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WWYDW: Opening Night

The season is nearly upon us. Let’s keep things simple this week.

Who makes your opening night roster and why?

Last week I asked: Who do you think can surprise at camp and earn a full-time spot on the roster? At whose expense?

Beer Can Boyd:

Both Dahlin and Gaudette should probably make the team in place of Gagner for sure, and either Gaunce, Granlund or Goldobin. But they will stick with the veterans again , hopefully for the last time. Its ok, I’ve been waiting since 1970, whats a couple more years?


Demko and Gaudette. I’m tired of our hot and cold goaltending duo. Both Markstrom and Nilsson are too inconsistent for this team to truly succeed. Gaudette because he is a little older and has enough experience to make the jump. I would like to see him make both Sutter and Gagne expendable.

Defenceman Factory:

No rookie other than Pettersson makes the roster for opening day, however management will be able to identify who to try and trade so the needed spots can be opened up.
I believe Benning will make room for rookies who deserve it but that doesn’t mean by the season opener. Before a veteran is waived to be replaced by a rookie the play of both players over the first 10-15 games will justify the move.


This might be an odd answer, but no one. I want to see guys like Goldobin and Leipsic on the NHL club – it’s make-or-break time for those players, and I’d like to see all the other prospects down in Utica. The Canucks are going to be a bottom-five team in the NHL this year, but Utica could be a Calder Cup contender. Send the kids down to grow, bond, and most importantly, win. Give those who earn it a few call-ups throughout the year to put a little extra money in their pockets and give them a taste of the NHL, then bring them up as a group next season as a unit that can make a real impact in the NHL.

Forever 1915:

I’m still waiting for Goldobin to prove he’s a legit NHL player. It’s Top 9 or bust and this is his make-it-or-break-it year. If he proves that he is a Top 9 scoring threat, then I bet he bumps Gagner.


Gaudette will have a very good camp and pre-season, and will be definitely NHL-ready. Dahlen and Juolevi will look good too. Will not matter. All off to start in Utica. And that`s just the way it is.


I expect Goldobin and Leipsic to make the team with Gagner and Gaunce to be either traded or waived. Gaudette and Dahlen are probably more talented but spending time in Utica won’t hurt them and they will probably be back up fairly quickly.


Dahlen needs time to acclimate to the North American game as he’s literally had less than 10 games over here. Even if he impresses in camp I think it would be better for his overall development to get games in the AHL. He’s talked himself about the differences he experienced when he came over last year. I think he has higher upside than most of the current young players at camp outside of Petterson but I don’t think he will make the cut. I hope it’s Goldobin or Boucher to add some punch to the top-six where it would be at the expense of Gagner or Granlund. If it’s a bottom six player then it’s Gaudette or Motte at the expense of Gaunce, Schaller or Leipsic. If it’s on defense I could see Chatfield or McEneny surprising Hutton, Biega or even Pouliot. It’s all a bit of a mess to sort out because it depends on the role they get asked to play. Goldobin, Boucher, Leipsic and a whole lot of the other bubble young players won’t succeed as fourth liners and you could set back the two-way potential of a Gaudette if you consign him to a checking role. And as decent as he’s looked, he’s nowhere near ready to get kicked in the teeth in even half of Sutter’s defensive deployment (even if it will now be shared with Beagle). My guess would be Goldobin and Motte with the Canucks carrying 2 F and 1 D as the extras.

  • Baertschi-Horvat-Boeser

    Extras: Leipsic/Roussel


    Extra: Hutton


    Everyone that didn’t make the cut goes to Utica because a) they are waiver-exempt or b) they weren’t much better than these players.

    • speering major

      I got the same except I switch Gagner and Petterson (they are determined to give him a spot at center) and Hutton and Pouliot

      I think Granlund needs to step up or he will be out of a spot if the the team is healthy

  • Sandpaper

    Roussel-Beagle -Sutter

    Biega -Sautner


    We get plenty of youth added into lineup, lots of rookies, should be awesome watching them.

  • Rusty bucket


    Extras: Granlund/Gagner



    Would love it if Gagner could be traded. Hell a late pick would suffice. Albeit a small sample size and it being preseason, I feel Pettersson looked pretty good at C last night. Him and goldy look to have some chemistry, but a veteran/2 way presence brought by Loui would be a nice balance IMO. I honestly do not think Green is going to sit MDZ for Hutton, but I personally hope so. I though Hutton looked pretty good, save for the blatant give-away to Rattie. I could see Granlund playing 4RW too, but I feel Leipsic has more upside. In last nights game, didn’t see much from Schaller, so would like to see Leipsic and Granny playing on that line, but also cannot see Green sitting him.

  • natevk

    My take is premised on a few assumptions:

    1. Pettersson is going to play Center;
    2. Roussel is going to start the season on IR;
    3. The Canucks see reason and go 14 Fwds, 7 D to try to avoid losing players on waivers;
    4. Green decides to load up a “shutdown” line like he started 2017-18 with (remember that excitement w/Sutter+Dorsett+Granlund?)

    Eriksson-Horvat-Boeser; (maybe these two can help Loui find his game back)
    Baertschi-Pettersson-Goldobin; (Because they’re fun)
    Virtanen-Sutter-Gagner; (Virtanen rushing to net from the left side, Gagner so someone can pass);
    Schaller-Beagle-Granlund; (Granny was part of the shutdown line last season, Schaller brought in to PK/defend)
    Gaunce-Leipsic (Gaunce as bottom-6 backup and PK sub for injuries; Leipsic as scoring depth)


    (As much as I like Biega, I think he’s the most likely to clear waivers — pairings are based on a few articles in the Smylosphere on most efficient VAN pairings).

    (Bring Demko into the fold at the trade deadline, or next year when there’s excitement along with the arrivals of guys like Quinn Hughes, Juolevi and Dahlen).

    • Rusty bucket

      there is no way the sit Guddy, as much as I would like to see. Pouliot was his best partner last year in terms of analytics.
      I like the idea of bringing demko up at trade deadline though. Gets loads of minutes in Utica to start the year, but gets some NHL games to finish.. I would change that in my post if I could…. *cough edit button cough*

      • natevk

        I tried to be as realistic as possible but I couldn’t help but put Guddy as the 7D haha. I agree, if he’s healthy Green will play him and I think Pouliot is the best choice to get the most out of the 3rd pairing in that case.

  • wojohowitz

    Put Eriksson and Gagner in the press box and tell them they might get a chance to play if 7 or 8 forwards get injured.

    Tell Markstrom and Nilsson that if they let in a bad goal in the first ten minutes of the game then their night is over and they have to sit on the bench and watch.

      • wojohowitz

        There is two factors that really drag down a team. First is the bad goal early. Energy leaves the bench like air leaves a balloon – whoosh. Second is players more interested in the pay cheque than winning. The young guys see it for what it is – a disadvantage. Like my good buddy gets sent down so this slug can pick up a pay cheque. If Aquilini is more concerned about his money than winning then we all have a problem. Remember McCaw and McCammon signing Messier because it meant revenue from jersey sales irregardless of the effect on the team of a guy who didn`t care if they won or lost.

  • tyhee

    Those who can answer this week’s question after one preseason game in which only some of the roster plays have more effective powers of prediction than I do.

  • Brock Hard

    Leipsic, Gagner



    Ideally, I’d fit Gaudette somewhere in there, have Pouliot instead of MDZ, and have Demko instead of Nilsson, but that’s my likely starting lineup

  • apr


    Extras: Schaller
    Traded/waived – Granlund /Gagner


    Extra: Biega, Hutton

  • Captain Video


    Extras: Archibald


    Extras: Hutton/Biega


    If you were expecting justice, you’ve come to the wrong place. Goldobin, Leipsic and Gaunce are lost on waivers.

  • I’m guessing something like:

    Baertschi – Horvat – Boeser
    Eriksson- Sutter – Petterson
    Goldobin – Granlund – Virtanen
    Schaller – Beagle – Gagner

    Edler – Tanev
    MDZ – Gudbranson
    Hutton – Stetcher

    Markstrom – Nilsson

    Boeser and Pettersson will be fun to watch, but that’s about it. And per my comments last week, I am actually hoping this is what the roster looks like, even though it’s sub-optimal based on the young players the Canucks have available to them. I want to see Dahlen, Gaudette, Palmu, Chatfield, Lind, and Demko in Utica wrecking worlds rather than in the NHL getting caved in night-in and night-out.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Jonathan Dahlen makes it while Loui Eriksson sits in the press box as Travis Green FINALLY fulfills his promise from 15+ interviews last year that “all players will be held accountable and need to earn it”.
    Olie Juolevi makes it while Erik Gudbransson returns to his favorite seat in the Injured Reserve section and continues to cash those paychecks.
    Adam Gaudette makes it because he’s straight up better than Granlund & Sutter.

  • j2daff

    Goldobin -Horvat- Pettersson
    Baertschi- Gaudette -Boeser
    Leipsic -Sutter-Virtanen
    Roussel -Beagle-Granlund

    Extras: Eriksson, Schaller

    Edler- Stecher
    Pouliot- Tanev
    Extra: Hutton


    I don’t see the Canucks having two effective scoring lines without giving Gaudette a shot. I also think that Pettersson needs to start with a experienced center, Horvat fits that bill. Goldy/Baertschi are interchangeable and Virtanen, Leipsic, Eriksson and even Rousel could be tried in there places in the top 6 as well throughout the year. That said Goldy complements Pettersson pretty well and Boeser would benefit from Baertschys play making and Gaudettes all round game.

  • I am Ted

    Benning is not a guy to make bold moves by way of trades so I have a sinking feeling he won’t actually make room for any rookies even if they deserve it. I think the lineup will be as most think (Roussel will start on the IR):

    Baertschi – Horvat- Boeser
    Ericksson – Petterson – Goldobin
    Leipsic – Sutter – Virtanen
    Schaller – Beagle – Granlund


    Edler – Stecher
    DelZotto – Tanev
    Pouliot – Gudbranson


    Gaudette is looking good as are a few other rookies. I also liked Boucher’s game today and might have been the best Canuck forward in terms of offence. Demko needs to progress and maybe that should be done here. Motte showed something too last night. Generally, I want younger players to develop so I am fine with the rest of the guys developing but I think a few should be here. These guys will be blocked by dead weight such as Ericksson and Gagner; Beagle seems to be a redundant add with Sutter on the team and Schaller looks slow. Anyway, I’m hoping Benning makes some deals and moves one or more of Edler, Tanev, Ericksson, Del Zotto Nilsson and Gagner but I don’t think it happens. It’s going to be another long season.

  • argoleas

    So, no surprises. Pettersson will make the team. Other prospects will start in Utica. Leipsic and Goldobin are making a very strong case for being in offensive roles. Eriksson…. not so much.

    Assuming that Roussel is still injured, the lineup will likely be:


    I still see no role for Gagner on this team except as veteran depth.

    For defense, nothing unusual:

    Pouliot Biega

    • argoleas

      With the Eriksson injury, the forwards now probably shift to this. Still an awkward fit for Gagner. The top 2 lines are becoming more solidified.


  • Kneedroptalbot

    Here is my lineup, need to have 2 scoring lines, 1 line with speed/defensively good, 1 shutdown line).

    Extras: Eriksson/Schaller/Motte

    Extra: Hutton

    Markstrom (hot goaltender plays)

  • Kanuckhotep

    Gentlemen, let’s be realistic. Benning has signed a whole pile of veteran players who have guaranteed contracts which leaves little room for these great kids we want to see play for the VC. Pettersson is a slam dunk to make it opening night but see no other rookies on the roster until injuries occur. In my dreams I’d love to have Demko, Gaudette and Juolevi start and not have guys like Gagner, Grandlund or Hutton(sorry, Ben) but those ol’ guaranteed contracts get in the way. But being a Canuck fan since 63-64 in the old WHL after 56 years you learn three things. Patience, Tolerance and grasping reality. I want these kids in but we’ll have to wait.

  • speering major

    Baertschi Horvat Boeser
    Eriksson Sutter JV
    Goldobin Petterson Gagner
    Schaller Beagle Leipsic

    Edler Stetcher
    Hutton Tanev
    MDZ Gudbranson

    Roussel (injury), Granlund, Pouliot

    Markstrom Nilsson

    Weisburgh repeated the plan to everyone who is claiming there was no plan or is in complete denial. All these prospects will have a chance to take a step up and score at the AHL level like Boucher and Goldobin did. When they succeed, they will be the call up as players get shipped out, and that will happen by this deadline. There will also be injuries

    If Juolevi plays well, Pouliot will be on a short leash. MDZ gets moved at the deadline if there is any return on the table

    Granlund and Leipsic will be first on the block if they aren’t performing. Either could be sent down or shipped out for a bag of pucks if Dahlen looks ready. There’s also a chance Goldobin finds himself in that spot but I think he will be ahead of them.

    Benning got some calls on Sutter last deadline, I expect the same if we are in similar circumstances. Benning will move Sutter this deadline, especially if Gaudette is playing well in Utica. There is probably 2 NHL ready centers in this years lottery also.

    I expect Benning to cut struggling fringe players and sell at the deadline. After that we see Gaudette, Dahlen, Juolevi, and Demko in the line-up post deadline. If they can get a good return on Tanev, Chatfield will also make an appearance.

    Benning signed depth vets and the Canucks have scoring prospects. I expect a couple guys to excel at the AHL level and get a shot this season. Maybe as many as 5 (Juolevi, Chatfield, Dahlen, Gaudette, Demko) but they have to succeed at the AHL level and they haven’t done that yet