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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag II: The Sequel

Bahtalo Drom, Stuart.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Canucks hedging their bets and keeping a full complement of LHD for the time being. It’s still unclear if Juolevi can or should make the team out of camp and it’s still a little early to assume Quinn Hughes can step into the lineup this season.

As far as how the Canucks can justify keeping Del Zotto around, I’m sure the front office and coaching staff would tell you the team is soft and they need to keep a guy around who has some grit in his game and can dish out hits. I don’t necessarily disagree with the first part, but I’m also not convinced keeping Del Zotto around just for his physical presence is a good use of money or a roster spot. I’d definitely look at moving him if there’s a dance partner to be found, or at least at keeping him out of the lineup once in a while to let one of the kids play in his stead.

By most accounts, Jack Hughes looks to be an Auston Matthews-calibre talent at first overall next season. I just don’t think any team has the appetite to trade a player like that unless the return is absurd.

If the Canucks have to spend money on such things, they could do worse than bringing back a player with ties to the community and a history as a good teammate to many players who are still on the team. I made the same case regarding Kevin Bieksa when the team seemed hell-bent on re-signing Erik Gudbranson. But in both cases, I’d rather the team just try to sign players we know can still play.

I like Nando Eggenberger. He’s been on my radar for the last two years or so because of his role in Swiss international play. I always thought he looked like he had some upside and would be worth a late pick. We had him ranked as the draft’s 98th best prospect, which would indicate he was roughly a third-round talent. He wasn’t among the 55 players I submitted for CanucksArmy’s top 100 ranking, but I would have certainly fit him in somewhere if I had done my own top 100.

Here’s what Ryan Biech had to say about Eggenberger:

Aside from the fantastic name, Eggenberger has a good combination of speed, size and shot that makes him an interesting option despite seeing limited production with HC Davos in regular season play. In particular, his shot is very good. His release is right up there among some of the better releases in this draft class.

That shot is one of the main reasons why there is interest in Eggenberger, his release is deceptive, accurate and packs some serious punch.

He has good speed and size that he uses to create lanes and push towards the net – it has created some highlight reel goals and chances when he plays on the international stage against his peers as defenders struggle to contain his trajectory. It does feel like there is always a sense of wanting more from the young Swiss forward, that he could do so much more with his skillset.

The rest of the invitees are what Dragline would call a “handful of nothin'”. 

Ryan Biech will probably take a deeper look at them at some point in the coming weeks.

They’ll sign one of Tyler Bozak or Riley Nash, and probably a middle-six scoring winger. Neither will be well-received, but the moves probably won’t cost the team in the long run.

No, he isn’t. But I like his chances of being another Sven Baertschi type who can provide offence in a top-six role as a complimentary player.

The biggest reason the Canucks shouldn’t target Faulk is that he’s going to command a hefty return. There’s nothing wrong with acquiring a good 26-year old player, but the Canucks don’t have the pieces to get a deal done.

Ben Hutton is the Canucks defenseman most likely to be traded, period. As far as forwards go, they might be interested inmoving Loui Eriksson or Sam Gagner but I doubt there are any suitors.

I would imagine the Canucks think Manukyan is a high-upside pick, and there’s nothing wrong with swinging for the fences in the later rounds. I don’t like this pick nearly as much as I liked the Petrus Palmu selection last year, though. The MHL is generally a tough league to get a handle on and while Manukyan’s numbers were impressive he’s also 20 years old. Palmu played in a top junior league and is also extremely thick for a small guy. None of that applies to Manukyan. On paper it seems like a bit of a strange pick, but at least they seem to be looking at players with offensive upside and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You’re not too far off. Probably closer to 26 than 22, though.

The two teams you mentioned were obviously among the best, but I thought L.A. knocked it out of the park with their first four picks. I liked Toronto’s draft a fair bit, and Florida did well with their mid-round picks. Overall, there weren’t a lot of obvious winners outside of the teams you mentioned.

Cozens definitely looks like he could be a special player at this stage and any team will be lucky to select him I’m sure. I think we’re all due for a break after the work we put in this year, but I can tell you I will be paying closer attention to 2019 than any previous draft. I intend to get started soon.

The Canucks won that trade the moment it happened. As I mentioned earlier, the team could do worse than grabbing Burrows on a cheap one-year deal but it’s not something I’d pursue.

Jason Botchford implied there’s a great reason the Canucks didn’t select him. I’d love to find out what it is.

I don’t think I’d pursue Severson. I don’t think you’ll get back what you have to give up. Hutton + probably won’t get it done.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, pGPS was never meant to replace scouting. Instead, it’s designed to create a statistical framework for scouts to work within. If a player has a 50% expected likelihood of success, a good scout will be able to identify whether or not the player will be part of the 50% that succeeds or the 50% that doesn’t.

A hockey person would probably list the things you mentioned as reasons a player didn’t succeed, along with attitude, off-ice problems, and maybe opportunity. There’s a simpler answer most of the time, though. Based on pGPS, very few players are a sure thing. Even a pGPS darling like Ty Smith still had a roughly 1 in 4 chance of not succeeding. Making the NHL is really hard. Even really good players can get left behind.

Quinn Hughes is an NHLer. They might get one more out of the later rounds, Jett Woo having the best shot out of the five of them.

I used to work at Big Wheel Burger for a few years, that’s my pick if you want something relatively quick and classic. If you don’t mind fancy burgers, Bin 4 has a lot of interesting “gourmet” burgers. I’ve never had Pink Bicycle but I hear good things about them, too.

Assuming he doesn’t get hurt or traded, he’s got a pretty good shot. It’s not like bar is set particularly high.

The Golden Knights have a good team. They also played in the league’s worst division and had arguably the easiest route to the cup of any other team. I don’t see them replicating their success. They could get better and still finish the year with worse results. It happens all the time.

  • Never much of a fan of Big Wheel. They’re fine, but totally unremarkable. Bin 4 is fantastic, and Pink Bicycle is very good as well.

    If the Canucks sign Bozak, term is a *huge* factor. If they pay him $5 million per for two seasons, fine, whatever, he’s a warm body to fill the 2nd/3rd C role and that’s fine. If they sign him for four or five seasons, regardless of the dollar amount (unless it’s something super low like 1.5, which isn’t happening), it’ll be a disaster.

    • Puck Viking

      Hes going to get a stupid contract. I wouldnt even talk to him. Unless you want to offer 1 year for 7 or 8 million you wont get him. Eat 50% salary and move at the deadline hopefully for a 1st is what they should look to do.

      He will walk away with $5 x 6 or 7 years..

      Id rather go cheap and add a guy from the next level. Between Nash, letestu, ryan and sheahan you will find someone who might take a big money one or 2 year deal.

      if its me I sign 2 of them and move sutter as there has been offers.

      i would also like to see what Granlund can do in a top 6 role playing with maybe Petterson and Loui E.

      • I’m not sure Bozak’s going to get a “stupid” contract. He’s 32, he was the Leafs’ #3 centre last year, and he’s only topped 50 points once in his career. He’ll probably get overpaid, but $5 million + for 6-7 years is not happening. He might get 5×4, which is stupid enough.

  • Puck Viking

    This was my question of the last few days..

    Why not draft Eggenberger in the 6th as he can not be signed to a deal and then look to sign Manukyan to a deal after the draft as he is older he could have been had as a free agent?

    • Puck Viking

      Another reason for not signing anyone to long term deals is the next draft is loaded with centers in the top 10. We are going to be one of the worst teams in the league again and chances are the center will be NHL ready or very close to it. so why tie up cash on an aging bozak who will also make it harder to sign the boesers, pettersons etc in a couple years time. perhaps if the louie contract was never signed but it was so absolutely no way can you sign another average player to a terrible contract.

      • DogBreath

        They can have a bad contract for 2-3 years and then it must either expire or offload. They will overpay a centre or/and a D, not because they don’t know better, but because they need to fill the holes without giving up assets. The following season should start the uptick in the standings.

        • Puck Viking

          They dont need to fill holes just play with what you have and be the worst team in the league and hopefully get a top 3 pick. Id only sign players on 1 year deals that can be moved for picks at the deadline.

  • Rodeobill

    We have lots of people who can play center on our team, see which of them can get the job done past Bo and Sutter, their is a good chance Gaudette can do it, and MAYBE even Petersson, Bozak will get overpaid because there is no one else to choose from in this year’s UFA pool with real top 6 (maybe Nash on the gamble that last year wasn’t a fluke), point is why continue clogging our system with people who aren’t really an upgrade on people we already have. Wiser and more efficient funds can be put on D upgrades, or maybe a ufa forward. Think Vanek, or Maroon, if you really want to spend, or use the cap space to your advantage for future considerations, cripes! Be patient! What are the chances that at least a few prospects sort it out this year!? I’d at least wait until further into the summer so Green knows what he’s got to work with, then pick up any stragglers in UFA on the cheap like Vanek last year.
    RHD needs some help though, I’d look into that first.

  • Holmes

    Think a veteran centre gets signed but a Calvert, Reeves, trade-for-Martin type move is happening. I would like to see all three in a Canucks jersey. Don’t care about the fancy stats. I would be incensed if a Lucic-type player starts beating on a Petterson or Gaudette with zero concern of reprisal.

  • Adamemnon

    Love the site, really enjoy reading your guys’ insights and thoughts, and deep dives. I am a big fan of intelligent sports fandom and you guys are a beacon of light in Canucksland. I am disheartened and embarrassed by the many who log on here simply to trash your opinions, it is quite interesting how vitriolic people become when you poke them in the axioms, or express any opinions that challenge the accepted orthodoxy of the good ol boys hockey illuminati.

    Anyhow, just a tiny bit of grammar nazi, constructive criticism. Baertschi/Leipsig, while they may be complimentary to those around them, ie. they pay them a lot of compliments, they are “complementary” players that provide offense in the top six.

    Keep up the good work!

    PS – Bahtalo Drom? I’m out of the loop on that reference…