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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Should Canucks give Reid Boucher another chance?

There are several things I imagined I might be when I grew up. An NHL hockey player. A powerful lawyer delivering a brilliant courtroom speech. Eddie Vedder. Alas, I was never a great skater, law school is too expensive, and I just never had rock star hair. But I have achieved something much greater. As anointed in a recent edition of Jason Botchford’s Athletties, I am Vancouver’s Leader on the Reid Boucher File.

 

You’re probably wondering how I got here. Well, I’ve been watching the Canucks since the 1990s and I’ve been writing about hockey for nearly a decade in one form or another. This year, I have the honour of joining the ranks of Canucks Army, a blog that redefined Canucks fandom and analysis and shaped a lot of the ways I watch hockey. It’s a real pleasure to be here and to you, the readers, this is my introduction.

A Reid Boucher deep dive.

A Reid Boucher deep dive? Really?

Yep. This is my brand. If you aren’t going to love me at my “Reid Boucher Is Better Than You Think”iest than you don’t deserve me at my “I Know How To Fix The Draft Lottery”est. Given that the Canucks have just called up Sam Gagner – a player with a similar profile to Boucher – there’s never been a better time to make the case for Boucher. Below, I will illustrate that Boucher is an upgrade on Gagner, while being both cheaper and younger, and thus better suited to this stage in the Canucks rebuild.

A Reid Boucher Refresher

Boucher has been largely forgotten this year, given the understandable hype surrounding the arrival of Elias Pettersson, the emergence of a captain in Bo Horvat, and the stirrings of new life in Jake Virtanen. Starting the season in Utica, it appeared Boucher’s window for the NHL had passed.

Then he scored eight goals in about a minute and jumped out to a massive lead in AHL scoring. Had the Canucks missed something at camp? (Yes.) Were the expensive free agent signings keeping a goal-scoring machine out of a spot? (Yes.)

Alas, Boucher suffered an injury as a result of an illegal head shot by Syracuse Crunch forward Dennis Yan, for which he was suspended, and the wind was, again, out of Reid Boucher’s sails. It took several weeks for him to get back to game shape, but he is back now, and has picked up right where he left off. At this point, the 25-year old has scored 10 goals (15 points) in just 11 games in Utica. For the second season in a row, he appears to be among the very best players in the AHL. (Last year, he was good for more than a point per game and was named the club’s MVP while scoring in the AHL All-Star Game.)

Let me give you a moment to yell at your screens that Reid Boucher can’t skate, that he’s out of shape, and – my favourite – that he is a career AHL player who can’t translate his success at that level to the NHL. Go on, get it out of your system! You’ll feel better. Once you’ve done that, then we can move on to the next stage, where I patiently explain to you that those things are not correct.

Before I do that, let me put one thing on the table. I don’t want to overstate my case here: Reid Boucher is not going to move the needle on this team. Reid Boucher is not the difference between a last-place team and a playoff spot. Reid Boucher is not going to score 62 goals in a season, the way he did when he broke Steven Stamkos’ record for the OHL Sarnia Sting.

But I do believe that Reid Boucher can provide secondary scoring on an offensive-minded second- or third-line and the second powerplay unit, and that as the Canucks proceed in rebuilding this team, he could be a significant supporting piece. Teams that win Stanley Cups have three lines that can score, and while Boucher probably can’t drive a scoring line on his own, he could add a lot of value to one.

Let’s start by establishing a very important fact. Reid Boucher has had great success in the NHL.

Reid Boucher Is An NHL Player

I’m not entirely sure why no one seems willing to accept this, though I think a lot of it is a product of the stilted way in which he was introduced to the team and fanbase. Claimed on waivers in 2017 during the darkness of the Willie Desjardins era, he was given limited fourth-line ice, often spread out across several games of healthy scratches, and rarely had an opportunity to settle into any kind of rhythm. His tenure with the Canucks last season was often similar; it’s hard to expect much of a guy when he sits in the pressbox for a week and then gets only a handful of shifts with Nic Dowd (his most frequent linemate last season by a landslide).

And yet, despite playing primarily with Nic Dowd and a Jake Virtanen who really had not found his game, Reid Boucher put numbers on the boards.

Let’s take a serious look at his production in the NHL (keeping in mind that he has obliterated his competition in the AHL). The best way to assess his production is looking at his stats per 60 minutes, since he has had several games where he saw very little ice. Across his 132 NHL games, Boucher has produced at a rate of 1.54 points/60, and if you adjust to remove secondary assists he’s still at 1.25 primary points/60. How does that stack up with the rest of the Canucks’ forwards? It puts him ahead of most of the current crop of regulars.

These are career averages, and I’ve removed Elias Pettersson and Darren Archibald, who each have less than 50 NHL games. Setting them aside, it’s no surprise that Brock Boeser, Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat, and Nikolay Goldobin are higher than Boucher. No one is suggesting that Reid should take a spot from one of these players (or Pettersson) who are clearly the top offensive players on the team.

Loui Eriksson’s numbers are higher than some would expect (though the data is missing his first season) but this is largely a result of Loui’s much higher level of production in Dallas and Boston. If you look only at his time in Vancouver (the blue bar), his numbers drop to 1.35 / 1.05, putting him closer to Jake Virtanen’s level.

Boucher slots in with numbers comparable to Sam Gagner, Brendan Leipsic, and Antoine Roussel (whose underlying numbers always surprise and impress me, a point I’ll save for another day.) Though Sam’s star had fallen this season, this week he got the call ahead of Boucher. Notably, Gagner’s number’s drop off pretty hard when you remove secondary assists, in fact, Boucher actually contributes more goals and primary assists than Gagner. Meanwhile, Leipsic and Roussel, whose numbers are almost identical to Boucher’s, have both had regular NHL shifts this season when healthy. Below, I offer the same numbers but with secondary assists removed, as some consider those to be a bit weak.

Reduced to just goals and primary assists, Boucher’s numbers look even more impressive – 7th on the team when you include Pettersson – and significantly better than many of the players he is directly competing with for a spot on the Canucks roster. Boucher has produced at a much higher rate than other wingers like Markus Granlund, Jake Virtanen, Tim Schaller, Tyler Motte, and Brendan Gaunce. There is an argument to be made that Jake is still trending upward – this especially seems true this season – and thus deserves his spot, which I accept. But the claim that Reid Boucher can’t translate his production to the NHL falls pretty flat when you consider how thoroughly he outproduces several players currently on the roster.

Take Your Shot

The book on Reid Boucher is that he has a nasty shot. Last season, several Canucks players commented on Boucher’s shot, and at least one called it the best on the team. He’s flashed that shot on several occasions and just plain beat NHL goaltenders with it.

Reid Boucher goal2

Yeah that shot hit the back bar and perhaps the best thing about it was the fantastic reaction gif we got from Bruce Boudreau asking who, precisely, it was who had just scored.

Boucher Boudreau

Thanks for asking, Bruce. That would be Canucks future-20-goal-scorer Reid Boucher, who does indeed possess a dandy shot. A shot like that would sure look good on the second powerplay unit. But Boucher has a lot more to offer than just his shot. What many people seem unable to process is that he is also a good forechecker, who is quick and tenacious and can convert that forecheck into goals.

Boucher goal

This is impressive puck recovery and, despite the delayed reaction in the video clip, that puck did indeed go in, buried on the wraparound. Boucher is a goal scorer and he has found a wide range of ways to do it. Also, if you’re the sort of monster who takes pleasure in seeing ankles getting broken, Reid can make a modest contribution:

Boucher anklebreaker

I’m not going to put too much stress on your bandwidth by adding any more clips, but this is a guy who can beat an NHL goaltender clean with his wrist shot, can wire clappers from the spot on a powerplay, and has left a litany of undressed AHL defenders wondering what just happened in Utica. This guy can score goals. Do the Canucks need goals?

Penalty Differentials and Helping Your Team Win

Loui Eriksson has become famous this season for the ‘Little Things’ he supposedly does to help the Canucks win. I’m not here to debate the truth in that claim, but I do want to dig into a generally unreported ‘little thing’ that I think makes a big difference to a team’s success and tells you a lot about a player: drawing penalties.

Earlier this season, I was chatting with Canucks Army contributor and on-ice data-tracker Darryl Keeping about Boucher’s game, and we both noted that, when he did play, he seemed to draw a lot of penalties. It turns out, the numbers bear this out. Corsica Hockey tracks penalties taken and penalties drawn, and if we look at these also as a rate per 60 minutes, we get a clear picture of Boucher’s proficiency here. I’ve removed Antoine Roussel from the chart, because his ratings for both penalties drawn and taken are way above everyone else (2.30/2.64).

 

It always surprises me that this statistic doesn’t get more attention. We obsess over the strategy, personnel, and effectiveness of special teams, arguing for days over whether Pouliot should be playing the point on the powerplay or whether Bo is a good penalty killer. And yet, we rarely hone in on the particular skill of drawing penalties without taking them. On Saturday afternoon against Montreal, the Canucks were in a 2-2 tie in the dying minutes of the third period, when Michael Del Zotto took a ridiculous late run at Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Montreal got a powerplay and scored the winning goal. So don’t tell me this stuff doesn’t matter.

While some old school analysts still list penalty minutes as if it were a positive statistic, most people understand that if you take a lot of penalties you’re going to lose a lot of games. On the flip side, drawing penalties gives your best players an opportunity to make hay. A player who draws penalties is usually either an effective pest (looking at you, Antoine Roussel) or a player who can surprise opponents with speed, dexterity, and quick movements that force the opposition to hook, hold and otherwise illegally obstruct in order to prevent a scoring chance. This latter is where Boucher fits in.

Boucher is near the top of the current crop of Canucks at drawing penalties. While Roussel is way ahead, he takes more penalties than he draws, so he’s hurting his team as much as he is helping. Virtanen is in the same boat, drawing plenty but putting his team shorthanded just as often. Only Sven Baertschi and Brandon Sutter are helping their team as effectively in this regard as Reid Boucher.

Consider every 52 minutes of hockey he plays, Reid Boucher gives the Canucks an opportunity to line up Elias Petterson, Bo Horvat, and Brock Boeser on a powerplay. That’s nearly double what Brendan Gaunce will give you, and it is much better than recently recalled Sam Gagner who is more likely to take those skilled players off the ice by taking a penalty. Why not get Boucher out there drawing penalties so we can watch Elias go to work?

These numbers speak to that criticism of Boucher that I hear so often: that he is slow and out of shape. He’s really, really not. No one who watches him is saying this. Trent Cull, his coach in Utica this season and last, has regularly praised Boucher for not only the dramatic improvement in his foot speed, but also the completeness of his game. Cory Hergott, the resident Utica Comets expert at Canucks Army, has regularly reported on Boucher’s speed and quickness, but also his improved tenacity and physicality. There is plenty of video to illustrate this, but his strong record of drawing penalties is also a quantifiable way of illustrating this part of his game.

The Possession Game

Still not convinced? Ok, well, why don’t we look at one of the simplest and most effective ways of measuring a player’s effectiveness over a large sample of games. It is widely accepted that Corsi – a measurement of the number of shots directed at the opponent’s net while a player is on the ice, as opposed to the number of shots against – is among the best ways of quantifying puck possession.

The chart below uses Corsi-for %: if you have a high Corsi-for rating, it means your team has the puck more often when you are on the ice. Over a large sample, we can say with some certainly that a player with a strong Corsi-for rating is contributing to recovering picks, holding onto pucks, making effective passes, and keeping the puck in the opponent’s zone. These are all predictors of a team’s success. Put simply, if your Corsi-for is high, it means you are helping your team generate scoring chances and/or preventing the opponent from getting them.

 

These numbers are only reflective of even-strength ice time, and as you can see, Reid Boucher’s Corsi rating is well within the average scores among the current crop of Canucks. For comparison’s sake, I added Henrik Sedin’s career Corsi-for rating, as both a reminder of how good Henrik was and also to provide a benchmark for the others listed here. These are career totals, and some (like Loui Eriksson) are trending down while some (like Brock Boeser) are likely going to trend upwards. Boucher’s respectable 48.7% illustrates that he is perfectly capable of playing in the NHL, that he isn’t a defensive liability, and – given a regular shift with the right linemates – I’m convinced he could push his rating even higher.

If by this point, the words “sample size” have crossed your mind, I want to remind you that Boucher has played 132 NHL games. It’s enough to take these numbers as some indication of his trajectory. But I also agree, it’s a sample size that needs to grow! So let’s get him up here and give him some time and space to find his game and excel, just as he has in the OHL, the AHL, and – as I have suggested here – in the NHL as well.

Boucher is an upgrade on several current Canucks, including Sam Gagner, while costing the team four times less than Gagner and producing at a higher rate in both the AHL and NHL. At just 25 years, he is still positioned to hit his stride alongside the emerging core. He is the kind of player a contender goes out and tries to find to bolster a third-line; if the Canucks can build a contender, they’ve already got a guy who can produce on that third-line.

        • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

          IMO Boucher = Leipsic = Motte = Gagner insofar as they’re all too small, and too soft to be consistent NHL players on a team with even adequate skill. If the Canucks were a good skilled team at the moment, none of these tweeners would even be on the roster/organization. In ‘restocking the org cupboard’ Benning acquired a glut of tweeners just so the big team could essentially fill out a nightly roster (Megna, Chaput, Gaunce, Vey, ect….) and these guys are all in the same boat as those guys… Hopefully Benning can package some of these guys moving forward for better quality assets and/or picks

          • neal

            The NHL gets younger. However the old GM’s stay. Please list the things Benning has done on his own to get this team to the playoffs. Without Judd on his scouting list. He and Chiarelli have slowed Edmonton and Vancouver from advancing. The good old boys belong back in Boston. It’s time for Vancouver and Edmonton to get younger management.

        • Ronning4ever

          Leipsic is currently #62 in P/GP (Points per games played) in the league (min 10 games). He is, by definition, scoring at a (very) bottom-end 2nd line pace, coming in off multiple scratches. Thats pretty good for a 13th forward.

      • Ken Priestlay Fan

        The thing is, your article kinda shows why Boucher isn’t on the team. If we accept that Boucher isn’t a 4th line player as Green likes to play a ‘traditional’ 4th line, then he’s competing for one of 6 wing spots in the top 9. If you include Gagner as a winger, he has the 7th best p60 on the team. And that’s without your admissions that Virtanen is on the up, plus Eriksson has good underlying stats and Motte was good in pre-season. Even if you take secondary assists out, he’s 5th best with those three all probably deserving of a spot. And that’s if we assume that wingers in the top 9 are purely point producers; Roussel, Virtanen, Schaller bring physicality and speed, Granlund brings versatility. I’m not saying Boucher isn’t a good player, I just don’t think the stats back up any argument other than he’s a mid-pack point scorer with no physical presence and little quality away from the puck on a bottom feeding team

    • jaybird43

      Leipsic *looks* great at times, but results don’t seem to follow. Other times he looks poorly, like Goldobin of two years ago. Given his age and fourth team, time to cut him loose and perhaps increase Boucher’s NHL profile.

      Gagner; there’s no savings to be had, since he’s on a one-way, so that argument is spurious. He may be a better overall player than Gags, and that’d be a reason to call him up, if management isn’t trying to showcase Gags with the hope of a trade and partial salary dump.

      • Ronning4ever

        Leipsic is currently #62 in P/GP (Points per games played) in the league (min 10 games) for left wingers. He is, by definition, scoring at a (very) bottom-end 2nd line pace, He’s doing that while coming in off multiple healthy scratches.

    • Rodeobill

      me too. Good tone and voice to your narrative. He probably should have slotted in to Brock’s spot right off the bat when he went out. Guess the team is seeing what they have in Liepsic, Goldy, and Motte, but that doesn’t explain why he didn’t get called up over Gaunce or Archibald. In what games I have seen him in in the AHL this year, he has stood out, especially in his ability to get open and finish the job with that shot. I think improving his speed is vital to his ability to find a permanent spot on the roster, which he apparently has done this season. To slow, and defenders clog the lanes or redirect your shot.

  • Cageyvet

    Boucher hasn’t done enough to grab a job and keep it, but I’ve long thought he should get more opportunities. Gagner came up to support the gap at center that lacked a veteran presence, but in other circumstances I’d rather see Boucher than Gagner for all the reasons outlined in the article.

    • crofton

      Yes, he hasn’t shown he should stick when it counts…pretty mediocre pre-season at best, he didn’t deserve to stick at that point, and he hasn’t really shown much when he got into the line-up. But they kept Leipsic (in the press box for most of the early going) and he really hasn’t shown that he should stay, so unless there are waiver considerations that make the call more difficult, waive Leipsic (or Gaunce) and give him a (semi) last shot.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Great write up. Thanks

    Boucher is one of a number of players whose reputation was somewhat tainted by coming onto the team during a very bad time with a coach whose deployments were always at least a little puzzling.

    Tyler you make a good case for why Boucher should get a call up but it isn’t hard to understand why Gagner was called instead. Playing Gagner could rebuild some trade value and calling him up didn’t remove a valuable player from a struggling farm team. Whatever marginal advantage to the Canucks of calling up Boucher instead is outweighed by these factors.

    The Canucks need an overall upgrade on their wingers and hopefully can move to a 3rd line that makes a significant offensive contribution. That gives Boucher 6 possible winger spots as he doesn’t seem a fit on a fourth line. I don’t think he can challenge for spots held by Boeser, Goldobin or Virtanen. Roussel brings an element to the game Boucher does not and has very similar performance numbers so he keeps a spot ahead of Boucher. That leaves two spots presumably filled by Ericksson and Baertschi ( and a host of injury backfills). Is Boucher an upgrade on those players and if so by how much? It’s certainly worth looking at Boucher in the top 9 ahead of Leipsic and the host of others being rotated through.

    Ericksson is going to stay in the way of aspiring middling wingers for at least another year of two. Boucher isn’t a bona fide top 6 guy and is rightfully behind Roussel and Virtanen on the depth chart so the only real spots available are as an injury call-up or on the 4th line. Boucher deserves another look but it’s been awhile since we saw him against NHL competition so don’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t stick. If the Canucks add another top 6 winger or two at the deadline or during the off season Boucher probably won’t get any more shots with the Canucks.

    • Tyler Shipley

      Definitely a fair point re: Gags. If the plan is to try to plump him up for a trade, I can definitely accept the logic there. That said, I do still worry that this may not be Jim’s Plan.

      • Defenceman Factory

        So what do you worry Jim’s plan is? Please refrain from using the same logic used by others, at the start of the season, certain there was no way Gagner would get waived.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      I think there’s also the chance that with Boucher’s recent injury, they want to see him up to speed in the AHL again before considering a callup. I don’t think Gaunce is long for the NHL during this particular callup, so Boucher may be brought up to replace him at some point too.

  • North Van Halen

    We’ve ridden the Leipsic train long enough to have a pretty good idea what we have there. Likely a tweener who’s too good for the AHL but not quite good enough for the NHL. Necessary depth for the long term but he looks like a guy that as long as he plays in your top 3 lines, your top 3 lines probably ain’t good enough.
    I’m ready to see if Boucher is an improvement on that. Leipsic is serviceable player that leaves you wanting more. Boucher has done more than enough in the minors to deserve a chance to see if he’s step up from that.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      There may be some advanced stats to prove that Leipsic is a “serviceable player”, but the eye test sure doesn’t show that. He’s on his 4th team, and Green has given him every opportunity to contribute, and he has not. Waive him and give Boucher a chance. Nothing to lose.

    • Ronning4ever

      Leipsic is currently #62 in P/GP (Points per games played) in the league (min 10 games) for left wingers. He is, by definition, scoring at a (very) bottom-end 2nd line pace, He’s doing that while coming in off multiple healthy scratches.

  • Holly Wood

    Boucher is basically a one trick pony. But goal scoring is a great trick to have in your bag of tricks. I think if Green trusted his defence we would see him get another chance.

  • Kanuckhotep

    If mgmt gives Reid Boucher another shot on the big club it’ll be his last one and he’d have to make it count and immediately. Leipsic, Archibald and Gaunce have had some looks but are grinder types and at least Boucher has some scoring touch. If they do call him up he’ll just have to prove his ability in this area can finally translate to the NHL. It’s worth one last shot.

  • neal

    Linden got fired for saying it will be long and we need youth. Aquas believed Benning that we can get retreads and be competitive. Benning may be a scout but he is no General Manager. Chiarelli outbid Benning for Lucic we got second best Loui. The only saving thing. Boston is in rebuild Chi and Ben gone. Think younger, not just players.

      • Dirk22

        So a couple things here:

        1. You really think the ‘Linden wanted a slower tank style rebuild for a couple more years’ stories that have come out are fake? Wouldnt Bennings buddies fire back on his behalf if that were true?

        2. I assume ‘polishing his legacy’ means creating stories for the fans so they will think better of him. With that logic, you’re saying fans will think better of Linden if they think he was for a slower rebuild. Doesnt that insiuate that fans want that over whatever ‘plan’ Jim and Francesco have cooked up?

        See what I’m getting at?

        • Dirk22

          I should add that my take on Linden is this:
          He got hired as a PR stunt when the Gillis era was going sour and was in way over his head, especially from a hockey perspective. I dont think his original plan was to go for a long haul rebuild but as he witnessed 2015-2018 his feelings changed. Those feelings obviously weren’t reciprocated so he tried to save face by jumping ship.

          • Defenceman Factory

            I don’t claim to know why Linden was let go and I also don’t claim to know the dynamics of the decision making within Canucks management. What I have trouble with is the speculation from writers, bloggers and fans who claim to. They never have a source only their own or someone else’s interpretation of events. These versions tend to portray Benning as a drooling moron and Linden as a lone voice of reason lost in the wilderness. This I find ridiculous. If Linden’s statements about the length of a rebuild got him fired it’s because they breached the Aquilini corporate message not a difference in philosophy between Benning and Linden.

            While I agree Linden was in over his head and many of the moves made under Benning were poor decisions I find it impossible to believe he acted in isolation. Every move Benning has made he did with the insistence, urging or at least approval of his bosses toward achieving an agreed to plan.

            There are 3 moves I place squarely at the feet of Linden and ownership; signing Willie as coach, hiring Benning as the GM and re-signing him at the end of his initial contract. It is also probable “retool on the fly” and the Ericksson signing were top down initiatives although Benning seemed complicit. Only those directly involved know the dynamics of all the decisions and none of them have ever said anything other than everyone was in agreement.

            It is a lazy narrative to absolve Linden and vilify Benning for every poor move the franchise made particularly those made before Benning was re-signed.

            The vast majority of articles about Canuck management decisions are pure speculation. It doesn’t make them wrong but simply saying something over and over doesn’t make it right either.

          • Dirk22

            DF – I don’t think Linden should have ever been made President but you’ve stated before something along the lines of – now that he’s gone Benning can get to the proper rebuild. Am I wrong?

            You’re crying fake news on an Ed Willes/Botchford story yet have no trouble twisting the narrative around like it was Linden who was holding Benning back.

          • Defenceman Factory

            if I recall I believe what I said was that I hope now with the Sedins gone and without Linden’s influence Benning properly focuses on the rebuild.

            Unlike Willes I don’t pretend to know who did what. I have read that Linden said, at one point, a full on rebuild would be unfair to the Sedins and I can’t see any evidence Linden helped Benning make better decisions. So yes I do hope Benning is now properly focused on the rebuild. A year from now what influence Linden was having on decisions will be clearer.

        • DJ_44

          ‘Linden wanted a slower tank style rebuild for a couple more years’

          Was that the story? There have been so many spins on Linden’s departure, all attempting to try to find a more negative angle on the current management team. The most often quoted story was that Linden wanted to play the youth. Which was incorrectly equated with Benning in a win-now mode.

          Benning signed 3rd and 4th liners to insulate the youth, and put them (eventually) in positions to succeed. Pettersson is obviously ready for the NHL. The others need seasoning and development in the AHL. Give Benning credit for recognizing this. His callups have also reflected this strategy: call up the tweeners. If there was questions regarding his consistent commitment to his rebuild since 2016 waiving Gagner at the start of the season answered them.

          So, no I do not think they are fake; I think they are stupid. Tell me again what Linden’s wanted to do differently? Through the kids to wolves in the NHL and skip the development step?

          • Dirk22

            The story (posted as recently as today but not for the first time) was essentially that Linden thought the Canucks were at least 4 years away and the rest (Benning, Aquilini, Weisbrod) didn’t share that vision. As I said, it was a call for a ‘slower tank style rebuild.’ Nothing to do with wanting to ‘play the kids.’

            https://theprovince.com/sports/hockey/ed-willes-canucks-can-learn-from-the-jets-flightpath-to-contender

          • truthseeker

            What’s really interesting to think about is that the “tank style” rebuild never worked for the Jets either. Aside from Liane they never picked higher than 7th. So basically they played for the points they got and picked where they finished. Pretty much the exact opposite of the “tank” crowd, who dream of lottery wins. In 2015 they made the playoffs and picked 17th. Before they got Liane. How’s that “tanking”? By the “tanking” crowd’s logic, that must have been a cataclysmic mistake of a season right? Looks like they didn’t suffer too badly from making the playoffs that year. And the year they won the lottery and got their super rookie added to all those great players they had “drafted and developed” they missed the playoffs…lol.

            And that doesn’t even include the key pieces of their team that they had nothing to do with drafting and developing. Big Buff….a hawks product, Wheeler, a yotes/bruins product, Perreault a Cap, Myers a Sabre….

            The Jets pretty much did exactly what I say the canucks should do. Shoot for the playoffs every single year, but not give away good young assets. This idea you can put some kind of “date” on a team and say…”OK…our rebuild is over…NOW we can start thinking about the playoffs” is just nonsense. It’s a set of variables that constantly changes year after year. Trades are made, FA’s signed, etc….you never know when it will come together.

            The Jets did an excellent job drafting and developing their young talent but huge parts (Wheeler and Buff) of their success have nothing to do with that at all.

          • Dirk22

            They had the 5th worse combined record in from 2010-2017. That got them 4 top 10 draft picks in 6 years.

            You’re trying to skewer the word ‘tank’ again. Let’s just call it bottoming out. They did that, while also replacing trading key players such as their captain Ladd.

          • DJ_44

            First, the story is by Ed Willis; so take that for what you will. The second is the time frame. Essentially, if we take the story at face value, Linden thought the Canucks are 4 years away from competing. Benning did not agree.

            There is nothing that stated they have a different philosophy as to how to build the team or how to develop players. Now Willis narrative is all about time frame, and not philosophy. Most of the narratives surrounding the events of the summer suggestedf Benning was in a “win-now” mode; which was false. Now it is basically Benning is much more bullish on the stage of where the team is at. His opinion is not unrealistic. They are competitive this year. That is with suspect goaltending,. 60% of PP1 injured for more than 10 games, and their two shut-down centers injured for more of a quarter of the season.

            The Canucks have drafted very well over the past five seasons. Those draft picks are developing and we are starting to see the results.

            Only Willis’ (and apparently your) bizarre interpretation of these half-truths suggest Linden called for a Your statement about trading Ladd was the result of a player about to become a UFA. A player that had an unrestrictive modified-NTC, and not a complete NMC. Just like the Canucks did with Burrows, and Hansen, and Vanek.

            The Jets certainly did not opt any style of tanking or bottoming out. They were competitive from 2013-14, making the playoffs the following year. They had a setback the following year, but that was not there plan (people were calling for Chevy’s head, and Maurice’s as well). They would have been cup contenders the very next season if they had any semblance of goaltending.

            What they did do, and what the Canucks have done, is remained committed to drafting and developing, having a mix of veterans and youth, and putting their younger players in positions where they can succeed.

          • DJ_44

            Like an edit button would be useful. Sorry for the double post, here is the edited version:

            First, the story is by Ed Willis; so take that for what you will. The second is the time frame. Essentially, if we take the story at face value, Linden thought the Canucks are 4 years away from competing. Benning did not agree.

            There is nothing that stated Linden and Benning have different philosophies as to how to build the team or how to develop players. (Now) Willis’ narrative is all about time frame, and not philosophy. Most of the narratives surrounding the events of the summer suggested Benning was in a “win-now” mode; which was false. That has morphed into Benning is more bullish on the stage of the team. His opinion is not unrealistic. They are competitive this year. That is with suspect goaltending, 60% of PP1 injured for more than 10 games, and their two shut-down centers injured for more of a quarter of the season.

            The Canucks have drafted very well over the past five seasons. Those draft picks are developing and we are starting to see the results.

            Only Willis’ (and apparently your) bizarre interpretation of these half-truths suggest Linden called for a “slow tank style rebuild”. Your statement about trading Ladd was the result of a player about to become a UFA. A player that had an unrestrictive modified-NTC, and not a complete NMC. Just like the Canucks did with Burrows, and Hansen, and Vanek.

            The Jets certainly did not opt any style of tanking or bottoming out. They were competitive from 2013-14, making the playoffs the following year. They had a setback the following year, but that was not their plan (people were calling for Chevy’s head, and Maurice’s as well). Heck, they would have been cup contenders the very next season if they had any semblance of goaltending.

            What they did do, and what the Canucks have done, is remained committed to drafting and developing, having a mix of veterans and youth, and putting their younger players in positions where they can succeed.

          • Dirk22

            DJ – so you’re crying fake news here too without any sort of proof otherwise.

            My ‘interpretation’ of ‘half-truths’ is that Linden was trying to convey that the Canucks are a few high draft picks away from competing whereas the others think they’re closer. That would have an effect on how you manage your team (eg. players like Tanev etc.) but I don’t need to spell that out for you. I guess that’s based on all this ‘fake news’ I’ve been reading though.

            Whether or not the Jets ‘opted’ to bottom out as they did, they certainly are benefiting from all those high picks. Would the Jets have been better off in the playoffs every year or on the bubble? That’s what many are hoping for with this Canucks roster.

            Including moving Ladd for a 1st, the Jets also netted about a drafts worth of picks in the 5 years from 2013-2017:

            2013-2017

            2 extra 1sts,
            1 extra 3rd,
            2 extra 4ths,
            (-1 5th and 6th),
            3 extra 7ths

            Canucks are in the negative in that regard:

            2014-2018

            1 extra 1st (traded shortly after),
            (-1 2nd),
            (-2 4ths),
            1 extra 5th,
            1 extra 7th

          • DJ_44

            Fake news? I am saying numerous “sources” have reported numerous accounts of the Linden’s resignation. You or I do not know what the reasons were. The vast majority of news outlets were screaming Linden wanted to play the youth and Benning wanted to “win now”. And in a bizarre logic, the signing of Beagle and Roussel was cited as proof (when in fact is represents the exact opposite). Aquillini acknowledged that a rebuild is a long process. Yet now, apparently, Linden resigned because he thought it was 4 years instead of…. what ….2 or 3? I am not claiming fake news; I am claiming the explanation does not fit with the actions that occurred.

            You are rather selective in your draft years to fit the narrative. The Jets drafted well (as have the Canucks). They drafted well when they made the playoffs, and when they were on the playoff bubble.
            Did making the playoffs in 2015 hurt the Jets rebuild? No. Perhaps the experience it afforded Schieffle and Trouba and Wheeler has resulted in the success they had last year.

            Winnipeg did not have the baggage the Canucks had, but the approach of drafting and developing is the same. The Jets started in 2011; Canucks at the TDL in 2016.

            Purposely “bottoming out” is not an option. It does not work. If the Canucks are competitive this year (and it is their draft picks that are making them competitive) then that is nothing but a positive.

          • Dirk22

            Me being ‘selective’ – I chose 5 drafts because that’s how many Benning has had. I chose those years because they lead up to when they ‘arrived’ in 2017. I’ll go back farther to 2011 and the same trend will continue. Did you want me to go back to when they were the Thrashers?

            Jets didn’t have as much baggage?! Ah it’s excuse time for the apologists.

            Canucks started rebuilding in 2016? Can you explain this? I must have missed it. Wasn’t that the year they trade a recent 1st and a 2nd for a bottom pairing defencemen.

  • KearnsScoredOnHimself

    Fix the draft? Glad you asked!!

    Set the draft order up for the next 31 years so that every team chooses once in every spot.
    Over the next 31 years every team would get one #1 pick, one #2 pick, one #3 pick etc.

    That would dis-connect furstctound draft position from last seasons performance and so would kill tanking.
    It would provide certainty when teams trade first round picks.
    And it would allow teams to plan rosters and contracts ahead to when their turn for a high pick arrives.

    Let’s do it!!

  • EddyC

    Imagine if instead of Goldy Boucher was playing in his place. Looking at your stats I see that Boucher while playing on the 3rd and fourth lines has fared as well as Goldy. It is interesting that the brass of the Canucks preach that if you do what we ask of you you will get a chance, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Boucher. In preseason in the only game he played he was by far the best player on the ice. I think his stats were 12 shots 7 on goal with 2 cross bars a hit and blocked shot. He could be the answer to the other wing for Petterrson Erickson will be leaving in the not to distant future. GET THIS KID UP!!

  • EddyC

    Another thing people don’t realise is that in Boesers first game when he pushed a puck over the line and everyone was transfixed Boucher had 2 sweet goals and nobody even noticed.