37
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: Dominik Bokk, Mark Hunter, Noah Hanifin Trade Talk and More!

Hi guys, it’s CanucksArmy. It’s this week’s CanucksArmy mailbag. CanucksArmy let’s go.

Not a chance. Draft analysts seem divided on Dominik Bokk; I’ve seen him as high as eighth and as low as the mid-twenties. It wouldn’t surprise me if he lands somewhere in the middle of those projections, somewhere in the teens. Regardless, I can’t foresee a scenario where he’s available in the second round.

I’m reasonably concerned about those aspects of Adam Boqvist’s career to date. It likewise concerns me that Boqvist’s play in the SuperElit didn’t result in jaw-dropping offensive totals with a good if unspectacular 24 points in 25 games. If you use the SEAL (Situational Era Age League) adjusted points per game metric developed by Jeremy Davis, Boqvist’s 0.57 points per game aren’t even in the top ten among defencemen in this year’s class — even Bode Wilde is outscoring him.

Red flags abound with Boqvist, which is why I’m unwilling to lead the charge for the Canucks to take him at seven. We haven’t even touched on the fact that even his most fervent supporters are willing to admit his defensive game needs serious work. If there’s a landmine in the top ten, it’s Adam Boqvist.

If Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting the Canucks are a stealth team for Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Noah Hanifin, then they’re a stealth team for Hanifin. Friedge doesn’t put stuff out there unless it’s credible.

I don’t know what a realistic offer for Hanifin is. That’s partly because I’m not sure what Hanifin is at the NHL level. Hanifin’s last year, which included his first All-Star appearance, was the first in which he’d resembled a top-five talent. The two years prior were something of a struggle. I lean towards this season being more indicative of his true talent than the previous two, but not with a tonne of confidence. That limits what I would deem a realistic offer.

Just a guess, but I think that realistic in this instance might mean the seventh overall pick for Hanifin.

I’ll give you the first two lines, reluctantly, because I hate projecting the Canucks’ lineup for next season in… May.

Nikolay Goldobin – Bo Horvat – Brock Boeser

Sven Baertschi – Tyler Bozak – Elias Pettersson

That seems a bit rich for my tastes. It might be a bit much to ask that Sean Durzi remain available to the Canucks with their 68th overall pick, but I’d rather risk that than overextend myself considerably for a player that might not be worth it.

I haven’t spent a tonne of time or energy looking at whether such a move is worth the trouble for the Canucks. My intuition is that they’d be better off keeping the seventh overall pick. Stay tuned for a Harman Dayal article on this topic.

I don’t suspect that Hanifin is ever going to be a 50 point defenceman, but I also think it’s a bit early to suggest he’s reached his ceiling. Hanifin is only 21-years-old and just finished his third NHL season. Defencemen peak earlier than most think, but not that early.

No matter where this goes, Erik Gudbranson at his best can’t hold a candle to Hanifin at his worst, so that’s not a comparison I’d use, personally. Pedantry aside, I’m not sure whether seventh overall for Hanifin is fair value (legitimately not certain where I stand on this), but it seems defensible.

I’ll be honest — I haven’t given this a tonne of thought. So… maybe?

I don’t even see the point in acquiring Haydn Fleury. The Hurricanes over-drafted him at seventh overall, and the Canucks shouldn’t take the bait now that he’s floundering to live up to expectations in Carolina. In the absolute best-case scenario, I think he’s a fourth defenceman. That’s not going to move the needle for the Canucks, so why bother?

No.

Football. That said, I’m fully aware that this is a moral failure on my part (I won’t go into detail; it should be self-evident) and I sometimes wonder about how much longer I can go on supporting this league.

Ryan Reaves.

That seems reasonable, even if I wouldn’t bet on Jesperi Kotkaniemi turning into a better player than either of Oliver Wahlstrom and Brady Tkachuk. He’s in that ballpark.

The Canucks hold Jack Rathbone’s negotiating rights for four seasons after drafting him, if my facts are straight. Regardless, the minimum they’d have is four years.

I think we’ve seen the last of the NHL coaches on this year’s chopping block.

The Canucks should have to offer a mid-to-late-round pick for the privilege of getting $4.35-million back in cap space annually from the Anaheim Ducks. At least that’s what the return should be. In terms of what they can actually get, one would have to think that a second-round pick would be on the table.

I’d say that Wahlstrom and Boeser have a comparable offensive upside.

I’ve been a big believer in Brendan Gaunce for years now, but I have a hard time seeing how he’s going to carve out a full-time NHL career at this rate if he doesn’t start to produce. We’re not at the point where we have to ponder his future with the Canucks yet, but it’s not that far off either.

As for Wahlstrom over Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard, that’s likely what I would do on the draft floor. Whether it’s the wise move or not is another story entirely.

I don’t think so, no. Any team that’s in the John Tavares sweepstakes will be able to make room for Tavares if it isn’t already there. Most of those teams are going to be able to field a comparable if not better package than the Canucks to Tavares in every respect save for the good place to live front — seriously, I just moved downtown, and I’ve got to say, insane cost of living aside, we are so spoiled.

That wouldn’t be Canucks head coach Travis Green’s style. Elias Pettersson is going to have to earn it every step of the way. Remember, this is the same coach that sat Brock Boeser for two games to start the season — never forget!

Really, that’s probably for the best. I just hope that Green doesn’t go overboard and force Pettersson to take shifts on the fourth line or alongside Brandon Sutter. At the very least, he owes it to Pettersson to put him in a position to succeed.

I’ve been working just insane hours between my day job, my career as a freelancer and a mini-renovation on my new place. This is all to say that this is the first I’ve heard about tweaks to the coaching staff. So don’t expect me to have much in the way of profound analysis to offer.

Honestly, I think the Canucks’ coaching staff mostly did a good job last season. I’m not keen on a lot of what assistant coach Newell Brown was doing with the power play, but how can you make a serious change to that part of the bench after a season that saw them spend much of the year in the top five in terms of conversion rate.

As for Mark Hunter, I think he’s a hard-working, diligent hockey mind. There should be a job out there for him somewhere in the NHL. I’m not sure he can offer much that isn’t already covered in Vancouver though. He’s probably not going to accept a job as a boots on the ground scout, and they have most of their front office jobs accounted for already.

  • LTFan

    I would be surprised if the Canucks give up their #7 pick for Noah Hanifan. It would seem that Carolina would want more and not a deal I would do.
    At #7 the Canucks should be able to pick from – Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom – in that order. One or more of these players will be available at #7.

    • truthseeker

      32 points in just his third year. Increase in points every year in the league. I know I rail against Corsi a lot on this site but he’s a 56.5 Corsi percentage. Seems to me that’s a pretty good sign he’s not unreliable individually, in spite of his bad +/-.

      I agree that Carolina would want more than the 7th pick for sure. No way you trade essentially a proven NHL defender for only a 7th overall pick. I suspect it would be more like the pick plus Jake or Goldy or something like that.

      I’d be pretty tempted to make that deal too. A D like that would go a long way to improving the back end.

    • speering major

      Hughes, Tkachuk, Dobson, or Whalstrom will be available at #7….Bouchard if you like him also

      I would draft one of them over taking Hanifin and the contract he will demand. The Canucks will be a lottery team for another 2 seasons unless literally everything that could go right, does, in the development of the prospects… which would be a miracle. Asking for about 10 guys to exceed expectations is something you shouldn’t plan on, and for that reason, I wouldn’t try to rush in to paying a guy like Hanifin big $. Maybe look for a piece like that in a summer or two

    • Nuck16

      OK we better not trade our 7th pick for Hanifan. In the lead up to the Seattle expansion draft, we should not be trading any assets that will be exempt from the draft for assets that will need to be protected. In fact, we should be doing the opposite. During and after the 19/20 season, there will be lots of very good players available for trades around the league at pennies on the dollar, as teams will not want to lose a great player in the expansion draft without compensation, so if we have lots of accumulated draft exempt assets, we could make a killing flipping them for studs, then have the 20/21 season as our year to compete for a cup.

    • TD

      Sutter’s year was good this year, he had a positive goal differential despite a very hard deployment. I don’t get how that isn’t viewed as positive. Over his nhl career (10 years), his goalies have consistently had a higher than league average save percentage with Sutter on the ice. He is limited offensively, but plays consistently hard and prevents the other team from scoring. The talk of his contract is beginning to become mute as well. With an 80 mil cap, his 4.35 mil hit isn’t much against the cap.

      Moreover, the biggest value Sutter has for the Canucks is providing shelter for the kids wh Let they develop.

      • DogBreath

        Perhaps its just willful ignorance. They’ve woven this narrative. They can’t walk it back now.

        Nice to see Sbisa playing 16 minutes a night in the SCF. 2 goals, 12 assists in 30 games this year. Not bad. Maybe not the terrible player he was routinely portrayed as on this site.

        • Dirty30

          S USA was a disaster at times with the Canucks — was that on him or the coach or the team or all of them? He’s playing well and glad he’s in the SCF doing well.

      • Freud

        Wow, TD, who knew Sutter is so good?

        Benning is on the clock then. We were told he had no assets to use to accumulate higher draft picks, but we all forgot about Sutter. With the resume you just laid out, I eagerly anticipate a first rounder coming from the Ducks before the draft!

        • TD

          Welcome to the conversation Freud. Please don’t assume your context into my comment. Sutter had a good season in a role he was suited for. I would prefer a Kesler, Bergeron or Toews to play that role as they both shut down and provide offence. I would really prefer a Crosby as he does it all while competing for scoring titles. But Sutter is no where near as bad as JD makes him out to be.

          “The Canucks should have to offer a mid-to-late-round pick for the privilege of getting $4.35-million back in cap space annually from the Anaheim Ducks. At least that’s what the return should be.”

          JD often says Sutter is a decent third line centre, but is being over paid as a second line centre. In this quote, JD says the Canucks should have to pay to get rid of him. It’s a ridiculous comment and I stand by my comment that Sutter plays a valuable role on the Canucks right now. I hope that Horvat’s defence will improve, but until it does, Sutter protects all the kids and lets them develop in a better scenario by taking the hard defensive minutes. The fact that he did so while having a positive goal differential is quite the accomplishment considering he has offensive limitations.

          • I liken Sutter’s role to that time when Bieksa replaced Kellan Lain for the opening face-off/line-up brawl with Calgary in 2014.

            – Rookie = Holy crap, what am I getting into?
            – Veteran = Chill kid, I got this.

            Now imagine that for every shift in an 82 game season. Veterans may not be as good as the superstar rookie but they save the younger players from getting overwhelmed and broken.

    • North Van Halen

      Honestly, the more I read JD Burke, the more I think he’s either willfully ignorant for click-bait or seriously knows next to nothing about hockey. Lat week it was the Sedins were unlucky to be minus hockey players and this management team is the worst in the Canucks awful history, this week it’s the Canucks should have to pay to rid themselves of the 59th highest paid centre in the league.
      Hard to believe I’m supposed to take his opinion seriously anymore. His stupidity last week caused me to take a week off from the site, now he’s doubling down on his stupidity.
      I have now decided a 1 month boycott on all things JD, Athletic included. JD for the sake of the site and to advance your career, grow up!

      • Locust

        It is no wonder why other Nation sites have great reporters, interesting articles and informed commentary – and we have this. Who would want an immature, rude, insolent, snarky band camper as a boss?
        Seriously, don’t know why he is still here. It is obvious that he puts little if any effort into it. Proves his immaturity for not recognizing that and moving on. He may be a decent guy – who knows, but he is over matched and obviously not happy. Changes needed. It would be a WIN – WIN.

  • wojohowitz

    What would it take to get Hanifin if you`re going to be realistic and view it from Carolina`s perspective? Virtanen or Demko straight up, so let`s hope Benning doesn`t get suckered again.

    • truthseeker

      not even close. Goalies are historically weak in terms of trade value. Even proven starting goalies don’t bring back great returns. Wingers have relatively low trade value as well, although better than goalies for sure. Aside from “franchise center” nothing is worth more than D. Even average D is worth a huge return.

      I said above it would take the 7th plus someone like Virtanen or Goldy, but thinking about it more now, I’m not sure even that gets it done given the trade precedent of D men. Put it this way…at the time of his trade, Seth Jones was arguably not as good as Hanifin, and it cost the Jackets their number one 30 goal scoring 60 to 70 point getting Center, to get him.

      Would you give up Horvat for Hanifin? Cause really that’s more in line with what we’re talking about here. Boeser straight up might get it done. I don’t like the idea of doing either of those trades from a canuck perspective but Carolina will probably get that level of player or return from someone in the league.

      If we assume Brock and Bo are “untouchable” then I seriously doubt there’s any way to make a deal for him. Maybe the 7th plus Demko plus a winger like Dahlin?

      This is the reason I say the canucks should really just draft and develop D and flip them for forward help because at current trade value D has such a huge premium just for being D. It’s why I don’t want Tkachuk in this draft and am even skeptical about the other “top two” forwards. I just think long term it’s a bad play.

  • speering major

    The Canucks are much better off in drafting at 7 than taking a Hanafin IMO. This assumes they like the players available at 7, which they do.

    Hanafin is a nice piece in an area the Canucks are thin but he’s also not a game changer or #1 D. The Canucks will be drafting someone at #7 that has a higher ceiling and will be under cap control for a handful of seasons longer. Paying a young second pairing D 5 or 6 million per season isn’t the end of the world but it’s also not accomplishing much as a lottery team

    • truthseeker

      Right, but you’re also drafting someone who could be a total bust. Someone with zero NHL experience. Hanifin still has room for improvement and is already shown he can play in the league and do well. That in and of itself has value.

      Again though…the 7th pick alone will not get that trade done anyway. No way Carolina goes for that in a million years.

      • speering major

        Right but if the Canucks are drafting busts or trading their #1 picks for players like Hanifin, the rebuild is doomed either way. You need players to build a team around. Hanifin is a great addition to a playoff team. He’s not the kind of player that a team can rebuild around

        • truthseeker

          He was a number 5 first round pick over all. As a prospect he was pretty much exactly the same “type” of prospect as whoever we’ll get at 7 this year. Plus he’s proven. Not sure where your getting this idea that who we take at 7 will be a guy to “build around” while Hanifin isn’t.

          • speering major

            Right, which makes him what a team like EDM etc wants because they are ready to win now. The ceiling for these prospects is higher and the floor is lower. Pro scouts are saying Whalstrom could be another Boeser for example. It’s not even close to a lock but it’s also not an unrealistic projection.

            Having Hanifin makes the team better immediately and is a safer play. Yes, but this is a rebuild, you are also paying Hanafin 5(?) million a season while you’re a lottery team. A draft pick with a higher ceiling and a contract under control for 4 or 5 more seasons is exactly what the Canucks need. If the picks don’t work out the rebuild continues. If you use your top 10 picks to pick up a #4 defenseman for 5 million per season….. the rebuild continues

            Hanifin is available for a reason. It’s not like there isn’t a gamble for the price you are paying and the contract he will command. His +/- is abysmal for example

          • I agree with truthseeker. Hanifin was the top defensive prospect and a Top 3 ranked pick that fell to #5. Scouts projected him to be a top pairing defender. The defender we draft at #7 is projected to be Top 4 with maybe #2 potential and consensus ranking has them going in the #4-9 range. Hanifin is a guy who can anchor a blueline for a decade which is great if you can draft him for free and Pyrrhic if you end up paying the premium for him in trade.

          • speering major

            He wasn’t drafted top 3 because Mcdavid, Eichel, and Marner are far better hockey players. Werenski went 8th and is a much better player. In 2016 Sergachev went 9th. In 2013 Jones, Nurse, and Ristolsinen went 4,7,8. in 2012 Rielly, Lindholm, and Dumba went 5,6,7. In 2011 Larson went 4th and Hamilton went 9th.

            The times that high D prospects didn’t pan out in recent drafts were D that were less skilled and lacked skating ability. This draft is supposed to be deep on D and have quality skilled prospects. Getting a player as good as Hanafin is no stretch. Getting a player better than Hanafin is not unlikely.

            On top of that, this is a rebuild. I would rather draft even a future Darnell Nurse today and have them under contract control for 5 years than to be paying a 21 year old Hanafin 5 million per season while 2-3 years of that contract the Canucks are a lottery team for certain. Making the Canucks better next season is also an expense on the lottery that can’t be quantified. If the Canucks hot streak over the last 10 games of the season was just 4 points lower, the difference in picking 3 spots higher and lottery equity could have enormous consequences. Long story short, from a strategic perspective, I think giving up this seasons 1st pick for Hanafin would be a mistake. When you eliminate the Gudbranson and Johnson types, look at skilled D drafted in the top 10 recently, and then this draft class, I think the math favors rolling the dice. The timeline of the rebuild definitely favors that direction also

  • Burnabybob

    Personally, I would be tempted to trade the 7th pick for Hanifin. He’s a good young defenseman who can help the Canucks right away. At least I would take a hard look at it.