Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag Part Two: Predictions, Resurrecting Loui Eriksson, and Signing Sergei Bobrovsky

It’s possible, but improbable. As bad as the Canucks are, they can probably finish the season somewhere in the neighbourhood of 65-70 points; and as good as Pettersson is, I don’t see him finishing the season with such impressive numbers. Not on this team, anyway.

Please don’t put that on them. I’ve thought for some time now that Eriksson is capable of bouncing back, but frankly, he just looks disengaged. It’s going to take more than just playing with an offensively gifted rookie to reinvigorate his career. As far as the latter suggestion goes, I can’t think of a poorer fit stylistically for Hughes’ game than Erik Gudbranson. I want Hughes playing with someone who can move the puck.

To be honest, I think Travis Green has done a reasonable job of putting his offensive players in a position to succeed. If there’s a qualm to be had with his deployment, it’s how he divvies out ice time. If he wants to squeeze more offense out of this group, he could afford to play Brandon Sutter a bit less than he did last season.

I answered a similar question last week and went with Thomas Vanek. That’s because I had completely forgotten about the prospects/young players they’ve traded away. I’d definitely go with one of Jared McCann or Gustav Forsling.

It’s tough to say. For all the talk of Francesco Aquilini’s meddling in hockey operations, he’s been astonishingly patient over the past three seasons. It’s difficult to pinpoint what would have to happen for him to change his tune. My instincts tell me he’ll wait until near the end of the season to shake things up.

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Given the coach has explicitly stated Brandon Sutter will be used in a shutdown role, I’ll go with Loui Eriksson. The team isn’t going to have a lot of offensive firepower so this has to be the year he’s finally put in positions to score, right? Right?

I could absolutely see the Canucks chasing Bobrovsky in free agency. If the rumours are true and the remaining members of the Canucks’ brass are pursuing a quick turnaround, nothing can cover up for a poor on-ice product like an elite goaltender. I think they had hoped that goaltender would be Thatcher Demko, but his preseason performance indicated that he may not be as ready as some had hoped. Whether signing Bobrovsky is a good idea is another question entirely. I lean towards no, given where the Canucks are in their life cycle, but I could be convinced otherwise under the right circumstances.

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I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I’m glad they passed on both players. I was once one of Jordan Subban’s staunchest defenders but he just hasn’t been able to put it together. In Lazar’s case, he’s shown virtually nothing at the NHL level and I don’t think there’d be the slightest hint of interest if not for the fact that he was once a first round pick. No thanks.

Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Here we are, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.

As I said last week, this season is going to be painful. Whether it is going to be historically painful remains to be seen. With that in mind, I still think the most likely trade piece will be Ben Hutton. He’s improved his conditioning, but he’s still the market’s (and the team’s) biggest pariah at the moment, for some reason. I could see him being shipped out before the end of the calendar year.

He plays more than 65 games.

That seems almost impossibly low. In the modern era, even teams designed from the get-go to lose generally still manage to win one in every four games. So even in the absolute worst-case scenario they should finish with at least 20+ wins and 50+ points. I’d say they’ll finish with a point total somewhere in the high sixties or low seventies.

I dislike this format, as far as questions go.

I’ll say this, I’ve heard from people who’ve met him personally that Willie Desjardins is a very kind and friendly man.

I also think it’s basically immoral to have as much money as Francesco Aquilini.

I’ll let you figure it out for yourself.

This is a great question. Would robotic limbs be considered performance-enhancing? If so, what would be the response from disability advocacy groups? Would players with robotic limbs be forced to form their own league? It’s possible that could lead to a rivalry similar to the one that currently exists between the KHL and NHL. The catch would be that playing in the Robotic Limb Hockey League (or RLHL) would come at a grisly price.

It sounds like the plot of a low-rent Steven King-knockoff, but I’m intrigued.

I would say somewhere in the neighbourhood of four or five. They’ll face some stiff competition, but even the league’s worst team has a chance of beating the league’s best team on any given night, especially that early in the season. Six of the teams they play look beatable, and we can pretty much bank on them providing at least one upset, so five wins seems like a pretty conservative estimate. Even a team as bad as the Canucks appear to be should be able to pull that off.

I’d imagine it will go unnoticed at first. If it ever gets to the point where NHL ice looks like the photo above, you’ll defeinitely hear complaints, especially from purists.

Let’s make sure he skips the games, but keeps tabs on Ryan Biech’s twitter account, so he can stay up-to-date on Elias Pettersson gifs.

Based solely on their current rosters, I think I’d stick with the Canucks. All three teams have some interesting young talent, but I don’t think the Red Wings or Senators have two young players that look to be as dynamic as Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. I’m almost tempted to say Detroit simply because of all the rookies that look like they’ll make their debut this season, but I don’t think they’ll be as fun to watch as the Canucks youngsters.

  • Nuck16

    Far too much pessimism around this team this year based on the pre-season. No we won’t make the playoffs, but it’s not going to be as bad as everyone is thinking. We’ll be competitive and our tending will be fine.

      • Beefus

        I think the reason for the pessimism is that the preseason showed no evidence of an entertaining uptempo style. Hopefully the team can show some enthusiasm once the regular season begins.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Those would be the same people with sense who had Vegas and Colorado fighting for last place last year? Its a game, momentum is important, and none of you know any better than anyone else what is going to happen. Yes, they will probably finish in the bottom five. But without optimism, why even watch?

        • If you ask an analyst or writer to make a prediction, they have to base that prediction on the most likely outcome, not on pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

          Yes, sometimes good teams miss the playoffs due to bad luck or unexpected poor performances – two years ago Tampa was one of the best teams, on paper, in the NHL, but they lost their best player to injury and struggled with poor goaltending. The following season they’re back to being one of the best teams in the NHL.
          Likewise, a couple years ago Colorado was a terrible team on paper and a combination of some crazy shooting luck and a Vezina season from their goaltender took them to the playoffs. The next season they were back to being one of the worst teams in the NHL.

          If Pettersson scores at a point-a-game pace and makes a run at the Calder, Boeser scores 40 goals, and Markstrom plays out of this mind, could this team make the playoffs? Sure. Is that likely? No.

          What’s interesting, insightful, or useful about reading “this team looks bad but hey sometimes teams get lucky and overachieve”? You can *hope* for that as a fan – that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t make for good sports writing.

    • Puck Viking

      This will be the worst team in the west and and easily one of the worst 3 teams in the NHL and I dont have any idea how or why anyone would think other wise..

  • argoleas

    Not sure where the idea comes from that Francesco Aquilini will be ready to shake things up if this season goes south. Seems to me everyone is on board that this will be a painful season.

    • Puck Viking

      I dont understand that logic either… the reason why things will be so bad is because FA refused to rebuild years ago and tried to force this need mid 20s players and rebuild on the fly BS.. had they started when they should have this team would be starting to turn the page and instead we are a few years away due to all the picks being dealt for scraps, hanging on to vets until they have no value, no utilizing the cap space to acquire bad contracts and not signing UFAs to 1 year deals so they can be moved at the TDL..

      At this point they are doing what they can to hang on to there jobs and it will not work out as this season will show.

      • argoleas

        Yes, FA, and maybe a combination of Linden and Benning figured they could to a retool, win-it-for-the-Sedins. IMO that does explain everything they did pre-2017-TDL.

        We can also discuss whether the specific moves are the best ones (the 2018 UFAs vs such 1-yr deals).

        But I still don’t see that anything they did in 2018 corresponds to a desperation to hang on to their jobs. No one attempts to keep their jobs by getting a Roussel and Beagle.

        And perhaps people do not believe FA, but even today, his letter spoke to what he has officially be saying this whole summer, and that this is a rebuild.

    • Tedchinook

      That was my thought too. I’d hate to play on a surface with all that graffiti – guaranteed you’d lose track of the puck at least a few times a game.

  • Puck Viking

    SergBrob wants Price money so yaaaaa no thanks..

    Price is one of the worst deals in the NHL so an older player makes zero sense..

    If you can get him for 6 million at 4 years as a UFA then yes sure.. but we have wasted enough money and term to player who will not live up their contracts.

    • East van canuck

      Give it a rest man, you talk absolute b*llocks and your posts are bordering on obsessive. Rule number one is you need elite goaltending and build out from there – when Price is in Vezina form Montreal are a playoff team, as are Columbus with Bob carrying them. I would take him in a heartbeat as would anyone with sense who wants playoff hockey back in Vancouver. It ain’t your money so relax – pay up and let’s get back to contending here.

      • Due to age and injuries it’s possible that Price is never in Vezina form on this monster deal. Most goalies are not Lundqvist or Luongo – most fall of dramatically in their 30s, making giving out big-money deals to aging goaltenders extremely risky. Puck Viking is absolutely right – if you can get Bob on a reasonable term (I’d say even something like $8-$9 million for 4 years), do that, but if he’s after a 7-year contract in the 8-12 million range, stay away from that like the plague.

        And you have this completely backwards – you do not want an elite goalie masking the deficiencies of your terrible team, like Montreal has had in the past. You want to build a great team, and then add elite goaltending – see Winnipeg, for example.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Does anyone truly know if the Dinner Jackets do or do not have the intention of re-signing Goalie Bob? Please post if you’ve heard anything because I’d really like to know. Will Columbus let an elite goaltender of this quality walk? It might be a coup if the Canucks could sign him but I can’t prognosticate about ANY transactions Benning may make nor can anyone else?

  • myshkin

    given benning’s record on free agent signings, it’s safe to predict that if benning signs bobrovsky, he’ll wildly overpay and end up with buyer’s remorse.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    All of the experts on here should use their foresight and prescience to work the stock market or the lotto, as they all seem so sure that they know exactly what is going to happen with the Canucks this season. Me? I’m just gonna watch the games, like a hockey fan should, and cheer for them to win every night.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    CA with the lack of love for Guddy….its almost like he sucks at being a professional hockey player. Good luck to the kids in doing their best to push out the old farts in the room this year and next. Maybe it will lead to more Jimbo public comments about making mistakes on his vet signings….not that that does much good after the fact…


    I have a feeling this team will be more entertaining this season with EP and Goldy as regulars, but still short on wins. The Sedins produced on the PP, the defense is pretty darn bad and goaltending will be an issue no matter how “competitive” Marky is. Soft goals have been a problem, so I don’t see that changing anytime soon. On a rebuilding team, soft early goals will kill any chance to be competitive.
    As far Aquilini being immoral because of how much money he has? You cover a team purchased with immoral gains. In fact the entire league is owned by similarly immoral individuals or business concerns, therefore a moral person would refuse to participate. I suppose Canucks Place, Canucks Autism Network support for BC Children’s Hospital isn’t moral but guilt at gaining wealth. Envy Is more immoral than creating wealth for your family, creating jobs for other families and giving back to communities all across Canada.