does his name play a part in his ranking?”

    It’s pretty clear to me. He’s big, he’s mean, and he can score. His Dad is a Hall of Famer and his older brother stepped straight into the NHL following the draft two years ago. I’m not clear on why people on this site are so skeptical of him, kind of like they were of his brother, come to think of it.

    Tkachuk isn’t likely to be there if the Canucks pick 6-8, which is most likely. But if I were Benning I would take him in an instant. He plays left wing, which is a relatively weak area in the Canucks’ depth chart.

    • Ser Jaime Lannister

      Absolutely, Canucks have too many perimeter players that wont drive the net and get the rebound goals, if you dont have a shot like Boeser the chances of those goals going are limited. Big body, decent speed, showed nice vision during WJC, he would do great on our team.

      • Eriksson can do that if Green will deploy him that way. But Green kept him away from the net, prompting Eriksson to complain that he doesn’t have a good shot, why take him away from where he’s most effective? Eriksson should be parked in front of the net on every power play to bang in garbage goals like Dave Andreychuk.

    • TD

      The doubts on Tkachuk come from his NCAA play this year. He had a lower ppg in the NCAA as a forward than Hughes had as a dman. His performance at the World Juniors was very different than during the year in the NCAA. I would have concerns drafting an inconsistent player that high. The scouting reports say he is not as talented as his brother.

    • truthseeker

      He can score? Sure he had a good tournament but his NCAA numbers leave a lot to be desired. If he’s a top 5 pick shouldn’t he be scoring at a better rate than Gaudette? I’m skeptical cause it seems he can’t even produce at the highest level in college. And he’s a winger. If a winger isn’t lighting it up like crazy where ever they are playing I’d much rather take any of the top D men.

      I get the “big” and “mean” part. That’s great and all…but not enough for me.

  • 51Geezer

    The Canucks need a player who can step into the lineup for 2018-2019. The consensus is that only the top three, Dahlin, Svechnikov, and Zadina are capable of playing in the NHL next year. The Canucks cannot pick fourth or fifth, so Tkachuk and (probably) either Boqvist or Hughes will not be available to them. I suggest that if they don’t win a lottery pick, and stay at sixth or drop to seventh through ninth, they should trade the pick. I suggest trade talk should start with Buffalo about Sam Reinhardt. The Sabres are strong at centre, and I think they plan to keep Casey Mittelstadt.

    • Holmes

      I like Sammy and I like the idea of swapping the sixth or seventh for him. I recall the Canucks were pretty hot on him during his draft. what is he? 22? Looks like he’ll top off as a 30-goal player, whereas a kid like Bouchard or Dobson seem like locks to be top 4 d men. Maybe higher, maybe not.

    • Rodeobill

      I have a sneaky suspicion that one of boqvist or hughes will be there, probably hughes. A lot of people have him ranked lower, regardless there is going to be some high end talent anywhere in the top ten. Bouchard looks great ty smith, wahlstrom, dobson all look like they could bring something really positive to the team if they pan out. The early second round looks like it may have some good picks to choose from too. I am looking forward to this draft, and I hope we can get more picks in the first few rounds.

  • 51Geezer

    I respect all informed opinions, but I respect McKenzie’s most. He says “Outside of the top six, this draft tends to become a little more scattershot.” He has Boqvist at five and Hughes at six. At Elite Prospects, Boqvist is in everybody’s top ten.

      • TD

        I’ve been asking for the SEAL ratings for all the top d in the upcoming draft for a while. I’m beginning to think JD won’t allow it to be written cause Hughes may not show as well he thinks. Funny thing is Hughes is supposed to be good, but no one in the hockey world thinks he’s as good as JD.