Who says no to a Juolevi for Liljegren trade?
— GreenGoat (@greensgoat) July 30, 2018
The Toronto Maple Leafs would say no to that trade in a heartbeat, I would suspect. Then again, I’m not even sure the Vancouver Canucks would have much of an appetite to move on from Olli Juolevi at this stage either.
I wasn’t asked where I stand on such a trade, but I’d take Liljegren ahead of Juolevi in a heartbeat. That’s not a knock on Juolevi — it’s just that I think that highly of Lilijegren.
Was Trevor Linden the only voice of reason who wanted to stay the course on the rebuild or was he demanding they sign more veterans and everybody else wanted to stay the course? I've seen both of these contradictory ideas stated with total confidence.
— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) July 30, 2018
I guess it depends on who you ask. Noted asshat, Steve Simmons, wrote a piece in which he suggested just that — that Trevor Linden was the voice of reason, and further to that end, that Jim Benning and John Weisbrod sold him out to ownership accordingly for their own job security. The Province’s Ed Willes, a journalist who I hold in high-esteem, corroborated that story on Twitter, suggesting his source, a hockey man close to Linden, offered the same insight.
Some, including the Canucks, have suggested that Linden and the team both agreed this was the right decision for everyone involved.
It’s all a bit fishy, and that aura lends itself to the Simmons’ version of events. I get that the market and the average fan don’t care about this type of stuff, usually, but it’s really bizarre that Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini didn’t face the media after a move of this magnitude.
I’m not sure where I stand on the whole thing. I’m not privy to the conversations that happen behind closed doors at Rogers Arena, so it would be a little disingenuous to cast aspersions on anyone involved. If what’s out there is true, though, man, is it a bad look for everyone not named Trevor Linden. Whether that made him the ‘voice of reason’ or not is another thing entirely, but I guess everything is relative.
Why did the Gudbranson trade set the Canucks back 3-4 years? McCann hasn't done anything in particular. Gudbranson hasn't had a healthy season yet.
— #ThankYouSedins (@xBraedenn) July 30, 2018
For context, this Twitter user is referencing a radio hit I did on TSN1040 on Friday, in which I described the Erik Gudbranson trade as one example of the Canucks setting themselves back over the last four years. You can listen to that radio hit here — I think people are still yelling at me for it on Twitter, even.
In that radio hit, I explained myself using the timeless adage of a missed first-round pick setting a team back two years (some put that number higher). In my estimation, the loss of Jared McCann, who would probably be the Canucks’ second or third best centre right now, and the high-second round pick, which could have been Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat, for example, are like losing two first round picks for nothing.
That seems harsh, but it’s not like Gudbranson has added many wins to the Canucks lineup. Consider the cap space spent on Gudbranson (which is about to jump to $4-million a season for the next three years) and the additional fourth-round pick, and yeah, the Canucks added basically a negative-value asset. Luckily for the Canucks, Gudbranson’s perceived value is probably still high in hockey circles, and they could probably recoup some of that lost value in a trade if they ever went that route. But for now, that move alone set them back a fair amount.
With all the rumours going around, do you think benning is going to sacrifice some picks/prospects again to try and speed up the rebuild? Would be a nightmare for the franchise
— Kyle Studley (@studleyyyy) July 30, 2018
I’d like to think those days are in the Canucks’ past. Then again, Vancouver’s reported interest in trading for Noah Hanifin (before the Calgary Flames jumped on that grenade for them) doesn’t instil a tonne of confidence. Depending on the exact trade, I think that this type of move would generally be a nightmare scenario for the Canucks as well.
Who will be the next president of hockey ops?
Who should be the next president of hockey ops?
— Real Good Greg (@VancouchAnalyst) July 30, 2018
Who’s to say there will even be another president of hockey operations? Of course, Aquilini tweeted out that he’d get to work on replacing Linden promptly after news broke about the split, and then Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks had interest in former-Los Angeles Kings general manager and current Philadelphia Flyers executive Dean Lombardi.
Not long after, Benning went on the airwaves and said that he’d been told by Aquilini that the Canucks won’t be replacing Linden and that he’ll take on those responsibilities. And again, not long after that, Friedman reported that Lombardi is out of the running because of his contract situation in Philadelphia.
As for who should be the next president of hockey ops, I’m just not sure. My first thought is Mike Gillis, but that’s not even remotely realistic — not with Benning still holding the job, certainly.
Do you think with Trevor gone the Canucks will stay in Utica? Also, if they do stay, when might we expect an announcement of an extension?
— ColdSteel1863 (@steel1863) July 30, 2018
I’m sure the Canucks will keep their farm team in Utica for the immediate future, even with Linden out of the picture. Whether that arrangement lasts or not, I can’t say. The one thing I’ll add is that I get the sense that the Canucks as an organization like that arrangement, not just Linden. So they have that going for them.
Who are your "dark horse" prospects to watch out for in Training Camp this year?
— #ThankYouSedins (@xBraedenn) July 30, 2018
It will be interesting to see what kind of a chance Canucks head coach Travis Green gives Ashton Sautner and Evan McEneny. Both would have to clear waivers if memory serves, so there’s that added wrinkle. The Canucks just don’t have space for any “dark horse” prospects to make the team, though, so I think this is a moot point.
Based on returning players, free agent signings, there is zero chance of anyone but Petersen cracking the line up, even though Dahlin is ready. IMO! what say you? And don't even talk about the 'D'. Finish 27-28 prediction.
— Alan MacDonald (@alanmac_d) July 30, 2018
A lot of statements in this question, for a Monday Mailbag submission. That said, I think your observations are mostly fair. Just look at my last response — there isn’t room for any of their prospects to make the team out of camp, barring injuries.
The one part I might quibble with is how certain you are that Jonathan Dahlen is ready. You might be right, but I’m not there yet personally.
Canucks most underrated prospect?
— Sean Avery (@NHLSeanAvery) July 30, 2018
Which player will have the shortest leash with the coach?
— Jason Trejo (@JasonTrejoRizky) July 30, 2018
I hope I’m wrong, but if last season is any indication, my guess is Nikolay Goldobin.
If the Canucks have a similar start to the season as the 2017-18 Coyotes, could we see a new front office by Christmas?
— Scott Rosenhek (@Scottr_31) July 30, 2018
My answer would be no if Linden were still around. Nobody was in Benning’s corner like Linden. Now that Benning’s lost that buffer between himself and ownership, I’m less certain. That’s absolutely possible in my estimation.
Is Juolevi under rated now? Or has he fallen into the shadow of our other, more exciting prospects?
— Cole Treleaven (@Coletr11) July 30, 2018
Not only is Olli Juolevi underrated — he’s unfairly maligned by Canucks’ fans. Look back at most major draft publications for the time of Juolevi’s draft. A lot of them will have Juolevi close to the range that the Canucks drafted him in, at fifth overall. Certainly, it wasn’t uncommon for people to rate Juolevi as one of if not the best defenceman in his draft year.
This year is his draft-plus-three season. Juolevi has so, so much room to grow, and I don’t think he’s played anywhere near as poorly as some have suggested in the last few seasons. Juolevi isn’t in the tier of Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes, but he’s still a great prospect to have in the system.
What 3 players for Utica could you see having a breakout season in the AHL
— Belaclava Boris 🇷🇺 (@KtlieverseKelly) July 30, 2018
Lukas Jasek, Petrus Palmu, Juolevi.
How can you guys do these every Monday during the off-season and not get tired of similar questions just worded differently?
— Jesse Strauss (@cannonuckle) July 30, 2018
Other than the 3,000 or so Nikita Tryamkin-related questions I’ve had to field, I feel like the audience at CanucksArmy tends to do a great job of asking interesting questions and setting the stage for great conversations.
Besides, the thing I love about the mailbag is the chance that it gave me to connect with the readership regularly and hear what their concerns, interests and expectations were for the team. It always helped inform my article ideas, and helped me ask the right questions when conducting my analysis.
Do you think there is a market to trade Reid boucher in? If so what could we get?
— Nucks Fan (@NucksJays) July 30, 2018
Not a chance. The Canucks grabbed Reid Boucher off of waivers, and it’s not like his stock has improved since. In the absolute best-case scenario, the Canucks could get a seventh-round pick for Boucher, I imagine.
Shoulda taken Wahlstrom?
— Ten Zowie (@TenZowie) July 30, 2018
I’m a huge fan of Oliver Wahlstrom’s game, and I think the New York Islanders should be overjoyed that he fell to them with one of their two first-round picks. I just think that the Canucks should be even happier that Hughes was there at seventh overall. No way should the Canucks have taken Wahlstrom.
If the Canucks use the d combos you suggested in your @TheAthleticVAN article, how many more points could the same group end up producing in a best case scenario?
— Slap Pass Hockey (@SlapPass_Hockey) July 30, 2018
For context, here’s the article that this Twitter user is citing for this question about the Canucks’ defence pairs.
My guess is that this group could score about 135 points. That number is probably far too high, but what can I say, I’m an optimist. Have fun with that, comments section.