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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy: Stop Asking me About Nikita Tryamkin, Oliver Wahlstrom, Quinn Hughes, Noah Dobson & Trade Talk!

You couldn’t just throw me a softball to get this one started, eh? This is a difficult question to answer, is what I’m trying to say.

I’d have to consider it. Whether I would do it or not is another story entirely. If the Chicago Blackhawks could eat even one or two million on Brent Seabrook’s deal, that could tip the scales.

On the one hand, if the Canucks add Oliver Wahlstrom and Quinn Hughes in the same draft, that would accelerate the course of the rebuild to a significant extent. I think you could reasonably argue for either of those players in the top five. It’s almost impossible to overstate what this would do for the Canucks. Then again, they’ll have close to $7-million in dead cap on the books right as they turn the corner.

I’m less and less interested in player comparisons with each passing day spent analyzing draft prospects. I try my best to avoid them whenever possible. So take any comparison with a grain of salt.

Quinn Hughes: Zach Werenski, and his floor is probably something akin to a Jared Spurgeon type of player.

Oliver Wahlstrom: Brock Boeser (maybe, I guess?), and I think his floor is as a second-line winger.

Noah Dobson: Alex Pietrangelo, and his floor is probably as a number-four defenceman.

The potential exists for such a move, absolutely, but I’m not sure the Canucks have it in them to pull the trigger. It’s just not the type of move they’ve shown a proficiency in making thus far in their current front office’s time in Vancouver. The closest they’ve come is taking on Jussi Jokinen for Tyler Motte.

I think sending Chris Tanev to the Edmonton Oilers would be an excellent return for the Canucks. I’m not sure of Dobson’s availability, but there would have to be someone of interest to the Canucks at ten.

Not if you’re the Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings apparently.

If the question is, who do I think is the better defenceman, I lean towards Luca Sbisa. In terms of the better asset, it’s Erik Gudbranson. I wouldn’t make that trade if for no other reason than one would have to imagine there is better value out there for Gudbranson in another trade. Ideally, I’d have a team without either of them.

That’s not a bad question, but I wouldn’t be a card-carrying member of Stats Club if I didn’t remind you that plus/minus is less than useless. Using 5-on-5 goal differential, I’ve found it’s not quite as dire. Henrik Sedin was a minus-ten and Daniel was a minus-eight. By expected goals, they’re both in the black. I’d suggest their poor goal numbers are due in large to a 975 PDO (combined on-ice shooting and save percentage), which is far more a luck than skill thing.

I’ve never seen the rules laid out in plain, but from what I can gather, a player is eligible up until they’ve played two AHL seasons.

I suspect the Canucks will go defence-heavy in this draft, so I could see them going for K’Andre Miller or Jared McIsaac — maybe Rasmus Sandin. I’d look at all of these players. Maybe Jonny Tychonick works his way into consideration, too.

Every time I get the opportunity to hand over a dollar for a three cents return.

Not me.

My money is on the San Jose Sharks or the Vegas Golden Knights.

I don’t think it will have too significant an impact on Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s off-season. It might force his hand on signing an extra veteran scorer to a short-term deal to provide offence next season, but beyond that, not much else.

I try my best to watch other teams and leagues play as often as I can as a reminder that hockey is supposed to be enjoyable.

I doubt it, but I’ve seen crazier things happen.

I love it! Thanks so much for asking. And for those who’ve noticed my absence of late, there’s the reason why: I’ve been moving. Not only have I been moving, but as part of my deal to get the place, I had to offer to paint it. So I’ve been coming here every day after work for about a month to make it happen, which says nothing of the hours spent on weekends painting this place.

Honestly, it’s by far the nicest place I’ve ever lived, and that’s on all fronts. It’s spacious and loaded with new appliances, and it’s downtown, too. My new Mother’s Basement fills me with such pride. Sorry for the rant, but it’s been a long-time coming, and I love it.

Speed and skill, baby.

Brock Boeser

Oddly enough, I’m still not his agent. I have no clue. I’d really love it if you’d all top with the Nikita Tryamkin questions.

The Canucks seem pretty committed to this whole “speed and skill” mantra that they’re pushing daily. I don’t expect that to change given the success of the three remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Sure, why not? As I’ve said countless times, I want nothing but the best for almost everyone I cover, but that’s especially true of Luca Sbisa. He’s an awesome dude. I wouldn’t mind his succeeding in the slightest.

It’s hard to say what the cost for Elias Lindholm is. If the Canucks could get him for Sven Baertschi and a middling asset, for example, that would be palatable. I suspect that Lindholm is more top-six than top-line given where he’s at in this stage of his career, but he’s young, cost-controlled and just entering his prime. He could have a part to play in the Canucks’ turnaround, should it happen.

Dobson has played some great hockey for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Memorial Cup, no doubt. It’s probably not enough to move his draft stock, though. I think he’ll go in that seven-to-ten range regardless.

7: Quinn hughes

18: Barret Hayton

37: K’Andre Miller

68: Jett Woo

In that scenario, I take Oliver Wahlstrom, assuming he’s there.

I’m not sure that’s a perfect comparison. Pretty much all of the Golden Knights blue line can skate really well, with the exception of Brayden McNabb. If the Canucks can get a player like Evan Bouchard, obviously, that would be great. I’m just not sure that it makes sense for them given where they’re drafting.

An Alex Pietrangelo-type.

To your first question, I think the answer is yes. As for the rest of your question, less so.

Any bad contract with three or fewer years remaining should be in consideration. Depending on the number, even a four-year contract could make sense.

No. I’d keep that cap space, or use it on players I could flip for futures, so that I can afford those players in their prime years and insulate them with great support players. That’s how you avoid being the Edmonton Oilers.

  • Personally I don’t think this is the worst mgmt. group. Last years draft was one of the best ever and the cupboard was bare when they took over. As to Juolevi being a bad pick Gaunce anyone?

    • Agreed, that comment by JD undercuts his credibility. This is clearly not the worst management group in Canucks history and the next two years will prove the doubters wrong (the system is set up, the support network at the NHL level is established, and now we can watch the draft picks flourish – all hard working, smart, skilled, gritty players).

    • I believe many of bloggers are not old enough to remember some of the ineptitude that was experienced in the 70s (doing expansion the old fashioned way), 80s (other than an unbelievable run in 82 with the origination of the white towel, it was a completely lost decade) even the 90s to some extent (the messier years!!!). So comparatively speaking i wouldn’t classify as the worst in Nucks History. But relative to today’s NHL they are a few steps behind the pack no doubt.

    • Specifically, when Benning came on there were two prospects in the system that would go on to a substantial NHL career: Horvat and Gaunce.

      That would not be so bad if in the few years preceding that the Canucks had developed a passel of young players, but the opposite was true. The organization had developed no one of import since Tanev in 2010-2011 and Cody Hodgeson in 2011-2012 — and the latter was a very short-lived success.

    • No the Canucks have had worse management groups over the years. But you can’t compare the Juolevi and Gaunce picks. One was fifth overall and the other was twentysixth.

        • These picks aren’t really comparable either, as a high-end player has to be available when you’re picking. You can’t just conjure an elite player out of thin air. There were a handful of good players taken after Gaunce – Tanner Pearson and Bradie Skej were taken just after Gaunce and both are good players, but neither are top-end talent. The best player taken after Gaunce was probably Shayne Gostisbehere and every team passed on him twice – he wasn’t taken until the third round.

          Not sure why Gaunce is being cited as an example of a poor pick – he’s developing into a solid bottom-six NHL forward, which is perfectly acceptable for a pick at the end of the first round. He was a better pick than Nick Jensen or Jordan Schroeder – Jensen hardly sniffed the NHL and Schroeder’s NHL career is likely done with only 160 games played and 40 points scored.

          • I actually like Gaunce as well and was disappointed he got hurt right after he started putting up some points. However there are way more players than you listed. I counted 39 players drafted after Gaunce that have more than Gaunce’s 12 points, including a bunch of D. While you can’t necessarily count the later picks like Gostisbehere and Colton Parayko, 10 of the 30 second round picks have more than 12 points although Vancouver’s second round pick Alex Mallet is not one of them.

            http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2012e.html

  • Using 5-on-5 goal differential, I’ve found it’s not quite as dire. Henrik Sedin was a minus-ten and Daniel was a minus-eight. By expected goals, they’re both in the black. I’d suggest their poor goal numbers are due in large to a 975 PDO (combined on-ice shooting and save percentage), which is far more a luck than skill thing.

    If hockey analytics wants to be taken seriously, confidence intervals for measures such as “expected goals” should be provided so that we can determine if a given result can reasonably be put down to luck. Otherwise it just sounds like an excuse for an unreliable metric.

  • Worst management group in Canucks history? You’ve got to be kidding. Maybe you weren’t even around, but I lived through 1970 to 1990 and it wasn’t pretty (although we lucked out in 1982). Nonis wasn’t much better, and Gillis couldn’t draft. A few more years and this group will look like one of the best.

  • A couple of questions come to mind from this mailbag. Do you think Zack Werenski is better than Alex Pietrangelo? Maybe I don’t know enough about Werenski, but I consider Pieterangelo one of the true number 1 d man in the league. He is an all situation big minute d man who puts up great point totals while bing a rock in his own end.

    The second comment has to do with the Sedins. I hate stepping on the corpse of their careers, but from watching the games I have an alternate explanation for their low 975 PDO. Neither has a good shot meaning goalies could stay deeper and cheat to the passing option. For that matter, the opposing goalies and d didn’t even have to worry about Henrik shooting at meaning they could cheat to the pass. Conversely, they often lacked the speed and defensive ability to prevent high quality scoring chances against. These past couple of years, the Sedins looked more like their pre 2004 lockout selves than their prime years. They still cycled well and held possession with the puck, but struggled to turn the possession into high quality scoring chances.

    • Not only stop about Tryamkin but forget about him. He walked away and he will not be back. The closer he gets to the end of his contract the more valuable he becomes. Right now he is worth a late second and when his contract ends he will be worth a late first and that is pretty good for a third rounder.

  • I loved watching Groot on our team, but it’s obvious he has no intention of playing for us, and realistically his ceiling is probably a good 3rd or so-so 2nd pair D man. See if he has interest in playing with any other teams, and get what you can. Time to move on.

  • J.D- what are your thoughts on Jay O’Brien as a 2nd round pick? I know it’s notoriously difficult to get a read on prep school prospects, but everything I read about the kid makes me think he’s a solid choice

    On a similar centre-bent, do you think Veleno is being a bit underrated by a lot of the scouting services? In a first round without many top centres, he strikes me as the guy with the biggest ceiling and his defensive play leads me to feel he has a fairly safe floor

  • JD, has someone or will someone run the statistics for the playoffs? On 650 this morning, Bertuzzi was talking about how physical Devante Smith-Pelley was for Washington and how he “took over” the game. I didn’t see the game so have no frame of reference for the comment. I’m curious to see if there is a type of player that succeeds in the playoffs. There is more penalties let go in the playoffs and it is more physical than the regular season, but Tampa and Vegas have smaller teams that are playing well so I don’t think size is an issue. It made me wonder if any type of comparison or analysis has been done on comparing regular season and playoff performances. Some metric that could assist in drafting for the playoff intensity and grind. Making the playoffs is great, but only a means to get a chance to go for the cup. Can analytics figure out a way to identify playoff performers?