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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag Part 2: Bowen Byram, Kole Lind, and The Jerk

The simple answer is that it depends on where they end up picking. It’s early yet, and there’s always a lot of movement in draft rankings over the year, especially when it comes to defensemen. However, if he more or less maintains his spot in the draft rankings and the Canucks aren’t picking in the top 3, I’d imagine they’ll have a hard time passing up the chance to select a massively hyped Vancouver Giant in front of hometown fans.

You might wanna pump the brakes on that one. Gaudette’s probably an NHL-calibre player, but there’s no guarantee, and Jonah Gadjovich hasn’t played a pro game yet, let alone in the NHL.

Lind had some impressive pGPS matches that included Mark Stone, Marian Hossa, and Ray Ferraro so I think there’s definitely a small chance he could be a first-line winger if everything goes right. I think what’s more likely is he carves out a career as a journeyman middle-six offensive producer like Tomas Fleischmann or PA Parenteau. What exactly his role will look like if he makes the NHL will have a lot to do with how much he bulks up and improves on the defensive side of his game.

I’d imagine Horvat’s six-year, $33 million contract would serve as a measuring stick for Boeser’s camp. It’s difficult to predict given we don’t know how his sophomore season will go. If he can put up another 30-goal season I’d imagine something in the neighbourhood of seven years and $45 million would make sense if Boeser’s camp is looking for term.

Questions like this seem to come up just about every time there’s a major talent at the top of the draft. We’ve been spoiled recently with Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Rasmus Dahlin and now Jack Hughes in four of the last five drafts. The answer is always dependent on where the team is picking. If Alex Newhook is on the table I’m not trading the pick and another good centre, even for Jack Hughes, but if it’s outside the top 3 or 4 you absolutely have to do it.

Adam Gaudette. I don’t think we’ll see Palmu in the NHL for at least another season or two, if ever.

I don’t think Derrick Pouliiot or Brendan Leipsic would make it through waivers. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a team took a chance on Ben Hutton, despite the $2.8 million price tag.

It’s hard to take a team from the basement to the penthouse without getting some luck in the lottery. If you look at the Winnipeg Jets, that’s a team that’s nailed just about every first round pick they’ve made since relocating, and they still only look to be finally turning the corner towards sustained success now seven years later. Even then, they still got a little lucky in 2016 getting Patrik Laine.

Getting an elite talent can make up for a lot of deficiencies, and if you look back at the Stanley Cup winners over the last decade, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington all have elite players that were drafted at either first or second overall. Teams that have been successful without an elite or generational talent have to be consistently better than their peers in every facet of management. Barring a sudden intervention like a front office change or landing a Jack Hughes or an Alexis Lafreniere it will probably take at least another three years to turn things around, and that’s a generous estimate.

I can’t tell how much of this question is sarcastic, but in all seriousness, the effect J.D. has had on the CanucksArmy brand can’t be overstated. CA has had a long, fantastic run of analysts and data-savvy contributors, but J.D. brought with him an air of professionalism and a dedication to craft that you just don’t see very often on a team-specific blog. He’s also had a near-unprecedented level of bile and harassment directed his way over the years and has always taken it in stride. The CanucksArmy readership and staff has been better off for his presence. The good news is, this all applies to Managing Editor Ryan Biech as well. The community had been lucky to have both on hand for as long as they were. Despite the loss, however, I’m confident the new-look CanucksArmy will continue to provide intelligent commentary and analysis into the 2018-19 season and beyond.

  • Bud Poile

    An internet search for CA yields:
    Canucksarmy
    Independent Canucks news website written for fans of the team by fans of the team.

    J.D. said he was not a fan of this team.
    As a fan of the team looking for commentary from a fan team site (as advertised) CA was not awkward under Burke’s tenure.
    A majority of the writers and posters contributions make this fan site very enjoyable but a total disregard for moderation or participants requests are defining traits in an editor.
    Ryan is much different in his strengths and style. As the team is much more about building with prospects his contributions are not divisive but more of an education and enjoyment.

    • TheRealPB

      At the end of the day the question is whether or not the site delivered. I would say that on balance it has – perhaps much more so than one might expect for a free site. It’s true that not all the writers are fans but then I don’t know that this would improve things. I think there were clear mis-steps – it’s one thing not to have cheerleaders writing, it’s another to have writers whose active dislike of the team colors their articles or they don’t actually watch games and write a review on the basis of boxscores (Cat Silverman in both cases, an otherwise solid hockey writer who should never be put on a Canucks beat). But the fact is that CA continues to attract good and interesting writers — Cory Hergott and Harman Dayal coming on board are prime examples — while in general the prospect analysis (both for drafts and players in our system) has been one of the best aspects of the site. I think the analysis of the pro players and the trades have, ironically, been as uneven as Benning’s performance in the same categories; too much banging on about the same things and too often a narrow view. But overall the site is a good and serious one and JD should be rightly commended for what he’s done to make it so.

    • Dirty30

      For a free site it certainly meets expectations. It could be better in the following ways:

      1. Ban trolls — the whole free speech argument is a straw man when it is obvious that some posters are here to troll and nothing but troll.

      2. A lack of simple editing tools for posters — if those cost money, then give us a number and let us decide if we want to sign up for them.

      3. An obvious bias toward negativity regarding management— there is a vast difference however between critical evaluations and criticizing and value-based judgements.

      4. As therealpb mentioned, having writers who don’t follow the team or actually dislike the team is worse than simply not having coverage at all.

      5. While I enjoyed JD’s quirky humour at times, there were times it went in other directions that weren’t so self-flattering or amusing. Aim for adequate coverage of events with some analysis and insight. Save the humour for the professional comedians rather than being a clown like Botchford.

      • Dirk22

        CA’s opinions of management are in step with most other outlets. Apart from Benning’s chums like Craig Button or TL’s hype-man Ian MacIntyre, most media share the same ‘reservations’ about this ‘rebuild’ that you would find here. Whether it’s the snark that rubs people the wrong way or the repetitiveness, it’s certainly not a unique perspective to CA. As for those equating being a ‘fan’ of the Canucks to being happy with the teams management, I sometimes wonder if you’ve followed professional sports before.

        • TheRealPB

          This is for the most part true though I also think there can be as much groupthink in a certain kind of sports (and other) critic as there are in the cheerleaders. I would much rather have the generally critical media you find in most Canadian sports cities than what passes for it in places like Boston (one of the worst) or Chicago — full out fanboys covering the Bruins, Patriots, Blackhawks, Bulls, etc. Really quite pathetic for the most part.

          All that said, I do think there are places for improvement. Snark is fine, but snark without real analysis (which is what some of the articles can come across as) is less so. What drew me here (and continues to attract me) is the data-driven discussion. Sometimes the snark can really detract from that.

          • Dirk22

            Sure the snark may detract for some at times if they see things differently. Personally I think it’s warrented in most situations. For one, it’s a blog. Two, this is a professional sports team that has made some ridiculous decisions over the last 5 years, dating back to the Torterella hiring. You can disagree with the snark but people getting put off by it because it doesn’t reflect ‘fandom’ is a head shaker.

          • Bud Poile

            Bashing the present mgmt. ad nauseam because you can not understand the results of having six years with the NHL’s worst player selection or development was tiring.
            Neither J.D. nor his minions equated that small fact and the snark came across as unwarranted impatience,at the very best of times.

          • PQW

            wtf still obsessing about JD…. pot kettle black?

            “Don’t want to hear about “ifs” the team is what it is right now………..and it is deplorable. I was primed for the longer rebuild, but this parting with very good nhl and ahl prospects has me less and less interested in this team.” – Dud Poile

            “The Canucks are over paying for the assets they are acquiring. The Sutter trade is a good example.” – Dud Poile

            “The Canucks won’t do anything until they get a QB on the PP” – Dud Poile

            “shove your act up your arse PQW. I don’t drink ,dick.obnoxious, dickheaded tw@t. Get your f’n history right. You are incredibly ignorant.” – Dud Poile

            Pot-kettle black? Get a life and LEAVE like Jackson told you to old saddo, your act is as stale as your breath. Nexttttttttttttttttt

  • kablebike

    “How does it feel trying to follow in the gigantic footsteps of the living legend @JDylanBurke”
    Sweet Jesus. That is an unfathomable question. Well done for your professional response. If I am to continue the CA commentary in tried and true fashion and throw some “shade” as the hip kids call it these days, some of that bile was deserved but JD was solid despite my bias against reliance on individual statistical analysis that has been, so far, incapable of thoroughly assessing individual contribution to team success. JD was solid.

    • Giant-Nation

      Byram is the real deal – look to compare him to Boqvist who is a year older playing for London Knights this year. If Canucks land Byram they will have one of the most offensive back ends for years to come. Come watch a top 5 pick play for the Giants this year

  • Me

    “it will probably take at least another three years to turn things around, and that’s a generous estimate.”

    This adds together with a few other things I’ve been thinking about.

    Let’s posit a “what if”.

    What if Benning knows this. What if he picked up some middling players at high-ish salaries for the next four years because he knows he can’t win, so he’s finally convinced the owners to tank for a few years in the hopes of landing a Hughes, or at least some more top picks. What if Linden, the competitor, the gladiator, the never-say-die-guy was against THAT, he said, “I’m not sticking around if we’re not doing our best to win every season.”

    Food for thought. It would explain Linden’s departure and picking up players like Beagle, “Look, we’re not tanking on purpose! We paid top dollar for a Stanley Cup winner.” If it helps sell some tickets while the team rebuilds, they’ll lie through their teeth. I could see why Linden wouldn’t want any part in that, but at the same time, maybe this team is headed in the right direction?

    • Me

      Forgot to add, it also explains the glut of players. Why expose your potential future stars to a losing environment? If it’s not going to hurt their development to play in the AHL, then just develop them there. Let the Comets become a powerhouse, maybe win the whole thing, or at least go far in the playoffs. Bring them to the NHL when they’re so ready you can’t justify holding them down anymore.

    • Dirk22

      Disagree.

      Many of the arguments against tanking that you would find on here say that the fan base would not support the losing that accompanies it. To say that players like Beagle or Roussel are going to mitigate against that fan response does not add up. No ones thinking “well now that they’ve got those guys I’ll go support them and buy tickets.” The only reason for optimism and excitement around here are the young draft picks which are the result of finishing at the bottom of the standings (ie. tanking).

      The reality is, you have a coach who wants to be more competitive and believes these veteran guys will bring that to the team. Coach Green (and you can’t blame him) is fighting for his place as an NHL coach and really only would look at the 2018-19 season. He doesn’t have the luxury of looking ahead 3-4 years. Again you can’t blame him but this doesn’t always align with the best interests of the team (ie. it’s not in the best interests of the team to be signing 33 year olds to 4 year deals).

      • Dahlenfan

        Those signings are very peculiar. Signing one or 2 of them makes sense. But 3 of them and 2 of them for 4yrs. Wow. It’s just weird. Anyways. Its a true wonder what happened with Linden. I am leaning towards the fact that it doesn’t matter what happened between Linden and owners. Linden needed to be fired. He was a PR man that wasnt any good at PR. He tarnished his reputation. He will recover. But by letting Benning contradict what he was saying a lot of the time it confused us fans. Most canuck fans are mad because there was no clear direction of the team for at least 3 yrs. They are now saying that they are building thru the draft but aren’t getting any extra picks. I think we are doing a great job at the amateur lvl. Keep brackett and the scouting staff and get rid of every pro scout we have. We cant to seem to find good pros to come in for our team. Our farm system is looking good but that is because our nhl team is a big mess. I’m ok with us sucking for another year or two if our true plan is what Benning and aquaman are selling about patience and drafting. But if Linden leaving was because he wanted patience and the owner and jb want the playoffs then we will be Edmonton for the last11of 12 yrs. Yikes. Please mr Benning. Do what you say. Patience and drafting are the only way to taste lord Stanley on your lips

      • bobdaley44

        Say what you will about those signings but they were signed to provide glue, intangibles, work ethic and veteran leadership. Without the Sedins it was clearly lacking. Not many young players can or are willing to play that role and if you don’t have guys like that you’re going to lose games. Hockeys not all pretty plays. Good teams provide a base of accountability so when young guys come up they know the drill and anything less is unacceptable. Tanking is just stupid.

        • Dahlenfan

          Like I said. One or two makes sense. Just why 3? and 2 of them for 4 yrs. Yes we were getting thrown around. I know we are gonna suck for longer. It would just be nice to have room for maybe a gadjovich in a yr or 2 if hes ready. He looks to be that type of player. 4 yrs block a guy like that from making the team

          • Dahlenfan

            Jb says if someone forced him to make a trade or waive a guy he will. If a young guy comes in and earns he will make room. I have ahard time believing this. I believe that jb believes what is saying is true. But since when does he make trades.very few and far between. And the last 3 I can think of brought no draft picks. Leipsic jokinen motte and pouloit were the last 4 guys we got in the those 3 trades. All bubble players. Didn’t we have enough bubble players already? So say juolevi plays phenomenal and earns a spot. Then what. We trade Hutton for a bag of pucks? Or what if Hutton and puoliot and juolevi are all better then mdz. Is which is only a little far fetched. Mdz is a ok 6th dman imo. Do we trade mdz. Not likely.We need picks. Hopefully jb can get his trading cap on. I want to believe in this management group. I want to believe what the are saying and building thru the draft
            But it’s hard to believe when we aren’t getting any draft picks
            The only extra pick we have for next yr is we trade our6th for this yrs 6th and next yrs 6th from someone. Can remember
            Washington maybe? Good luck jb. Hopefully you anoint fooling the masses with what you are saying and actually follow thru with the plan

      • KGR

        Surprised at the down votes for you Dirk. I agree that the real turn around is likely three years away. Hopefully this season (or last) will be the low point in the cycle. However, there is a difference between the larger fan base and those that pay to go to games. The larger fan base (IMO) will support the rebuild. With the paying customer, the Canucks have to ice a competitive team. Games have to be close and hopefully more entertaining.

        To me; three or four year deals at this point in the cycle (which at these prices are not expensive) are not going to affect the cap..so are a non-issue. as long as the team continues to draft well and develop players I am (largely) content. keep the kids in Utica this season. Cheers

    • Just on a side note, Taylor Hall was recently asked about his thoughts on a winning team and he specifically named Jay Beagle as one of the guys that you need to have on a winning team. Read this:

      How can New Jersey do that? Well, when Hall was watching the latter rounds of the playoffs on TV, he picked up some ideas on what makes a contender….“They had a lot of depth,” he said. “Teams like the Capitals, their top guys are doing their thing and playing well, but it’s the Devante Smith-Pellys, the Jay Beagles – those guys make the difference as a series goes on. Hopefully as we grow as a team, we can add those kind of guys. That’s part of evolving as a team, getting guys used to what they have to do, getting used to their roles.”

      https://thehockeynews.com/news/article/taylor-hall-is-ready-to-build-off-new-jerseys-success

      • Dirk22

        Every championship run in any sport is going to include contributions from the ‘gritty’ players. In order to win certain unheralded guys will always have to make big contributions.

        Signing them after the fact thinking they will make your team a ‘winner’ is a mistake though – as has been proven many times.

          • speering major

            Yeah I hate the 4 year contracts but if you look at the big picture it’s far less of a problem realistically. The team is going to be bad this season. The teams turnaround likely needs at least 1 more top prospect also (to have a core that can contend not just be mediocre).

            If you look at rebuilding this team and the core pieces that need to be signed to big contracts over the next 3 seasons, It’s just Boeser and Petterson. Hughes and the rest will be in a manageable contract situation until Beagle, Roussel, and Eriksson contracts expire. Gagner, Sutter, MDZ, Gudbranson all have contracts expiring prior to that. Plus they already have a bunch of cap space. I think the FA contracts suck but when I look closer it just seems like it’s flushing ownership money more than holding the team back with bad contracts and roster spots. I will be hard on Benning if they can’t find a roster spot for players excelling in Utica after the deadline this year but at this point I like starting Gaudette, Dahlen, Oli, Demko, etc there to start the season. I actually want to see the kids play, compete, and succeed in the minors before being gifted a NHL spot.

    • Dahlenfan

      I would just like to say that though I think that jd is a pompous ass he usually had a lot of info with his assessments. He is worse than botchford imo. At least you can tell botchford is a fan. Just a pissed off fan. I relate to him way more than just a guy like jd who just throws out negativity . Good riddance mr burke. I hope you find more joy in your next adventure than you did on this. Only one person out there that throws more shade at the canucks than you and that’s a clown name Scott rosenhek from canuck way. Now there is a true clown. I have my reservations on the direction and moves they have made in the past. I hate fluff pieces but some of the bile is not needed. Jackson Macdonald also can be tough on the Canucks. But at least he is informative and not just a click baiter. Anyways. Glad to see jd burke leave. Ryan biech is gonna do a good job. I think hes the best guy here. When he throws out something he puts info in his article to back it up. Not just crap. Thx

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    I don’t think I ever criticized JD on this blog, but see Biech as a major improvement. The rebuild era needs a structured and discerning editor here at CA. I viewed JD as one of those “Little Men” who understood his role as the antagonist. The act could only live on for so long though and it will be nice to have a more balanced voice at the helm. Jackson it’s wise to take notes from both of these mentors, but keep in mind the downfalls of the insigator.

  • Killer Marmot

    He’s also had a near-unprecedented level of bile and harassment directed his way over the years and has always taken it in stride.

    Burke had many good points, but he wasn’t a fan of the Canucks and was often overly cynical, rarely giving management the benefit of the doubt even when it seemed warranted. That’s never going to play well on a fan site. I’m hoping Biech doesn’t follow suit, although I suspect will.