Some personal stuff came up last week that kept the mailbag a one-parter; but fear not, those of you who didn’t get your questions answered last week will find what you seek here in a special edition of the Monday Mailbag.
What is your assessment of Alex Newhook now?
— mike higashi (@hirokidude) January 27, 2019
I like Newhook a lot and have him near the top of what I’d call the third tier of forward prospects in this draft, after the first tier of Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko and the second of Dylan Cozens and Kirby Dach. I’m always a little concerned about selecting out of the BCHL early in the first round, though. It’s just not nearly as strong of a league and even the best prospects often have growing pains while attempting to adjust to the higher levels. Alex Newhook compares favourably to a lot of the BCHL’s best historical talent, but how good is that talent, really? Kyle Turris is among the most impressive players to ever come out of the BCHL and a very good second-line centre, but would still probably be viewed as a tad disappointing for a third-overall pick. There’s a pretty good chance Newhook can be that good too, but if you’re picking between him and a comparable player from the CHL I’d say he loses the tiebreaker. He’s a great prospect but probably shouldn’t go quite as high as fellow BCHL alum Tyson Jost did just two years ago. He’ll make a great consolation prize once some of the big-name forwards are off the board.
Doesn't it make more sense to trade from the bottom of the defensive roster, ie Pouliout and Gudbranson, rather than the top at this point? There are a few younger left side prospects to try out from Utica this year and Schenn as an option on RHD also for temporary replacements.
— olddatsunfan (@olddatsunfan) January 28, 2019
The desire to see an Alex Edler or Chris Tanev trade has less to do with wanting or needing to move one of those players out than it does with the fact that the Canucks have been in the midst of a rebuild for the past 3-5 years depending on who you ask and haven’t really ever moved a big piece at the height of it’s value. Fans don’t want Edler traded because they need to make room, it’s because he’s easily their most valuable trade chip right now, and the return on a potential Edler deal could bring in the kind of assets the Canucks need to acquire if they want to build a team that can consistently contend for a Stanley Cup.
The reason you’re less likely to hear someone like Derrick Pouliot in trade discussions is because it’s unlikely he holds any trade value. Gudbranson is another story. Most of the fans and the media in Vancouver have figured out that he hasn’t performed as advertised, but he’s got name recognition and it appears that there are more than a few NHL teams who would be interested in him if he were to become available. There are quite a few right-handed defenders available in free agency this summer and I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the Canucks were to part ways with him at the trade deadline.
Had the Canucks chosen Tkachuk over Juolevi in 2016, do you think that he would've blossomed the way that he has, here?
— Alan (@alan_22) January 28, 2019
Yes and no. If the Canucks had selected Tkachuk, there’s no way he would have played in Vancouver in his draft+1 season, so his career totals would be much lower. The Flames were also the more offensively talented team, which allowed Tkachuk to play with some linemates that could complement his skill set. I also think it’s quite likely that Willie Desjardins would have kept him buried on a third or fourth line for much of his rookie season. That having been said, he’s a talented player and that wasn’t going to stay hidden for long regardless of who selected him. The fact that he was able to excel so quickly indicates to me that he was ready to take off as soon as someone let him. That may have taken longer in Vancouver, but he’d still the player he is today.
— CanuckJake16 (@CanuckJake16) January 30, 2019
I’m not sure the Oilers are a great fit to acquire a defenseman from Vancouver. They’d like to make the playoffs, obviously; but they probably aren’t looking for a rental, and I don’t think they’re desperate enough to give up a first round pick for any of the Canucks defensemen now that Peter Chiarelli is out of a job.
Are the Canucks management accounting for the 10 games that Hughes will play and be eligible for the expansion draft?
— Kalen McMurchy (@KalenMcM28) January 28, 2019
I should hope so. The Canucks may not have a great deal of assets worth protecting on the back end, but it would be foolish to give up a protected slot just so Quinn Hughes can play a couple of extra late-season games. It’s possible their hunt for a playoff spot could alter their approach to dealing with Hughes when his season is over, but I’m not sure if being in the hunt will make them more or less likely to get him over the ten-game threshold.
Pettersson didn’t wow at All Star weekend, but I loved his answer that he’s saving goals for the rest of the season. He was having fun with the media, but you know he was also serious. 45 points in 40 games so far… think he’ll hit 80?
— ithinkicanuck (@ithinkicanuck) January 28, 2019
If he continues at his current pace he’ll finish with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80-85 points. With the way he’s performed since his NHL debut and the increase in offense throughout the league this season, I certainly wouldn’t put it past him. My guess is it’s going to be very close either way, but if he stays healthy I think he can reach 80 points just by the skin of his teeth. He’s good enough and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down before the end of the season.
Considering existing prospects, how many pieces are the Canucks away from being a top 10 team in three years. What are those pieces, and how good do they have to be?
— Jay Walker (@Jay_Walk) January 28, 2019
This is a very good question. To be completely honest, if they replaced a couple of players in the bottom-six and on their defense, they’d probably be good enough to win a couple of playoff games this year; but that shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be to build a team that can consistently be among the NHL’s best for a long period of time, and they probably need another core player at forward and on defense and another 3-5 complementary pieces. Their biggest need is on defense, where they need to add another difference maker and preferably another young player who can play in a top-four role when the Canucks are contending again. Individually, I like each of Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Leivo, Jake Virtanen, and Antoine Roussel, but I’m not convinced that’s a good enough group for a contending team, so they could use to add a winger who can play in the top-six. Their long-term outlook at centre and in goal is tougher to gauge because it’s going to depend a lot on the development of Adam Gaudette, Thatcher Demko, and Michael DiPietro, who all look like solid young pieces but are far from proven at their position.
This is why acquiring picks is so important. You never know who’s going to burn out and who’s going to surprise. More than having a need at any one position, the Canucks just need volume at the prospect ranks so they can promote from within instead of consistently getting in trouble in free agency.
What is Edler a worth on the market compared to tanev ? And goldobin stay or go ?
— RusteeG.W.Watts (@rusteeCanucks) January 28, 2019
I’m comfortable saying that Edler could fetch a first-round pick at the very least from a contending team with the way he’s performed this season. That’s not the case for Tanev. It may have been at one time, but with his injury woes and declining underlying metrics, that ship has sailed. His value has greatly depreciated to the point where I’m not even sure he could fetch a second rounder at the deadline this year. I’d like to believe he could but it might be wishful thinking.
As far as Goldobin is concerned, I don’t know why you would choose to move on. Even if you think he only has a 5% chance of realizing his potential, I doubt he has any trade value right now. They might as well hold on to him and do their best to get the most out of him.
Besides $, NTC etc.: what can a NHL organization actively do to comfort the players and thereby make their city/club attractive for future UFAs?
— Daniel Schwarz (@dan_qotsa) January 27, 2019
The simplest way is to just be a good team. Teams in world-class cities or in states with lower tax rates are always going to have a bit of an edge when it comes to signing free agents, but if you win a lot you’re never going to have trouble attracting talent. In addition to the obvious stuff like money, term, security, attraction to the city, etc., most players want to see that they have a defined role on their prospective team and that they can be successful in that role.
How do you think Quinn Hughes and Travis Green are going to get along? From my observation Travis isn’t going to be a big fan of Quinn’s free wheeling playing style. I say they are going to clash and Quinn is going to quickly get disgruntled.
— Peter Genge (@peter_genge) January 28, 2019
I don’t think we should get too ahead of ourselves when it comes to what that relationship is going to be like. In spite of what some of the media would have you believe, Green’s mostly been willing to accept some risk if the reward is there. When it’s gotten sour, like it has with Ben Hutton or Nikolay Goldobin in the past, that’s generally been because it’s not clear that the reward is greater than the risk.
Green’s system actually seems like a good fit for Quinn Hughes because it emphasizes getting the defenders to play a more active role in transitioning the puck into the offensive zone than they did under Willie Desjardins. I’m sure we’re going to see him stapled to the bench at some point because of a bad turnover, but it will be in service of his development, especially in the realm of risk management. Quinn is going to be an excellent defender, but yes, he could use to improve his decision making at times. As long as that doesn’t come at the expense of his creativity I think it will be alright. Then again, it’s impossible to know until we see him in a Canucks uniform.