How do you feel Gaudette has looked with the big club so far?
— almost superman (@balloonsoup) November 4, 2018
Well, he hasn’t looked out of place, which means he’s basically come as advertised. The shot-based metrics paint a flattering picture, too. Obviously it’s too small a sample to draw conclusions from; but he’s rocking a 52-and-a-half-percent shot-share, good for second on the team among players with at least five games played. He’s absolutely torched the competition at lower levels, and I was hoping he’d earn a spot on the team come opening night. I’m not convinced he has a lot of offensive upside, but I think he’s good enough to carve out a long career as a two-way bottom-six centre and you need a guy like that on your team if you want to be competitive in a cap world.
Where are they now? Top ten picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft (Olli Juolevi #5).
— VCR Hockey (@VCRhockey) November 4, 2018
Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine are in the process of joining the NHL’s elite; Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matthew Tkachuk, and Clayton Keller have all become key cogs in their respective teams’ offence; while Mikhail Sergachev looks to be on his way to being a dynamic offensive defenseman, even if he’s been the beneficiary of some very favourable deployment. The going hasn’t been quite as easy for Jesse Puljujarvi and Tyson Jost, but they also haven’t exactly been afforded the same opportunities as some of their peers. Jost will be fine. He had a decent season in 2017-18, finishing with 22 points in 65 games, and my best guess is he’ll eventually fit nicely into the second-line centre role behind Nathan MacKinnon. He just needs to develop a bit more and/or get some more opportunities. Puljujarvi’s lack of offence thus far has been puzzling, but I’m convinced he’s been a victim of the Oilers’ mismanagement more than anything else.
Alex Nylander is the only player from the 2016 NHL draft other than Juolevi who’s development thus far could be considered a disappointment. Unlike Juolevi, he’s played a few games in the NHL, but has yet to make a big impact at the pro level. He’s put up decent totals in the AHL, especially given his age, but they don’t exactly scream “top ten pick” – not yet anyway.
In light of how his peers have performed, it’s hard not to view the Juolevi selection as a bit on the disappointing side. It’s still early, and he has plenty of time to catch up, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up before he’ll be mentioned in the same breath as Mikhail Sergachev or Charlie McAvoy. He’ll play in the NHL, and probably for a long time, but I’m not convinced he’ll bring the type of value to his team that Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, or Mikhail Sergachev have.
As a side note, that 2016 draft class looks mighty ugly. Of the six picks the Canucks made, four are no longer with the organization. Juolevi and Will Lockwood have a chance to salvage things, but the early returns don’t look great. Lockwood’s put up fairly pedestrian totals in the NCAA thus far and struggled with injury while Juolevi’s been one of the lone blemishes on what’s looked like a deep first round so far. If those players disappoint, it could go down as one of the worst drafts by a rebuilding team in the post-lockout era.
Do you see Leipsic being waived when the team gets healthier?
— mongrel #5 (@themattymac) November 4, 2018
It’s definitely possible. He’s been alright when he’s been able to make his way into the lineup, but unfortunately he’ll probably need to be great if he wants to secure a spot. If it were up to me, I’d prefer to see him take a turn alongside Bo Horvat over players like Tim Schaller or Markus Granlund, but when he was on that line he didn’t do enough to prove he belongs there for the long-term. I wouldn’t waive him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the team did. If his usage is any indication, the team may not see a fit for him on this roster as it’s currently composed.
Assume Pettersson finishes over a PPG, Quinn Hughes has a nice end of year audition, and Canucks finish just outside the playoffs and nab a decent pick. Can Canucks sell Karlsson on joining the team?
— Blog Boesersson (@Danny_Canuck) November 4, 2018
That’s a lot of assumptions, but I wouldn’t rule anything out, especially if the Canucks can make him the league’s highest-paid defenseman. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.
With both of our PP units being the 4F and 1D format, so far it seems like those spots are destined to go to Hughes and Joulevi. Are we still that desperate for an offensive RHD anymore?
— Silver (@DannyH_52) November 4, 2018
I think we’re a long way off from saying with any certainty that Juolevi can quarterback an NHL power play, even if it’s the second unit. More importantly, they still need someone to play alongside those players at even-strength. Troy Stecher’s a decent start, but Chris Tanev’s body isn’t going to hold up long enough to be a viable option in the Canucks’ top-four for years to come, and I have zero desire to see Quinn Hughes line up alongside Erik Gudbranson. So I guess it depends on your definition of “desperate”. They have needs in a few areas of their prospect pool, and RHD is one of those areas.
Is Pettersson a generational player?
— Matt JB Haynes (@ArcherDangaZone) November 4, 2018
He’s been outstanding so far but I think it’s a little early to give him that label. Besides, there can really only be one player at each position per generation to earn that label. To increase the number of players that qualify as “generational” is to define the term out of meaningfulness. If you can’t count the number of generational players on one hand, your definition is probably too broad.
I am curious how EP's fancy stats look compared to other stars around the league. I know he passes the eye test but are his underlying numbers as elite?
— Ian Tupper (@iantupper) November 4, 2018
I wouldn’t say they’re “elite” but they look great for a 19-year-old rookie. He’s producing 2.5 individual shots per game, and is among the Canucks’ best forwards in terms of on-ice shot-generation rate. He’s also ever-so-slightly winning the shot-share battle at even strength, which is no small feat on a team as porous as the Canucks. When looking at his defensive profile, he’s been just okay, but the fact that he’s not notably worse than most of his teammates is an accomplishment in and of itself. When looking at the numbers, Pettersson looks like a good player who’s been masquerading as an elite one. He’ll come back down to earth eventually, but we’re seeing what he can do at the height of his abilities and it’s spectacular. I’d expect his underlying numbers to improve with time as his shooting percentage regresses, and I have no doubt he’ll be one of the league’s top offences centres for a long time. He’s just not quite good enough to keep up a 1.6 points-per-game pace (mostly because no one is).
assuming Goldy and Boeser stay with EP next year, who would be good to play with Horvat? Baertschi is most likely, RW? Shotgun Jake?
— FlyingVs (@ImUrHucklbrry) November 4, 2018
Next year’s a long way off, so it’s tough to say. Whether or not Jonathan Dahlen can take a step forward and make the team will significantly alter the lineup, for example, but assuming the roster composition at forwards stays relatively static, I’d like to see Brendan Leispic get one last extended look there. I’m not entirely convinced of Virtanen’s offensive upside, but he’s got all the tools and has looked good this season so I’m amenable to idea of giving him a shot there. I’d also really like to see Loui Eriksson get a look on that line, just as an experiment. The Canucks could really use to get out from under that contract, but they’ll need to boost his trade value if that’s going to happen, and he’s not going score many goals playing alongside Brandon Sutter. Getting one last 20-goal season out of Eriksson seems like a longshot at this point, but I’d like to say he’s been given every opportunity before I give up forever and I can’t say for sure that’s been the case yet.