60
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag (Tuesday Edition): Lots of Questions About Defensemen

My guess would be that he would join the team after his season with Michigan is over. It’s become so common with big-name prospects from the NCAA that it feels like standard practice now. It’s a good way to get the signing over with quickly and generate some interest in the team’s remaining home games if they’re out of the playoff picture. What’s more interesting to me is the question of whether or not he’ll play enough games to require protection in the next expansion draft.

A year or two ago, absolutely. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was offered by the leafs in negotiations a couple of years ago, but the Canucks turned it down wanting more. It’s funny how quickly things change. Tanev’s value has plummeted so much over the past year or so that the Leafs giving up Dermott for him would probably be considered an overpayment by much of the league.

This question was asked before news of the Jaze Muzzin trade broke, but I think that move makes it less likely the Leafs make an offer on any of the defenders that might be available at the deadline.

The Canucks could very easily move out any of Derrick Pouliot, Erik Gudbranson, or Alex Biega and not be any worse off on the back end than they are right now. The question is whether or not there’s a market for any of those players. Gudbranson might still hold a lot of value from the right team, but I don’t really see Pouliot or Biega generating a lot of interest.

The Canucks are in a tough position right now when it comes to fixing their defense. They have some intriguing prospects, but other than Quinn Hughes they don’t have anyone coming who’s guaranteed to make an impact, and this year’s free agent crop boasts a lot of big-name defensemen but hardly any depth. It’s understandable if they don’t really want to move on from anyone in their top four, but the issues that currently plague the Canucks’ defense aren’t likely to get any better as Edler and Tanev get older. They aren’t in an ideal position to trade a defender, but if they’re serious about building for the future they’ll need to increase the number of young assets in their system and the only way to do that is to make a deal

I’ll start by saying that I don’t think there’s much of a market of Markus Granlund, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up on that front.

The emergence of Adam Gaudette is likely to make them feel more comfortable moving on from Brandon Sutter than they’ve ever been at any point over the past couple of years, but I feel confident saying they’re going to wait until after July 1 when his limited NTC kicks in to make a deal. They may wait until next year’s deadline to make sure they’re comfortable with their centre depth, but I think a trade is likely at this point unless something changes.

As far as what it would take for them to trade Erik Gudbranson? I have no idea. They didn’t pull the trigger at last year’s deadline and I highly doubt his trade value has increased at all since he signed his three-year extension.

I’ve wanted Kevin Bieksa to pursue a media career for years now. I didn’t actually watch the ASG this year, but I don’t need to to know that he did an excellent job. Very few players are as genuinely sharp and funny as Kevin Bieksa, and it just seems like a natural progression for him to transition into hockey commentary, either in the booth as a colour commentator, or on the panel between periods.

Bieksa was my favourite Canuck to follow over the course of the Sedin era from a personality standpoint, so I’d be happy to see him return to the game after retirement in whatever capacity he wants, but I hope for the sake of my own entertainment that he decides to become an analyst.

The free agent crop of defensemen is surprisingly thin on the left side this year. There’s Jake Gardiner, who’s still relatively young and produces the type of offense from the back end that will probably make him worth whatever contract he signs this summer, but I’m not sure he’s a clear fit for a team at this stage of their life cycle. I wouldn’t be opposed to them signing a bottom-four guy to a short-term deal for the right price, but there isn’t really a name that jumps out. Braydon Coburn, Ben Chiarot, or Jordie Benn could all play spot duty while the team figures out better long-term options, but it depends on what the money and term would look like. If anyone is asking for more then two years, I’d pass.

I think the real opportunity to move someone out is on the right side, where there are a few more names available this summer. That’s the route I’d go given how rare that is and how difficult it can be to find right-handed defenders.

I’m not convinced there’s a lot there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they signed him jut to shore up prospect depth on the right side. Then again, I also wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they moved on, either. The team hasn’t exactly had the best track record picking defensemen outside the first round, and Matt Brassard hasn’t done quite enough to prove he’s more deserving of a contract than, say, Carl Neill and Tate Olson were at the end of their junior careers. It depends on whether or not the team still sees something there. Looking at the numbers, it really looks like it could go either way, but obviously the team’s staff has had many more chances to see him play than I have.

I’d put them somewhere just outside the top 5, with the Hurricanes, Blackhawks, Islanders, Leafs, and Golden Knights in the conversation as teams with pipelines that are as good or better. You could make the case that a team like San Jose, Ottawa, or Montreal might have better depth, but they don’t come close in terms of talent so it’s kind of a moot point. Sure, Canucks don’t exactly have a ton of depth at the position, but then again, most teams don’t have a prospect as good as Quinn Hughes.

I’m generally not a huge fan of ranking prospect pools as a whole because it’s too volatile and fans have a tendency to put too much value into a top 5 ranking. Truly elite prospects are basically only eligible for a year or two before they make the NHL, so these lists actually have the effect of punishing the teams that draft the best players. For example, this exercise rewards the Canucks for picking Olli Juolevi over someone like Mikhail Sergachev or Charlie McAvoy instead of rewarding the teams who picked a player who’s already in the NHL. To me, it’s a problem that “the Canucks have one of the league’s best prospects pools at defense” and “the Canucks are among the worst teams in the NHL in long-term outlook on defense” are equally true statements.

Regardless, Quinn Hughes still puts them near the top of the list. He’s just that good. Without him, they’d be in the middle of the pack at best; but that’s the difference one talent can make.



  • rediiis

    I thought you did well on a number of sentences. If I said I approve of your fandom, I will get dissed. And, yet I get what your want. It just isn’t gonna happen. They may move Gagner and a lower level Def in Biega or meh, but not edler or tanev. There just isn’t anything out there that can make it work unless is was for kyle connor. As always, my opinion is only for myself.

  • FireGillis

    Oh man, do you watch the games Jackson??? Tanev and edler being healthy is the only reason we’re not last this season. I assume you watch every game so how do you not see how valuable of a hockey player he is??? If we couldn’t even get DERMOTT for him then we would NEVER trade him. Tanev and a 2nd/3rd for liljgren seems like a fair deal to me but if the league values Tanev that little then there’s no reason to trade him. It would be kind of like a josh Donaldson situation: “here’s a former mvp for nothing. Have a good playoffs!” Smh. Screw all you Tanev haters

  • crofton

    ” In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was offered by the leafs in negotiations a couple of years ago, but the Canucks turned it down wanting more.” You should make up your mind…first it was “if” he was offered, and then it was he WAS turned down . Then there are the grammatical fails.

    • FinkFast

      That isn’t a grammatical fail you pedant. The premise of “I wouldn’t be surprised if…” follows through not only to the first clause of “he was offered” but also to the second clause of “but the Canucks turned it down”. If you are going to be petty and pick apart free journalism, at least be correct.

      • crofton

        The grammatical fail refers to the usage of “it” , when used as it is here as referring to negotiations, or the “leafs”. As in negotiations or “leafs” PLURAL. Try turned THEM down, or alternatively, THEY were turned down. So yes, I may be a pedant, but it is a grammatical fail. But go ahead with the name calling, you must have learned at the feet of PQW.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s hard to imagine that Pouliot or Biega have ANY value given that they’ve both successfully passed through waivers previously if I recall (maybe not Pouliot but I have a hard time seeing his value having gone up through his time here).

    I think Liljgren for Tanev straight up might work, in part because while Tanev’s value has clearly regressed, so has Liljgren’s. He’s had seemingly as many injury problems as Tanev and has had pretty inconsistent play in the AHL (he hasn’t dominated and has had a lot of trouble with the defending part of being a defenseman). He’s been jumped on the depth chart by Sandin and I think probably Dermott. A lot of the red flags that caused him to drop so far on draft day seem to have stayed with him.

    I think if you have two competent D like Tanev and Edler, you should hang onto them. The returns for them are diminishing, one at least has long expressed a desire to stay here and has the NMC to help him do that in the short term, and their importance to a team in flux shouldn’t be understated. While the impact of Sutter, Eriksson and Beagle may be overstated, Edler and Tanev’s can’t be, especially with the disaster that the d is without them. I would much rather have the two of them to help the transition (hopefully) of Juolevi and Hughes. Gudbranson for reasons that I cannot fathom still holds value across the league. I would try and offload him for a 2nd if I could (he is a far less competent d than Muzzin so he’s not going to get anything in his range) and keep the two actually good veteran d we have.

    • Puck Viking

      With Muzzin dealt there value has gone up. They are now the two best options available. Would love for a team like tampa or nashville to have an injury on defense that would then force them to pick up an Edler or Tanev. Could then pry away Fabro or Foote.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Now you’re talking. In 3 years time, I don’t want a middling team that makes the playoffs and loses in round 1 or 2. I’ve been waiting far too long to settle for that. I want a team that can challenge for the Cup. They need to trade the vets NOW while they still have value, because Edler, Tanev, Sutter, and Gudbranson are not going to be contributing to a Cup winning team in 2022.

          • LTFan

            BCB – IMO you have over valued these players. I can see a prospect and maybe a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick. Edler and Tanev are staying, if something comes that makes sense up for Gudbranson he would go. Sutter’s value has dropped due to his injuries, maybe another player and a low draft pick. That’s about it.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            “BCB – IMO you have over valued these players.” And yet the leaves just gave up 2 prospects and a 1st round pick for Jake Muzzin, whom I would consider to be of comparable value to Tanev and Edler.

  • Holmes

    The assertion that Tanev’s value has plummeted….how do you know that? If I am guessing, and bc I don’t speak to GMs or scouts, it’s just a guess, I’d say Tanev’s value is higher this year vs last year bc he’s healthy and he is a top-pairing D man for a team in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    • Goon

      I’m curious if this is just an internal assessment or if there’s evidence to back this up.

      It is certainly true that Tanev is not putting up the elite defensive numbers he was in 2014-2017. He’s gone from being one of the best shutdown defencemen in the league to being merely “good”. However, a good right handed D with one year remaining on a reasonable contract still has tonnes of value around the league, and Tanev’s reputation may still be very high with other teams who haven’t caught on that he’s declined somewhat over the past couple of seasons.

      I still think Tanev to the Leafs makes a tonne of sense – even with the addition of Muzzin, their right side is still a wasteland, and if you pair Tanev with a Norris-candidate like Reilly or put him on the second pairing with Gardiner or Muzzin up against softer competition, he’s going to kill it for them.

    • Dirk22

      Tanev’s play has slipped a lot this year, he’s a year older, and his contract (which is very good) has one less year. Those are all big reasons why his value would not be as high. He’s a top pairing D man just like last year so that’s a wash. Despite being in a playoff race his team has virtually the same record it had at this point last year. I don’t talk to GM’s either but there’s no logical way his value has gone up based on the last year.

      The time to trade Tanev was two years ago before his modified no-clause kicked in and he was one of the best defensive defencemen in the league. That would have required foresight though and not a GM trying to scrape into the playoffs to save his job.

      • truthseeker

        Or the offers for him were insulting and he actually had the “foresight” to not make a bad trade. Of course my argument and yours are both pure speculation with absolutely no evidence to support them. Neither of us knows what the situation was 2 years ago with a potential trade of Tanev.

        I agree that there is no way his value is higher than it was, in terms of ability. That’s ridiculous.

        • Dirk22

          If Benning had wanted to target a combination that included some form of high picks/prospects/younger players are you saying that wouldn’t have been available? You’re excusing him on the notion that no one called him to knock his socks off with a deal.

          You’ve written novels on the value of defencemen and Tanev at one time was among the best defensive dmen in the league. Surely there was a worthwhile deal to be made.

          • truthseeker

            I’m not excusing anything. You’re creating a fallacy in your own head about what you think was offered and what you think he missed out on.

            You have no idea Dirk.

            “Worthwhile” to who? You and your standards? Mine? How about Bennings? You don’t know Dirk. You’re speculating. The fact you’re having trouble with the fact you’re speculating is pretty extreme even for you.

            I’m saying I have no idea what was or wasn’t offered to Benning for Tanev Dirk. So it would be absolutely stupid of me to judge him about a non trade of a player who is still of very strong value to the team and doesn’t need to be traded.

          • Dirk22

            Of course its speculating but what’s more realistic:a) Tanev held little relative value in the eyes of other GM’s looking for right-shot defencemen b) Benning did not actively pursue a Tanev trade because he wasn’t interested in trading him.

            You often ‘speculate’ that the value of defencemen is very high in the league – I ‘speculate’ that they could have got a good return for Tanev two years ago. Is there some connection I’m missing there with your logic? It’s no different from me ‘speculating’ that a player like Panarin or Faulk could get a good return – of course there’s no way of me knowing that directly but you’re acting like I’m taking a shot in the dark by wildly guessing Tanev held good value.

            And of course this will lead to what a ‘good return’ is. I know you don’t value draft picks as you feel these players that will lead the Canucks to the promised land will appear out of thin air. I’m not interested in getting into a debate over that. You’ve cited numerous examples of the good trade returns that defencemen can bring so you can start there – unless you don’t think Tanev applies for some reason. That would look pretty silly though.

          • truthseeker

            In my opinion probably A. Which means Benning was doing an excellent job by not trading him. This seems to be the point you disagree with. So I’ll ask you a question. If the best offer Benning got for Tanev was a 7th round pick, would you think it was a mistake not to trade him for that? If your answer to that is no, then you obviously understand the concept that Benning has a price in mind and if it’s not met, then there is more value in keeping Tanev. Yet you still seem to want to punish him for your speculative assumption. Do you not see why your whole line of reasoning is flawed?

            And I’m not speculating at all about the value of D men Dirk. The exact opposite. (which you later appeared to understand in your 2nd to last sentence, but didn’t seem to be able to apply that logic prior.) I use trade precedent to prove the value of D men. So no Dirk, it’s not the same as what you’re doing at all. Like not even close.

            And nice strawman again Dirk. lol. Feel free to find a quote where I said I “don’t value draft picks”. There you go again. Flat out lying. Not sure why you always feel the need to lie like that. Maybe it’s out of frustration for not being able to logically counter the points I make, so you feel frustrated, but still feel the need “win” the argument at whatever cost. Letting your emotionalism get in the way. The worst thing is, I really think it’s so internalized for you that you actually think a response like that IS a counter argument.

            Once again Dirk…just to pull you back into reality, and because I’ve sourced it SO many times I’m not sure how I could make it anymore clear. I value draft picks based on the chart at TSN which I’ve post the link to many many many times. You’re one who’s defended the stats geeks here, yet your strangely silent when I use that chart and never seem to respond to the points I make using it as my source. Just silence. I suspect it’s because deep down you’re a believer in the “longshot”. You ignore the facts about draft pick odds of success and base your decisions simply on the fact that some of them work out and become superstars. In short “testimonial” reasoning. Thus you have no logical counter argument to what that chart provides so you simply ignore it every time it comes up. And then the next time you just go back to making the same illogical point, like it was never addressed in the first place. lol.

            You can take some solace, I guess, in the fact that it’s a common tactic around here, and that you’re not the only one. But that doesn’t make any of you who do that, any less wrong.

          • Dirk22

            “Well he’s one of our best defencemen. I’m going to look at all of our options but for us to move him off our blue line we’d have to get a good defencemen back….I think we’re going to have a lot of young players in our lineup next year, and we want to be competitive in games. Chris Tanev is still a relatively young player for a defencemen.” – Benning in 2017

            “Exactly what I’ve been saying all along. Draft picks are over rated.” – Truthseeker

            “Personally I think draft picks are highly over rated. Even first round picks. There is just so much failure or mediocrity that doesn’t seem to be accounted for by most fans, who at the same time assume 1st rounder automatically means “potential superstar”. – Truthseeker

            They say that providing more evidence to people you are in denial of something doesn’t actually do anything change a person’s opinion so I’m not expecting much. The first quote clearly states what Benning was after in a trade and how he valued having experience on his blueline over draft picks etc. Fair enough but certainly goes against the premise that he was shopping Tanev for some kind of ‘futures’ package. The other quotes lays out an oft repeated phrase by you. I’m sure you’ll do your best to argue the semantics of “over rated” and “doesn’t value” – save your energy.

            As for the Cullen article you often cite – I didn’t realize you wanted me to comment on it! I’ve read that one and many others and understand exactly the small percentage chance that most draft picks will turn into difference makers. That’s why I’ve always wanted high draft picks for the Canucks during this rebuilding phase, as well well as high volume of picks.

          • truthseeker

            Yeah, save my energy because as soon as you knew you couldn’t find a place where I said “don’t value” you f…ked up. Save your BS dirk. You f…ked up logically AGAIN and I called you out on it. Just be a man and admit it.

          • truthseeker

            Seriously…what’s wrong with you. In what world does over rated = not value?

            Over rated means OTHER people value something TOO much. Not that that thing has no value.

            For f…k sakes you’re thick. It’s amazing how you could type that out and think you’re making a logical argument….lol…your example is exactly correct. Logically “I did not say that”. Holy f…k man. Talk about doubling down on stupidity.

    • Nuck16

      I laugh when I hear pundits constantly saying the Tanev is having a bad season so we should trade him now while he still has value. Anyhoo, we should not be trading Tanev until we have a log jam of NHL ready D prospects with nowhere to put him. I reality, right now, we could use another carbon copy of Tanev on the team until we do have more promotion worthy D prospects.

  • Canuck4Life20

    ‘The Canucks could very easily move out any of Derrick Pouliot, Erik Gudbranson, or Alex Biega and not be any worse off on the back end than they are right now.’

    When you make a statement like this what do you base this on? Who are the three players that are available to replace them?

    As for Sutter, I think they should try to trade him at the deadline by selling him on the fact that he will have more control over his destination now than when the modified clause kicks in.

    • Goon

      Biega could replace either Pouliot or Gudbranson, or the team could call up Schenn to replace any of these players, and they’d be no worse off. They’ll also have the option of bringing in Hughes shortly after the deadline. I think there’s a reasonable case to be made that a Hughes/Biega or Hughes/Schenn pairing would be better – possibly even significantly better, depending on how fast Hughes adjusts to the NHL, than Pouliot/Gudbranson, which is a truly terrible 3rd pairing.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      “Who are the three players that are available to replace them?” Well, considering that Guddy is statistically the worst defenseman in the entire NHL, Biega is a career 7/8 guy, and Pouliot, despite having enormous potential, can’t stop giving the puck away, I’d say pretty much any d-men in your system, wouldn’t you?

      • Canuck4Life20

        No I wouldn’t say that. Just because these three players are not living up to expectations doesn’t automatically mean that there is someone in the AHL who is better. I want to know who we are going to replace these guys with. And saying ‘anyone’ is not a good answer.

        • Beer Can Boyd

          Sorry. Hughes, Julolevi, Hatfield, Woo, Sautner and even Schenn, who is statistically better than Guddy. Hows that? Biega is going nowhere, and Pouliot is basically worthless, so this “void” wouldn’t happen until the off-season anyway.

          • Canuck4Life20

            The off-season is a completely different story. The comment spcifically says he would move on from those players right now and that’s why I had an issue with it.

            Schenn for Gudbranson might be the most realistic move and if you could get a pick for Gudbranson it makes a lot of sense but it’s a lateral move that doesn’t make the team any better. Beyond that, none of the players that you listed have proven that they’re ready for the NHL and half of them aren’t even available right now.

  • TD

    I haven’t watched Quinn Hughes play much, but what I have seen is a dynamic skater who is a zone exit and entry machine. But he also gave a ton of pucks away at the world juniors and only had 2 points in 7 games against junior level competition. The player on the Canucks he reminds me of most is Pouliot. He definitely is more dynamic, but also seems to play an even higher risk game. I find Pouliot very frustrating because he makes some excellent passes and plays followed by a glaring mistake that ends up as a goal against. Carol Schram’s most recent article had Hughes in the disappointing category in her prospect review commenting on three horrible goals against in a game at MSG. There were similar comments after the last CA article about who he may partner with next year. The skills are there, but I’m not convinced his game is NHL ready. The players he will be facing in the NHL will be much better than at the WJC.

    I hope my concerns are unfounded, but I’m not as convinced as Jackson that he is ready to be a game breaker in the NHL.

    • Defenceman Factory

      Hughes will be a very good NHL Dman but agree we may be over optimistic about how fast that happens. It isn’t his performance at the WJC that gives me pause. At the tournament he played very well and worked hard to carry his team. He often tried to do too much and took risks but that looked more an issue of needing goals and playing with unfamiliar teammates.

      Hughes will get a lot less time and space in the NHL. It’s a lot to expect he can adjust to that right away. I think he will be fine on offence but he has never faced anything close to an NHL forecheck and I won’t be surprised if he struggles.

    • kermit

      Hughes dominated during the early rounds of the WJC, but he became less so as it progressed to the elimination rounds. Don Taylor was interviewing the Wolverines coach yesterday and he said that Quinn gets into trouble when the team is behind and he tries to be the difference maker. The results are predictable. More solo rushes, less use of teammates, more skating into trouble. He didn’t do this in the World Championships last year. Out against NHL players he took far fewer chances. The difference was in his attitude. He didn’t feel a need to stand out, just to prove that he deserved to be there. It shows he can adapt to a situation. I imagine TG will tell him to take it slow, the Canucks have systems and he will have to fit into them. Petey has raised our expectations of what a rookie is cable of, Quinn will have some spectacular moves on rushes, but he won’t be Petey. We will have to be more patient.

    • Defenceman Factory

      Interesting but I would say no. I’m not sure Makar has as high a ceiling as Hughes. The uncertainty around Juolevi gives me pause. Canucks don’t have great prospect depth on either side of the D. The move might just be moving the biggest gap from the right to the left side.

  • petey 40

    It is both baffling and disgraceful that under Benning our current (unchanged) D and paper thin prospect pool of Defencemen is so pi$$ poor after five seasons when our GM was himself a 6th overall pick with 610 NHL games and 243 points to draw from… as a Defenceman. Terrible mis-management anyway you slice it.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Julolevi, Hughes, Woo, Rathbone, Chatfield, Sautner, Brisebois…. c’mon Petey, its not that bad. Plus Stecher and Hutton, and I’m sure Jim will draft a couple more this year.

      • petey 40

        Too many huge question marks with all of the first batch of ‘prospects’ Beer, especially injury bust Juolevi.

        If you had listed the likes of Sergachev, McAvoy, Chucyrun, Fabbro, Hague, Dobson, Bouchard etc instead I would be alot more leniant on Benning, who told us himself you “build from the net out”… and hasn’t.

        “I like our goaltending, I like our defence now. I can’t wait until the season starts.” – Benning 2017/18

        This, coming from a guy who sits third all-time for points on D behind only Housley and Orr before turning 19 is massively concerning.

        • jaybird43

          Petey 40, how can you produce this list as an “indictment” of Benning with a straight face. Including Quinn, your list of “Sergachev, McAvoy, Chucyrun, Fabbro, Hague, Dobson, Bouchard” those eight players was in the first round, of three years. Expecting Benning to get three first round picks every year, and use them on defenceman (“Hey, lets NOT draft Pettersson, whatchu think guys? Guys? Hello?”) is ridiculous magical thinking. How about focus on what’s normal or even slightly above average expectations for the GM?

          • petey 40

            Missing the point as usual, walker… ANY of those mentioned would be a massive upgrade on the current D prospect pool and indeed most of the current Canucks D.

            The terrible Juolevi pick and the second rounder wasted on Lind when Nic Hague was there for the taking (a 6′ 6 220 beast on fire in the AHL with a PLUS 20 rating) are particularly jarring from a former NHL D-man and supposed draft guru… whose top two defenders are STILL from previous regimes FIVE SEASONS on!

  • Kanuckhotep

    The D man scenario on this club which delves in a state of uncertainty engenders many different opinions obviously. I’ve said all along the presence of Edler and Tanev provide steadying influences to younger blue liners. Are they older and a bit slower than they use to be? Yes. Will Eddie and Tani be here for another 5 years? No. But also do you part with #23 and #8 and replace them with unproven rookies and prospects at this particular stage? Definitely not. Hughes is coming and maybe Juolevi too but unless Benning pulls off a major trade or FA signing coup to bring in a proven veteran blue liner Alex or Chris or both may be here for at least a couple of years yet. Who doesn’t want Hughes, OJ, Woo and Chatfield to crack the line up and succeed. It just can’t happen all a once.

  • liqueur des fenetres

    As much as we’ve got to hate the Kings based on history, you have to admire what their management is doing as soon as they saw the season was a mess. First they hire Coach Willie to secure a bottom 3 finish, then they swap a vet for a late first rounder plus two guys with fair potential while freeing up some cap space.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I made this comment in another thread, but I’m going to repeat it. I loved the Quinn Hughes pick. But wouldn’t this season’s results suggest he hasn’t taken much of a step over last year? Scoring in NCAA up a little, but +/- way down and it’s not hard to find highlight reels full of his glaring mistakes. Good in the WJC, but not dominant, with 2 points in 7 games. Isn’t it possible he starts next year in Utica?

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        Well he gets paid $0 to play at Michigan. And he wouldn’t necessarily stay in Utica that long, not to mention that all ELC make players waivers exempt, so really the point is that the team should sign him this off-season, allow him to try to play his way on the team in pre-season, but not gift him a spot if it seems he stands to improve his game in the AHL.

        • Defenceman Factory

          It’s not that I think it’s a bad idea Hughes play in Utica next year I just don’t think he leaves college if that’s the plan. The stipend he would be paid is no real enticement to leave his scholarship.

          He certainly will not sign in the offseason. If he is going pro next year he will definitely want to burn the 1st year of his ELC this spring.

          • DogBreath

            His coach came on the radio this week and said he’s done in Michigan next year (not the coach’s preference, but he needs to be challenged at a higher level). That’s telling. So, he’ll bring his offensive game to the next level, with his defensive game determining whether he’s ready for prime time or needs some seasoning in the AHL. If he’s not ready defensively, let’s not rush the guy. Too much is riding on his success.

          • Chris the Curmudgeon

            I think you’re ascribing a little more leverage to him than he actually has. An academic scholarship allows him to pay for his tuition etc, but it is a far cry from a professional contract. And an AHL contract is FAR from a stipend, it’s a legitimate living salary with the possibility of being called up, and that’s a major contrast from sleeping in the dorms and going to class. And it is actually fairly rare that players choose to “wait it out” in college rather than get their pro career going, especially if they are a top prospect who is certainly destined for the NHL and not likely to finish their degree. I think it is pretty unlikely that he places conditions on his turning pro that he be allowed to “burn a year”, since his alternative is to go back to school and then hope to “burn a year” next spring instead (the same year he would have “burned” by actually playing a full year of pro hockey, getting paid, and trying to stick in the NHL), in that case costing him a season off the front off his pro career without much gained. So your logic is a bit questionable on that front, in my opinion. I think he would probably assume that even if he started next season in the AHL, he could play his way to the NHL mid-season: that still counts as a year on his ELC, it pays him an NHL salary, and it gets him a short period of time at a much higher competition level than he would get in his junior year.

            Plus, burning a year isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. You get fewer negotiation rights for your RFA contract that could depress the value of your future pay.