Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Fever Edition

Author’s Note: My apologies for the tardiness. I am very sick! With Ryan away on vacation, I have taken up editing duties over the past week, and finishing the mailbag in time for it’s usual Monday morning/afternoon launch time just wasn’t going to happen. Expect everything to be back to normal next week.

Even if we set aside reports that the 2020 draft is deeper, picks are never worth more than they are at the draft; so at this stage it makes sense to prioritize getting picks at the 2020 draft, which are likely to come at a lower cost. If the Canucks want to get the best possible value for their assets, their best bet might be to wait until Day 2 of the draft and target 2020 picks in return for role players.

Beyond the second or third round, though, I expect the difference to be pretty small. In historically deep drafts, the real value seems to be at the start of the second round, where you might be lucky enough to find a Sebastian Aho or Alex DeBrincat. If we’re talking 5th or 6th round picks, I would suspect the year won’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

There is in the sense that Travis Green likes his defensemen to be more active on the breakout than some coaches and that Gudbranson was uniquely ill-suited for his system. I wouldn’t be surprised if, on a superficial level, he has a bit more success in Pittsburgh, where the strategy seems to be to rattle the puck off the boards and allow the Penguins’ skilled forwards to chase after it.

I don’t think Gudbranson was wrong to think that the organization was a bad fit for him, but it also isn’t enough to account for how badly he struggled in Vancouver.

I’m going to have to disagree with my colleague on this one. Nikolay Goldobin has looked more like the player we saw at the beginning of the season over the last stretch of games, but the title of “best Canuck” has to go to Jacob Markstrom, who ‘s faced 182 shots over his past 5 games and stopped 171 of them, for a save percentage of roughly .939.

I’ll admit, this has a lot to do with the different ways that we value players. Markstrom’s job is to stop pucks and he’s done so. Goldobin’s job is to put up points and he hasn’t. Obviously, luck plays a huge role in that, but results have to count for something.

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The Chelldude was a human experiment conducted by the podcasting institute in an attempt to create a superhuman posting machine. He broke free from the lab and killed three social media interns and has not been seen since. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of the Chelldude, please contact the local authorities.

*Mike later clarified he meant 2020 picks, not 2018 picks.

My hope would be that their reticence to trade away picks is a trend that continues for as long as the Canucks are in the midst of their rebuild, but my guess is that we’ll see them part with a couple of 2020 picks in trades designed to make them more competitive in the short-term. I just don’t think Jim Benning and co. can expect to be given much more rope if they don’t turn things around soon.

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With Gudbranson now plying his trade in Pittsburgh, I’d have to think Tyler Myers would be at the top of their list. He brings most of the same qualities to his game that made Gudbranson a target in the past, but comes with considerably less flaws. He’s not someone I would target, but I think the Canucks would have interest. My guess is with all their cap space they’ll make calls to all the big names but will likely strike out on Erik Karlsson and Jake Gardiner. They’re little shallow on the right side, so I could also see them having some interest in Adam McQuaid on a short-term deal to facilitate a Chris Tanev trade.

  1. Elias Pettersson
  2. Bo Horvat
  3. Jacob Markstrom
  4. Brock Boeser
  5. Troy Stecher

Honourable mentions: Antoine Roussel, Ben Hutton, Nikolay Goldobin, Jake Virtanen.

It’s very close, but I’ll give the edge to Pearson, who’s a bit younger and has shown more of a scoring touch over the course of his NHL career. My preference would be to jettison one of the Canucks’ bevy of underperforming bottom-six wingers and keep both, though.

I’d be very surprised if the Canucks let Lockwood get through his fourth year of college and risk losing him to free agency unless that’s what he wants. It’s important to remember that NCAA players have more leverage in these negotiations than their CHL counterparts, but I’ve been given no indication that Lockwood wishes to sign with any team other than the Canucks.

As far as what we should all expect, if Lockwood can play in a middle-six role and finish the season with somewhere in the realm of half-a-point-per-game, that should be considered a huge win. I’m considerably less high on Lockwood than the Canucks’ other selections of of the United States, and see his ceiling as a third-line utility winger. A decent rookie season with the Utica Comets with an eye on making the big club in 2020-21 is probably the realistic best-case scenario.

My preference would be to see the team trade one of their centres for help elsewhere, but the issue is that after Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat, they don’t have a lot of movable assets. Brandon Sutter is still their best trade chip at centre, but with his injury status you have to think that he’s not going to yield a great return. If anything, I would expect to see any trade involving Sutter to be similar to the Erik Gudbranson trade: a one-for-one swap of depreciating assets looking for a change of scenery.

It’s a shame. Teams were calling the Canucks about Brandon Sutter at last year’s deadline, but the Canucks refused to act. The front office’s lack of foresight has led to the diminished trade value of Sutter, Chris Tanev, and even Erik Gudbranson, for whom the Canucks were reportedly offered Miles Wood from the New Jersey Devils and a 2nd and 4th round pick from a mystery team at last year’s deadline. Sutter’s limited NTC kicks in on July 1, which will make him easier to trade, but I doubt the return will be what it could have been just a year ago.

  • Jamie E

    “It’s a shame. Teams were calling the Canucks about Brandon Sutter at last year’s deadline, but the Canucks refused to act. The front office’s lack of foresight has led to the diminished trade value of Sutter, Chris Tanev, and even Erik Gudbranson, for whom the Canucks were reportedly offered Miles Wood from the New Jersey Devils and a 2nd and 4th round pick from a mystery team at last year’s deadline. Sutter’s limited NTC kicks in on July 1, which will make him easier to trade, but I doubt the return will be what it could have been just a year ago.”

    You’re darn right that’s a shame. I almost wish Benning was worse at drafting so his other glaring deficiencies as a GM weren’t masked. Aside from drafting he is downright abysmal at just about every other aspect of the job. I really, genuinely fear he is going to do something (or several things) enormously stupid in free agency this year with the Canucks available cap space to try and save his job. Desperation in a GM is never pretty.

    • Goon

      He was re-signed last year so he’s not going anywhere in the near future. I think if the Canucks don’t take a significant step forward next season he’ll probably be shown the door, and rightfully so – if you can’t turn a team around in six years, you’re not doing your job.

  • Bud Poile

    Sutter’s surgery sets back the timeline to trade him.
    His MNTC kicking in coincides with hopefully a full recovery.
    Gaudette can play in Utica until Sutter brings his market value forward.

    • Braindead Benning

      Like Gunbranson, Sutter has been a disaster in every aspect besides the PK, JB payed WAY to much to acquire then and both players did not pan out for this team… I am sure going forward Sutter might have a place somewhere else, however not on the Canucks… C’est la vie

      • DJ_44

        …. Which lends less credence to the rumors (again propagated here) that there were offers on the table at last years TDL for soon to be UFA and injured to the point of requiring surgery Erk Gudbranson. These did not pass the smell test then and still do not.

        • Goon

          Gudbranson wasn’t injured at last year’s deadline, pending UFAs hold significant value to teams at the trade deadline, and these rumours have been reported by some fairly reliable people, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

          • Goon

            Then why was he playing 23 minutes a night up to the trade deadline?

            Either he was healthy enough to play and healthy enough to be traded, or he was not healthy enough for either.

            My understanding was the shoulder injury was nagging, but not season-ending. The fact that he continued to play 20+ minutes a night backs that up. Most players deal with these kinds of chronic issues.

            In other words, Gudbranson was healthy enough to be traded, or the Canucks medical staff was grossly negligent. Pick your poison.

          • Goon

            This is all handwaving by DJ and Bud. You can’t move players on the injured reserve. Gudbranson was not on the injured reserve. Having a chronic problem that’s causing you pain but not keeping you out of the lineup does not prevent you from being traded, full stop.

          • Goon

            So they’re out of a playoff position and believe his injury is so bad that he couldn’t be traded, but they continue to play him for months?

            I’m not sure this is a position that shows the Canucks in a better light.

            Most players in the league are playing with some degree of injury. If they’re cleared to play, they’re cleared to be traded.

          • DJ_44

            I really do not care about the light in which it shows the Canucks.

            Your logic is flawed. Gudbranson’s value at the TDL (as a rental) is predicated on health and his ability to play games. You stated his value is increased as a soon to be UFA. Not so fast. There is negative motivation for Gudbranson to play through injury (especially chronic injury) since he does not have a contract.

            Do you think teams that would look to acquire him at the TDL are not aware of that fact? Are they blind to the medical reports that state the shoulder (pretty important for a physical defensemen) will require surgery?

            Not saying the Canucks may not have wanted to move him, I find it highly suspect that they could have given his medical condition. Nothing you have stated refutes this fact …. other than he was “cleared to play”.

            He played on Feb 26th after signing and extension, which provided security should injury occur.

  • Holmes

    Gawd, would have loved to see Wood come over to the Canucks. Down year this year but the kid can score, fight, hit. He plays the way I’d like to see Jake V play. If Benning turned down a 1-for-1 trade for Gudbranson, that is a problem.

    • Braindead Benning

      Who knows if that trade proposal ever happened… Probably all hearsay.

      JB reminds me alot of Dave Nonis. Both GM’s make lateral moves, however, at least Nonuts made at statement when acquiring Loungo. The only $hit move Nonuts did was re-acquiring Sopel from LA


  • Kanuckhotep

    I would think this June and July will tell a clearer tale of Benning and his cohorts as to who he drafts, who he signs and who he turfs. After 50 years of this you’ve seen it all but I agree with someone’s comment on here that in effect if the Canucks do not make considerable gains and noise in 19-20 how much future does the present management team have? I love GMJB’s drafting but it’ll take more than just a scout’s eye to right this ship. Am no expert on this but another season next year not making the post season would not be good for fans, players and most of all management. I hope there is no pathos in still having hope.

  • Sandpaper

    Pretty sure that any CHL player, does not have to sign with the team that drafts them and are then re-entered into draft, provided they are in 1st year of eligibility, after 2 years.
    Not sure what the advantage/disadvantage may be for NCAA players over CHL players.

  • Dirty30

    With TO looking at some cap issues soon, would it be worth taking Marleau’s contract and take Kadri as compensation? The Canucks can afford the one year hit of Marleau’s contract and gives you an improvement at centre. Trade Sutter for anything to just move him. That gives you Petey, Bo, Kadri, Gaudette/ Beagle down the middle.

    Marleau may not be the player he was, but he’s still better than most of the top six wingers playing for the Canucks now.

    JB can try to offload Loui to Ottawa even if it’s a 3-way deal that nets this team nothing but Ottawa might get something from another team. At this point it’s about clearing the roster and the cap. Besides which, if you get Marleau he couldn’t play any worse than Loui does.

      • Dirty30

        Lots of players with nmc’s have been moved. He’s currently 39, likely his last year of playing and depending on how this season goes, might be open to it or not.

        Unless Toronto has some really creative ideas about the cap they will likely have to move someone somewhere.

        • Nuck16

          Speaking of NMC’s, I hear Eddy is asking for one….under no circumstance should we give him one with the expansion draft coming, or if we do give him one, then max 2 year deal.

  • Nuck16

    The big mystery with Guddy is how did he play so amazing during that 5 game stretch towards the beginning of this season where he had 5 points in 5 games and look like a poor man’s Bobby Orr (really really poor, like borderline bankruptcy)