Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag Part Two: Olli Juolevi’s Injury; Evan Bouchard’s skating; Trades, Trades, and More Trades

Hanifin is a unique case. Players of his age and potential don’t usually become available. If there’s another young defender with high upside on the market, I haven’t heard about him. Looking through this year’s crop of restricted free agents, there doesn’t appear to anybody who stands out as being both a possibility to move and a good fit for the Canucks. Harman Dayal wrote a great piece about targeting Columbus Blue Jackets defender Markus Nutivaara, but it’s unclear whether or not the organization would part with him.

I did not. It was very disappointing. I was in town already but my reason for extending my visit got cancelled so I took the ferry back home. It looked delicious, I was truly heartbroken.

No, I don’t. I think there’s too many players in front of him for that to happen. The team’s going to want to give Pettersson ever opportunity to make the team, and Adam Gaudette is probably more appealing in a limited bottom-six role than Jonathan Dahlen. The team is also likely to add at least one forward in free agency. That’s a lot of bodies. I think it’s more likely he starts his season in Utica in a top-six role with plenty of time on special teams.

It would absolutely be fair value for O’Reilly, but no, there’s no way I would do it. Ryan O’Reilly is a good player but he’s not going to turn the team into a contender. If I’m the Canucks, I’m out on acquring a player of his age unless it’s in free agency.

Teams traditionally value picks that come later down the road less than they would a pick they’re going to make in the near future. That doesn’t mean that the picks are actually worth less in the long run. For the Canucks, emphasizing 2019 picks makes a lot of sense because the draft will be held in their back yard. So yes, I’d be just as happy to get picks in next year’s draft as I would to get 2018 picks.

I’d say there’s at best a one in four chance they trade the pick. The Hanifin rumour has legs, but I’m not so sure about the idea that the team is actively shopping their first rounder.

Only a little. It sounds like he’ll make a full recovery, and a microdiscectomy isn’t a particularly invasive surgery in a relative sense. It probably won’t have a huge effect in the long-term. What would worry me is the fact that he’ll be losing most of this summer to rehab. It’s definitely a setback, but it could be a lot worse.

It’s tough to say, because I don’t know what deals are on the table. Sutter and Gudbranson would have both been traded by now, I can tell you that much. I’d also sign Valtteri Filppula to a short deal so that the team would have a pair of offensive centres to keep Pettersson on the wing as long as he needs to be. I’d probably hold on to Tanev in the hopes that he can have a bounce-back year and deal him at the deadline, but again that’s based on my very limited knowledge of both his health situation and what deals are on the table.

I think acquiring an additional defenseman would make the team more open to dealing Tanev, but I also think they’d be very open to Hanifin and Tanev coexisting. Hanifin’s a left shot whereas Tanev plays the right, so it’s not like the team couldn’t make room for both players.

This is a very astute observation. Bo Horvat’s very unique development has allowed many in this market to brush off concerns about skating that might arise with a draft-eligible prospect. Just because one player could improve their skating doesn’t mean we should assume every player can. In Bouchard’s case, it’s more a question of how much his skating is going to diminish his ability to be effective. The puck moves faster than any player can and Bouchard has excellent puck skills. He also projects to do a lot of damage on the power play, where he’s likely to remain stationary for the most part.

To give a simple answer, Bouchard’s skating won’t necessarily improve much between now and when he begins his pro career, but that also might not matter. He’s a good prospect regardless and definitely worth taking a chance on at seventh overall.

Why bother? Eriksson’s been a better player and is signed for one less year. He’s also probably poised to have at least somewhat of a bounce-back season for reasons I explored in a deep dive last month.

You don’t want Milan Lucic. He’s not the Milan Lucic you remember.

I haven’t the faintest idea. That picture has been in my family for generations.

Yes, I would. Dahlin is just that good. I wouldn’t feel good about dealing Brock Boeser, though.

I’m not sure, but I can tell you if it does appear somewhere it will be complete crap. If they say they’re done, that’s it. Players almost never get to go out the way they did. Why mess with a good thing?

  • Killer Marmot

    In your opinion will dahlen make the team out of camp?

    Dahlen spent a few days in Utica during last fall’s exhibition season, and it was demoralizing for him. It seems that he doesn’t respond well to being thrown in the deep end. For this reason, I think the club will handle him with kid gloves and bring him along slowly.

      • Killer Marmot

        Here’s what Jason Botchford wrote about three weeks ago:

        “He came to Utica and played a couple of exhibition games and got completely humbled to the point where it was a hard conversation for me and him to have,” said Ryan Johnson, the Canucks’ director of player development. “He said, ‘I’m not ready for this.’ So, we set up a plan. I said, ‘Jonathan, you’re a great player. This is a setback. We’ll work through this.’”

        “For a kid that took a gut shot to his confidence, we wanted to be really careful how we handled the rest of his season. We wanted to be sure not to throw too much at him.”

        Thus it seems unlikely that the Canucks are not going to be pushing Dahlen too hard in September. Better to let him find his legs in Utica.

        • DJ_44

          The kid was diagnosed with mono two weeks prior to main camp. Recovery is a long haul. Being drained physically and mentally as a 20 yr old in a new country and higher level of hockey would knock any kid down.

          I look more at his play are the end of the season in utica. He was very good.

          • Killer Marmot

            Mono must have played a part, but it doesn’t matter. With Dahlen having been “gut shot” once, I would expect the Canucks to be careful handling him.

          • Killer Marmot

            Even with Pettersson and Goldobin on the roster, the Canucks will be a short-handed on forwards. People count to 13 or 14 and think that’s a forward roster. It isn’t. There are always injuries and under performances.

            In fact, it wouldn’t surprize me if Benning signed one or two UFAs to help plug the holes. You don’t want prospects assigned to the press box.

          • TD

            Killer you always talk about the injuries, but they often leave camp with zero or one injury. That means people have to be sent to Utica. Over the season, a bunch of the Comets will be called up to fill in for injured players, but when camp folds, players will be sent down.

          • Killer Marmot

            Killer you always talk about the injuries, but they often leave camp with zero or one injury.

            I bring it up so often because people constantly underestimate how much man power it takes to get through the year. It’s not unusual for a team to use 25 different forwards throughout the season. Concerns about overcrowding quickly turn into a desperate scramble to plug holes.

            I see nothing wrong with prospects like Dahlen, Jasek, and Lind starting in Utica in October. It’s better than being forced to play a prospect before he looks ready for the NHL, or to bring a prospect up, only to have him sit in the press box half the time.

        • Dirty30

          Your penultimate sentence actually implies that they will be pushing him.

          Assuming he comes in healthy he should be ready and willing to compete. As noted, last year he had mono and that feels like skating uphill in molasses while carrying the Dumpster on your back as an inspirational coach. No wonder he felt demoralized.

          If Goldy finally breaks out then letting Dahlin solidify his game in Utica is great. If Goldy is inconsistent again then Dahlen gets the call up.

          • Killer Marmot

            Sure, call Dahlen up. But unless he’s phenomenal in the preseason, start him in Utica.

            I have no idea why so many object to being careful with a prospect who had a rough time of it at the beginning of last season when he found himself in a situation he couldn’t handle. It’s just common sense.

          • TD

            I think having an open camp where players earn their spots is important. If the competition is close, then you send the waiver eligible player down. But if a player, like Dahlen, wins a spot in camp, then you have to keep him even if it means losing a player on waivers. Some strategy has to be involved though. I don’t think anyone will be too upset if Gagner is claimed off waivers, but losing Goldobin would be a bigger issue.

          • Killer Marmot

            Probably the worst thing that could happen to Dahlen is for him to get off to a good start and earn a position on the team, but then run into problems later and get sent down. That’s what you risk.

            As I said, if he’s phenomenal in training camp then Green has to play him, but anything short of that then he would be better off — for his own good — to spend October in Utica getting used to the North American game. Not every player has the same mental makeup, and they should not be managed identically.

  • Puck Viking

    At this point Hanifin doesnt project to be as good a player as Bouchard or Dobson. Hard pass.. this management group needs to realize the team needs to rebuild and is not good and wont be good until they finally pull the trigger and do things properly.

    • Rodeobill

      yeah, that would be a tough call, but I think I would begrudgingly agree with Jackson on this one. Just because we have less meat on our back end than an anorexic model who never even walked past a squat rack in her life, but up front some promising futures. Never going to happen, so moot point anyway, but fun to consider.

    • If someone offered us a legitimate #1 defender in the same age range, it would be hard to say no to trading Boeser. We have lots of scoring wingers in the pipeline but no legitimate Top 4 D prospects outside of Juolevi.

      • TD

        You would have to think the same thing for a true number 1 centre. Centre and D have more value and are also the two spots the Canucks have a lack of talent and depth. While you can always have more, they have lots of wingers on the team and in the system.

      • crofton

        True, but the scoring wingers in the pipeline are as yet unproven. Boeser is the first true natural goal scorer they have had since Bure or Mogilny. Daniel maybe, but I’d say that a lot of his success was due to his twin, and the psychic relationship they had. Trading Boeser would be a mistake if the pipeline wingers turn out to be even average at best, not to mention the PR disaster that would happen. I’d say find another way to get a top 4 D.

        • Cageyvet

          I have a hard time moving Boeser for anyone who isn’t a true superstar. His goals are exciting, and the fans need players they can get excited about and watch for the next decade. Sure, we need defense, but it’s going to be hard to find a defenseman who will fire up the fans and team the way Brock does. We have struggled to score for so long, please don’t take away the first young player in years who lets us believe we might be able to win 4-3 instead of 2-1. I like to win, but I also like to enjoy the game of hockey, and Boeser is lights out in that regard.

      • DeL

        Perhaps Columbus would make a trade without Boeser or the seven being in the mix. Their power play wasn’t great last year, maybe they would look at taking Gagner back along with a defenceman and Baerschi. He put up fifty points for them in a specialized role for them the year before and perhaps Hutton could use a change of scenery

  • Ser Jaime Lannister

    Bouchards skating reminds me of Derrick Pouliot, not the fastest, but certainly not the slowest. And yes skating can be tweaked by the time he makes it to the pros, with the training staff and equipment these clubs posses he can improve in some areas to help him out.

    I just cant see him falling to 7 that would be a steal, NHL size, heavy shot, phenomenal passer, great hockey IQ, can run a PP, decent skating, and RH! not to mention is probably NHL ready next year…. i can see MTL taking this guy with their 3 overall pick and that wouldnt be a reach at all.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      And he’s a right hand shot. I’ll be happy if the Canucks get either him or Dobson. Hughes is a flea, and IMO, Boquvist will be a bust in the NHL.

      • argoleas

        The only way Benning even looks at Boqvist is if Gradin is absolutely tearing his hair out lobbying for him. Dobson seems the safest pick that gives the best shot at that #1 Dman, who would not be at the level of a Doughty, but a Ryan Suter for sure. Just overall balance, who could form a formidable pair with Juolevi that could own the ice 5v5, especially protecting a lead. Goalies will love them.

    • Rodeobill

      I have a feeling he will be there, or Dobson, and I would be happy with either. Boquist is a wild card, and I think as fans, we really don’t want to miss this draft by fluffing on our top pick, but I think it’s very possible he falls to us too just because of this uncertainty and if he does I think if JB takes a good look at him and likes him, we should chance it (at least he’s not a Merkley risk at 7). We won the last draft by making smart gambles and I think they should go that road again. Plus he’s almost one of the youngest.

      • DeL

        True, but possibly not as high as seven depending if Wallstrom is still available and Merkley might be worth a gamble in the mid to high teens. Wasn’t Lou enamoured with Tanev and/or Gudbranson? Perhaps he would give up one or both of his first round picks. Apparently he’s willing to shake things up to show Tavares he’s serious and the Isles defence was porous. Throw in Markstrom and bring Demko up and play him behind Nillsson. Everyone’s talking we won’t finish higher than fourth or fifth from the bottom anyway, so make it a probability instead of a possibility and pick in the top seven again next year.

  • Fred-65

    Talking of UFA “D” two names that never seems to surface are Islanders de Haan (26 old and a plus 1 on a bad team shoots left ) and also UFA on the Islanders Thomas Hickey ( 28, shoots left a plus 20 )

  • jaybird43

    I think that a player like Dobson or Bouchard (prefer Dobson) will be available at #7. Nothing is surefire if course (including Dahlin), so there’s no way I’d trade Bouchard/Dobson + Boesser for Dahlin. I think you’d have a better team with those two on it, than Dahlin alone.