What's the best way to take advantage of the Leafs salary cap situation? Is getting Kapanen or Johnsson possible? How about for the Jets?
— Marcus (@marvmol) March 24, 2019
The Maple Leafs currently have about 3 or so million dollars in cap space with another 8 million or so coming off the books this summer. I’d imagine most of that space is going to be taken up by Mitch Marner, who will need a new contract that ought to be in line with the $11 million dollars they’ll be paying Matthews and Tavares. If the Canucks are interested in getting Kapanen or Johnsson their best bet would be sign each of them to 3-4 million dollar offer sheets under the assumption that the Leafs can’t afford to keep them both. Another strategy would be to look at taking back an ugly contract like Patrick Marleau in addition to Johnsson or Kapanen as a way to drive the price down. Winnipeg’s situation is more complicated because essentially half their roster are going to be RFAs or UFAs this summer, but I think the Canucks could pry some decent talent from both teams if they get creative.
I'll ask you for a prediction; what do you think will be the top 3 storylines of this Canucks off season?
— Barry Luka (@BarryLuka) March 24, 2019
- Whatever happens with the front office, if they stay, if they go, or if someone is added.
- Whatever the team does in free agency.
- Prospects, the draft and/or how the Comets will handle the influx of another crop of rookies.
This is something i waffle on constantly, is Ben Hutton a top 4 Dman if he were playing on a contending team?
— Reuben Hubbard (@Reubenhub) March 24, 2019
It’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but I think it depends on who his partner is. I’m convinced Hutton can keep up with any high-end right-handed defender in the league, but he’s probably not going to carry a pair on his own. He’s never going to be an elite puck-moving or shot-suppressing D, but his play with Troy Stecher and Chris Tanev indicates that he’ll be able to play with guys that are.
Ideally, he’s a number 3 or 4 when paired with a good partner, or a number 5 if he’s tasked with carrying a pairing.
With the season almost over, any way-too-early predictions for next season?
— UberTrout (@UberTrout77) March 24, 2019
To be honest I can see the next 18 months or so going a thousand different ways. I’m going to assume that the current management group remains intact and make an incredibly bold prediction: the Canucks will overspend in free agency on someone like Wayne Simmonds or Micheal Ferland, the team will sputter out of the gate, and Bo Horvat will be floated in trade rumours as a chip to kick off an honest-to-god rebuild before the end of the season. I doubt he ever gets moved, but if the Canucks have another bottom-ten finish people will start to talk about it.
would there be any point in naming a hockey operations president Benning reports to instead of just replacing Benning?
— grant (@thepowderfinger) March 24, 2019
I’ll be completely honest, I don’t see anything in Jim Benning that would indicate to me that he’s the kind of executive you really want to hold on to in the midst of a regime change. Most of the organizations biggest successes can be traced back to Judd Brackett and Thomas Gradin, and aside from the draft (upon which the influence of the general manager is greatly exaggerated), I just don’t see what exactly it is you’d be afraid of losing if you decide to change directions in the front office. I think if and when changes happen, completely cleaning house (aside from the scouting department) is what would make the most sense.
is there any talk of Baertschi having a mental health issue rather than a concussion?
— thirdlinewinger (@thirdlinewinger) March 24, 2019
I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s never one or the other when it comes to concussions. A concussion is, simply put, an injury to the brain and thus a mental health issue by definition. We tend to focus a lot on the most obvious side effects of post-concussion syndrome such as dizziness, nausea, loss of memory, sensitivity to noise, drowsiness, and trouble concentrating; but anxiety, depression, and irritability are also incredibly common. I would imagine having issues with brain function coupled with being unable to return to the game you love would be enough to send even the happiest people into a depressive spiral. So, I think it’s impossible to untangle one from the other. Baertschi is struggling with post-concussion symptoms, and if they’ve predominantly manifested as issues with anxiety or depression, it would still be 100% accurate to say he’s dealing with the effects of his concussion.
Will Horvat have a decent winger next season?
— RandyRanderson (@DangerZoneRandy) March 24, 2019
It depends on your definition of “decent”. I’m convinced the Canucks are going to target a winger to play with Horvat in the offseason, but how good that winger is is going to depend heavily on what the Canucks are willing to commit and what players are interested in signing with Vancouver. I’d be willing to bet that Horvat’s options on the wing will look better next year, but we might be looking at a Micheal Ferland or Ryan Dzingel as opposed to an Artemi Panarin or Jeff Skinner.
What are the Canucks top ten feel good, or positive stories of the year? Can we try for 9 without Pettersson
— Danno (@8danno4) March 25, 2019
- Obviously, as you stated, the most positive story has to be that Pettersson has quickly adapted to the NHL and has already become arguably the team’s best forward and has a decent chance to be the first player to sweep the Calder vote since Teemu Selanne.
- Bo Horvat continuing to develop into a legitimate top-six centre and increasing his total output for the third straight year.
- Jacob Markstrom playing like a Vezina-calibre goalie in 2019.
- Getting out from under the Erik Gudbranson contract.
- Antoine Roussel’s career year.
- A renaissance season from Alex Edler
- Significant improvements from Jake Virtanen, Troy Stecher, and Ben Hutton.
- Quinn Hughes’ NHL debut (TBA).
- Adam Gaudette’s NHL debut (TBA).
- Surprise breakout seasons by Tyler Madden and Jett Woo.
I’d add that the Leivo trade was definitely a win for the organization, but I’m not sure how much of a feel-good story that is. Who says we can’t be positive?