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WWYDW: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

In this week’s mailbag, I received a lot of questions about the Canucks future on defense, particularly on the left side. The Canucks have five left-handed defensemen in the organization that will be looking for a new contract next season: Alex Edler, Ben Hutton, Derrick Pouliot, Michael Del Zotto, and Evan McEneny. They also have a pair of hotshot prospects on the left side who will be looking to break into the lineup next year in Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi. More than ever, there’s a chance the defense could see a major shake-up, something fans have been clamoring for for a few years now.

Which defensemen would you like to see brought back next season?

Last week I asked: Who would you like to see man the first unit in Alex Edler’s absence?


Hutton has proven that he can dish the perfect pass to Elias for his one timers. Edler could never get that pass in the right spot, either for Elias or Brock. He’s a keeper.


Get Troy from Richmond running the PP. Kid is gold. Good passer. Calm demeanour.


I definitely think that Hutton deserves to be on the first line PP. He had the primary assist on both of Pettersson’s PP goals against Montreal and Winnipeg and has proven that he can make those perfect passes right into the wheelhouse of players. Can’t wait to see the PP once Boeser gets back. Any defenseman should be able to do good with both of them to their side.


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The Petey/Brock/Edler/Goldobin/Bo configuration once all healthy seems to be Green’s choices for PP unit#1. And you’d have at least Gagner and Hutton for the second unit with a cast of others. (Take your choice) One of these days the Canucks will get a 5 min major penalty PP or 4 min double minor and see them light ‘em up then. To my knowledge hasn’t happened this season. And, yes, no Pouliot on the PP anymore IMO.


Anyone , but Pouliot, heck, I would even try Gudbranson.

  • Robson Street

    In all seriousness, this team needs more top 4 defense in order to be competitive during the few cheaper forward contract years upcoming. That’s going to probably take 1. Draft luck and 2. Not removing the few quality D that want to play here. If you’re optimistic, maybe Hughes contributes next season and doesn’t need a partner to shelter him as he adjusts. Juolevi might never get there (meaning, he almost certainly makes the nhl but his flaws mean he follows a David Rundblad “not a difference-maker” trajectory). No one else is close.

    Unless Edler or Tanev show no interest in staying here in their walk years or have unreasonable contract demands, the Canucks would do well to keep them. The fewer roster holes to have to fill, the better.

    That said, if you’re not on a cheap contract (Stecher, probably Hutton) and not making a significant contribution, take a hike. I wish MDZ and Pouliot well in their future endeavours.

    • To what end, though? Is a 33/34-year-old Alex Edler going to be the difference between the Canucks making and missing the playoffs? Winning a playoff round? I’m skeptical.

      Every move this team makes should be with an eye to becoming a Stanley Cup contender. Keeping aging guys like Edler and Tanev around when they still have trade value simply doesn’t jibe with that goal. I have no problem bringing Edler or Tanev back in the off-season if they want to return and will sign reasonable contracts, but these are guys who should still fetch decent return at the trade deadline – you have to make those moves.

      • tyhee

        I disagree that there’s no reason to keep a good veteran or two around. While mentoring is probably overrated around Canuck Land, if the kids aren’t ready to assume a leading role then they should have guys that know what they’re doing to actually hold the fort while the kids develop, let them develop normally instead of in a dumpster fire where their defensive partner is out of position so the kid has to try to do more than is efficient with a decent partner and possibly give the kids a few tips along the way.

        I also don’t think the Canucks should count on both Juolevi and Hughes being ready to play as NHL regulars next season. There’s nothing wrong with within, hoping and praying, but we’ve all seen enough prospects be something less than what many expected that it seems silly to actually count on it happening.

        Hutton should be re-signed. I’d consider extending Edler if the price and term (max 2 seasons) are right, despite that being unpopular with fanbase. The team should cut ties with MDZ. It would be best to replace Pouliot if he can be replaced with a sound d-man, but if it can’t happen fairly cheaply then the team has to consider whether they need him for depth on a one year extension, as disappointing as that would be, with the hope that he’s outplayed in the preseason and gets waived, either getting claimed or playing for the Comets and available as an injury replacement.

        It would be best to trade one d-man before the trade deadline, whomever gets the best return compared to his value to the team. Trading more than one probably just creates a tire fire at the end of the season.

        McEneny’s mobility after his knee surgery last season is in doubt. If it doesn’t come around by March then he probably shouldn’t be offered an NHL deal, though an AHL contract would still be possible.

  • I am Ted

    Bring back Hutton and McEneny. Hutton can stay up and McEneny could battle for a spot or be depth in Utica. Can’t have enough D.

    Edler needs to be dealt at deadline and if any of the others can be dealt then do it.