Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag Part Two: Team Identity, Pro Scouting, and Potential Tanev Destinations

In the first round, the Canucks should just take the best available player, even if that means taking a forward. In the later rounds, where things get more subjective, they should take a volume approach to tackling their lack of defensive depth in the prospect pool.

The Golden Knights have proven so far that the need for a team to have a specific identity is greatly overblown. There’s nothing in the CBA that says a team can only be fast, or big, or skilled. So the Canucks should really just be trying to acquire as many good players as possible and go from there. It’s not something they need to overthink.

Of the players you mentioned, I think Lukas Jasek has the biggest potential to surprise at training camp.

One of the things I came away from my deep dive piece believing was that Eriksson’s disappointing performance thus far hasn’t been entirely his fault. He has yet to be used optimally by a Canucks coach, but I think that could change. Eriksson’s contract is going to get more tradeable as it nears its conclusion, so I would hold off on a trade until next year’s deadline. What I’d really like to see the Canucks do is deploy Eriksson as favourably as possible in an attempt to increase his trade value, in the vein of what they did with Cody Hodgson under Mike Gillis.

If Tkachuk falls to 7, there’s no way the Canucks pass on him. He’d even be a good selection. I think Tkachuk has a much higher ceiling than Virtanen, for whatever that’s worth. His body of work is just less impressive than many of his peers.

I’m not sure which element is a bigger risk but at the moment I’m leaning towards Boqvist as the riskier selection.

The only reason he’s not on the roster at the moment is that he hasn’t been signed. Assuming his thumb injury isn’t nagging and he signs this summer, I’d imagine he’ll make an appearance in Penticton.

The market for Tanev is likely bigger than some are making it out to be. New Jersey, Dallas, Arizona, Edmonton, and Vegas are all teams that could take on Tanev’s contract without too much difficulty and could also use an upgrade at RHD. Another team I wonder about is the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Savard and Markus Nutivaara are capable right-handed defenders, but I wonder if there’s interest given how much Tortorella loved Tanev while he was in Vancouver. It’s not the most natural fit but stranger things have happened.

You can’t go wrong with either player. I lean towards Hughes simply because he plays the premium position.

This is a great question. It’s tough to say, but assuming the team can get another great performance from Brock Boeser, Sam Gagner and Loui Eriksson could both stand to benefit from the subtraction of the Sedins on the power play. My guess is that the power play as a whole takes a step back, however. There were a few things that made them successful last season that may not be repeatable in 2018-19.

They could start by joining the rest of the league in the 21st century and appointing a director of player personnel. Other than that, shuffling some staff and investing more money couldn’t hurt. Jonathan Wall is a smart guy and I can’t imagine he’s been utilized as much as he could be with regards to pro acquisitions. That’s something that could change, too.





  • TD

    After watching Pettersson in the WHC and his highlight videos, I can see him taking Henrik’s spot on the pp. He seems like a gifted passer, but also has a wicked shot. The Sedins were so good, but Henrik was also very predictable that he would be passing. Pettersson’s shot adds another weapon and makes the pp less predictable. It may not make up for the loss of the Sedins, but I think he would be a better replacement than Gagner. I like Eriksson replacing Daniel.

    • argoleas

      Yeah, Eriksson and Pettersson replacing Daniel and Henrik, respectively, seems like the right direction. Gagner and Goldy would probably take these spots on the PP2.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks have five right-shooting defensemen under contract: Tanev, Gudbranson, Stecher, Biega, and Chatfield. If they traded Tanev, the situation for RD in Vancouver would be worse than it is now, and they would be forced to play (even more) left handers on the right side. That’s doable but far from optimal.

    Thus trading Tanev is, well, awkward.

    • Dan the Fan

      It’s pretty easy to find a short term 3rd pair RHD on the free agent market. An overpayment isnt even a problem in the 2-3 year timeframe given how much cap space they have.

      • Killer Marmot

        It’s pretty easy to find a short term 3rd pair RHD on the free agent market.

        Actually, it’s not. Most of the UFA defensemen this year are left shots. There’s Mike Green, but he’s a health risk, and might demand a pretty stiff salary and a longer contract. If there were a bunch of RHD out there, I doubt Gudbranson would have got the contract that he did.

        At any rate, the Canucks don’t need an RHD; they need a couple of them. Trading Tanev turns a tough situation into a dire one.

        • argoleas

          They could just stick with Guddy and Stech as their RHD, and shift Pouliot to the right side, where he’s more comfortable. But Green is gonna Green with that. Assuming hutty is gone too, then their D corps is as follows:


          Which is why they will not be trading Tanev.

        • Dan the Fan

          There’s currently 15 RHD UFAs out there now who played an NHL game last season, 8 of which played 40+ games. Then there’s going to be some Euro/NCAA free agents available, and some RFAs that don’t get qualified, and some lefties that can play the right side. They don’t need a premiere guy – there’s a good chance they’ll take an RHD with the #7 pick, so even a washed up vet on a single year (Bieksa?!?) could buy time for a high pick to develop.

          I’m completely comfortable with a dire short-term situation. It can’t get any more dire than the worst team in the league, as I think the Canucks have been over the last few seasons.

          Or they can ask for a roster 3rd/4th pair RHD as part of the return on the Tanev package. Admittedly this reduces the quality of the draft pick/prospect, but it’s better than losing Tanev for nothing to free agency or age, and doesn’t hurt their near-term chances of winning a cup. (Which, at zero, can’t go any lower. )


    • Puck Viking

      Take a 1st a run away laughing. This team is years away from contending for a playoff spot. Rebuild properly and be good for another decade like the Jets have done. You are never going to get better hanging on to declining assets.

    • TD

      I don’t care about it being awkward while they are rebuilding. I’m more concerned about prospects and development. You don’t trade him unless the return is great. Any delay on trading him allows him to partner with and mentor Juolevi. Juolevi’s development is important and worth getting right. Tanev could always be traded at the next deadline. A good season would increase his value and improve the trade. With an extra year on the contract, he would have good value. Any help he provided Juolevi (if he makes the team) would be an extra bonus.

  • wojohowitz

    CA has made that call for a Director of Player Personnel several times but you appear to think that Ryan Johnson – who carries the titles of General Manger (Utica) and Director of Player Development is not on top of the personnel situation which appears to be wrong considering the number of ATOs and PTOs he has signed this past season.

    A Director of Player Personnel – as a job description – would know the contact information and the status of every player in the organization. An example would be Benning phones the Canuck office and says; I`m in Stockholm. I`ve lost my phone and I want to talk to Pettersson, his agent and the doctor who performed the surgery. Tell Ryan to call me at my hotel.

    • Puck Viking

      They are the worst team in the league with him or not so deal him pick up parts that will be a part of the team when they are going for a cup again or keep him and be a bottom 5 team forever.

        • Cageyvet

          Amen. I’ve said it before, pick apart Benning’s moves all you like, and he’s been far from perfect, but he has resisted selling the future. Free agent signings and depth deals don’t cripple the team, dealing your young prospects and watching them flourish elsewhere is what hurts.

          He’s gotten decent, if somewhat disappointing, return on his 2nd round picks, and given up McCann and Shinkaruk as 1st rounders, neither are game-changers. Forsling was regrettable. Other than that, has he done anything truly concerning? The cupboards are getting stocked, patience indeed.

          My preemptive rebuttal to the nay-sayers on Benning is that at the very least, if you took over the team today, you could re-shape it as you pleased. There’s cap room, prospects in the pipeline, a small group of fringe assets you can flip for what you like, and only the Erikksson contract as an anchor moving forward. Criticize all you like, but this is not put him in the stocks in town square material.

          • I don’t know if Forsling is regrettable. He may play in the NHL but he’s slated to be a bottom 4 guy. We have tons of those guys in the pipeline such as Brisebois, Chatfield, McEneny, Rathbone, Brassard, and Sautner. I think people are still thinking Forsling is playing like the first few games of last season…nope, he was struggling later in the season and that’s why he was sent back to the AHL.

  • Rodeobill

    A couple huge things that will influence our performance next year with out the Sedins is
    1) what kind of identity, style of play, roles for each player and such happen in lieu of them
    2) How far along our young core sorts their game out
    3) Quality of goaltending

    Even though #3 probably has the biggest influence, if I see promising gains is 1 & 2, no biggie. The reality is we are still a few years out from being competitive anyway, and if we can see parts of the game sort themselves out while we continue to build and draft, so be it.

  • Burnabybob

    I hope Benning does trade Tanev sooner than later. He turns 29 this year, and unfortunately his trade value is only going to decline from this point onward. The Canucks probably won’t be back in the playoffs for at least a couple more seasons, and won’t be ready to content for another couple of years after that, at which point Tanev is 32 years old and possibly no longer able to play a key role on the team. I mean no disrespect to Tanev. He’s still a very good player. He’s just a far better fit for a team that is trying to contend now, than one that is building for 3-5 years in the future. If they can get a solid prospect and/or some draft picks for him, they should make the trade. They have only 1 defenseman in the top 10 of their prospect pool, and a Tanev trade would potentially help add young defensemen who could mature alongside Pettersson and co.

  • Gino über alles

    My preference is that we keep Tanev, he is too valuable for his mentoring and positional play and we desperately need that. He will have a strong influence on Juolevi and don’t forget that he’ll keep things a lot more sane for Demko as he gets his feet wet as well, and those are two prospects we really need to develop well. Don’t forget how much the Sedins benefited from the leadership of Naslund and Bertuzzi, and both of them said they benefited from the leadership of Messier when he was here (ya, I said it….but it’s true, he was horrific as a signing but he did teach them an awful lot). You can’t just throw younger players out there and hope they’ll learn with ice time alone, it’s critical to have structure and strong leadership and Tanev supplies both.

    However, if a team is willing to overpay for him and we can grossly cash in on a diminishing asset then by all means pull the trigger. He’s a legit top pairing shutdown defenseman that can hard match with anyone in the league, that’s extremely hard to find and the Canucks would be justified asking a king’s ransom for him.

    And they’ll get it.