Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag, Afternoon Nap Edition: Waivers, Erik Gudbranson, and the USNTDP

I don’t think it’s a huge issue that many of the team’s youngsters have been sent down. Lind, Dahlen, Gadjovich, Palmu, etc. never really looked ready for NHL action, but they’re all likely to play a big role in Utica this season. I don’t have an issue with sending them down to get acquainted with the team they’re actually going to play for a week or two early.

No one who writes at Canucks Army manages the Instagram account.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Probably a little of column A and a little of column B. Tyler Motte could absolutely be a serviceable NHLer; but given his age, AHL scoring pace, and what he’s done in so far in his limited NHL career, I wouldn’t expect much more than that.

The Canucks are not going to be good this year, so they might as well experiment. I’m not sure what precedent there is for 5-forward PP units or if there’s any data on how they’ve fared, but it’s worth exploring.

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With the Sedins and Thomas Vanek gone, the Canucks have just over 40 all-situations goals to replace if they want to match the 218 they scored last year. The good news is, a lot of the twins’ scoring came on the power play, so matching the even strength totals is definitely possible. Although if the preseason has been any indication I wouldn’t put money on it.

My guess is, this will be a bottom-5 year in team history for even-strength offence, but will fall short of claiming the title of worst season all-time.

As far as the defense goes, I could see Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher taking a big step forward, but it won’t be pretty. Quinn Hughes’ arrival in Vancouver can’t come soon enough.

Dave will be done when he wants to be. You don’t have to like him, but there’s a reason he’s been doing what he does for as long as he has. The man knows how to get the fans riled up, and has generally been pretty entertaining while doing it. I rarely find myself agreeing with him anymore but I still have fond memories of listening to him and Don Taylor on rides home from the ferry terminal when I was a kid.

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Perhaps more importantly, you’re not likely to find an ally in calling for someone’s job. Especially not someone in the media. Everyone deserves a living.

To be honest, I haven’t really noticed him so far. Given the style of game he plays, that’s not a bad thing. But it could also be that I’ve just gotten used to watching him cough up pucks and get turnstiled in the defensive zone.

The early reviews have been bad, but that’s just Gudbranson. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the same guy he was when they traded for him.

I’d probably have to go with Thomas Vanek. The Canucks are going to have to rely on an awful lot of unproven youngsters to provide offence this year and it would have been nice to have a veteran on a brief and relatively cheap contract to help out with the offensive load. As it stands right now, it looks like one of Horvat or Pettersson will be stuck playing without a proven goal-scoring winger, something Vanek could have provided.

At the end of the day, there isn’t really anyone out there I’m clamouring to bring back.

Unless I’ve misunderstood the requirements, Hughes’ age makes him ineligible to play in college next year.

The USNTDP is a fantastic program with a better graduation rate than virtually any other league. They play against a wide variety of competition, including games against college teams. For a special player like Hughes, there’s no reason to think it’s too big of a leap. If players can make the jump from junior to the NHL, there’s no reason to believe an NTDP player can’t do the same.

The Canucks are probably going to be one of the worst teams this year at five-on-five even if everything goes right. Now consider that it’s the preseason, when veterans have a tendency to sleepwalk through most of their appearances, and the team’s often have to play guys that don’t have even a slight chance of making an NHL roster. The Canucks simply won’t have enough talent to score goals until their final lineup is set, and even then it won’t be easy.

I lean towards keeping them apart, but it depends on whether or not Pettersson sticks at centre. If he does, I’d like to see him put in the best possible position to succeed, and there’s a good case to be made that that means playing with Boeser. On the other hand, if he ends up on the wing I’d prefer to see the team’s arguably two best offensive players on different lines. Something that hasn’t really been discussed that I’d be curious to see is Pettersson on the wing with Horvat with Boeser left to carry an additional scoring line.

Motte is a single game away from meeting the requirements for waiver eligibility. For that reason, I don’t think he’ll be on the opening roster unless he absolutely forces their hand. Then again, the team hasn’t been afraid to lose players on waivers in the past, so it’s difficult to say how much they’ll factor Motte’s status into their decisions.

There are enough injuries now that the Canucks shouldn’t have to lose anyone to waivers. As far as who would make Canucks twitter the most angry, I’d have to think it would be Nikolay Goldobin. He’s flashed high-end skill at times, and he was the centrepiece of the Jannik Hansen trade, so it would be disappointing to lose him for nothing.

  • TD

    Boeser and Pettersson don’t share the same “handedness”. Boeser shoots right, while Pettersson shoots left. That’s why they line up on opposite sides for one timers on the power play.

  • Killer Marmot

    Then again, the team hasn’t been afraid to lose players on waivers in the past

    During Benning’s reign, about 90 players have been claimed on waivers in the NHL. 3 of them were Canucks — Corrado, Cracknell, and Etem. Thus Vancouver has been quite typical in that regard.

    I am very sure that the Canucks would not want to lose Motte to waivers. He might never be a huge offensive threat, but he plays a solid 200 foot game at a fact pace, and he kills penalties.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks’ 5v5 offensive production might not take a big step forward, but there’s a good chance for a substantial improvement in goals allowed.

    Why? Well, the twins were a mixed blessing, as was Vanek. Further, a couple of the defensemen — Hutton, Del Zotto, Stecher — could easily have better years.

    • Defenceman Factory

      The Sedins and Vanek combined for just over 40 goals. That really doesn’t sound that difficult to replace. Pettersson is going to get at least half those by himself. Given they played the majority of 1st unit powerplay minutes and were sheltered at 5v5 Goldobin and whoever else gets their minutes don’t need to make massive strides to make up the production. The bigger problem will remain getting goals out of the bottom 6 and the defence.

  • truthseeker

    Everyone may deserve a living but in the entertainment industry it’s not a handout. A media job like he has is not a regular job. It’s based on what the public wants. If enough people don’t like a public figure and don’t support them, then no…they don’t deserve a living at that endeavor.

    I haven’t payed attention to sports radio and the like for years. This is as much as I do. What I remember of Pratt was fairly neutral, so I’ve got nothing against him. Just on your premise. It’s like saying a musician “deserves” a living as a musician if nobody goes to their shows, or buy’s their music. Nope. They don’t. Find a new career.

    There are plenty of jobs out there for people to get. The people choose who gets to be a successful media person. And the people can take that away. And that’s not wrong.

    As for the canucks, I hear a lot of people saying “it’s the preseason, it’s meaningless” but that’s a bunch of BS. It’s not meaningless at all. Of course…it doesn’t mean everything, but there are a lot of things we can take from seeing them so far and at this point it looks like it’s going to be a painful year in terms of the standings. They’ve done nothing to show that when the regular season arrives they’ll be able to some how “turn it on” and suddenly play way better 5v5.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      Totally agree with this. Pratt is a useless blowhard and has been for years, the equivalent to a Twitter troll spouting BS to get page views. The fact that his radio station has a monopoly on official Canucks content means that sports radio listeners can’t just “go elsewhere” to boycott lest they completely deprive themselves of Canucks talk (it’s the equivalent of telling some people to boycott tap water if they don’t like the taste). Personally I think sports radio is garbage and haven’t listened in years, but I don’t think lousy troll-like radio personalities should continue to get their platform because they “deserve a living”.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        Chris, go do your homework. Sportsnet 650 has existed for an entire year now and currently holds the exclusive Canucks radio broadcast rights. Pratt works for TSN1040. Totally different radio station/company. As a fan, you do in fact have multiple options.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          I don’t listen to any sports radio at all. Haven’t for years. So thank you for the information. I still think it’s a joke that Pratt still has a job to basically be a provocateur when his opinions are all garbage. I am basing that last statement on what I remember of him before I stopped listening to sports radio, but it sounds like little has changed based on these comments.

    • MM

      Since SN 650 came out i no longer listen to Pratt. I’m much happier for it. I dont care if he has a job or not as i am no longer forced to listen to him. I’m sure pratt is short for prattle. He is the king of “beg the question”, making a claim as if it were fact and then basing an argument on his made up nonsense. I couldnt leave 1040 fast enough!

    • Settlebower

      35 years in the business.Like him or not, Pratt IS successful. Sometimes peple deserve to be rewarded based on their entire body of work. There are plenty of musicions out ther that continue to work even though their glory days are in the rear view mirror.

      • truthseeker

        Not sure if this is a response to me but if it is, you obviously didn’t understand my point. Again, it’s not specifically about Pratt. It’s about the point being made.

        And right…those musicians continue to work because people continue to live in nostalgia land and want to see them. Nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t contradict my point. If nobody went to see those musicians and nobody cared about them and nobody used their songs so they never got any royalties etc etc…then no…they don’t “deserve” to be rewarded, because nobody is rewarding them. They can go get a job flipping burgers.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Here I thought that you and your predecessor had been sleeping through this column for years.

    If you had done some basic research you would know that Hughes staying with the USNTDP had nothing to do with his age.

  • Puck Viking

    One thing not being talked about is what players from other teams will be available on waivers in the next week.

    We should be waiving Puliot and picking up Carrick or Holl from Toronto as either would be an upgrade. A slim chance they would get past the other bottom feeders but if they do come up it should be a very easy good bye to Biega and Puliot… I would like to unload Gudbranson and pick someone else up as well but zero chance he gets waived after everything JB blew to get him.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Here’s an idea. Document exactly who will be the opening night line up for 18-19 then do the same thing next year at the same time then compare the two line ups to see who won’t be around anymore. No one wants to be more wrong about this than I do but don’t be surprised if 8 or 9 guys will be gone. Considering where they’ll probably end up in the standings this is the natural order of pro hockey.

  • Puck Viking

    You guys should do a quick write up of the players that will be on waivers daily until the season starts. There might be some quality to a team like the Canucks.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Refreshing to see that more and more people are finally seeing and willing to admit just how below average and head shakingly bad Erik Gudbransson really is. At least his dad and him still believe he has a wicked slap shot!

  • Kanuckhotep

    There is considerable outrage among VC fans about the present state of the Canucks and it’s quite understandable. One of the other commentators on this site mentioned that it’s all very cyclical and I couldn’t agree more. When you’ve lived through the crooked Medicor ownership, the 4-14-2 coaching tenure of Bill Laforge, the notorious Cam Neely trade and stellar draft choices such as Libor Polasek, Dan Woodley and Jason Herter the present day Canucks are where they are after having an actually pretty good team for quite awhile. Believe it or not it’ll pass but will take time unfortunately.