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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: Free Agency, Training Camp, and Existential Angst

Brock Boeser sure was fun to watch last season. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are probably going to be, too. That’s all I’ve really got. I would never call for a person’s job, but it really does not seem like this current management group has any desire to even get acquainted with putting the team on the right track.

I have bad news for you, Noah. Half of the $12 million Beagle is owed over the duration of his contract is through signing bonuses. As a result, his contract is essentially buyout-proof.

That experience would invaluable covering the Canucks. Shoot me a DM.

There was a time when I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what the Canucks were doing. I didn’t necessarily like it, but it was easy enough to understand. That’s not the case anymore. As recently as last month I assumed there was no way the team could come back with the same defense next season, so I pinpointed Ben Hutton as the most likely trade candidate. But at this point I really have no idea.

As far as who gets sent down to Utica, you have to think that Adam Gaudette is the odd man out. Dan Murphy would seem to agree, and he’s probably got the best handle on how the Canucks’ brain trust thinks of anyone in the Vancouver media.

I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the Canucks’ UFA signings within the next 24 hours, but I will say that I don’t think they got good value at all on July 1. The Tim Schaller signing was fine, but still a slight overpayment. The Roussel contract is awful, but at least the player in question is pretty good. The Beagle contract is just indefensible.

As far as how other teams did, I was surprised Riley Nash signed for so little. The rest of the day’s contracts were about you’d expect from the silly season. Philadelphia and Arizona paid market value for Van Riemsdyk and Grabner, respectively, but I think both teams are likely to be happy with those contracts.

I don’t hate this idea. It’s worked well in the past for teams like the Leafs and the Lightning. The issue would be ticket sales. I’m not sure a veteran-heavy lineup would draw much interest in this market.

Well, there are three less roster spots than there were on Saturday. I doubt it effects Elias Pettersson, but it seems unlikely now that bubble guys like Gaudette and Dahlen will make the team out of camp.

It’s a different league now, for one. We’re seeing young players make an impact like never before as the league realizes that players peak at a younger age than was previously thought. As far as the Sedin comparison goes, I have a couple of thoughts. First, that was nearly two decades ago, before the 2004-05 lockout and the significant changes to way the game is played that came in it’s wake. I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison. Second, Daniel Sedin had 20 goals in his rookie year. That’s making an impact. People misremember the beginning to the Sedins’ careers because they played a depth role behind the West Coast Express and didn’t light the world on fire out of the gate. They were still good players.

I understand your point, though. I wouldn’t expect Pettersson to put the team on his back in year one. It’s a little early for saviour storylines. He hasn’t even played an NHL game yet.

In a vacuum, Schaller and Roussel are both fine players. I’m not too worried about their skating abilities breaking down over the course of their contracts. Beagle’s a bit of a different story. I wouldn’t call his mobility a problem yet, but it will be at 35 or 36 when his contract is in its final stages. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see a sharp decline as soon as next season.

This is a very good question and a valid concern. Luckily, the only players that require protection in the expansion draft are those with no-move clauses, no-trade clauses are fair game. The Canucks are in the clear.

I’m so glad you asked this question, because there’s one training camp invitee in particular that I’m fond of. Tyler Soy was a recent seventh-round pick who went unsigned by the Anaheim Ducks and then undrafted upon re-entry into the draft in 2018. He’s got speed and skill and he put up good numbers in each of his seasons for the WHL Victoria Royals. The Royals’ top line of Soy, Matthew Phillips, and Dante Hannoun was absolutely deadly at the WHL level and a joy to watch. I live in Victoria and had the opportunity to catch a lot of Royals games, so I’m a bit biased, but I think Soy has the potential to be a very good AHL player at the very least, so he would be my pick.

Ah, you think you’re clever, but riddle me this: can these “less expensive pile-ons” win faceoffs? Didn’t think so.

Life is short. Eat them.

I’m not convinced yet. He played well towards the end of the season and the Canucks don’t have anyone outside of Boeser and Horvat who can be reliably counted on to score goals. For what it’s worth, Goldobin’s put up better numbers at this stage of his career than Sven Baertschi had when the Canucks acquired him. A breakout season isn’t out of the question.

These questions are difficult to answer for a number of reasons. Prospect quality and depth are two different things, and teams can often rank high in one area but low in the other. There also isn’t really an industry-standard definition for what a “prospect” is. Is Adam Gaudette still a prospect or just a young player? If a prospect makes the NHL right out of the gate, he was by definition the best type of prospect a team can have, but now that team’s “prospect pool” is being punished for that player’s success.

If we’re talking about players outside the NHL, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes stack up fantastically against the top two prospects on most NHL teams. After that things get a little less convincing. The rest of the 2016 first round is quickly passing Olli Juolevi by, and I think the world of players like Kole Lind, but there’s less certainty there. In my highly subjective rankings, I’d put the Canucks prospect pool somewhere between just inside and just outside the top ten. Off the top of my head, I think the Islanders, Panthers, Hurricanes, Golden Knights, Blues, Wings, Sabres, Jets, and Kings all have excellent pools that I think are in the same ballpark as the Canucks. But the team’s pool can at least be described as significantly above average and that’s a big step.

  • brokensticks

    JM, do you think it’s your job to cater and support the whiners and complainers of the Canuck fan base? Nothing they do seems to meet your favour. How sad it must be to go through life looking at the negative side of everything.

    • Jackson McDonald

      1) Yes.
      2) The idea that I don’t have anything nice to say is just incorrect. Here’s what I said about last year’s free agent signings: https://canucksarmy.com/2017/07/03/grading-the-canucks-free-agent-signings/
      T gave them a B+.
      Here’s the glowing review I gave of Quinn Hughes, the player the Canucks would go on to pick 7th overall: https://canucksarmy.com/2018/06/15/canucksarmys-2018-nhl-draft-rankings-4-quinn-hughes/

      I know this might be hard to grasp, but I like it when the Canucks make moves that are good. I don’t like when they make moves that are bad. That might seem inconsistent or dishonest, but it’s actually the only way you can tell the intellectually consistent from the sycophants and shameless self-promoters.

      Cheers.

      • Dirty30

        And here I thought you were being a little Pollyanna-ish with your review.

        I’d put the signings somewhere between the Hindenberg “o the humanity!” and the Titanic … particularly where Kate hogs the door and Leo freezes his nuts off rather than listen to Celine screeching about “meat and potatoes” and character.

        This is bad enough to make me into a closet Laffs fan … how desperate is that?

      • NoPainNoGain

        So team toughness is not a good move? The price may have been a tad high for these two (Rousell, Beagle) but this will give the more skilled players confidence knowing that someone who is mean and tough has their back. I would say that getting these two guys and paying Guddy to stick around to provide some muscle is a fantastic idea. Roll players like these guys are VITAL to a team winning the cup. Just ask anyone who knows anything about the game, and who has played the game, and is outside of the “stats”, they will tell you how valuable these guys are.

  • NoPainNoGain

    “What is the point of supporting the Canucks until JB and TL are gone?” Are you sure that is a serious question? There are 30 other teams that you could potentially cheer for and follow. Well i guess we could always get MG back and see how that turns out. Or we could give Mr.Green a shot a Gm, because but your question (as unrealistic as it is) makes that assertion, I mean anything is possible, right? So far JB and TL have done exactly as they said they would do, they have put together a core of exciting young players, mixed with vets to show them the way. This is what you all screamed and whined for, like little children who aren’t getting thier own way. A “Rebuild” yes I said it “Rebuild”, not a re-tool, or an adjustment on the fly, or a reconfiguration, but a full on re-build, and despite your crying about the terminology, and the thumb sucking for a winner, at the end of the day, even if this team becomes more competitive and makes the playoffs, it is my firm belief that you still will not be happy, and continue to whine and cry all the more that someone is not doing a good enough job, or that they are not doing something right, sad! This team looks great, in couple of years we will be great again, and you will all have JB and TL to thank.

      • LTFan

        ColdOne – So, when the market is $3M and at least 3 years for the calibre of player that JB signed – you wouldn’t do it? Add to that they are coming to Vancouver which has had a poor record over the last 3 years. Not necessarily attractive.

        Yep, you wouldn’t pay and put all the prospects in the lineup and tell the Coach to win. None of us know what other teams were interested in these players and what they were offering. It is like trying to buy a house, condo, etc. in Vancouver, often you have to pay over the asking (market) price to get the property. That could very well the scenario that Benning was facing. Pay or lose the player.

      • NoPainNoGain

        As a long time fan, and someone who has been a player, a referee, and a coach, I know for a fact that JB and TL are on the right track. The management and owners make the cap decisions, me, I am a fan and all I care about is the product that they put on the ice. I really could care less how much they pay guys, I want to see a younger team that is fast, gritty, tallented, and competitive, and hopefully in a few years they will compete again for the cup. I would say that what we have now for a roster could do that, I mean really if Vegas can do that with the lunch box crew they had, surely with what we have, which I think over all is better, we could make the playoffs this year. Money plays no part, it is a part that way to many, “know it all’s” focus on. The roster is what matters, the players win the cup, not the money!

  • brokensticks

    “I don’t understand the dislike towards our newly aquired players.” There seems to be a small, but very vocal, group that feel they should complain about anything the Canuck management does. The team needed some size and grit in the lineup – I think the problem got solved at a reasonable cost.

      • Whatthe...

        Agreed and still can’t figure out how the $3M contracts will impact the future at all (especially with the salary cap rising, etc.). Gaudette should spend some time in the AHL and so should Dalhen…not sure what the fuss is about.

        Would much rather have quality, proven NHLers guiding the transition than a bunch of drifters signed at bargain prices.

        Plus, Canucks spend near or to the cap in part for business reasons (ie to justify the ticket prices) so why not go get quality players.

      • GMT+1 !!!!

        really, this team excites you? i find that a charmingly optimistic and yet mostly sad 😮

        i am a canuck lover (born into it, not a choice) but again feel certain the highlights of the year will AGAIN be: TDL, Lottery Night, and July 1.

        Am also not a hater of this mgmt team but am confused about their roadmap to this point. Torts nailed it, “stale.” And we inch forward from that moment. I see a bit of failure to weaponize the salary cap and a continued use of the excuse, “making the best of our situation” rather than making the situation the best.

    • Kanucked

      I didn’t agree with all of Benning’s moves to-date, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. However, the moves yesterday showed a real unwillingness or inability to learn from the past mistakes.

      It’s not a dislike for the new players. Grit was needed. The Rousell and Schaller deals would have met this objective. Sutter as the shutdown center would work as well. So the first issue is that Benning went overboard signing players who can’t provide offense. I believe competitive teams have at least 3 lines that can score.

      The second issue is the contracts. The term is way too much and limits future flexibilty. The limited trade also does this.

      Does this answer your question?

      • Whatthe...

        Sutter can’t be the only shutdown/PK centre on this team given that Pettersson and Gaudette are still unproven (and need time to develop their NHL games).

        The Canucks weren’t and aren’t going to be contenders unless they develop their prospects properly. The signed players will handle the heavy lifting and allow the prospects to play offensive minutes. Plus, it also allows the team to add prospects when and only when they are NHL ready. Nothing wrong with spending time in the AHL…if they prove it then the NHL ready spots will open up (as has been the case for Benning’s entire tenure).

        The term won’t impact this team given the rising salary cap and where they are as a team (ELC cycle, etc). Expansion draft will also impact things and given its front loaded structure, the Beagle contract will be tradable if needed.

        • Goon

          The issue, as just about everyone has said, is not with signing 3rd/4th line veterans, its with massively overpaying for those veterans in both dollars and term. The Canucks have over $20 million – more than 25% of the total allowable salary – locked up in five players who are *all* third/fourth line / third pairing players, in Beagle Roussel, Sutter, Eriksson, and Gudbranson, and they’re locked in to all of those players through at least 2020/2021. That’s absolutely disastrous, and will majorly hamper the team’s ability to bring in *impact* free agents and resign their young players down the road.

          Look at what Edmonton paid, in both dollars and term, for their veteran grinders yesterday. It’s a fraction of what Vancouver paid, for arguably similar players. Look at the teams who are dying to move some veteran grinders, like Toronto (Matt Martin) and Calgary (Troy Brouwer) – those teams would literally pay to get out from under those contracts, and those contracts both end after 2019/2020. There were so many other options available to bolster the depth of the team and Linden and Benning completely crapped the bed.

          Also, it’s worth noting that the way most of these contracts are structured (like Beagle and Eriksson) they’re buyout proof and not really tradeable until the final year when both of these players will likely no longer be NHLers. That’s bad.

          • Whatthe...

            No arguing the Eriksson contract – 2 to 3 years longer than it should have been; however, Sutter, Roussel and Gudbranson are all easy to move. Multiple teams would take any of those guys at the deadline.

            I don’t like the term on the Beagle contract but $3M is in no way an issue and given how front loaded the agreement is I could see a team taking him at the TDL in year three or four.

          • Kootenaydude

            Thank you Goon. Well said. Pretty much nailed all the problems associated with signing 4th line grinders to long term contracts. What happens when marquee players, that can score or defend become available and the Canucks don’t have cap space?

          • truthseeker

            How will it “hamper” their ability to bring in *impact* free agents?

            The canucks right now have 13 million in cap space. That’s one Connor McDavid right there.

            Next year they’ll add another 13 million (if I’m reading that Dorrset is still on the books this season) to that. So that’s 26 million for next season. Enough for a Connor McDavid and a Tavares with money left over.

            Boeser is the only significant RFA we have next season. 26 million to sign him. If the canucks are smart he’ll only take up 6 to 7 million. At worst they max him out at 8 to 10 per. That’s still 16 million to fill other spots.

            And we haven’t even got to 20/21 where another near 14 million comes off the books.

            And you’re painting an extreme picture with your “not tradeable” contract analysis.

            Cap friendly shows no restrictions on Beagle’s contract, so he can be traded right now if they want. Roussel is the same but he gets to choose half the league this year and that lowers in each year after. Schaller can be traded tomorrow if they wanted.

            Even Eriksson’s contract opens up in 2020 to allow him to be traded to over half the league.

            So sorry. But you’re totally exaggerating the problem. They are all “tradeable” contracts. Some a bit more easily than others, but all can be traded.

            One single look at cap friendly would have saved you all the trouble of basically making up stuff in your head to assume the worst situation possible.

            It’s not as bad as you think it is.

        • Kanucked

          How many shut down centres do you want? Doesn’t somebody have to score?

          With 3 more years for Sutter and 4 more for Beagle, you think Pettersson and Gaudette won’t be ready for 3 years?

      • Bud Poile

        The “offense” is to be provided by the emerging young core.
        One complaint has been ‘let the young guys play’.
        Here’s their chance. Personally,I want another draft full of Benning picks as we just lived through the ten year chasm Gillis -gan created.
        Mgmt. signed protection and PK/defensive expertise.You know,what the team lacked since Burrows,Hansen and Dorsett provided.
        Ownership is on board and it’s his money.
        There is next to zero future flexibility constraints.
        Boeser is 21. Pettersson is 19. Hughes is 18.

        • Kanucked

          I think there are two players on the roster who scored 20+ goals last year: Horvat & Boesser. You’re expecting a lot from players who have never played in the league.

          Atleast four years remaining for Eriksson, Beagle, and Roussel. The Eriksson and Beagle contracts are difficult to trade. That’s not zero future flexibility.

          Yes Gillis created a big hole. Benning, however, has been his own worst enemy.

        • Dirk22

          “There is next to zero future flexibility constraint.” – BP

          Honest question – what are you expectations for then Canucks in the year 2020-21?

          Would the $20 + million still tied up in bottom of the lineup 30-35 year olds be considered a constraint?

          • truthseeker

            Dirk, if the canucks do nothing next year (just for the sake of simplicity with the math) they will have 40 million in cap space in 20/21. So no. The 20 million, while not wise, is not going to be a constraint.

            The only significant player who will need a raise before then will be Boeser. Even if the worst case plays out and Boeser gets 10 million per that’s still 30 million in cap space. Who would you like us to sign that 30 million would be a “constraint”?

    • Jackson McDonald

      Part 2 will be up at 4. I literally answered every single question I received.

      Just trying to meet my “narrative” of answering questions people ask me.

  • North Van Halen

    I have been extremely critical of many of the Army staff for their negativity (by the way JM until today you’ve been much better of late). I still think much of their criticism has been uncalled for a variety of reasons (changed an awful prospect pool to an excellent one despite inheriting the NTC’s & the Sedin’s new contracts, etc). I’ve also said Lindenning deserved 5 full years to rebuild and judgement shouldn’t be passed until we see the end results of their labours.
    That said, when I see such clear mistakes, mistakes they’ve made before, I can’t help but wonder if these guys will ever have the finesse to finish the job.
    Beagle & Roussel are guys I likely want on my team next year, likely the year after too. But this team should be focussed on 3 years from now. I honestly think it would be lucky if either of these guys was significant contributor in year 3 and an absolute miracle in year 4. Throw in Ericksson, that’s $12.25mil to either bench warmers, 4th liners or guys playing in the minors.
    At a time when the Canucks should be trying to put the finishing touches on a playoff contender, giving 2nd contracts to their young core, Hughes, Pettersson, Lind, Juolevi, etc. Canuck management has tied up $12.25 on anchors.
    I never worried about overpayments to Sutter, Sbisa, Guddy, & Dorsett because all of those contracts were always going to be gone before we needed the money. Not these deals.
    Then to hear Benning say we targeted these 2 and that this is what they had to pay to get the guys they wante!! So at no time was there an option to just walk the F&*k away?!?!?! Is there no plan B? Is there no other way to find toughness and 13 goals than the 2 worst contracts of the day?!?! Really?!!?
    We’re going to lose next year, can’t we pay Darren Archibald $700,000 a year to be a crappy version of Roussell? Is Beagle the only old guy available that can take a draw and kill a penalty.
    Twice a year Lindenning make moves that I just don’t get. I hope they know what they’re doing because sometimes it just doesn’t seem that way

    • DJ_44

      It would have been better if these contracts had a three year term; but they are not going hinder the team moving forward. Look at how much room the Canucks will have to manuevere; and Rousell should still provide value (he will be 32), and Beagle may or may not.

      Is there no plan B? Is there no other way to find toughness and 13 goals than the 2 worst contracts of the day?!?! Really?!!?
      We’re going to lose next year, can’t we pay Darren Archibald $700,000 a year to be a crappy version of Roussell?

      The Canucks had much worse versions of the three players signed yesterday for the past three seasons. Fan favourites: Chaput, Megna, Archibald, and a slew of AHLers. Yesterday’s signings are not about winning now; they are about development of the next core. Surrounding young talent will players that fill roles; and these are roles that none of the players in the prospect pool currently fill.

      The are not blocking any young players from spots. Current players that have underperformed and not shown their worth at the NHL should be very concerned (or motivated). Goldobin, Leipsic, Gaunce, Granlund ….. time to shine, because these are the spots up for grabs. Gaudette will be insulated and given time to learn the position (in Vancouver or perhaps Utica). Schaller may not be ready for TC with his injury/recovery. Left wing is up for grabs. Maybe a spot on the right side as well.

      I went to the Dev Camp today. Forwards that looked good included Palmu (great skater), Lind (likewise), and Madden. Palmu, Lind, Jasek, Dahlen, MacEwen will all be pushing for spots. I think one of that group will make the big club.

      On the defensive side, the one that stood out was definitely Jack Rathbone. It will be good to see him in the NCAA this year. Skating and mobility is a class above (note that Hughes was apparently suffering from the flu and not dressed). Jett Woo looked solid, as did Utunen, and to a lesser extent Gunnerson (I kinda like his game, but there are things to work on).

      • Kanucked

        So with the signings, the lineup looks like this for next TWO years (barring trade):

        Horvat, Boesser, Eriksson, Gagner, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel, Schaller, Baertschi.

        Bubble guys fighting for 3 spots:

        Granlund, Petterson, Gaudette, Leipsic, Virtanen, Gaunce, Dahlen, Goldobin

        If you look at waiver eligibility, likely Virtanen, Granlund and maybe Leipsic make the team. Pettersson likely makes this team. Where’s the opportunity to compete for the rest? Don’t we think Gaudette will be ready to compete for a spot in that time period? What about Dahlen?

        • DJ_44

          Gagner is in the wrong list. When healthy…I think only one of Schaller and beagle will be in the lineup…assuming Gaudette performs. That leaves three spots….pettersson and Virtanen are in…..granlund gaunce goldobin leipsic and Dahlen. Give fighting for one spot. I have a suspicion they’re will be movement prior to or at camp.

  • DavydGoliath

    I personally think the only two issues with these UFA signings are TERM and that they should’ve stopped at TWO ufas.
    Did we need more push back in the lineup: YES
    Did we need more/better penalty killers: YES
    Did we need more proficiency at faceoffs: YES
    Did we need more veteran leadership after the loss of Vanek and the Sedins: YES
    Lets give these guys a chance to prove themselves on the ice. I’m sure Benning a co. are not through making moves to open up roster spots for the young guns so why not reserve judgement until we see what the roster truly looks like after training camp.
    Judging by the the mostly positive comments after this mailbag (or bag of something) I dare say Mr. McDonald my be guilty of cherry picking only negative Twitter questions blatantly pandering to his own personal negative opinion.

    Shame

    • North Van Halen

      Most of us who don’t like these deals think they will be very beneficial for push back and helping the youth properly develop in the short term. Our issue is that in 3 – 4 years having as much money as Vancouver has tied up in 4th liners and 5th/6th defencemen will hinder their ability retain/acquire 1st & 2nd liners.
      Vancouver needs to play the long game. These deals are great for this season and probably the one after too. If the ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup, long term these deals are more likely to be a hinderance than a help.

      • Bud Poile

        The Canucks won’t be a playoff team this year.
        The next year they should make the playoffs.
        The cup is four-six years away.
        In five years Hughes is 23 years old,Pettersson is 24 , Boeser is 26 and Bo is 28.
        All of these signings are long gone when the offensive core begins their prime.

        • North Van Halen

          No they are not. That’s the problem. 4 years from now they will have $12.25mil on 3 4th liners. Instead of being players for the next Tavares or even a James Neal will be trying to figure out how to bury these contracts. Instead of taking on a contract to acquire a Panarin or Armia we may have to give one away to rid of these or Ericksson’s contract.
          Sorry Bud, that’s just not true.

          • Whatthe...

            Are you including Sutter or Eriksson in that $12.25? No doubt Eriksson’s contract could be an issue but Sutter will still be tradable for the next couple years at least.

            Also, $12.25M relative to what salary cap though? If it is at $85M that is 14% of the cap (plus at least one of those contracts will be movable in years 3 or 4).

            Unfortunately a Tavares type UFA will likely never sign with Vancouver…we only get UFA stars on the down swing. The Canucks need to develop their stars and these signings are directly tied to maximizing prospect potential.

          • North Van Halen

            If these 2 guys were the only option available to me and I absolutely had to have them because no one else would do, I would have paid more short term. Some thing like 2 years $9 mil? Way overpaid but money we have. Too much can and do go wrong with physical players in their 30’s.
            Maybe I’m crazy but I think it’s more likely all of Roussell, Beagle & Ericksson are either weak 4th liners or buy out candidates in year 3 and 4 as it they are contributing to a playoff team. That’s a lotta money tied up at the bottom of the line up.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          So your argument in favor of these moves is that the players won’t be here by the time the team is good again? Pretty weak justification. Unless you somehow think that Antoine Roussel is going to be some kind of surrogate coach.

      • East Van Dan

        Some people take your analysis very personally. I have a different approach. I appreciate the website’s content, including the comments. Some articles I agree with, some I do not. Much of the content is simply informative on topics about which I don’t have set opinions (i.e. draft prospect rankings).

      • crofton

        Are we counting on more offence from Sven, Goldobin, Leipsic, and hopefully Eriksson and Granlund, and some from Pettersson? Yes. Will Hughes make the team? Probably. Will he help the D? YES! (or have you not been paying attention? ) Have the D pairings been set? No. Has the season started? No. Can trades still be coming? Yes

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    What do the Sporting News, Sportsnet, CBSSports and the Hockey News all have in common? Their “winner and losers” columns specifically took Benning to task for his questionable moves today. Seriously, when a massive cross-section of the sports media is publishing articles where the paragraph on your team reads like “what in the hell is that guy doing?”, it is probably a bad sign.

    • Bud Poile

      “What do the Sporting News, Sportsnet, CBSSports and the Hockey News all have in common?”
      They have no clue-like some of the writers on this site?

      • Dirk22

        Speaking of clueless remember when you got all up in arms with me arguing the Canucks would be competitive in the 2017-18 season? – Bennings fourth at the helm which was when he said his plan was to be among the ‘elite.’ Are we just pretending this didn’t happen?

        • Whatthe...

          They were solid last year until injuries hit and the lack of depth became a factor. They were likely going to miss the playoffs anyways but the start and finish to last year showed promise (and that they were competitive).

          The guys added should allow the young guys to build on their strong performances at the start/end of last year. I feel that is better than having no depth and hoping the prospects can swim right out of the gate.

        • Freud

          “We want to be competitive next year. Realistically, if you’re asking me when will the day be that we can compete with the best teams in the league, I think that (Sedin contract) timeline is fair. This is year 2 and by our 4th (2017-18) or 5th (2018-19) I hope we’re right there with the elite teams in the league” – Jim Benning

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        Thing is, it’s not like they’re writing a bunch of articles dismissing the abilities of NHL GMs as a group. Most acknowledge that yesterday was a good day for Dubas and a bad one for Lamoriello, and point out that a few teams like the Flyers and Sabres did really well. Then they all, independently, basically post a giant question mark next to our team firmly in the losers column. Same as pretty much anyone who isn’t a sycophantic shill for management. And don’t start posting about his drafting: this has nothing to do with that. It’s like, year after year, this guy insists on outdoing his previous screwups on signing day. Surely, you don’t plan on defending the Eriksson contract. And last year, as much as the risk was limited by the term, netted 3/4 of a season of Vanek on the PP, a couple of waiver wire castoffs, a backup goalie who played like one, the ghost of Sam Gagner, and a defenceman who can’t defend. And now this year looks even worse.

      • Dirk22

        Find me a ‘stats guy’ or ‘hockey man’ who likes the moves from yesterday. Universally agreed that they were terrible except for the regular apologists on here who could see Benning trade Horvat for Lucic, retain salary and still find a way to justify it. Even IMac, regular Canucks schill, didn’t like the term!

        • Bud Poile

          Beagle and Roussel were both agreed to at lower $$ and term until other teams upped the bid.
          Benning said numerous teams were in on both of them so they upped the term and $$ to secure them.
          If you don’t like the players then you hated Malholtra,hate Sutter,hated Burrows and hated Dorsett.
          All of which is likely.
          Go back to your daddy,Dirk.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          Absolutely. It’s not like this is the “computer boys” vs the old-time hockey guys. No one on either side of that dichotomy is speaking highly of these moves. Maybe, if you’re a contender, you make one of them. Or, maybe if it’s just Schaller to beef up the 4th line for a couple of years, you’re ok. But taken together, these signings are baffling and everyone with an opinion worth listening to, regardless of their views on analytics, seems to agree on that.

          • Bud Poile

            Chris,get back together with Dirk,his right hand man and the author so you can all listen to yourself spout the same nonsense day-in and day out.Talk about clueless chatter.

    • DJ_44

      Come on Chris. You comments are intelligent, you appear to know hockey. Do you not understand why the three FA’s were signed? Do you not understand what management want to do? Surely you are better than Jackson.

      I agree it would have been perfect if Beagle and Rousell would have been signed to two year deals, three is okay. Beagle’s may be one year too many, but that is manageable.

      These deals are about player development at the NHL level. Putting them in positions to succeed.

      • Bud Poile

        All these points were explained by Benning prior to and after the draft:
        Players they were targeting,why and the market for Roussel and Beagle driving term and salary.
        Most of the negative comments are from fans -and CA- that don’t follow the team closely enough to give an accurate assessment of what transpired.

        • Kootenaydude

          Get off your high horse there Bud! These guys were given too much term. They’re not impact players. They’re fourth line players. Almost every hockey analyst has said that the Canucks were losers yesterday. Your self praise and trying to belittle everyone that disagrees with you proves that you’re nothing but an a55hole.

          • crofton

            1st…enough of the rude name calling, thank you. 2nd…is that all you are complaining about, too much term? You make also think, as do I, that they were over pays, but I’m willing to allow the possibility that other teams were in on both Roussel and Beagle, so the offers had to be made.

          • bobdaley44

            Thats the market. They may not be impact players but they do the dirty work and provide intangibles. Beagle won a cup for gods sakes. You don’t want that influence in your locker room. This team needs what these guys provide. Did it cost more than you’d want to pay? Ya but think of this team going into the season without these signings. They’d get kicked and losing convincingly would set the program back. Nothing worse than going into games knowing your gonna get kicked on the scoreboard and physically.

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        I understand maybe signing one of them. But how do they plan to develop players in the NHL if they don’t have any open roster slots? And what exactly does Beagle bring that Sutter didn’t? Maybe they need a little more grit, but this doesn’t put them any closer to winning and just adds a whole bunch more dead weight against the salary cap for when they need to re-sign their actually good players in a few years.

        Two of these guys on two years deals would have been ok with me. But it’s like Benning sees something he likes, and he just has to outbid the market to get it. As others have put it, if the market for something gets too high, sometimes you have to walk away from the market.

        • DJ_44

          Year 4 will be interesting, assuming everyone is still a Canuck (long way off). I do not think it will hinder signing the young core. They can make it work. Cap goes up, some sign bridge deals, fresh blood comes in, trades.

          The focus is on development and growth over the next two years. Benning paid a premium for that.

        • Bud Poile

          The team lost Henrik.Gained Beagle to allow Sutter to move up.
          Benning explained this.Go to canucks.com and hear his explanation.
          Yeah,maybe they need more grit.
          Maybe they need a center.
          It’s not like you’re paying their salaries or the Canucks are cup contenders in three years.

          • Chris the Curmudgeon

            So Jim Benning’s plan is to replace the highest scoring player in franchise history with Brandon Sutter? That’s a praiseworthy move in your eyes?

    • crofton

      Man, Chris, reading your posts over the past….I would never have thought you one to put much stock in the talking heads. IMO, what he did was simply overpay and over term. That’s Free Agent Season in a nutshell though.

    • crofton

      I thought I had posted this already but don’t see it, so at the risk of being repetitive….Chris, reading your posts over the months and years, I would never have expected you to put stock in what the talking heads say.. IMO what JB did was over pay and over term

  • Defenceman Factory

    Jackson don’t bother doing an in depth analysis of UFA signings. The Canucks didn’t do the type of things you wanted and an emotion fuelled hatchet job is of no value to anyone especially yourself. Go read Jeremy’s apology about MacEwen again then try to quit whining.

    We all understand CA writers and many fans do not share the Canucks view on the need for size in the line-up. The market obviously got bid up on the guys Vancouver wanted and they had to go to 4 years. Not good but it just costs money to get out of through salary retention or buy-outs if quality young players push their way into the line-up. The amounts don’t sound prohibitive. Quite frankly most fans are completely sick of the Megnas, Chaputs and Dowds in the line-up. If Gaudette can’t beat out Schaller for a roster spot he isn’t ready. I have no doubt Benning would put Schaller in the press box or even send him down if Gaudette is a better player now or at any point in the future . Everyone needs to quit pretending Gagner, Gaunce an Granlund are viable NHL centres. Out compete for winger spots or get moved. I predict only Granlund is around by Christmas.

    I do agree it would be great if Soy earns a shot in Utica.

    • LTFan

      D.Fact – Agree. JMcD always critical with no solutions. There are many moving parts to most deals. Few trades are like Subban for Weber straight up. As I have said elsewhere, any player who wants to make the Canucks has to be physically fit, with good skills and the drive and the will to make it happen.

  • argoleas

    Fully expect Gaudette to start in Utica unless there are significant injuries before start of season, or someone is shipped out in the next 3 months.

    But let’s recall now many man-games were lost due to injury by some forwards (approximate):
    Horvat – 18
    Boeser – 18
    Gagner – 8
    Baertschi – 28
    Sutter – 21
    Eriksson – 32
    Granlund – 28

    That’s 153 games. Enough for two prospects to get close to a full season. So easily see Gaudette getting lots of time in Vancouver regardless. In Utica, he will get top minutes, so it will not be wasted time. He will be a full-time NHLer by the end of this season.

    Still would do without the Beagle contract (IMO Schaller and Roussel was enough), but if that means a quicker departure for Sutter, it will probably all sort itself out.

    Way too much panic out there. Put away the torches and hatchets, at least for now.

    • Bud Poile

      Yes and Dorsett missed 61 games after potting 7 goals and providing a remarkable shutdown line with Granlund and Sutter.
      That line sparked a very good Canucks team in the first quarter of the season.
      Tryamkin left and so did Miller.Both of those players would have immensely helped last year’s team,especially the goaltending.
      Benning explained that these recent additions should reduce injuries to the skilled players which was a major issue last year-and the one before that.

    • Defenceman Factory

      I don’t like the cost of Beagle but that doesn’t change the fact he is the best 4th line centre on the roster. I don’t like the price of gas but that doesn’t make it possible to use a honda civic to do the job of a 3/4 ton.

      Benning made this a better and deeper team yesterday. I agree with the critics to the extent he also increased the risk of future financial pressures and cap issues. I hope he can figure out how to avoid those problems.

        • crofton

          argeolas said it…”Still would do without the Beagle contract (IMO Schaller and Roussel was enough), but if that means a quicker departure for Sutter, it will probably all sort itself out.” Implying, I suppose, that Beagle would be the keeper as Sutter became expendable. And I don’t think Sutter is a 4th line centre

    • Killer Marmot

      I agree on every point.

      And I would add Burmistrov to your attrition list. Sometimes you lose a player cause he just doesn’t work out.

      Concerns about log-jams preventing prospects from getting ice time seldom prove to be a real problem. Half the starting forward roster was out by the end of last season. If you could tie your own skates, you were in the line-up.

    • Giant-Nation

      I have to go with EP – not to say QH won’t prove equally as good but EP rocked the fuc@ing house in a very good pro league last year. Anyone thinking Gaudette is going to Utica has really no clue, this kid is has fire in his eyes and fu@k the reg season Gaudette is built for the post season, don’t get lost with EP and QH because Gaudette is a nasty piece of business. As far as this article goes it’s a joke, Jim Benning started slow, fired the scouting staff couple years ago and now they are doing damage at the draft table, His trading ability has improved last 3 – Goldibin, Dhalin, Liepsic – this Management group were rookies but they are pushing us into a core of players that will hold the team down for years. We need to draft top 10 again this year, so it’s going to be ugly with fun and enjoyment watching young studs grow, we need to draft top 10 again.

  • Killer Marmot

    I figured that the Canucks would sign two guys like Schaller as call-up players, the types you assign to the press box or send to Utica at the beginning of the year on the assumption that they won’t have problems clearing waivers. I was surprized that they signed three players, with two of them being the sort you would dress almost every game.

    So what are the Canucks going to do with all of these waiver-eligible players? Are they going to send Gaunce or Gagner to Utica? Or will they trade away a forward before the season starts?

  • Killer Marmot

    Beagle could well be the Canucks’ shut-down centre next year, with Sutter being “promoted” to a more offensive role. If he stays healthy, Sutter has a shot at a 40-50 point season.

  • ColdOne

    No, Brandon Sutter is not a 40-50 pt player. Not even close. He’s been in the League for ten seasons. At this point, he is what he is. He had one and only one 40 point season. His second. He’s also had 6, 9 and 19 point seasons. He’s typically somewhere between 26 and 34 points. There’s a difference between optimism (say envisioning a 35 point season from Sutter) and taking an overdose of LSD (expecting 40-50 points). Stay away from drugs and stay in school, kids.

  • Holly Wood

    I don’t think I was alone last year when I felt the team lacked grit or character players to provide some backbone for the younger skilled guys. Not suggesting we acquire the Matt Martin type player but these new players will add to the grit that has been lacking and will make the club a little harder to play against while they phase some elite skill into the lineup.