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Photo Credit: The Globe And Mail

First Look: Canucks Make Big Mistakes in Free Agency (Again)

There was a flurry of signings to begin the NHL’s free agency period on Sunday, and the Canucks weren’t afraid to get a piece of the action. The team had built up a lot of good will with fans after selecting Quinn Hughes with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, so there was intrigue regarding how the Canucks would follow that up in free agency.

It’s safe to say that good will has dwindled significantly from the level it was at just a week ago.

When all was said and done, the Canucks inked three free agents on July 1 and two to long term deals. There’s a lot to unpack in each of Tim Schaller, Antoine Roussel, and Jay Beagle; so let’s take a deeper look at the players the Canucks have added into the fold.

Canucks sign Tim Schaller to a 2-year deal worth $3.8 million

In their only easily defensible move on July 1, the Canucks locked up a decent depth player in Tim Schaller to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.9 million dollars.

It’s taken Schaller a while to break into the league, finally playing his first full season in 2017-18 at the age of 27. We don’t exactly have a large sample to draw from, but past performance suggests he’s a reasonably competent depth centre who’s an above average shot suppressor on the penalty kill. He’ll help the Canucks in the size and grit department, he’ll be on the right side of 30 when his contract expires, and he didn’t cost the team significantly in terms of dollar value or term. He’s also spent most of his career as a depth forward so it’s unlikely he’ll be taking away a roster spot from any of the teams’ young forwards. So far, so good.

Canucks sign Antoine Roussel to 4-year-deal worth $12 million

This is where things start to get ugly. Let’s start with the good news: Antoine Roussel is actually a pretty good player. While he’s generally made a name for himself as a gritty bottom-six forward, he’s performed well by less traditional methods of analysis, too. Excluding his rookie season, he’s been on the right side of the shot share battle consistently for the past half-decade. Roussel is likely a replacement for Derek Dorsett, and he looks like a significant upgrade in virtually every regard.

That’s the good news. The bad news is the Canucks gave Roussel a limited NTC and greatly overpaid in both term and dollar value for a player who is coming off the worst offensive season of his career and will be 32 when his contract expires. Given what we know about aging curves, it’s very likely Roussel has already played his best hockey.

It’s a puzzling move because the Canucks aren’t supposed to be bad for much longer, and stop-gap players shouldn’t be signed to four years at three million AAV. When the Canucks are ostensibly supposed to be good again, Roussel will be on the wrong side of thirty and will likely be in decline. The deal would perhaps be defensible for a contending team, but it doesn’t make sense given where the Canucks are at in their life cycle, and it looks even worse when coupled with their other big signing of the day.

Canucks sign Jay Beagle to 4-year deal worth $12 million

The Canucks made one of their biggest unforced errors of the past four years by engaging in a bidding war for 32-year-old defensive centre Jay Beagle. In Beagle, the Canucks get a player who is not good, expensive, and will be 36 when his contract expires. So you could say he meets all the criteria a smart team would look for in a free agent signing.

Beagle has always been a bottom-of-the-lineup player, but for a couple of years he was a decent defensive centre who could be counted on to win faceoffs, remain solvent at even strength, and occasionally kill penalties. Unfortunately, his ability to stay on the right side of the shot share battle has greatly deteriorated since his thirtieth birthday.

Defenders of the deal will point to the fact that Beagle saw some of the league’s most extreme defensive zone deployment last season. This is a false premise to begin with, as plenty of players with extreme defensive deployment can keep their underlying shot metrics respectable (Colton Sissons, Radek Faksa, Blake Coleman, Jordan Martinook, and Miikka Salomaki all come to mind). It does reveal one interesting piece of context, however. Only one player in the league saw less offensive zone starts last season than Beagle: Brandon Sutter. That should immediately raise some red flags. First, even Sutter managed to control north of 43% of the shot attempts despite his deployment. Second, the fact that both players were utilized similarly last season indicates that having both Sutter and Beagle in the lineup will be a major redundancy.

One of the lines we’re likely to hear repeated ad nauseam over the coming months is that Beagle will help the Canucks on the penalty kill, but again, the numbers are trending in the wrong direction. He was a middle-of-the-pack shot suppressor on the penalty kill for much of his career before having a lights-out campaign in 2016-17. He followed that up in 2017-18 by posting the league’s worst shot suppression numbers on the penalty kill among centres with at least 150 minutes of PK TOI.

One would hope these numbers would improve as shot quality is taken into account, but Beagle’s season was in the bottom-three in fenwick against, shots against, high danger shots against, and scoring chances against. One could argue about which Jay Beagle the Canucks are getting, but at 32, a major improvement doesn’t appear likely. If the trend continues, Beagle won’t just be unhelpful to the Canucks’ penalty kill. He’ll be a liability.

It’s a shame, too. Beagle’s a great story. He’s the only player to ever win an ECHL, AHL, and NHL championship, and that experience could probably be valuable in mentorship role for some of the Canucks’ young forwards. But that’s something you look to bring in for a year or two on the cheap.

As much as it pains me to say it, there’s just no evidence indicating Beagle is very good at anything other than winning faceoffs at this point in his career (if there’s one silver lining to this debacle it’s that Beagle is still pretty good in the circle, but you don’t pay a player 12 million dollars to be good at that and literally nothing else). That the Canucks had interest in him in the first place is a head-scratcher. That they participated in a bidding war and paid a premium for his services is nothing short of baffling.

Conclusion

After these signings, the Canucks are significantly worse off than they were just a few days ago. Schaller is a decent addition in the short term, but handing out term and money to players like Beagle and Roussel is exactly the type of move that can handicap a rebuilding team in the years to come. Recent reports indicate both deals will come with limited no-trade protection, which is honestly just par for the course at this point. It’s ironic, given the way the team has used no-trade clauses as an excuse for all manner of struggles over the past four seasons. For what it’s worth, players like Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen both made less money and had better numbers across the board by the time they earned their no-trade protection, and they did it with the Canucks. Benning and company have no such loyalty to players like Roussel and Beagle. They’re both unforced errors.

It should be clear by this point after four years on the job to plan for a post-Sedin landscape that this management group has no real plan, has never had a plan, will never have a plan. This is the lineup TSN had mocked up for the Canucks next season and it’s unlikely to inspire confidence in anyone.

Even with a healthy Brock Boeser and the addition of Elias Pettersson, it’s entirely possible this market will be treated to yet another record-breaking offensively inept team next season. Maybe that’s to be expected to some extent. What really stings is that the Canucks have saddled themselves with deals that are likely to cause problems during what should eventually be their competitive window. By all accounts, the Canucks should be good by the time Beagle and Roussel reach the third year of their deals. Bo Horvat will be 27 when those deals expire. We aren’t talking about players who will be gone when the team is competitive again. We’re talking about players who will be eating up salary and roster spots when the team’s best young players are in their prime. In the final years of those contracts, Roussel and Beagle can’t just be taking up space. They have to help the team win, and he worth the money that’s being allocated to their services.

At this juncture, there’s absolutely no evidence that’s going to happen.

 

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I don’t love the Beagle contract, but he is not just a bag of pucks either. He was pretty effective in the Stanley Cup Finals. Roussel is defensible, I think. Schaller is just fine, if uninspiring.

    While unnecessarily spending cap space is not ideal, we should remember that significant salary is departing in the next two years:
    MDZ – $3M – UFA 2019 – possible TDL?
    Dorsett – $2.65M – UFA 2019
    Edler – $5M – UFA 2019 – TDL if he waives?
    Nilsson – $2.5M – UFA 2019
    Hutton – $2.8M – RFA 2019 – TDL?
    Gagner – $3.5M – UFA 2020 – possible trade asset?
    Tanev – $4.45M – UFA 2020
    Markstrom – $3.67M – UFA 2020

    So while I’m not in favour of overpaying with term, there is still a fair bit of cap flexibility for next few years that is created by expiring contracts.

    • NucksLifer

      This is the key. The recent signings all line up with this two year window. Obviously, Schaller is two years. Roussel and Beagle’s contracts are heavily front loaded. Over the last two years, they are both at $2.2 million per and have very limited no trade clauses (5 teams only, I believe). So, after two years, there is a lot of flexibility to trade them, to buy them out over a few years, etc. Roussel will still be a useful player at that point and Beagle may surprise. In any event, my expectation is that their contracts won’t be hard to deal with in the summer of 2020 if need be.

      I note that Gudbranson’s salary drops to $3 million in the summer of 2020 also. It won’t take a dramatic uptick in his performance to have some trade value at that point.

      Jackson’s thesis is that the Canucks management doesn’t have a plan. I think that is clearly wrong. They may not have a plan with which he agrees, but there is a plan.

      Beagle/Roussel/Shaller and Gudbranson all provide some protection for the kids for the next two years (both from physical intimidation and having to play “hard” minutes). Nobody wants to see a repeat of what happened with Boeser without any pushback. In two years, some or all of them can be moved.

      I’d love to see Gagner and MDZ moved now, as I don’t see that they add anything significant over the next two years and I’d rather give more kids some ice. If they can find a stop gap centre (Spezza?), I’d also prefer they deal Sutter also.

    • NucksLifer

      One other indication of the “plan” is that Baertschi’s contract is also front loaded and comes in at $2.4 million for 2020. At age 27, he will have trade value at that price.

      Even Ericksson’s contract is similarly structured – after the signing bonus is paid in July 2020, he is owed $5 million total for the final two years of his contract (with a modified NTC – 15 teams). At that point, he is 35 but may still have some value at that price (or at least be able to be dumped).

      So, as of July 2020, the only significant, multi-year contract on the books is Horvat. Even Jackson and JD approve of Horvat.

      In summary, the Plan appears to be sign a few vets to stay competitive over the next couple of years. Front load the contracts and maintain flexibility for the summer of 2020, at which point the talented kids will be (more) ready for prime time and the team can add/amend as necessary.

      Let it no more be said there is no Plan!

  • TD

    I think the Canucks needed some “grit” as they were way too easy to play against, but this was too much. I could have lived with and maybe even been happy with Roussell and Schaller or two years of Beagle and Roussell, but not all three and not for that long.

    That’s my opinion, but it’s not a fact. I wish the authors here would writer from an opinion point of view sponsored by the stats, instead of writing like their opinions are facts. From their point of view, Schaller shouldn’t even been an NHL player as he’s was way past his peak when he broke into the league. While I agree with this article, it’s hard to read written that way.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    I really liked what I saw with these 3 groups last year.
    Virtanen/Gaudette/Lepisic and Boeser/Horvat/Baertschi.
    Also Granlund/Sutter/Motte did a fine job as a checking line.
    I’m not quite sure how you fit the 3 new role players in???

    • Kneedroptalbot

      So if we add in Pettersson and Eriksson….that leaves 1 spot for the 12th forward?? (the 3 new role players, Goldobin, Dahlin, and Gagner) one of these six??

  • Jimjamg

    The subtext here is stealth tanking. With Beagle and Sutter centering two lines and filling 30 minutes a night of icetime we are not scoring much. And there is only room for Petterson and maybe Juolevi to make the team, so not much help from the youth either. It appears we have adopted the Toronto plan from the Auston Matthews draft year, keep all the prospects in the minors, play limited upside veterans and hope for the best (I mean worst), win the lottery and snag Jack Hughes to play with Quinn. Just the small issue about winning the lottery. But clearly the Canucks want to be in position to make a splash at the Vancouver draft next year, then bring up all the prospects and give ‘er after that. My theory anyway.

  • Kootenaydude

    Tavares went back to Toronto. Maybe our GM should try to get some BC boys to come play for the Canucks. Hamhuis came here for that exact reason. Benning needs to up his game.

  • Killer Marmot

    I believe the thinking of management goes like this:

    Roussel is the new Dorsett.
    Beagle is the new Sutter.
    Sutter is the new two-way centre (i.e., more offensive opportunities).
    Schaller is the new (but better) Dowd.
    McDonald is the new Burke.

  • wojohowitz

    Here`s a few of the leftover UFAs still available today. Most (but not all) would accept a one year, one way contract for $700k to $1m. Veterans who would stand up for their team mates.

    Alex Chiasson
    Clayton Stoner
    Patrick Maroon
    Drew Stafford
    Brandon Bollig
    Scott Hartnell
    Christian Folin
    Mark Letestu
    Lance Bouma
    Cody Franson
    Tanner Glass
    Tyler Wotherspoon
    Justin Falk
    Jordan Nolan
    Tommy Wingels
    Freddie Hamilton
    Jason Chimera
    Chris Kelly

    |`m not saying game changers – only veterans who will stand up for their team mates and supply some leadership.

  • boilinhot1

    The only way these signings help the canucks is with the lottery next year. You can’t take 150 points out of the line up and replace them with no offence players and expect to move up the rankings.

    • Holly Wood

      Try to pay attention here boilinhot. The recent signing were not to replace the offence that Sedin’s provided, that will be for the Horvats, Boeser’s , Sven’s, Pettersson’s to supply. These signing were to add grit and leadership. Everyone wants the young group to play, this is going to be the start for them to show what they have

      • wojohowitz

        Who are you going to believe? Lying thieving Harvard or JPat`s profile on the TSN website today.

        Here`s another example; Manukyan drafted last week and listed as 5`7, 139 lbs. Well that`s only after a half dozen kebobs and a litre of kefir – he`s not that big.

        • DJ_44

          Dont know about Bud, but I would believe Rathbone himself in his interview with SN650…he said about 185/190.

          I also believe what I see at dev camp. This kid is solid. looks similar in proportions to jett woo, albeit woo has 3 or 4″ on him and woo is about 205.

          • Rodeobill

            At some point we are going to stop fussing too much over his size/wieght, and just know he is the littlest guy on the ice. Does he have a skillset to overcome that? Will the league continue to trend in a direction more suitable to smaller players? Those are the real questions. I think probably not, longshot for sure, but hey it’s a bottom of the draft lotto ticket, who knows 😉

  • Braindead Benning

    Lol…Old Jimbo And Co. Are still doing the same old asinine moves and the team actually looks worse then last year, sure there is some shiny new prospects but after almost 5 years and this Is what he has put together… but hey, I guess it’s still MG fault

  • TD

    How are the kids going to play? Here are the waiver eligible forwards: Horvat, Baertschi, Boeser, Sutter, Granlund, Gaunce, Gagner, Goldobin, Leipsic, Virtanen, Eriksson, Archibald, Schaller, Beagle, Roussel and Boucher. That’s 16 forwards. Archibald and Boucher will probably be sent to the minors and will probably be sent down early so they clear waivers. That leaves 14, which is one more than they usually carry meaning one more will have to clear waivers or be lost.

    On defence they have Edler, MDZ, Hutton, Pouliot, Tanev, Gudbranson, Stecher and Biega which is their normal compliment.

    Where is the room for the kids to play. Potentially lose Goldobin or Leipsic so Pettersson can play? No room for Gaudette or Dahlen? What about Juolevi and Hughes?

    Or is the plan to send all the kids down to develop together and tank for a year? Not sure how this is letting the kids play as professed.

    • Killer Marmot

      How are the kids going to play?

      1. Some of those waiver eligible players could likely clear waivers in late September, Archibald, Gagner, Gaunce, Boucher, and Schaller being examples. It’s rare for someone to be picked up on waivers that time of year. Almost every team is too busy reducing their roster.

      3. If one of them — Gagner, say — didn’t clear waivers, it would not be a tragedy.

      4. Injuries occur even in preseason, opening up positions.

      5. Benning could well make a trade between now and October, opening up more space.

      • Kanucked

        Gagner and Schaller will not be sent to the minors. They each have 2 years remaining on their contracts and Schaller was just signed and Gagner was signed last year.

        Your point 3 is more likely.

        • Killer Marmot

          Your logic escapes me.

          I don’t think Schaller will be sent to the minors because he’s perfect for the 13th forward, but neither he nor Gagner are immune to being sent down, especially if there are no injuries. Where they are on their contracts is irrelevant. In fact, Benning might welcome Gagner being claimed on waivers, particularly if he tries to trade Gagner and fails.

          • Kanucked

            Killer,

            I believe term and dollars are very significant in the NHL.

            I doubt that the owner would want to commit to $3.8M for a 13th forward and another $6.2M for a player who can’t make your roster. Benning would be lucky if another GM picked up Gagner on waivers.

            If the Canucks sent these two players down, Benning would be admitting that he made two errors in free agency in a very short period of time. Those are firing offences.

          • Killer Marmot

            That reasoning may hold for Eriksson, but Gagner’s contract is not so massive that it would cause undo embarrassment. Not every contract works out.

        • Rodeobill

          That’s exactly why any of the new FAs or Gagner could be sent down without too much worry. I think the new guys are a safety net. If one of the prospects blows the doors off (say Gaudette or Dahlen) the one who brings the least can go down. If he needs waivers, so be it, if they get picked up, so be it. Very unlikely they get picked up if they are not playing well enough to stay on our roster and still have those kind of contracts. Win/win. They get taken, we no longer have to pay those contracts, they don’t, they are still around to insulate the next wave.

    • Bud Poile

      1. Sports Radio is saying the Canucks will trade some vets.
      2. Hutton,Biega and even Gagner can go on waivers.
      3.Hughes,Juolevi,Boucher,Dahlen,Gaudette and Archibald will go to Utica.
      4.Goldolbin,Leipsic and Pettersson are the only kids making the roster.
      5. Benning said he would make room for any prospect that deserves to be on the roster.
      The plan is to be competitive and not make the playoffs,add another year of high draft picks and let the kids play together in Utica.
      Play they will.

    • Puck Viking

      Gaunce, Leipsic, Virtanen or Motte will be taken by another team on waivers in 3 months. Only forward with trade value that we would actually move is Zven

  • TheRealPB

    I completely disagree that the management team doesn’t have a plan. It’s just that you (and much of CA) disagree with it. And every year on free agent day, I have to say I’m on the same page as you. I think their drafting has been generally good. I don’t necessarily have the same criticism of the lack of accumulation of draft picks. I even think that most of the bets they’ve placed on flipping picks/young prospects for semi-established young players are at least defensible, even if Sutter, Gudbranson, Vey, Etem, etc haven’t really worked out. But it’s the free agent signings that are head scratchers. I don’t think that they are the end of the world and I don’t even think that these ones will hamstring us as people say they will. But they just seem unnecessary and certainly not designed to give us either success or a more entertaining team. The best free agent signings we’ve made have been on the offensive side — Vrbata and Vanek. And Benning mishandled at least two TDL (certainly the Vrbata/Hamhuis one and arguably the Vanek one too) so we had underwhelming/no returns.

    I hate the grit/winning culture arguments. Because grit doesn’t win games, it’s having actual skill that does. I don’t care how gritty MDZ or Sbisa or Gudbranson is if they can’t figure out how to stop a guy with the puck or stop someone from popping in a rebound (and there have been a LOT of those on the watch of these grit-monsters). The notion that our skill players need a Semenko on the wing should stay in the 80s where those myths belong, certainly not in the modern game. You know what will make our skill line stand up taller? Having a fourth line actually put some pressure on the puck and maybe pop in a goal or two.

    I think Beagle, Roussell and Schaller are ok. Certainly not millions of ok. And it’s not clear to me how they bring a winning environment — Beagle spent ten years in underachieving Washington until Kuznetzov, Holtby and Ovechkin (not the gritty ones unless you think Dirty Wilson was more important than them) won them the cup. I don’t know what Schaller’s won. And Dallas is almost as bad as us.

    You know what helps create a winning culture? Actually winning. I get that this is the year that we hit rock bottom. No Sedins and the cavalry a few years away. So why bother with spending so much on a fourth line? Why not go and get some hired guns — it would have cost us literally the same amount to get Grabner, Vanek and put Pettersson in the middle. Who cares if they bleed goals and shots? We’d have a crazy and enjoyable high offense line instead of what seems like Willie Desjardin’s dream of 3 fourth lines and a prayer.

    • DJ_44

      This is just incredibly mis-guided. Skill does not win hockey games. Hard work wins hockey games. If it is the only lesson you take away from the VGK season it is that: hard work beats skill. Always. If the work effort matched, skill is the difference (and to a lower extent luck).

      Beagle spent ten years in underachieving Washington until Kuznetzov, Holtby and Ovechkin (not the gritty ones unless you think Dirty Wilson was more important than them) won them the cup.

      I am pretty sure Beagle was not the one underachieving in Washington. I am pretty sure it was the Kuznetzov’s, Holtby’s and Ovechkin’s. Beagle’s work ethic was there all the time. If it was not, he would not have kept his job. As for the foolish comment about “Dirty Wilson”, you do realize we are discussing professional hockey? You may not like Wilson, but the Caps do not have a Cup if he was not on the team. He played in the top 6 and was dominate. Grit, toughness and hard work does not win Championships? Wilson is that and he is an essential element of the makeup of a team.

      You want to ice 9 Goldobin’s avoiding physical contact and defensive play? Sutter gets roasted by Vancouver media for actually being honest and telling the kid to grow a pair. The difference between a William Karlsson and a Goldobin: Karlsson works his tail off and is very tough.

      Toughness and grit is not knuckledraggers and Hansen Bros. ; it is professional hockey players that come to camp in top shape and work every day. Effort every shift, take the hits, block the shots, score the goals, dig pucks out of the corner, pressure on the forecheck, hold themselves and other player accountable, and stand up for teammates. Hmm. Sounds like I described the 2017-18 Golden Knights. It would also describe the Sedins.

      • TheRealPB

        I can’t even begin to engage with a statement like “skill does not win hockey games.” Let me hear about the last team with only grinders who won a cup. When you think about our three cup runs, who were the leaders on those? Gradin, Smyl, Brodeur, Bure, Linden, Ronning, Courtnall, McLean, Sedins, Kesler, Bieksa, Luongo; yes, you had some complementary players, but it’s the skill players that win games.

        I’m not saying that the qualities of hard work and determination aren’t worthwhile. They are and each of those skill players listed above have displayed them in spades.

        The bigger issue is at the end of the day, how many successful teams pay a premium for the bottom end of their lineup? The model that we see which has worked in the NHL and increasingly in other sports (in the most lop-sided way in the NBA) is of investment in the top end and young salary-controlled players or bargain basement vets on the bottom. What we’ve done makes no sense.

        • Big D, little d

          I believe the relevant quote is: “Hard work beats skill if skill doesn’t work hard.”

          So yes, it’s the skill players that win games but only if those skill players are committed to the work that is necessary to win.

        • DJ_44

          The bigger issue is at the end of the day, how many successful teams pay a premium for the bottom end of their lineup? The model that we see which has worked in the NHL and increasingly in other sports (in the most lop-sided way in the NBA) is of investment in the top end and young salary-controlled players or bargain basement vets on the bottom. What we’ve done makes no sense.

          It makes complete sense. There was no push back in the bottom six. Populating it with top-6ers that cannot play a top six is beyond stupid. Goldobin is not a bottom six guy, and if he is not good enough for a top six role, so be it.

          $2.9M,$3M, and $3M is hardly a premium. We have to pay a tax to attract free agents, but it was not much of one. We will not be a cap team for a while, so the tax will not affect the team. Our top six, where premiums are usually paid, does not require those premiums because those players are cost controlled. Most are on ELCs. Insert the younger talent into the top-6/9. You know, the roles on the team for which they were draft.

    • DogBreath

      Grit and skill does win hockey games. Generally, skill gets drafted and developed, grit gets picked up along the way.

      And yes, of course, winning breeds a winning culture. The trouble is winning is really difficult when you’re not going to be good for 2+ years. Grabner and Vanek have skill and would be entertaining additions. Problem is those two change teams more often than they change underwear. Why? because managers realize they can’t win with those two. So we’re back at the beginning trying to develop a winning culture (or prevent a losing culture) with re-treads on July 1 because we didn’t draft and develop over the past 10 years. No one wants to be here, but we are. What’s the best way out of it?

  • NastyNate

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling… I think this website should be called Canucks Mutany, forget Canucks Army,
    its pretty plain to see that Jackson is too far gone. Sure they spent a bit of money the other day and sure, they gave out more term than what was ideal for the club but we’re talking one extra year. Big deal.

    Like one of the previous posters pointed out.
    To suggest Benning has hamstrung this team right when several
    prospects will need new deals is ludicrous ! Wake up and think for a sec

    In and around $15-20 million is coming off the books in salary over the next two seasons.

    There is an expansion draft coming up and Beagle and Rousell will both be unprotected.

    The nhl salary cap will likely increase to around $86-90 million in 3-4 years

    Brandon Sutter can now be traded knowing there is interest as per Botchford and his replacement is on the roster.
    Finally yes it is alarmingly obvious the Canucks needed more centre depth and grit and they managed to land some..
    this article, as predicted, overlooks several facts and ignores alternate possibilities that would “solve” these “problems”.

    Finally, it’s a REBUILDING team so who cares if one of the three players doesn’t push play or isn’t the best shot suppressor. We’re going to be a bad team for another couple of years, it’s a drop in a pond both from a player and financial point of view. Save the drama for your mama dude.

  • janmoh

    We knew that this coming year would be a difficult one. Bottom 5 most likely. Benning has got his “bottom 6 players” and is now hoping that his draft picks will eventually get into the “top 6”. It’s ok if Gaudette / Lind / Dahlen / Gadjovich start in Utica. I feel that Sutter will be traded at the TDL for a 1st round pick. Hopefully near the end of the season we see Pettersson at centre. Bo / Pettersson / Gaudette / Beagle would be great up the middle in the coming years. Maybe draft a centre in 2019?

  • rediiis

    This was an awful article. If you suggest NHL players are awful, what is your point. They are NHL players. If you suggest a 170 pound kid is awesome, what is your point. iii’s test. Fuzzy pictures don’t tell me who is good on the team or should be retained.

  • Dissin_Terry

    Just more decisions to prove Benning is as stupid as he sounds/looks. The Canucks will suffer so long as the Aquilinis are involved. Devoid of any hockey IQ whatsoever, this team needs a new owner harnessing the reigns, and make choices to join the future as opposed to dabble in the past.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Best thing on this thread is the unanimity that they should either trade(if possible) or waive the utterly useless Gagner. I also liked the idea of Sutter for a first round pick, although it would probably be in the 20-32 range, as a contending team would be the only ones showing interest.

    • LTFan

      Beer Can – Sort of agree on Gagner – he hasn’t been very good. Sutter – I would not trade him. If traded he would not get a Round 1 pick in return. Maybe a 2 but more than likely a 3.

  • Doodly Doot

    How do you get more picks? Maybe using capspace to overstock the cupboard in free agency as part of a plan to use salary (cap) with a plan to trade assets at timely junctures for future picks. Bonus benefit of inspiring ALL players to be extra competitive for spots on the big club with ancillary benefit of having a more potent AHL team that can breed success while adding valuable experience to quality future players. Just a thought.

  • Jabs

    As almost always, CA, is not looking at the larger picture, just a snapshot and rush to premature judgement and will look foolish sometime in the future when it all pans out.

  • Freud

    The money and term given to the redundancy of Beagle, Roussel and Schaller is more than Bobby Ryan.

    Taking Bobby Ryan off of Ottawa’s hands means you get Karlsson at a great discount.

    Imagine the net positives you would get from then flipping Karlsson without Ryan attached to him while retaining half Karlsson’s salary for this coming season.

    But I guess all that grit and leadership will instead get us that elusive 25th place participation ribbon.

    But

    • Mattias

      1)Why would Karlsson sign without an NMC?

      2) Now that Karlsson and his agent forgot to ask for an NMC,
      why would they chose to go to a non-contender?

      3) Since we already know the teams interested: SJ, NYR, VGK, DAL.
      What are you getting back?

      Being reasonable, to acquire rights to Karlsson you just gave up (either) Tanev or Gudbranson + either (Pettersson, Boeser, Hughes) + your 2019′ 1st rounder (In Vancouver, no less).

      Now you have acquired Bobby Ryan’s contract, and you are negotiating get back your return. You might be able to get a 1st line D, but which of the 4 interested teams have better or even equivalent to our prospects?(Pettersson, Boeser, Hughes) Miro Heiskanen is the only thing close. Would you trade Pettersson for Heiskanen? Dallas would be happy to
      Next negotiate your Draft pick… You just gave up a top-10 spot, to acquire the rights to Karlsson, now you are taking back what? 15-31.
      Smart move. Now you take them to the cleaners and ask for that 2nd rounder.

      How bout we just acquire Beagle and trade Sutter to the highest bidder. Acquire two facepunchers so you can trade Gudbranson, then offer Tanev, Goldobin, and Nilsson for Nylander + a 3rd round pick?

      I like Benning’s strategy better.

      You will be giving up Tanev, plus 1 of (Boeser, Petterson,Hughes), and a high draft pick.

      You’ll be getting the equivalent in return, + you’ll have Bobby Ryan’s contract and a lower draft spot. Who’s going to finish lower Dallas, Vegas, NYR, SJ
      or the Nucks?
      1) The Canucks first/second/third/ needs wont be met with this strategy.
      Canucks need 3) Facepunchers 2) 2nd line Center 1) Offensive RHD.

      2) the market