Hutton and Stecher – are they in the Canucks long term plans? What’s their trade value? What’s their ceiling?
— big toni utunen fan (@ReneeHockey_) January 7, 2019
I wish I could remember who it was, but a long time ago I heard someone say that there are two kinds of top-four defenders: elite defenders, and guys who can play with them. I think very highly of Hutton and Stecher, but would say they both fall in the latter camp.
Having said that, they both ought to be part of the team’s future. They’ve both performed well and will be in the right age range when the team is ready to compete, plus it’s not as if the team has a ton of other options. I don’t think you’d get much for either in a trade since they aren’t big names outside Vancouver.
Whom would be good to draft this year for the protection of Pettersson, Horvat, Boeser, & Hughes? Would it make more sense if the draftee was defencemen? Are there picks out there to fill that role? Are you sick of opposition taking liberties with Canucks best?
— WaterProtection (@CoyoteWFG) January 7, 2019
The Canucks don’t need someone to protect those guys, the team just needs to push back when they get manhandled and the calls don’t go their way. The problem of opponents “taking liberties” has been a problem for every star player on every team in every era, including and especially when teams dressed an enforcer specifically for that reason. I hate it when guys mess with Pettersson as much as you do, but Dave Semenko wouldn’t have stopped the Kotkaniemi play or the Matheson hit. When there’s actually been a clear line that’s been crossed and the team sees it, the response has been there.
My issue remains with the league and the officials. If they can’t protect the players, than it’s hard for the guys on the ice to do anything about it.
Who would you target in trade or FA yo play with EP40 along with Boeser?
— Scott Simpson (@DBLSS16) January 7, 2019
I think I addressed this in a similar question in part one, but I’ll reiterate: I think any of Baertschi, Goldobin, or Leivo is fine there. Pettersson and Boeser are good enough to be a high-end first line with anybody as long as they can keep up, both physically and mentally. Any big player you would trade for or sign in free agency would serve the team better on another line.
Should the Canucks figure out how Quinn Hughes signing this season affects the Seattle expansion draft? Does it really matter because will they even have 3 other defensemen to protect?
— moosekayak (@Moosekayak) January 7, 2019
Ideally, the less players you’re exposing, the better. I’m not sure they’ll have other defensemen to protect by the time expansion rolls around, but it would be preferable to keep as many protected slots open as possible just in case.
As a side note, it’s crazy how hard it has been to figure out how Hughes’ signing will affect his eligibility. I believe he has to play ten games, but I’m still not 100% certain, and neither was anyone else the last time I checked.*
*After speaking with Ryan Biech, I’ve clarified that Hughes would have to play 11 games.
Who gets moved before deadline
— Cole Treleaven (@Coletr11) January 7, 2019
This is another close cousin to a part 1 question, but it’s more straightforward. In a straight-up bet, I would take no one. With odds, I’d take Nikolay Goldobin. Tanev and Gudbranson are both possibilities, but a deal would have to materialize and I don’t think that’s happened yet.
Of all the shortcomings of the current Canucks roster, Right defence (in my opinion) is the weakest when projecting 2-3 years into the future. If you were the GM, what actions would you take in the next 9 months to attempt to improve in this area?
— DKH_10 (@DKH_10) January 7, 2019
How do the canucks aquire the RHD of the future they so desperately need.
— Cole Treleaven (@Coletr11) January 7, 2019
I’ll lump these two together since they’re essentially asking the same thing. Right side defence is easily the biggest organizational need, and one that doesn’t seem like it can be fixed any time soon. To fix the problem, they’ll either need to get creative or pray for a miracle.
They aren’t completely devoid of options, though. They could target right-handed defenders at the draft this year, although they’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who can step in in the near future given that the vast majority of highly-ranked defenders for 2019 shoot left.
They could also try to target a right-shot defender in a trade, which could prove to be fruitful. The Maple Leafs are reportedly open to trading Liljegren, but I’m not sure the Canucks have the pieces to get a deal done. Colorado isn’t moving Cale Makar, but Connor Timmins has struggled with concussion issues and could be a good gamble. I’m sure there are plenty of others as well.
The last option is free agency, if all else fails. The 2019 crop is shaping up to be pretty thin, but there are some interesting names that could be available in 2020. Tyson Barrie, Justin Faulk, Sami Vatanen, Alex Pietrangelo, and Jared Spurgeon are all good enough and young enough to theoretically help the Canucks turn things around provided the team is aggressive and has a clear plan over the next year and a half. Obviously, they will all come with a hefty price tag, though.
Let’s hope Jett Woo works out. That would make things a lot more manageable.
How good is Ivan Kulbakov?
— Mags (@magsywagsy90210) January 7, 2019
It’s early, but so far the answer would seem to be “not very”. An .884 save percentage isn’t a good mark at any level, and while there’s certainly time to improve he’s done nothing to indicate he’ll be more than a stop-gap. Even Michael Garteig, who’s since slipped into irrelevance, had a better showing in his stint with the Comets (albeit it at a more advanced age). I’m not sure where the interest in him is coming from. He looked good at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton but hasn’t really put it together as a pro.
Hughes or Kakko?
— EliasisElite (@darrenfromns) January 7, 2019
Hughes. He hasn’t really improved on his d-1 season yet, but that’s mostly because there just isn’t much room for him to produce more. He shattered previous totals reached by just about every USNTDP alum not named Auston Matthews and he’s still clicking along at the same rate this year. Kakko is a hell of a prospect and could still unseat Hughes by the time the draft rolls around, but I wouldn’t count on it.
How is management going to deal with the Luongo situation if he DOES retire with his final year remaining.
— Howard Ng (@howardng02) January 7, 2019
I have no idea. Burn down the league office? That’s what I’d do.
With the Canucks recent success, where do you now project us finishing in the standings?
— The Juice Truck (@juicetruck) January 7, 2019
They’re on pace for about 80 points. That seems like a completely reasonable projection. That would be a 7-point or three-and-a-half-win improvement over last season, which is about the impact you’d expect adding Elias Pettersson to have. When you dig into how they’ve been winning lately, there are just too many red flags to think it’s sustainable, so I’ll just stick with the number they’re on pace for.
Which Canuck is next out the door ? Trade deadline talks with elder or tanev ? Lose for Hughes or playoff green and blues ?
— RusteeG.W.Watts (@rusteeCanucks) January 7, 2019
- Nikolay Goldobin.
- I doubt it.
- They’re not making the playoffs.
Utanen. Cant score in liga. But make national team and gets gwg vs cda. Who is he?
— Michael Egger (@michaelegger) January 7, 2019
It’s a lot harder to score in a professional men’s league than it is to score against teenagers. That was also his only point of the tournament, so something tells me it’s unwise to read too much into that goal.
As far as who he is? He’s playing men’s hockey at 18, but only has one point. At the time of his selection, he had a 10.9 expected likelihood of success via the prospect Graduation Probabilities System, and two successful statistical matches in Kimmo Timonen and Teppo Numinen. His upside is limited but he’s a legitimate prospect and he adds to the organization’s depth at that position, which is sorely needed.
Why does Pouliot continue to play while MDZ sits. Is this simply a trade deadline audition for Pouliot, shouldn't games be split evenly and try to move both. IMO moving a performing, experienced and playing MDZ would be easier to trade as depth player on a playoff team. Thoughts.
— CanuckJake16 (@CanuckJake16) January 7, 2019
You could be right about it being easier to move Del Zotto, but to be honest I don’t think you’re getting much for either player. Pouliot also has a bit more diversity because he can play both sides, whereas Del Zotto only plays the right. I definitely can see the case for what you’re suggesting but I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. Neither player has played well enough to generate a market.
Also why gudbranson is so Jekyll/Hyde when it comes to standing up for teammates
— Ryan Little (@rLittle67) January 7, 2019
In the case of the Matheson hit, it’s clear no one saw it. In the case of the Kotkaniemi play, I don’t think anyone thought it was dirty. I disagree, if we’re being honest, but I don’t really want Gudbranson manhandling an 18-year-old kid who just did something stupid anyway. My biggest beef with Gudbranson is his play between the whistles, not after. The fact that he’s not bringing that element to his game is just another reason to be skeptical about why he was acquired, re-signed, and remains on the roster.
Why should I get out of bed if Pettersson can't even make it to the ice?
— David Fiset (@Dgrdnr) January 7, 2019
You shouldn’t. In fact, don’t leave bed at all. Move to the TV to your bedroom and get a mini fridge.
Why did it seem like Mikey Anderson was getting more love from the US coaching staff than Hughes?
— Mason Richard (@masonrichard1) January 7, 2019
That’s a tough one. Coaches make weird decisions in international tournaments and I honestly can’t speculate as to why. I don’t think it’s due to any fault in Hughes’ game.
What would it take to get Hockey Men to realize that having defense as a larger *relative* part of your game (because you don't score much) doesn't mean you make a larger contribution in absolute terms? (Put another way, why is it assumed offensive players are bad at defense?)
— Happy New Jyrki 🍾🥂 (@Jyrki21) December 17, 2018
My best guess as to why it’s been such a tough sell is because most NHL coaches still favour a strategy that relies on tightening things up once you have a lead rather than continuing to push. It makes sense to some degree if you have the right players, but it’s suicide if you’re leaning on guys who are stuck in their own end all night. Ultimately, your brain is conditioned to think someone is good at doing something if you see them doing it a lot. This makes sense in some areas, but not for defending, since the goal of hockey ought to be to defend as little as possible.
The game has come a long way in the past few years, to the point where I think a lot of organizations understand this. Coaches and general managers still have a tendency to place too much emphasis on The Big Mistake, the turnover or blown coverage that led to the game-winning goal, but that’s always going to be a tough habit to break. In any work environment, that’s going to happen. It’s easier to get mad when you can clearly see how it cost you.
Is it reasonable to expect young stars like Horvat, Boeser and Pettersson to improve year over year? And if so how much optimism should fans have for 2019-20?
— Andrew Johnston (@TemujinBC) January 7, 2019
Will they improve? Yes, but it’s unwise to assume that development will always occur in a linear fashion. Sure, some players just get better and better as time passes, but that’s not always the case. Look at Ben Hutton, who’s taken three seasons to get back to where he was as a rookie. I don’t think any of the players you mentioned will regress that dramatically, but as opponents key in on them more and lady luck inevitably turns, the numbers can and will go down for stretches. Down seasons happen to every player, so I think it’s best to temper expectations until the team is deep enough to still compete even when Pettersson or Boeser or Horvat is held off the scoresheet. As long as those three players account for pretty much all the team’s offense, the ceiling on this team is limited; not because of any flaws in their game, but simply because three players do not a competitive team make.
Could you see Kaapo Kakko going 1st overall?
— The Juice Truck (@juicetruck) January 7, 2019
Kaapo Kakko going first overall isn’t impossible, just highly unlikely. Jack Hughes has had thought spot locked down for over a year and there’s nothing Kakko has really done to overtake him other than be the “other guy” and play well enough to feed into the media’s constant need for there to be a challenge for first overall. He’s really good, but he’d have to be outstanding through the next 4-5 months for him to overtake what many see as a guaranteed future #1 centre in Hughes.
What’s your honest opinion on the job Ryan Johnson has done in Utica?
— mike higashi (@hirokidude) January 7, 2019
My honest opinion is that it’s a tremendously complicated situation and that it’s hard to place blame squarely on one person for the way some things have turned out this season. By my estimation, if his comments yesterday were accurate, the way Palmu was handled is inexcusable. At the same time, the organization had eight rookies land in their laps this fall, and that’s a lot for any team to handle. The AHL is still a pro league, and any professional team would struggle incorporating that many rookies into the lineup without some hiccups. An NHL team simply would have sent some of them down. So, I think the big club has to take some responsibility here too for lacking foresight. If the plan was always to make rookies earn minutes slowly rather than throw them all at the wall and see who sticks, it should have been clear from the outset that they wouldn’t have room for everyone and that Petrus Palmu and maybe Jonah Gadjovich should have started their seasons elsewhere.
I’m not completely sure how I feel about the job Ryan Johnson and co. have done so far, but I do know that blaming one person solely for how the rookies have been handled is a misunderstanding of how relationships between parent and farm organizations work.