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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: Ryan Kesler, The Draft, Jake Virtanen and More Noah Dobson Talk

This was a brutally difficult year for Ryan Kesler. I didn’t follow the Anaheim Ducks all that closely, but from afar it seems like he just couldn’t get his season on track. From the late start due to injury right on down to the poor underlying totals — nothing went right for Kesler.

I don’t want to write Kesler off yet. He’s been a steady Selke candidate even as he enters his mid-thirties. The only reason I’d think it possible is because of the wear and tear on Kesler’s body, which is significant. It might be that this is the end, but just a year prior he was still among the best shutdown centres in the entire NHL. That would be an incredibly steep drop-off.

As for Kesler’s legacy in Vancouver, I’m in the minority here, but I think people should look back on his time as a Canuck fondly. The diving, whining ass hole you’ve grown to hate in Anaheim isn’t all that dissimilar to the one you loved in Vancouver. The only difference is that he was your ass hole. In much the same way he was and potentially still is among the best defensive centres in the entire NHL.

The trade request complicates things. I get why Rogers Arena still boos Kesler any time he touches the puck. You demand a trade; it’s bound to happen. It puts a damper on everything Kesler accomplished as a Canuck, certainly. But you also have to remember all he gave to the Canucks. When Kesler was in Vancouver, he gave everything he had to this franchise every time he stepped on the ice. Kesler signed for way, way below market value to help the Canucks build the best roster possible, too. I think the good outweighs the bad, and by a not-insignificant margin at that.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the Canucks are sending out smokescreens ahead of the draft; they did it last year with Cody Glass and Elias Pettersson. That said, I know for a fact that the Canucks’ interest in Noah Dobson is genuine, and rightly so.

Gourde.

I don’t get to watch anywhere near as much junior hockey as I’d like to. Not this year, anyway. I don’t know how to quantify it in terms of games watched or time spent, but it’s been less than ideal this season, for sure. That said, I’ve kept close tabs on first-round prospects and feel well-informed for at least that portion of the draft as is. I’m hoping to dive into some junior tape in the coming month, too.

I don’t want to rule it out, but I’d take the under.

No, I don’t think that Michael DiPietro should’ve played in the World Hockey Championships. He was there for the experience, and honestly, it was pretty great of Team Canada to offer even that.

420 pounds.

My guess is that the Canucks Senior Director of Hockey Operations & Analytics John Wall covers that.

I doubt the Canucks will move on from both of Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund, but I could see them moving one of the two this off-season. If I had to bet on it, I’d put my money on Baertschi. I just don’t see Granlund having any value on the market.

As for Sutter, the Canucks apparently fielded a consistent string of offers from four teams on an almost daily basis during the season according to The Province’s Jason Botchford and rejected them all in kind. I think they’re in it for the long haul with Sutter, for better or worse.

I can’t answer the first question. There’s no explaining it. As for the second one, I’m optimistic that we could see the Canucks try and acquire more picks as they get more invested in a full-on rebuild.

I’ve heard the Canucks are straying from high-floor, low-ceiling players, and their last draft backs that up, so I have my doubts that we’ll see another Sutter in Vancouver any time soon.

My guess is it would take the Canucks second-round pick to move up two spots to the Coyotes fifth-overall selection.

It’s hard to say what the Montreal Canadiens would want for Alex Galchenyuk. They have so much invested in his success. Only making matters more difficult is the fact that I’m not entirely certain whether they want to rebuild or turn things around quickly — that’s of the utmost importance in this conversation.

I could see Chris Tanev making a trade like this work. The Habs desperately need help on their back-end. If the Canadiens dive head-first into their rebuild, then that changes things. The seventh overall pick seems like a steep price, but the Canucks don’t have much else to offer in terms of draft capital that would even come close to fair value.

For the right price, I’d still try to add Galchenyuk if I were the Canucks. Most considered this a down year for the 24-year-old forward, and he had 51 points on an awful team. The Habs have him locked up for another two seasons at a very affordable $4.9-million for the next two seasons, though he’s an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of that deal.

No, I don’t think so. That said, I’m a huge fan of grand strategy games, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t had entire afternoons, evenings, etc. disappear in a flash. Of course, I haven’t had the time for that in years, it seems, but it was fun back in the day. Any Victoria 2 fans out there?

That doesn’t seem outrageous on its face, but I’m not sure the Canucks would pull the trigger on that deal. They drafted Kole Lind to play with Elias Pettersson; it’s hard to imagine them parting with him barely a year later.

I don’t see Hanifin and Tanev as related in the context of the Canucks off-season. They play opposite sides and offer completely different skill sets. The Canucks can comfortably afford to have both on the books, too.

CanucksArmy has a rich legacy of gamers. I’m pro prospects gaming, and I’m willing to bet there are others among us that think similarly. Jackson sucks, so he would be anti-gamer prospect.

We’ll debate this on Roxy Fever.

They’re definitely hurting the cause.

Generally, I think the, ahem, haters are just a lot more loud than the fans. I’m sure it’s pretty evenly split. Whatever the case, it comes with the territory. I don’t usually let the people telling me I’m the worst thing ever over a hockey take phase me. I do, however, greatly appreciate it whenever anyone has anything nice to say. Hell, I just appreciate that anyone cares about my hockey opinions to seek them out regularly. Y’all are mostly awesome as hell.

I have no clue. All I know is that it looks like everyone swung and missed on that one.

Canucks make a trade.

Concessions.

Okay, all jokes aside I’d love to try my hand at scouting.

I would dip myself in gold.

Jonathan Dahlen makes the team out of training camp.

If Rick in this instance means Rick Dhaliwal, then yes, give him the biggest platform possible. He’s one of the best in the business.

You have to understand, scoring is a lot higher in junior leagues. To have a .910 on a rebuilding team in the OHL is actually pretty fantastic. He’s earned all the plaudits.

I think that Team Canada just wanted to offer DiPietro an opportunity to learn from the pros. Everyone expects him to be Team Canada’s netminder next season at the World Junior Hockey Championships, so it was probably a great way to get him valuable experience.

That’s a very simplified way of putting it, but yes, that’s basically how it would have to go.

Sidney Crosby.

The sale of Star Wars to Disney.

Nope.

I’ve heard of him, but that’s about it. It’s a great story, I can tell you that much.

Brendan Leipsic – third line

Markus Granlund – fourth line

If not Noah Hanifin, the Canucks should target Julius Honka.

In general, I’m all for drafting an overage player if they’ve proven they’re worth the pick. The CanucksArmy Top 100 has a few players in their draft-plus-one or draft-plus-two season. I’m not that Alan Lyszczarczyk is that player, but there are examples out there of other players who fit the bill. Sean Durzi, for example.

  • Killer Marmot

    As for the second one, I’m optimistic that we could see the Canucks try and acquire more picks as they get more invested in a full-on rebuild.

    The forward lines are (almost) rebuilt. Hadn’t you noticed?

    There is not a single forward left who played for the Canucks from the pre-Benning era (i.e., from more than four years ago). There are only three forwards over 25 years of age. The quality of the forward lines isn’t there yet, but there are eight or nine forward prospects not on the current roster who are itching to change that.

    The defensive rebuild has further to go, but still; while Burke has been sitting around wondering when the rebuild is going to begin in earnest, it has mostly happened.

    • Dirk22

      You’re using the term ‘rebuild’ rather loosely here. This roster is part re-build, part re-tool (or whatever that was) and mostly re-placable (outside of Boeser, Horvat and Pettersson).

      • Killer Marmot

        Replacing an old roster of players with a young roster of players sounds like a rebuild to me. Whether these players will be competitive in a few years remains to be seen.

        If you want to argue the point, give me your definition of a rebuild.

          • Killer Marmot

            When Benning took over he had almost nothing in the prospect pool due to years of execrable drafting. One truly good player — Horvat — that was it. It’s not too surprizing that the players that he replaced his aging roster with is still not that competitive, but he has built one of the best prospect pools in the NHL to do address that with.

        • Dirk22

          Killer Marmot – you asked for my definition of a re-build. It’s a fair question because there is no one definition but it generally means a team accepts the fact they are past their expiration date so they do everything they can to leverage their assets and sacrifice their success today for a brighter future tomorrow (usually through obtaining draft picks). What it is not is acquiring ‘age-gap’ players in the hopes of squeaking into the playoffs.

        • I would say that since Benning has taken over, the roster has been “replaced” but not “rebuilt”. The roster can be considered “rebuilt” when guys like Demko, Juolevi, Pettersson, Lind, Gadjovich, Dahlen, Dipietro, Palmu, Brisebois, MacEwen, Chatfield, and Jasek get into the roster full-time. Players like Baertschi, Pouliot, Granlund, Bonino/Sutter, Boucher, Gagner, and MDZ are just stop-gap players. The difference going forward is that Benning can pull roster players from later draft rounds so he can refresh the roster by graduating prospects rather than paying a premium on a trade or overpaying in the FA market.

          • Yes, I would agree that a rebuild is underway but the roster is not “rebuilt”. It’s meant to be a shot against Benning critics who say that the team is terrible (which is true, not by design but by circumstance) and that Benning doesn’t know what he’s doing. The team is transitioning from a “replacement” roster to a “rebuilt” roster.

          • Dirk22

            There’s a difference between saying “the rebuild is fully underway” and the rebuild “has mostly happened.” One implies that they are in the midst of a rebuild while the other implies that it has mostly occurred just because of high roster turnover (if high roster turnover is your definition of a rebuild then it would be mostly done I suppose).

            You’ve admitted the defence needs to be addressed and even the biggest optimist would admit that their forward group is a long way from stacking up against the top teams in the league. There is a lot of work to be done that’s going to take years.

          • Killer Marmot

            Dirk22:

            Burke says the Benning is not completely invested in a full rebuild. Given that the forward lines are completely replaced with (mostly) younger players, and given the number of talented prospects who are on the verge of making their debut, Burke’s statement does not stand up well.

            And THAT is my point.

          • Silverback

            Sutter, Gagner and Del Zotto are stop gap players. The others are trades or FA signings gs that fit into the potential age/skill mold , meaning a potential upside greater than a draft pick or a player wirth claiming off waivers

      • TD

        I hope Boeser, Horvat and Pettersson will be the next core of a winning team, at this point they are unproven. Most teams don’t have more than 4-6 core players, the rest are complimentary players.

      • LAKID

        What a depressing article. The Nuk’s only have three NHL calibre players and one had a fluke rookie season. No offence, No defence, and two backup goalies. There is no talent to trade, bad contracts and over priced players. The GM and coach are a pair of Muppets with no clue, I thought the Sabres were shameful.

  • argoleas

    “Do you think Jake Virtanen could get 40pts next season?”

    Dunno if he can if he gets no PP time. He would have to get those points probably on the 4th line w/ Gaudette, mostly EV. He got 20 pts, all EV, averaging 11:59 TOI last season. I suppose he could squeeze out 30 EV points.

    For a crude comparison, Daniel got 32 EV points, Henrik 33, Boeser 32, Horvat 30, and others were closer to 20.

      • Green Bastard

        LASKID… Of course, you know that. Do you think McDavid demands a trade before the end of next season, or do you think he’ll risk suicide and finish out the year?

          • Green Bastard

            I can’t stop thinking about it. oil squander another first overall! The oil barely finished ahead of the sad sack canucks, even with McSaviour, Nuge, and $8.5 Million, 70 point man Leon. Your boi pete’s solution? More goalies, more coach Todd = more DOD

          • LAKID

            I understand the constant disapointment of the search and can understand the fact the search is a hard one ( That’s what miss piggy said ) but persevere and maybe someday you will come around. You poor Bastard.

        • Green Bastard

          Oh LASKID. We know your understanding of and acceptance of disappointment. The stuff your mom goes thru too. But don’t worry about the Green Bastard. Continue your admiration and envy… and always remember, I’m your Daddy, you’re my biotch, I own and pwn you. It’s the natural order of things.

  • JD – given the way Leipsic closed out last season, can you explain your reasoning behind Goldobin on the first line and Leipsic on the third?

    Seems more likely (and reasonable) to me that Green starts the season with a Leipsic/Bo/Boeser top line.

        • Cageyvet

          Agreed, but they should both be getting a shot at the top 6, no lines need to be carved in stone for this team, move it around and provide opportunities…dare I mention Vegas here? I think Granlund also deserves some time playing with some skilled players, I’d use him as an offensive center over Gagner, given some wingers to work with. Hell, Gagner needs that too, but he’s not likely to ever be more than what he is now. Granlund might yet find a higher level.

          • I agree that both should get a shot, but roster predictions are based on previous performance – we don’t know how Goldobin and Leipsic will play. Leipsic played better down the stretch for the Canucks than Goldobin ever has, so it strikes me as odd to pencil Goldobin in on the first line ahead of Leipsic.

        • Silverback

          I think he was being sarcastic? JD uses logic that sometimes defies logic. Roster should reflect the skill level, not where they were selected in the draft.

      • argoleas

        Especially that it’s actually Łyszczarczyk (that slash across the first letter alters the pronunciation even more), but people will mess up the ‘sz’ and ‘cz’ parts anyways.

  • truthseeker

    Kesler made the cardinal canadian/especially vancouver sin….he didn’t fall down and profess his love for all things vancouver all the time. He didn’t sing the praises of the city or decide to live here and people from vancouver can never get over the fact that someone might not think it’s the greatest place in the universe.

    Of course the trade thing didn’t help and he was a whiny little….. about that. He deserves flack for it. But ultimately I agree with you. I don’t boo him cause he did give everything every night when he played. He’s wired that way and would do it for any franchise, but I respect the work ethic more than I care that he didn’t kiss the cities behinds enough for most people’s liking.

    • TD

      The other thing Kesler did that pissed off most fans was use his no movement clause to demand a trade to one team. That handcuffed Benning and greatly reduced the return the team received. I think Benning had to trade Kesler in order to move on, but part of me wishes Benning told Kesler to open up his list or he could sit in the press box for a year.

      I think the no movement clauses should be voided the minute a player demands a trade.

      • THIS.

        It’s crazy that a player can demand a trade when they have an NMC. A trade demand should automatically void that NMC, for sure.

        I wonder if this is a clause that could be written into a player contract as a modified NMC, or if it would be prohibited by the CBA.

        • liqueur des fenetres

          It’s not crazy at all. A contract is signed based on terms negotiated (salary, role, etc.) If the team violates those terms it’s only fair for a player to demand where he wants to go. If the list is of one or two teams it’s because he knows he’s wanted there. If no team on his list is making a deal it’s obvious that he’s expanding his list. If a team doesn’t want to deal with this type of drama then don’t offer NMCs.

          • TD

            How did the Canucks violate the terms of Kessler’s contract? If they did, Kessler would be able to file a grievance under the CBA. He would also be able to break the contract and sue for damages.

          • Defenceman Factory

            That is one of the dumbest takes on a NMC ever. If a team doesn’t like the potential return in a trade don’t make the trade. TD had it right. Put the player in the press box if they want to sulk.

          • liqueur des fenetres

            You think all they discuss during contract negotiations is money? For better players, like Kesler, there are all sorts of soft issues that get negotiated, like role, vision etc. Kesler decided he wanted out when it was pretty clear that the Canucks weren’t the same team he signed with and couldn’t offer him the same things.

  • Defenceman Factory

    The Canucks did not draft Lind to play with Petterssen. The clips were clear, they did not expect Lind to fall to them in the second round. Kole and Elias are both over 6 feet and skinny. Its likely they will be playing the same position for a couple years anyway. Lind was drafted because the Canucks believed him the BPA at the time.

    In the context of acquiring Hanafin, adding Lind to a roster player (Tanev or Sutter) to get a deal makes a lot of sense. Having Joulevi, acquiring Hanafin and drafting a strong D man at 7th overall sets down a pretty solid foundation for the future Dcorps. Don’t know if Carolina would make that deal but if they would the Canucks should jump at it.

    • Dan-gles

      Well i like that a lot. I really really hope they can leverage salary cap and a trade to get another first rounder in the top twenty. It seems to be the right time and the draft is pretty healthy to make a move like that if they can.

    • jaybird43

      I think the point of an accelerated rebuild isn’t to give up assets where you’re deficient, ie defence, ie Tanev, it’s to give up assets where you can, ie a better pick for Carolina (maybe outright 1st)+strong forward asset, ie anybody but Pettersson, Boesser or Horvat to acquire Hanafin.

  • Nuck16

    Granny 4th line? Great defender with lots of offensive upside…always seems to put the puck in the net when he gets an opportunity, and yet he never gets an opportunity.

    • Cageyvet

      See my earlier comment, apparently we see eye to eye on this one. Hey, he pots almost 20 goals in an injury shortened season, and when he doesn’t grab the role immediately he’s relegated to shut down work. We trot out enough plugs regularly it’s time to give him some extended looks in an offensive role. Have we forgotten that he’s a center? He’s never looked bad when we stuck him in the middle, give him some ice to work with, he’s not a board banger built for the wing.

    • Jamie E

      I think one thing we can learn from the success of the Golden Knights is that we are all likely better off discarding antiquated notions of traditional roles for forward lines. There is no reason not have strong, offensive players who pursue and possess the puck and can score on ALL of your lines. In fact, if you want to play a fast, up tempo style it’s a must. Having four lines that can all play 10+ minutes a night and help rather than hurt you is the goal, otherwise you ste exhausting your top six.

  • Steamer

    Advertising on this site for Kinder Morgan is unforgiveable; are you truly ignorant about climate-change & the impact of diluted bitumen on people’s health & welfare, or is it that you know but just don’t care? Either way, your advertising for Kinder Morgan is an insult to First Nations who are having their human rights trashed. Really astounded that you would sink so low as to do this. Just disgusted, JD – this extends far beyond hockey & reveals a lack of environmental & social awareness & sensitivity. What do you think the results will be when the pipeline leaks – as it will – or a tanker spills on the coast? Do you have kids? Do you plan to? Is this the sort of future you want for them?

    • Green Bastard

      Steamer… you need to start posting on Hypocrites R Us.com. You would be a champion on a site like that. Plus, you may have the added bonus of someone there actually giving a sh*t. Maybe hack into Club Penguin or other kids sites too so you can start molding their thought process.

    • IBT

      Seriously dude, take it somewhere else. But just to be clear are you talking about the many first nations who support the pipeline or the first nations who do not? There is a fair number of both. Wait nevermind, take it somewhere else.

    • TD

      I think the ads are from a pool based on what you have queried on the internet. Canucks Army gets paid to allow the pool of ads. I have never seen an Kinder Morgan ad on the site. Also check your facts, many of the Coastal Bands are against the pipeline but some of the inland bands are in favour of the pipeline. It’s well documented in the news.

    • wojohowitz

      Yeah let`s not talk about the `oil industry`. Let`s use euphemisms instead like `pipelines` and that way we can drive our SUVs to the pipeline protests and pretend we don`t want to shut down the `oil industry` and the economy with it but only the `pipeline` industry.

      Then there`s the half wit Hurricane Horgan with his `catastrophic consequences` who only last week said the best way to bring down gas prices was to build another oil refinery. Is that leadership or is it just pandering to the fringe.

      Here`s a history lesson for you; Fifty years ago they wanted to build a pipeline from Alaska to the lower forty eight. The environmentalists opposed it and won – the pipeline was never built. Instead we got the Exxon Valdez.

      Still opposed to pipelines. How about rail. What do the people of Lac Megantic think about oil by rail. How about trucks. A thousand trucks a day – every day – from Fort Mac to Cherry Point. What could go wrong.

      • “Horgan with his catastrophic consequences” No no no.

        Horgan is right. Alberta oil is dead. Not needed and not part of the future. Now, Canadian tax payers have to shoulder the cost and BC taxpayers will have to carry the burden of clean up costs, after yet another oil spill that wasn’t suppose to happen, but will. After Trudeau leaves office and the pipeline cost have spiraled out of control, our new government will write this off as just another bad decision by incompetent politicians.
        Another bungled government project coming up, while I the taxpayer pay.

        Alberta needs to refine it’s own product.

    • DogBreath

      Steamer, this isn’t the place for this. However, since you raised it, note also that the pipeline has (I believe) 38 Mutual Benefit Arrangements with the 43 Nations along the route.

      KM is posting on your CA view because you’re obviously interested in the topic so you’re fed these advertisements.

      It’s great that you have a view on this important topic. Just make sure you point fingers with the right info (preferably on a site that is engaged in this topic).

  • Nuck16

    Regarding Hanifen…I really hope over the next 2 season in the lead up to the Seattle expansion draft, our management does NOT make any trades for players that will need to be protected if going the other way are assets that will not to be protected (ie. picks and prospects). We should be doing the opposite. You can say all you want about how we don’t have that many players that are worthy of being protected but that can change…plus the year after next, vacant protection spots will be very valuable as teams try to unload their unprotected players at a discount.