Just last week, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman caught Vancouver off guard, suggesting the Canucks could be a stealth team in the hunt for Noah Hanifin in one of his always illuminating 31 Thoughts columns.
In his exact words, “5. Stealth team for Noah Hanifin: Vancouver”. It’s not much, but it’s proven more than enough to set the market on fire with speculation about the possibility of the former fifth overall pick joining the Canucks.
Earlier today, CanucksArmy’s own Harman Dayal did an excellent job of laying out the conditions for a Hanifin acquisition by the home team and all the circumstances therein. It’s a great read, and it could help to inform where you land on this debate.
So with that, I’m asking you: what would you do about the Noah Hanifin speculation? Would you make a trade for the 21-year-old defenceman, and if so, what would it look like?
Last week I asked: What would you do, if given the opportunity to pick a lesson from the success of the Golden Knights inaugural season?
Personally I think that the message is, players buying in wholeheartedly to a coach with a good system, is far far more important than any other current factor, in creating a winner.
It’s great to have stars like McDavid, but depth might be more important. The ability to play 60 minutes of quality hockey without giving your opponent a break from the pressure can be awfully successful.
There are two things to take away from Vegas:
1. There are lots of talented players in the NHL who, for one reason or another, haven’t been put in a position to succeed and are thus undervalued. Vegas has a good collection of both old school and new school minds in their front office who were able to effectively identify these players and give them opportunities to shine. The Canucks have attempted to do this since Benning took over, too, but haven’t been nearly as effective at identifying these players. They need a boost to their pro scouting department.
2. You can accomplish anything when you have a starting goalie who posts a .950 save %, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals with a motley crew of castoffs.
First observation: Do the VGKs have a #1 Dman? I do not see one. Just looks like good 6 Dmen that fit into the system. Maybe one should stop obsessing over needing a Karlsson or Doughty. Maybe having 6 2nd paring Dmen (and I cringe when I put Sbisa in that category) is better than having one superstar and then suckage. Not saying having a Karlsson or Doughty is not important. But for $12M, which is what they will command in 2019?
Second observation: Does this team have a 3rd and 4th line? They seem to have 3 2nd lines and a 1st line (courtesy of Florida and Columbus). Speed and skill are prioritized. Tip of the hat to mgmt’s expansion draft team.
Third observation: Having a superstar goalie that is a proven SC winner helps. Always.
Fourth observation: Gallant works with the roster he has, not the one he wished he had. He adapted. He gave opportunity.
Final observation: Cap Hell. Lots of players seem to be overperforming, and VGK may start to overpay. Expansion drafts allowed VGKs to pick contracts, but now contracts will pick them. Let’s see where they are in a few years. Huge challenge to mgmt to not make mistakes that EVERY GM has made. Looking at you, William Karlsson!!
The first lesson I’d take is to stick to your own guns and not try and remake yourself in someone else’s image. It would be as problematic to emphasize only speed and skill or building out from the goaltender or D as if we took up the “Boston” or “LA” heavy model. As someone else said, what the Las Vegas model shows more than anything else is that there are a lot of NHL players who don’t get a decent shot on their own teams and a real shot to succeed on an expansion team. Brian Bradley scored 86 and 79 points with an expansion TBL team; Scott Walker became a mainstay with NASH. It’s just that the Las Vegas team had the deck stacked for them and got way more of a shot at underutilized players than any other team has had before. It thus makes any real lessons from them not possible for an existing franchise.