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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: The Vacant Captaincy, Alex Newhook, and Third Jerseys

It feels like the team is pretty much obligated to give it to Bo Horvat at this point, doesn’t it? I can’t remember hearing the phrase “future captain” attached to Canuck with such frequency at any other point in my lifetime. If the team feels they need to name a captain right away and doesn’t believe Horvat is ready, I could maybe see them giving it to Alex Edler or even Brandon Sutter for a short period. You could also include Brock Boeser or Elias Pettersson to appease the “just give it to the best player” crowd. Realistically, I don’t thin anyone in the system is prepared to mount a serious challenge to Horvat. Unless the Canucks get the first overall pick next season I’d say he’s basically a lock to be the next captain.

 

Nilsson, if a goalie is traded at all. He only has another year on his contract, so it’s likely the Canucks’ crowded crease is a problem that solves itself.

This was harder to answer than I’d initially anticipated. It can be complicated to assess a player’s ceiling, especially in the case of a player like Adam Gaudette, who’s shattered expectations at every level. I’d rank Lind has having the highest ceiling by a hair, followed closely by Dahlen and then Gaudette, and rank their likelihood of success in reverse order. I don’t see a ton of separation, though. All three are in a tight race to round out the top five Canucks prospects after Pettersson, Hughes, and Demko.

I could see the Blue Jackets having some interest at the deadline if the Canucks retain salary, but I think it’s more likely they wait another year to deal him. He’ll be much easier to move on an expiring deal.

Olli Juolevi has a legitimate chance. The Canucks’ defense was completely uninspiring last season, so I’d imagine they’d be open to some changes on the back end. Other than him, I think Adam Gaudette is the only other youngsters that really has a shot of making the team. Everyone else is just too young or inexperienced, and there are just too many bodies on the active roster to make room for anyone else until we see some injuries.

I haven’t seen in him in person but that’s something I’d like to correct this coming season. As far as his exclusion from the U18 squad goes, I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to understand Hockey Canada’s decisions when it comes to roster construction. It’s hard to fault a gold-medal winner, but there were some bizarre omissions from the 2018 World Junior Championship roster. Politics often play into these decisions, and you can bet the fact that Newhook’s decision to forgo the major junior route in favour of the NCAA was a factor in leaving him off the team.

I’d be more worried about Juolevi’s offensive ceiling than his defensive abilities. It’s not that I don’t think he can play, it’s that he may not be able to produce at the level one would hope for from a former fifth overall draft pick. I think most of the criticism stems from the fact that many of the players selected after him have already had impressive starts to their NHL careers. He may never live up to his selection, but ultimately there’s nothing to worry about.

It’s too early to tell, but it looks like Kaapo Kakko has the best chance right now of hearing his name called directly after Jack Hughes. There are definitely some other intriguing names at the top of the 2019 draft, including Alex Newhook, Bowen Byram, Peyton Krebs, Dylan Cozens, and Alex Turcotte among others. Obviously it’s tough to say so early in the game. No one has separated themselves from the pack at this stage.

Honestly? It looks fun. If you get a chance to spray water somewhere with no consequences you have to take it.

If history is any indication, there’s no way the team will go another year without a third jersey. I wouldn’t be surprised if the skate finally makes a return.

Last season the team waited until just a few days before the tournament to announce the rosters. I’d imagine they’l do the same this year.

I think the team will go without for now and name Bo Horvat as the captain in advance of the 2019-20 season.

The only bright side is that Linden’s departure will make the team more accountable in the future. It’s easier to sell the market on bad moves when the team president is arguably the most beloved player in team history.

I know this seems like something we would do but it’s never happened before, and likely never will. The CanucksArmy staff is scattered across the globe and more than a few writers are busy with careers, kids, or school. In addition, I generally don’t game as a rule. I have an old Nintendo 64 I might drag out of the closet occasionally, but I haven’t played a new release since NHL 14. It’s just not my thing.

If I was going to make a completely uneducated guess, I’d say Jason Hamilton is probably the best at NHL. Or Maybe Harman, since he’s a child and probably had a twitch stream in the womb. Kids these days.

I suspect we’ll still see some minor improvement from Horvat offensively. He’s also still got a lot of room to grow when it comes to his two-way play, which often takes longer to develop than a scoring touch. Horvat’s been a surprisingly poor defensive player over the last couple of seasons, but I think some consistent linemates and a good coach could help make his underlying numbers more respectable.

  • Canucks should leave the captaincy alone till Christmas. Let things sort themselves out and let the players make a decision on that in the new year.

    Canucks locker room is gonna feel different. It will take time for the ghosts of Henrik and Daniel to leave the room

  • TD

    Leaving Newhook off the U18 roster should get someone fired at Hockey Canada. While it’s early, some draft predictions have him going #2 next year behind Hughes. How he doesn’t make the roster is insane. Hockey Canada should not give preferential treatment to any leagues, they all fall under their purview.

    Jackson, I think you live in Victoria. I’m surprised you haven’t been to see Newhook. I usually go to more Royals games than Grizzlies, but Newhook will probably be the best player to play in the city this year in either league.

  • Sandpaper

    I only seen Neehook play once during a 3 week visit to Victoria, although the kid was decent, nothing jumped out screaming nhl talent.
    Raphael Lavoie on the other hand…

    • TD

      He was a 16 year old playing in a league full of 18 and 19 year olds. He was 8th in scoring because of an injury. He put up 1.47 points per game to lead the league. The next closes was a kid 4 years older who put up 1.41. From there it dropped into the 1.2 range, all by older kids. He would be an awesome condolence prize if/when they lose out on Hughes.

    • Giant-Nation

      Newhook is I high end NHL Draft pick, he would be a top 5% player in CHL. Generally speaking these high level players usually choose the CHL as the quickest path to NHL if they are Canadian. I think there is some truth to Team Canada wanting to reward players that keep the talent in the CHL. The long term bleed of players to NCAA will hurt the CHL. Rizzo a 16 year old That will Captain the Vees next year – ND commit was not placed on the Ivan Helinka roster…he is possible first round NHL pick

  • PQW

    Guys, it’s an insult to long suffering GAME GOING fans that FIVE years into the Benning retool/rebuild debacle the Canucks are rolling out the exact same D as last season – you know, the 30th WORST D in 5v5 goal scoring in the entire league – and the many apologists here accept that everything is just fine and dandy?!

    Adding insult to injury guys the saviour Oli ‘the bust’ Juolevi cannot even crack the line up while Clown show Benning tells you mugs “I like our goaltending, I like our defence, I like our centre ice. I can’t wait until the season starts.”… no wonder Trevor bailed yet YOU saddos lap it up like diabetics at a koolaid convention… ffs, man up blowhards this is a disaster BENNING OUT!!

    • Betty B

      Wonderful post. My husband and i were seasons ticket holders for years but never again under Jim Benning. This is a terrible team badly run and now Trevor has gone it will only get worse. As my husband says you can’t polish a t*rd and the over hyped prospect pool is not going to change that when so many teams already have fantastic teams on the ice now!

      • Kevlar73

        I think it’s a safe bet when I say that this upcoming season is make it or break it time for JB. If the young guys can show consistent growth with hopefully some bounce back from Tanev and Gagner in order to boost their worth at the trade deadline would be moves in the right direction. If he then moves some vets to create spots for rookies for 2019/2020 JB will get to keep moving the team along. If not he will be gone and there will be a new president and GM coming to PQW’s rescue.

    • DogBreath

      I don’t think anyone thinks their D is fine and dandy. I haven’t seen anyone advocate for status quo. I do see people who recognize that rebuilding a D takes time and blowing it up only works when you’ve got a better solution waiting. As of yet, I don’t see the a smarter solution for this year. I’d like to think that this time next year, Juolevi will have played 20-30 NHL games and Hughes will have 5-10, with both pencilled in to start the season on the team. It’d be nice to see one of Sautner, McEneny and/or Brisebois fighting for 6 and 7 spots.

      So, not blowing it up, not an apologist, just accepting that rebuilding a D takes time, thought and patience.

      • Defenceman Factory

        Your comment is well reasoned and I believe accurate. Unfortunately PQW has no interest in rational discussion. This person has been removed from this site before and has never added value to any discussion.He will post the same drivel over and over, use multiple user ids and for some strange reason has a record of every post ever made by Bud Poile. Betty B is either the same person or a trolling accomplice. Best to just ignore and move on.

  • wojohowitz

    I wonder why Lind doesn`t get more love – even from Sporting News?
    Sporting News ranks the Canucks’ farm system as the league’s third best, behind only the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.

    1. Elias Pettersson LW/C

    2. Quinn Hughes LHD

    3. Thatcher Demko G

    4. Jonathan Dahlen LW

    5. Olli Juolevi LHD

    6. Adam Gaudette C

    7. Michael DiPietro G

    8. Kole Lind RW

    9. Lukas Jasek RW

    10. Jett Woo RHD

  • Rodeobill

    Couple good questions:
    Is that Simmons guy going to do an article about JD Burke’s leaving CA?
    What would you think about that Russian winger drafted with our last pick being brought over to the Comets? Might be fun, and you figure out fast what’s up with him.

    • Defenceman Factory

      JD’s departure is an awesome idea for an article. It would have to have all the journalistic integrity used to cover Linden’s departure by sports media. I talked to this guy who knows this other guy who used to date JD’s cousin. Apparently JD is very mad. He thought it was time to have a more positive tone to Canucks Army. Petbugs led the revolt and together with JMac and Davis the 3 demanded the big bosses fire JD.

      Another report from a friend of JD’s barber says JD was angry Vanessa met directly with an executive of nation network and negotiated getting paid for some articles that did not contain any graphs.

      Or maybe JD just felt he couldn’t dedicate the time needed to manage the site to his own standards and just like Linden I wish him well in his future endeavours.

  • truthseeker

    I see Bo as having way more ceiling than this. As you said he’s still got a lot of room to grow on the D side of things, but to me I actually think we haven’t even seen close to his offensive potential. I think the numbers he’s putting up are exactly where they should be for a player like him in an average way. He’s not been bad by any stretch but I also think he’s not really shown what he’s truly capable of. I think he can be more of a 70 to 80 point player. He was on a 56 point season this year. Is it really hard to believe he can’t add 14 points to that as he hits his mid 20’s?

    • TD

      I would be interested to see what Bo could do for a season offensively with two top wingers for the complete season and to be taken off the pk so he can focus his energy on offence. Hopefully with some of the FA signings, Bo can get off the pk. Not many teams use their top offensive centre on the pk.

      • truthseeker

        Yeah, I sort of get why Green would play him on the PK. He’s fast and has the size to bully people off the puck in scrums etc…

        But he should be used as a power center who focuses on offense. Hopefully the additions of those new FA signings mean exactly what your thinking. Get him off the PK.