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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Team Tank, Tyler Myers, and Elias Pettersson’s Defensive Game

It seems like the most likely scenario. Tim Schaller seems like the most likely candidate if you look solely at on-ice contributions, but I think the Canucks would be reticent to move on from him already given his contract status, which is why I floated Markus Granlund as a possible option in part one of the mailbag.

The only reasonable justification I can come up with is the same one I gave Darryl Keeping last week: Gudbranson’s struggled mightily in just about every area of the game since arriving in Vancouver, and pairing him with Ben Hutton is basically damage control. You’re not putting him in a top-pairing role, because he’s going to get shredded, and you probably can’t trust a Pouliot-Gudbranson pairing to not get completely embarrassed every other shift, so Travis Green is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In reality, I think the team would be much better off running a second pair of Hutton and Stecher and trying their absolute best to shelter whatever mess of a third pairing they’re left with, but I can see a justification for the way things are at the moment. Of course, if Travis Green actually thinks Erik Gudbranson is his third/fourth best defender, then the team has bigger problems.

Assuming the question is simply which player I’d rather have, I’d have to go with Sutter. He’s younger and has less time left on his deal. In a vacuum, he’s probably a slightly more valuable player, but if I were in Jim Benning’s shoes he would be the one I’d be looking to trade in the future because his value on the trade market is higher. Up until last season I’d have probably said Beagle, because he was still a cheap utility player at that point, but his current contract undoes any value he may have held in the past.

I’m gonna assume that’s a typo, and that you aren’t asking for my opinion on the debate about prospect rankings that seems to occur every summer. Until the team has a sufficient amount of pieces in place and/or is playing sustainably good hockey, I’ll always come down on the side of team tank. The Canucks still have a long way to go, and the best way to get a head start would be to finally trade some of their pieces that have value and get another top pick. They’ll need to start rounding a corner soon, but they just aren’t there yet.

I have no idea, you’d have to ask him.

What I will say is that I think the “coming home” narrative is one that’s overblown by fans and the media. It’s definitely a factor for some guys, but the vast majority of players go where they think they are going to get the best opportunities to play and make money. Working in the same area you went to high school in doesn’t mean much if you can’t guarantee you’ll get playing time.

It depends on the criteria. If you’re talking about where I’d rank them in terms of trade value, Gudbranson would easily generate the most interest, with Pouliot in a distant 2nd place and Tryamkin having almost no value whatsoever given the fact that it’s unclear if he’ll ever return to North America.

In terms of who I actually think is the best player in a vacuum, I guess I would put Pouliot first, followed by Tryamkin and Gudbranson, but to be completely honest I’m not interested in passionately defending my case. I don’t think any of the three ought to be in the Canucks’ future.

Yes, as long as I’m not the one who has to do it.

Sven Baertschi signed a 2-year deal that paid him $1.8 million per year after a 28-point season in 2015-16, and I would expect Goldobin’s contract to land somewhere in that range as well. People forget this, but Baertschi was once a similarly maligned young player and was still considered a big question mark even after showing flashes of brilliance over his first full season with the Canucks. Goldobin is currently lagging a bit behind where Baertschi was at that point, but the cap has also gone up, so I’d expect the figures to be similar.

Edler has earned it, but that’s too much term for a team like the Canucks to commit to a defenseman who will be 33 at the start of that deal. As much as it pains me to say it, the Canucks should probably move on from Edler if they can’t keep the term on his deal down to a year or two, even if he won’t accept a trade. The roster is already too loaded with veterans that are being paid too much for too long, they should avoid making the same mistakes again.

It’s pretty obvious to me why teams have started to get the ball rolling earlier when it comes to trade negotiations. As negotiations inch closer and closer to the deadline, one of the teams generally gets more and more desperate to get a deal done, either because other options have evaporated, or because they can’t afford not to get something for a player on an expiring deal. It makes for shitty television, but it’s the right approach from a hockey operations standpoint.

If the price is right, then sure. My concern would be that guys like Ferland have a tendency to be overvalued for their physical prowess, and Ferland’s track record of producing like a top-six forward really only goes back to last season. He has real value in a complimentary role, but I could easily see teams falling over themselves to give him way too much money and term, so I’d have to know what the deal is before passing judgment.

While a significant portion of Kapanen’s production is the byproduct of playing on one of the league’s best teams, I think you could easily justify signing him to an offer sheet at that figure. He would immediately become the team’s second best right-winger after Brock Boeser, and would give the team another legitimate top-six player to line up alongside one of Bo Horvat or Elias Pettersson. Under most circumstances you’d like to see the Canucks retain their draft picks, but Kapanen is only 22 and is already producing at a 0.62 point per game pace. If the Canucks got a player like that with their second it would be considered a home run, so I think he’s worth the investment.

Aside from the aforementioned Kapanen, I also wouldn’t mind the Canucks taking a look at Andreas Johnsson or even Connor Brown, assuming the cost isn’t prohibitive. Johnsson has 10 goals and 21 points in 40 games this year and is just 24, and Brown is 25 and can play anywhere in your lineup. They’re both complementary players at the end of the day, but they would be a significant improvement over a number of players that are currently in their lineup.

Tyler Myers is a good defenseman, ideally on a second pairing, who will almost certainly get paid way too much come July 1. He’s had a few good offensive seasons in Winnipeg, and his underlying numbers are good, too; but I suspect that at least some of that is a product of being on one of the league’s deepest and best teams. What worries me is that when you look at the factors that often get players overpaid, he checks all the boxes. He’s 6’8″, has draft pedigree, he’s a right-shot defenseman, and has put up the kind of sporadic offensive numbers that can conspire to make a team justify paying him for what he could be rather than what he actually is. If you’re the GM of a contending team who needs help on the right side, maybe you live with the overpayment for what he can help you accomplish in the near future, but for a team like the Canucks he should be a hard pass.

There really isn’t any area of the game that Pettersson hasn’t excelled at. Defensively, he’s been more impressive than I ever could have imagined. The Canucks have controlled a whopping 70% of the goals when he’s on the ice. That simply can’t happen if a player isn’t dedicated at both ends of the rink. He backchecks harder than almost anyone else on the team, he never takes a shift off, and for a player who’s so creative and dynamic with the puck I’ve rarely if ever seen a bad turnover from him. His 49.95 even-strength Corsi % is fourth on the team among Canucks who have played at least 400 minutes, and is in the middle of the pack on the team in terms of the rate of shots and scoring chances against the team concedes with him on the ice. That’s extremely impressive for a rookie. He’s played less than half a season and he’s already making a case that he’s surpassed Bo Horvat as a two-way player. I’ve said before that he reminds me of Pavel Datsyuk, and if this is what he’s capable of at 20 years old, he could challenge for a Selke when he’s in his prime

  • It’s complementary, not complimentary. I try not to be that guy, but that one irks me. To compliment is to say nice things. To complement is to add or supplement something.

  • It would be nice to take the money that they are overpaying to Beagle, Sutter, Gagner, Schaller and Gudbranson and allocate that to overpaying someone like Myers or Stone. There are actually some legit free agents this year and while it’s still early, supplementing the core youngsters with Stone up front, or addressing a big need on d with Myers on the backend would almost make sense at this point.

  • The continued fascination with Tryamkin is bizarre. He’s a mediocre KHL defenseman who hated Vancouver. Move on.

    Regarding offer-sheeting Kapanen, it’d be a smart move, but Benning is way too much of an good ol’ hockey boy to ever use an offer sheet.

  • I don’t use Twitter so hopefully you will answer this question on this venue. If you are in a corner or in front of the net, who do you want to face, Gudbranson or Stecher? I await your answer.

    • Judging by the number of times I’ve seen him lose guys in the corner or in front of the net, I think you’d be surprised by how many people answer Gudbranson…

  • “but I think the Canucks would be reticent to move on from him already given his contract status, which is why I floated Markus Granlund as a possible option in part one of the mailbag.”
    I just don’t see the logic here. Waiving him does not necessarily mean moving on from him. Hopefully he gets claimed, but if not, getting waived and sent down to the AHL isn’t much more of an insult and being a regular scratch, and he would get another shot eventually. So I don’t get how you’d rather waive a contributing Granlund for a guy nobody wants to see in the lineup.

  • Me thinks that you are seriously undervaluing Tyler Myers as a piece that the Canucks need. He’s a huge RHD that clears the front of the net and can contribute offensively and on the PP.

    In addition he’d be a great partner for Quinn Hughes.

  • I loathe the talk about tanking in fact I wouldn’t want a player on my team that would even consider it. Tanking means throwing the game. Ever hear of Shoeless Joe Jackson? I would prefer my players play their best and if they lose they lose. I don’t have much respect for so called fans or commentators on that bandwagon but then I’m older and played a lot of team sports where my team mates didn’t approve of having intimate relations with a canine. This is where superior scouting comes to the fore, like Detroit for so many years.

    • I would never want the players to be team tank, how boring would that hockey be?
      I cheer for them to win when I watch the games, but I cheer for a high draft pick when I read the standings. I’m complicated like that, but I’ve learned to live with myself.

    • It’s highly unlikely that the players would be the ones who would tank, and no one wants that to happen. What commenters and contributors here refer to when discussing team tank is that it’s management that tanks by not providing the coach with players capable of winning consistently at the NHL level.

    • No one is saying the players should tank. Tanking occurs at the managerial level, not the player level. Suggesting that I want players to throw the game is putting words in my mouth.

      Also, all the evidence points to Shoeless Joe not being involved in the Black Sox Scandal, and he should be posthumously reinstated.

      Have a nice day.

  • You can pretty much bet FAs like Myers and Bobrovsky are going to demand and get significant term and money contracts offered them this July 1st. As good as these guys would look on the Canucks they may be too rich for our blood and therefore could run into cap difficulties like TOR is going to and EDM already has. It’d be different if VAN was a present contender but is not the case. Kapenen would make much more sense because he’s still very young. He’s having a better year than Nylander has had, hasn’t he?

  • I don’t tweet, but here’s a question on an offer sheet: what would you do if a team submitted an offer sheet of ten million dollars to Elias? Do you match or take the sudden wealth of picks and swing for the fences on draft day?

    • Is that the highest level? The 4 first round picks? Or then next one down? 2 firsts a second and a third?

      Problem is, those first are spread out over 4 years right? Not sure if the slightly lower one is a 1st 2nd and 3rd rounder in the same year and then another 1st the following year.

      I don’t want the canucks to pay EP 10 million per, but it would be pretty hard see him go and there is no guarantee those 1st rounders are going to be near the top of the draft. And even if they are, the odds are still against you getting anyone who’s going to be as good (only based off his start it’s true…but still).

      Personally I think draft pick value is over rated.

      https://www.tsn.ca/statistically-speaking-nhl-draft-pick-values-1.1119528

      If we take EP as a solid 9, meaning “elite player”, even top 5 picks only average out as 6 to almost 8. So basically top 6 maybe first line is your average. Any first rounder outside the top 5 and the numbers start to drop quickly.

      That’s just too risky. A bird in the hand and all that. I think you have to match the offer. The compensation is just not good enough if he really is this good.

      What do you think? Would you do it?

      • The line needed to receive 4 1st rounders in compensation last offseason $10,148,303. Below that value is 2 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd.

        Tough decision on whether to match an offer. I think I’d take the 4 1st rounders but would match any lesser offer sheet. I agree with others you may not be able to get a player as good as Pettersson but the potential to add several very good players is high. Packaging Sutter or Tanev with a 1st has the potential to bring back a top quality young Dman or centre.

        • You’d want to consider the standings and future for the team that’s making the offer. For example, if San Jose lets go Karlsson and Thornton, they could afford to do an offer sheet over $10M. If San Jose finished 3rd overall in points (as they currently are), you’re giving up Pettersson for the #28 pick in the first year (and likely picking high in the next 3 years too). On the other hand, if Ottawa is making the offer, you’ve got a good chance of picking Top 5 over those 4 years.

          • It’s still a very risky proposition though considering how fast low teams are able to turn around. The Av’s being one example. Simply by adding EP and a couple of FA’s Ottawa could be out of the bottom five in a single off season and back in the playoff fight soon after. Of course they could be as useless as the Oilers and then you’d be right…lol.

    • I’d have to think EP40 is going to to be over $10m on his second contract if not right off the bat anyway. I don’t see a bridge deal for him, he’s getting a ‘generational’ contract.

  • Not sure I would take a “hard pass” on Myers. He may be somewhat overrated, but it sounds like he would be a significant upgrade over Gudbranson, and he still has some good years left. He could potentially form a nice pairing with Quinn Hughes. I agree they need to be wary of wildly overpaying him, but they should talk to him at least.

  • I think the correct move would be to waive Schaller, but alternately they could waive Biega. They did this earlier in the year and Biega cleared and played a bit in Utica before being called up. Granlund is a line-up regular. Both Biega and Schaller have been press box regulars lately. Personally, I think Biega has more value and would waive Schaller. Based on what we have seen earlier in the year, Biega should be garnering some votes as the player to be waived over Granlund.

    • If Schaller is n to going to play, and he won’t as long as the team is healthy, why is there any downside to waiving him? He gets picked up, we drop payroll. He clears, then he has a chance in Utica to show what he is made of.

      • I’ve heard that argument that by waiving him you “send a bad message” to future free agents, but I don’t buy that. Come FA time players are simply thinking about what’s best for them. I sure they couldn’t care less or probably even remember, that a team waved some guy they had just signed as an FA.

        If anything, you could make just as strong an argument that many players would see that as a sign a team was committed to winning and putting together the best team possible. And in their own heads they’ll be thinking “well…I’m not going to get waived, cause I’ll play well for them”.

        Players care about money, and opportunity. Waiving Gagner or Schaller is not going to affect their ability to sign FA’s one bit.

      • Schaller is a fine example of why we need better Pro scouts. I will say this early in the season he was pretty good at possession time in the offensive zone, but that was early in the season and he’s fallen off since that time. It’s make you wonder if the scouts and Green are on the same page ie is Green wanting other attributes that what he has to offer ?

        • Interesting comments from old No 17 yesterday… he must really have hated Vancouver more than we knew.

          “I don’t want to go anywhere. I love my teammates. I have a family, you take that into account. If we are going into a rebuild, I’m going to do my best to teach the kids how to be a pro and how to win.” Ryan Kesler on his Anaheim future.

          Can’t blame Ryan for bailing early on this Benning clown show, but the Ring of Honour looks a longshot now. Shame, we miss him.

          • timmay – You have to be kidding – right? Ring of Honour?? Kesler wanted to be traded in the last season that he was here 2014 – 14. Gillis couldn’t make a deal so Kesler stayed for the season. As soon as Benning was hired Kesler’s Agent was on the phone to Benning to make a deal. Under the circumstances Benning did the best he could in the trade. Last season Kesler only played 44 games with 8 goals and 6 assists. This season to date he has played 44 games and only has 4 goals and 2 assists. His Cap hit is $6.875 M for this year through to the end of the 2021 – 22 Season plus a NMC. So to sum up, Kesler has a Cap hit of $6.875 M for another 3 Seasons after this one and vastly diminishing production. IMO most Canuck fans don’t miss this guy one bit.

          • LT – think bigger picture pal.

            Kes was an absolute beast for us and his current injuries are in fact the culmination of laying it on the line and bringing it for us every night. Ryan belongs in the RoH more than Ohlund and Snepsts for the Nashville series alone!

            Ryan, a Selke winner under GMMG, would still be a fantastic mentor for the kids here and the money he commands is little worse than what Eriksson is mugging us for with ZERO leadership or accountability.

            Sad to say, the same fickle fans who cheered the guy for years are the same ones who now whine, just because he saw what was coming and was honest enough to say “Nope, i’m out”.

            Ryan Kesler… all time Canuck great, Anaheim’s gain is our loss as the last four seasons prove.

          • @timmay… I’m pretty sure the only people here ok with you saying “we” and “us” are your other troll fake ID’s. And your boi ryan is making Loui look pretty good this year… pal

          • If you look out for your team — Ring of Honour.

            Look out for yourself? Probably be a lot of years after your retirement before your name even gets mentioned, never mind added.

            How long did it take Bure to get any acknowledgment? Add a few years to that and then maybe there’s some appreciation for Kes.

  • I cannot comprehend why people are warm to the idea of overpaying for Myers but it’s a bad idea to sign two-time Norris trophy winning defenceman Erik Karlsson. Over the last 5 years, Karlsson has 323 points in 358 games (0.90 PPG) while Myers has 109 points in 281 games (0.39 PPG). The only defenceman to come close to Karlsson’s production over the last 5 years is Brent Burns (0.88 PPG). Myers is #72 in term of PPG in the same period for defencemen who have played more than 10 games. If we had Karlsson and Hughes, we could be deploying an elite mobile offensive D-man for nearly 67% of the game.

  • 2005 Averaged Salary 2017-18 Averaged Salary Draft Pick Compensation
    $660,000 and below $1,339,575 and below No compensation
    $660,001 to $1,000,000 $1,339,576 to $2,029,659 Third-round pick
    $1,000,001 to $2,000,000 $2,029,660 to $4,059,322 Second-round pick
    $2,000,001 to $3,000,000 $4,059,323 to $6,088,980 First- and third-round pick
    $3,000,001 to $4,000,000 $6,088,981 to $8,118,641 First-, second-, and third-round pick
    $4,000,001 to $5,000,000 $8,118,642 to $10,148,302 Two first-round picks and a second- and third-round pick
    $5,000,001 and above $10,148,303 and above Four first-round picks