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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Goldobin Trade Talk, Lukas Jasek’s Ceiling, and Trading For Luongo’s Contract

The obvious answer would be to trade someone, but since the need to create space exists mainly at forward, there don’t appear to be a lot of options. Pettersson, Boeser, and Horvat obviously aren’t going anywhere, Brandon Sutter probably isn’t getting moved until his limited NTC kicks in, Beagle and Roussel aren’t getting moved in the first year of their deals, and I highly doubt Markus Granlund or Tim Schaller is going to generate much interest. That basically just leaves Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin as possible trade bait. We’ll get to Goldobin later, but I could see Baertschi generating some interest from a few contending teams. The question is what the return would be and whether or not the Canucks would pull the trigger. I think it’s more likely they just waive someone. Granlund seems like the most likely candidate at the moment.

The benefit would be significant. Barring an unforeseen development, it’s the only way they can avoid the cap recapture penalties (which are pretty hefty).

It would be a fascinating trade to witness, because both sides would have an incentive to get the deal done. Cap space is something that obviously matters to the Canucks given that their ownership has generally been willing to spend to the cap throughout their tenure in Vancouver. The Panthers, on the other hand, are a budget team, and have made deals in the past to avoid spending too much. Vancouver probably benefits more from the trade than the Panthers do, given that his base salary drops to about $1.3 million next year, but it’s hard to envision a scenario where they wouldn’t take the Canucks up on an offer to pay a player that isn’t going to be on their active roster anyway.

Having said that, Luongo has given every indication that he’s going to play out the remainder of his deal, and I’ve spoken to a lot of folks on the Vancouver beat who believe him. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m going to lump all the Goldobin trade questions together to avoid repetition. There are four angles to cover here:

  1. Will he be traded, and if so, when?
  2. What is his worth on the trade market?
  3. What should be his worth on the trade market?
  4. What will the Canucks actually get for him?

Let’s start at the beginning. A Goldobin trade feels imminent to me given the way he’s been utilized by the coach and rumblings I’ve heard from a few people who are much closer to things than I am. Then again, i felt the same way about Ben Hutton, and here we are. Hutton was a player the Canucks gave every indication they wanted to move on from, but it appears as though a market never seriously materialized, and they’ve been accidentally rewarded. I wouldn’t discount the possibility that this could happen with Goldobin, too.

As far as what his value is, I’d assume something like a third or fourth-round pick, an equivalent prospect or a fringe NHLer. Sven Baertschi was a similarly maligned but talented young player when the Canucks acquired him for a second rounder in 2015, (in fact, Goldobin actually has a more established track record in the NHL than Baertschi did when he was acquired,) so that is what Goldobin ought to be worth in a just universe. There’s also a distinct possibility the Canucks could flip him for another promising young player who hasn’t earned the trust of his organization, and that’s probably the closest thing to an ideal scenario as you’re going to get for both parties.

As far as what the Canucks will actually get for him in return should they decide to move on, my guess would be a safer but ultimately less dynamic young player with significantly less upside. That’s generally been the team’s M.O. in the past with deals like this. Sometimes it’s been a marginal win (Granlund), other times a marginal loss (Clendening). One thing is absolutely certain, though: no matter what the return is, the arguments that will be had about it will be absolutely exhausting.

This is actually kind of a complicated question to give a good answer to, given that it would require a deep understanding of the history of the NCAA vs that of USports, Canada’s equivalent. I don’t really have time to get into any of that, so the best I can do is just describe the two leagues as they currently exist.

The NCAA just has way more to offer a collegiate athlete. College sports are an absolute cash cow in the United States and as a result the league has grown to encompass way more teams playing at a much higher level than in Canada. The United States also just has more world-class schools than Canada does, as you might expect in a country that’s roughly 10 times more populous. Perhaps most importantly, the best Canadian players all play in the CHL, which puts USports at another disadvantage given that the best talent will remain in that league until they are 19-21 years old.

I’m not an expert on university-level sports by even the wildest stretch of the imagination, but these are my best guesses. Basically, the two leagues evolved differently and have very different relationships with their respective countries’ junior leagues, and are also significantly influenced by conditions that are unique to their respective countries.

I’m reluctant to put a ceiling on Jasek at this stage if only because he spent so much time riding the pine in his home country and this season is the first real chance we’ve had to get a serious look at what he can do, The early returns are looking pretty good. He has 18 points in 33 games as a 21-year-old rookie with the Comets, which is quite impressive. For comparison, Jonathan Dahlen has 20 points in 37 games, which is a nearly identical scoring rate when pro-rated for a full season. Jasek doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of pedigree and is only four months older, so how outlandish would it be to suggest that they have similar ceilings at this stage? I honestly have no idea and I don’t think many others will until we have at least a full season to judge him on. He looks like he could be a player, though. That couldn’t have been said with any level of confidence a year ago.

If his production stays at roughly the same level it’s been throughout the season, the conversation starts with a first-round pick. Defensemen with his pedigree don’t grow on trees, and are rarely made available without the expectation of a significant return. As far as his next contract goes, I don’t see how it could be any less than two years at five million dollars, and that would be an extremely team-friendly deal. I guarantee there’s a team out there willing to give him at least another year.

I’d be comfortable predicting that he could replace any one of the Canucks depth forwards without the team feeling any impact whatsoever. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but we’re talking about a guy the team signed as a CHL free agent, so it’s a big win nonetheless.

I’m not going to make very many friends with this answer, but it’s still the Oilers. Until we see either team take a huge step forward when it comes to the supporting cast, tie goes to the team with the best player in the world, and that’s not Vancouver (as good as Pettersson has been). If Peter Chiarelli were fired tomorrow and replaced with an average general manager I don’t think we’d even be having this conversation.

  • What are the odds Goldobin refines his game and ends up being a ~50-point scoring finesse winger?

    I’d say they’re pretty decent. I wouldn’t put money on it, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility.

    What are the odds that a 3rd round pick turns into a top-six scoring winger who can contribute during Pettersson/Horvat/Boeser’s prime years?

    Like, 5%?

    Trading Goldobin for a b-prospect or mid-round pick just doesn’t make any sense.

    • Here’s what I don’t get. I’m confident that Goldobins failings have been pointed out on numerous occasions and yet he’s not addressing them. Surely he can’t be that dumb, how long does it take to train a dog to sit on command. It’s a quirk I can’t grasp. Sadly he and Trymkin seem to keep in touch so there are advantages for him to stay here ( I’m assuming Tryamkin will return eventually)

      • Tryamkin’s never coming back and he’s barely staying above water in the KHL, so why would the Canucks want him back?

        Goldobin has a lot of talent and has been able to use that talent effectively for stretches this season. It takes plenty of skilled young players time to learn consistency. The idea that the Canucks should give up on a player with so much offensive upside when they have a so little high-end talent outside of Pettersson, Boeser and Horvat is just mind-numbingly silly.

      • As was pointed out in the article, Flames fans had similar complaints about Baertschi and Baertschi had accomplished less at the NHL level at the same age as Goldobin has. I don’t think Baertschi’s the be-all end-all, but he’s certainly a competent second-line NHL winger. Why throw that away?

        • I would not advocate throwing it away, however, Baertschi is better than Goldobin. Lievo is a better option than Goldobin. Granlund is as good an option as Goldobin based on current play. All have more goals, and Sven was out for 30 games.

          As far as using the term “finesse” winger …. is that code for lazy?

    • I’m with you on this, Goon, unless he’s being pushed off the roster by someone with legitimately more upside (clearly not Schaller), then I see no rush to move on from him.

      If you could put him in a package to acquire a legitimate top 4 right-side defenseman, around 25 or younger, however, then I’d happily make that move. What else it would take to complete that package I’m not sure, but I’d rather see a move made to upgrade a hole in the lineup than just moving on early from a young guy just because he’s underwhelming. This team isn’t loaded enough to rush to judgement on any young player.

  • Baertschi and Goldobin are examples of junior prospects that did or did not “get it”. For the longest time, Baertschi looked like a guy who was middle-6 at best but he figured out how to play a power forward role despite his small frame. He works hard and is now on the cusp of being a legitimate 1LW if he can stay healthy. Goldobin doesn’t have that same work ethic as Baertschi and won’t do the hard work like board battles. I remember watching Baertschi spend an entire game doing board battles against Chara on the lower left boards a year or two ago. Baertschi lost every battle but at least he was battling. Can’t say that for Goldobin.

    Chiarelli has gone full-blown r*tard and is actively looking to overpay for a scoring forward. I’ve been saying for the last little while to exploit Chiarelli’s desperation and flip Goldobin for as much as you can get. C’mon Benning, get a trade win!

  • Suggesting the Canucks waive Granlund over Schaller is a mystery to me.
    Cory Hirsch talked about Goldobin during last game. He says he knows a lot of NHL scouts and they commonly state nobody is taking on a project like Goldy as most NHL teams have similar under performing prospects to deal with.
    If the Canucks cut bait on Goldy I expect another under performing prospect is the return.

  • what goes on in toronto with that goalie bumped up and down 5 or 6 times? is it to save cap money or waste time for something? somebody must have told him to stay home and ignore the news…this could be ugly

  • This is the final year of Goldy’s ELC, if he doesn’t start to figure out what Green wants out of him, he will be in the KHL next season. Having said that he may be traded to create a roster spot for EP.

  • On the question of the NCAA and hockey development, I don’t think it has to do with being a cash-cow — really there’s only one sport that makes money for the NCAA and that is men’s basketball. The NCAA tournament basically generates more revenue than all other sports combined from their TV contract; even most of the football programs are vanity projects for school chancellors and well-funded donors. They are lucky to break even. Hockey doesn’t usually scratch the surface of profit, even in high-profile programs.

    But what the NCAA offers that Canadian universities cannot are full-ride athletic scholarships. You can get academic scholarships and some support as an athlete in Canada but it’s not the same thing. Most of those who end up in Canadian schools are like Carl Neill — washing out as an NHL prospect but then pursuing an education at Concordia. There’s also a weird quirk where hockey players can commit to US schools as young as 13 (!) but they don’t actually show up on campus until they are often 19 or 20 (not the high draft picks but a bunch of their other players). This means that for many choosing the US college route, they play Tier 2 or USHL, have basically a junior pro experience (though not near the talent level of the CHL) and then have more options. I’ve worked with a number of college athletes and hockey players in particular and for some of them given the realities of success (i.e. less than 2% of all junior and college players are going to make it to the NHL) they have been actively looking at either other options (Europe, not just the KHL or Sweden but Switzerland, Germany, the UK, etc) or getting a paid-for education.

    There are certainly the really successful programs — Boston University, Northeastern, Michigan, North Dakota, etc are all stacked with high draft picks — but a lot of the others just offer different options. It really wasn’t like this when I started watching hockey, it would be really unusual to see a college player be successful, and you certainly wouldn’t see a second overall like Eichel or a guy like Hughes spend time in the NCAA, but now it isn’t at all surprising. I sometimes forget how many Canucks actually have an NCAA past — Boeser, Stecher, Hutton, Motte, Beagle, Biega, Schaller, and Tanev on the current roster.

    • USports are now allowed to offer some athletic scholarships, but they are capped at around $4,500 per student and I don’t believe there is enough money to offer every player money. The CHL has a scholarship program where they pay a year of tuition for every year the player played in the CHL. So the Canadian teams are often quite good, but they are made up of older players (starting at 20+ years of age) who have a mature and responsible game, but usually lack the high end talent the other leagues have.

  • I’m not convinced they will trade Goldy unless they get a good deal. Ice time is the only hammer a coach has over a player in today’s NHL. Goldy has shown he is an NHL player, but Green repeatedly says that’s not enough and that each player has to be someone you can win with. Goldy’s constant defensive lapses would never be tolerated on a good team. Hopefully he will learn from the tough love.

    • That was an inane comment about Grandlund by Jackson. I think you rightly point out that there doesn’t seem to be any desire by the team to get rid of him. Second, if there was, Jackson is assuming that there isn’t a trade market for him.

      Jackson may not like him, but waive him? Where’s the asset management?

    • I don’t think they would want to cut bait on a guy they just signed to a two-year deal less than 6 months into his contract.

      Roster decisions are the GM’s call, not the coach’s, so that’s why he seems like the most likely candidate to me. If it were based solely on play I would say Schaller but there are other things to consider.

      • Jackson, I appreciate your response. I didn’t take issue that Grandlund may be the odd man out. My issue was that you suggested they would waive Grandlund. I think he has trade value.

        Wrt to your response, Gagner’s demotion belies your belief that they wouldn’t waive Schaller.

        At any rate, appreciate your articles even if I don’t agree with everything you say.

        • Agreed. Schaller has already had 2 very fair chances to prove he could help the team, and he has been ineffective. He was meant to bring hustle and grit to the 4th line, but he’s always a step behind the play. No downside in waiving him, I don’t buy the “free agents won’t come here if you do things like this” argument. He got his money. Thats what free agents care most about, no?

  • Yes, I’ve been guilty of defending Goldy, if that’s the word, because the guy has upside skill for sure. I’d be much comfortable though if Nikolay would go to the back fence more in both zones and use the body but this is not his game apparently. He might be too “soft” for coach Green’s liking but how much longer does he have here? I’d like Goldy to light ‘em up and immediately but I wonder how realistic this is and who’d trade for him? It’s entirely on the player to make it happen.

    • I’ve been a defender as well, only because of the very rare flashes of brilliant skill he has shown. If the return for him would be meagre, might it be worth trying to waive him with the hope of getting him more AHL time?

    • …. he’s an offensive guy who doesn’t get many points unless playing with EP. He doesn’t play physical, He doesn’t play well in his own end. If he had these flaws but got points playing with others, then there is a case to be on the team. Not sure I see much of a case once everyone is healthy.

  • Halford at the Athletic has written about Luongo’s recapture multiple times. He absolutely believes there is no concern since every player that has been in this position has had a ‘career ending injury’, Luongo will too. When Luongo can’t lace ’em up anymore he’ll have a chronic back/skin/nerve disorder which will allow him to retire without costing either franchise a dime.
    As for whether the Canucks were teaching Goldie/Hutton o looking to trade them, why can’t the Canucks be doing both? Last year many of us thought Hutton was getting the tough love treatment to teach him to be a professional moving forward and that’s exactly what happened. Goldie is getting the same thing. I’m sure if the Canucks could move him for an adequate return (just like hutton in the past) they will but in the meantime if they can’t they are trying to teach him the expectations to remain with the team in hope s he can become a contributor. These things can both be true. Hutton was no ‘accident’, since many of us called exactly this last year.

    • Agree completely re: Luongo. I think this actually is another reason Vancouver will probably acquire his contract. He’ll still have to be paid real money, and going on the IR instead of retiring entirely benefits Vancouver and doesn’t benefit Florida at all, so it should be Vancouver paying him. If it was up to Florida they’d rather he just retire.

    • ” no concern since very player that has been in this position has had a ‘career ending injury’.”

      Presumably the brackets around career ending injury are there because the “injury” is thought in some cases to be at best marginal, existing but open to some wiggle room as to whether it is something that would keep the player out of the lineup.

      The Canucks’ present problem with Luongo is that Florida has little incentive (and after another season no incentive) to use any wiggle room in favour of putting Luongo on LTIR. If they are replacing him and have the choice of putting him on LTIR or letting him retire, then:

      -if the choice is as of this next summer, then

      -if he retires they same $3.6 million in salary and take an extra $1.3 million per year for 3 years in cap recapture. The recapture is likely illusory though, as they aren’t a team that historically spends to the cap anyway-they may not need the cap space. So, it costs them $3.6 million vs possibly no gain to put Lu on LTIR. They’re better off if he retires

      -if the decision is to be made in the summer of 2020, there is clearly no incentive for the Panthers to put Lu on LTIR. Their recapture would be almost nil so there is no gain. It would cost them $2 million in salary ($1 mm x 2 years) to put Lu on permanent LTIR.

      So why should the Panthers put Lu on permanent LTIR? It would cost them money to do the Canucks that favour, with little or nothing to be gained by them.

      The Canucks, otoh, would probably gain by putting Lu on LTIR. They may be ok with the $2.8 million per season for three seasons if he retired this summer, but it would be difficult if he retired in the summer of 2020 and crippling if he retired in the summer of 2021. If he retired the summer of 2021 they’d be in the position of begging the league to waive the recapture or going to court and hoping to convince a judge that the recapture isn’t unenforceable.

      • obviously this requires the Canucks acquiring his rights but why would Florida not take a 5th or 6th round draft choice for the corpse of Luongo? No recapture and a free asset. Seems like a fairly logical move.

      • Part of it is in Luongo’s benefit. While I think he is only paid 1 mil on the last year of the deal, it’s still a million dollars. If he retires he gets nothing vs 1 mil on LTIR.

  • Luongo’s cap recapture penalty isn’t a real problem. He’ll just go on LTIR until the contract runs out and collect an extra $1M per year for free. Florida or whoever holds the contract will pay him using insurance money and utilize LTIR cap space. Just look at Hossa, Bolland, Clarkson, Horton, etc. If anything, Tallon will probably trade Luongo’s contract to a cap floor team and get an asset or two out of it.

  • A simple but significant change for Goldy would be to just get in somebody’s way every game. Don’t have to be physical, as in bang anybody into the boards,, just be there in the way for some minor collisions. But he’s always fishing with his stick from behind and that drives me nuts .
    He has still not learned where to be and how to get there when they give up the puck.

    • I’ve been calling for that trade for a while. Thought JP would be a great player as watching him in the preseason but then he remembered he was playing for Edmonton. I’d rather roll the dice on Puljujarvi and see if he can develop into a legit Top 6 power forward rather than keep Goldobin (who we know is skilled, soft and a lousy defender). The thing is Puljujarvi has a ton of skill if you’ve watched his non-Oilers highlights and has a big, filled-out frame (and is part-Swedish). Edmonton *never* gives their prospects a chance to learn how to play a professional game, if we are to try to acquire him, we need to move fast. The “full court press” is the perfect opportunity to sell high on Goldobin and buy low on Puljujarvi. I’d actually ask for a few more assets from Chiarelli in that trade (and would probably get them too).