Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Loui Eriksson to the Sens, Top Prospects for the 2019 Draft, and Rethinking Tuesday Jim

Absolutely. When it comes to a possible Eriksson trade, the Canucks should be targeting cash-poor teams who need to reach the cap floor and can’t afford to pay players who aren’t going to suit up for them. That’s how the Leafs managed to trade David Clarkson’s contract, and for whatever it’s worth, Eriksson appears to be a more useful player at this stage of his career than Clarkson was when he was traded. If the Canucks take enough dead salary back, they may even be able to pry an asset out of a team like Ottawa.

This is a great question. I’d imagine there’s a reason why bonus payments line up with the first day of a contract year but I don’t know if it’s done for legal or bookkeeping reasons. Giving teams the option to move bonus payments around is a decent idea if they want to see more trades at the draft.

Nothing is going to expedite the rebuild quite like adding an NHL-ready centre with the potential to be an elite contributor like Jack Hughes, so trading him or the first overall pick that will be used to select him should be off the table. Any team with Hughes, Pettersson, and Horvat as their top three centres is likely to be attractive to free agents, and the added forward depth would give them the freedom to look at moving a Jake Virtanen or Adam Gaudette for defensive help. It won’t be a popular answer, but if the Canucks were to draft Jack Hughes and they absolutely felt that they needed to trade a big-name centre for a defenseman, their best option from a risk/reward standpoint would be Bo Horvat.

Adam Fox is as close to a sure thing as you can get from a player not currently in the NHL. He’s the best amateur defenseman in the sport and will come cheap and NHL-ready the moment a team inks him to an ELC. The Canucks should move Heaven and Earth to get him to sign in Vancouver, and if that means making a trade, then I’m all for it; as long as they don’t sell the farm, obviously.

It will really depend on what the front office looks like going into next season. If the Canucks retain all their Hockey Ops staff and don’t add anybody then I can’t really see them making a ton of changes. Eriksson will probably be gone, and I won’t be surprised if they move on from Sutter, Goldobin, and/or Granlund, either. If there’s a new-look front office next season, then all bets are off. The Canucks really only have three forwards that are off-limits. I don’t see them trading Roussel, Gaudette, or Virtanen unless circumstances change significantly, but virtually anyone else other than the core group of Horvat, Boeser, and Pettersson could be on the move.

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There’s a significant drop-off after Byram when it comes to defenders in this year’s draft. The second tier of defenders includes Cam York, Anttoni Honka, Philip Broberg, Victor Soderstrom, Thomas Harley, Mikko Kokkonen, and Matthew Robertson. The consensus top defenseman after Byram at this stage seems to be Broberg, but I remain unconvinced that he deserves the hype he’s receiving for the moment. I still have a ton of catching up to do on this year’s draft but I’m quite fond of Honka, York, and Robertson, although I don’t think any of those players will or should go in the top 10.

I would say there’s virtually no chance we see Lind in the NHL next season. Madden might get a game or two if he signs with the Canucks at the end of next season, but he doesn’t yet have the leverage to guarantee it will happen. We’ll have to see how his sophomore season goes. I think Juolevi’s chances of getting in at least one game late in the season are pretty good, but obviously it will depend on how his recovery goes.

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I haven’t really heard anything but I think they’ll probably take a look at him. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t. I doubt he will sign in Vancouver when there will be more attractive options available.

It’s just standard practice with NCAA players of Hughes’ calibre. College players are afforded way more leverage over the teams that draft them than their CHL or European counterparts, and it’s their respective agents’ jobs to utilize that leverage to create favourable conditions for their client. In Hughes’ case, he could have very easily waited the Canucks out, gone back to college for two more years and completed his education, and then signed in whatever city his brother Jack lands in. You can’t pin this one on the Canucks, it’s just the cost of doing business with high end NCAA players.

It sure seems inevitable at the moment. The Canucks have a tendency to telegraph their decisions in free agency through the media months ahead of July 1, and we’ve seen this movie before with Jay Beagle. Where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire. Unless there’s a shakeup or Myers isn’t interested I’d imagine the Canucks will be the frontrunner come the opening of free agency.

Until very recently Victoria had more restaurants per capita than any other city in North America, so it would be nearly impossible to pin down what the top food is around these parts. It’s even harder to parse what places the residents flock to when the cruise ship season starts and tourists cause the number of people milling about downtown to double. All I can say is that Victoria is a patio town. If your restaurant offers brunch and a view of the water, it’s going to be hopping in the spring and summer.

These rankings are going to change a ton before the draft, but at the moment they’d look something like this:

  1. Hughes
  2. Kakko
  3. Cozens
  4. Dach
  5. Byram
  6. Krebs
  7. Boldy
  8. Kaliyev
  9. Caufield
  10. Podkolzin

If the Canucks are going to come back with both Sutter and Beagle than this is just about the only way I could see it working. They just can’t justify keeping Adam Gaudette in the AHL and longer, so this would appear to make some sense on the surface. I think it’s much more likely we see a trade, though.

Their are a lot of free agents available this summer that would elevate the Canucks significantly next season, perhaps even to playoff contention. Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner, Ryan Dzignel, Gustav Nyquist, and Brock Nelseon are probably the best among them, but I’m not sure any have serious interest in the Canucks and the team will have to be careful with how they spend their money with Boeser and Pettersson extensions on the horizon.

Unless significant changes are made, playoffs aren’t a reasonable expectation. Petersson, Horvat, and Boeser can maybe up their output by 5-10% next season without help and Quinn Hughes will improve the blue line, but not enough to make them a playoff team. Obviously, we will have to wait and see what happens in the offseason, but if they come back with a similar forward group and a defense that’s two major additions were Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers, I don’t see it happening.

I’m guessing because they were too busy being excited by what was overall a strong debut performance by a 19-year old defender in a meaningless game in March against a bad team? He’s a 19-year-old rookie who plays a risk-taking style. There are going to be growing pains. I’d hold off on freaking out about him being out of position until he’s had some time to adjust to the NHL and the games actually matter…

And people say I’m negative. Yeesh.

Those trades will always be good in a vacuum. The Canucks got a couple of very promising forward prospects and a draft pick for two veteran players who did not factor in to the Canucks’ future and washed out of the league fairly quickly after joining their new teams. Even with Dahlen in San Jose and Goldobin looking like he could be on his way out, you can’t take that away from them.

I will say, though, that I don’t think it will be a good omen for Jim Benning’s future if Nikolay Goldobin doesn’t pan out. Even his harshest critics would put the Hansen and Burrows trades among his top 5 with the Vancouver Canucks. If neither pans out, that leaves him with a pretty abysmal record in both trades and free agency, the two areas where General Managers have the largest effect on their team’s success. I don’t think it’s fair to retroactively say that the trades weren’t good -in a vacuum, they were clearly wins for the Canucks- if neither works out, the totality of the organization’s body of work on the trade market is going to look pretty unimpressive.

  • Goon

    Red Fish Blue Fish is fantastic fish and chips on the waterfront. For pasta there’s Pagliacci’s which is packed every night. All the locations of Pizzeria Prima Strada are consistently busy and consistently delicious. There are half a dozen Vietnamese restaurants downtown and all are great. Pho Nay was my favourite but Google is telling me it’s now closed. Can’t comment on sushi or ramen – not my thing.

  • The Horton-Clarkson trade wouldn’t be the same as an Eriksson-Gaborik/MacArthur trade. The big difference is that 80% of Horton’s salary *wasn’t* be paid by insurance. Toronto could afford to trade for LTIR cap space that they would also have to pay 80% out of pocket. Columbus was desperate to save money and at least got a player back. That trade showed that even though there is a salary cap, it’s not always a level playing field and there are still advantages for richer teams.

    In the case of a VAN-OTT trade, there’s no advantage from Ottawa’s perspective. Most likely, we’d have to pay Ottawa to take Eriksson. Otherwise, Ottawa can put Gaborik and MacArthur on LTIR, let insurance pay them their salary, and use the cap space to get a player that’s better than Eriksson.

    • Goon

      It depends on what Ottawa needs. If paying as little real dollars as possible is goal #1, this won’t make sense. But if it’s more important to Ottawa to have a veteran body they can actually put on the ice, Eriksson might make a lot of sense. After his bonus is paid on July 1st he’s owed considerably less in real dollars than his cap hit, so he could fit in Ottawa.

      I doubt Ottawa’s going to *pay* Vancouver for him, though. More likely it’ll be the other way around – Eriksson and a 2nd to Ottawa for MacArthur and a 3rd, or something like that.

      • North Van Halen

        I don’t understand why the Canucks would pay to get rid of Ericksson at all. If no one wants Louie at $3mil/year in real money over the next 3 years, someone will likely take him at $2mil/yr after his next roster bonus the following July 1.
        I’m not sure why Vancouver would feel the need to burn an asset when they have neither a cap crunch nor a pressing need to have Louie off the roster and another better opportunity to move him the year after.

        • canuckfan

          It is not about what he gets paid at this point I think that they should keep him he can play a good defensive game and works well as a penalty killer have him, Sutter, and Beagle on the 4th line.

          • Goon

            It’s not my money, but if I was Aquilini I’d be thinking pretty hard about replacing a GM who was paying more to my fourth line than some teams (including the Canucks) pay for their first lines.

            Eriksson, Sutter and Beagle is over $13 million combined.

      • Ottawa would be better off signing a better UFA. Using CapFriendly, last year UFA’s in the same price range were Derek Ryan, Michael Grabner, Valtteri Fippula and Thomas Vanek, and all of them have scored more goals than Eriksson. The younger guys (Ryan and Grabner) had 3 year deals but the other guys in Eriksson’s age (Fippula and Vanek) were on 1 year deals.

  • Puck Viking

    You dont have zegras or turcotte in your top 10??

    If we pick 3rd im probably flipping a coin between turcotte and byram.

    Turcottes numbers are almost the same as Hughes plus hes great at both ends and is bigger.

    • Kootenaydude

      The Canucks were 7 games above .500 when Edler and Tanev we’re both healthy. So the team isn’t that far off from making the playoffs. If Baertschi plays more and Green actually figures out a functional powerplay. A little depth on defence. This team makes the playoffs next season.

      • Killer Marmot

        Interesting statistic, although the sample size can’t be good. Still, it suggests that a solid UFA signing on right defense could make a serious difference.

      • canuckfan

        Why would any team make a trade for Eriksson without having the Canucks sweeten the pot. He has not hurt the team, yes he has not scored the way he was supposed to and has a contract that is higher than what he should be getting paid. He is a good penalty killer and has been good defensively so why not keep him and get him to be what he is good at killing penalties and shutting down the other teams top players. Plus he can play left or right side and can move up and down the lineup.
        Any trade to dump his contract won’t be a hockey trade if another team is going to take on the contract they will want an incentive to do so. No body wants a bad contract.

        • Killer Marmot

          In two years, Pettersson’s and Hughes’ contract will be up, and cap space may be an issue. A team with lots of cap room could afford to have Eriksson on their roster, especially since the actual money paid Eriksson will be reasonable (by my reckoning, $5 million over two years if he’s traded in July 2020).

        • bushdog

          the guy has been a rock, just like you say. how to replace his game skills? with Who? forget the contract, people!! the man is really good at his job. i’ll never understand how so many dump on him because he doesn’t score 284 goals every year. seems obvious most of them are mouths, not knowledgeable hockey people. keep him for at least 2 more years and think about an extension

  • bushdog

    i am an erickson fan. under a ton of constant abuse he keeps doing a really good job. ‘can’t score if you don’t have the puck’ is true for him. he’s been asked to give up the goals to play defense for a garbage team and he’s been doing it. he’s been selflessly filling roles that don’t get much glory and it’s time to shut up and lay off the guy!!

  • speering major

    Out: Eriksson, Sutter, Schaller, Motte, Spooner, Tanev

    In: Myers, Kappanen, Ferland

    Maybe add a vet center for depth on a very short term contract or PTO to support Gaudette and Granlund

    • Alex G

      So easy to type that, but how are you going to move Sutter, Eriksson, and Spooner for starters? At the very least those 3 would need to get moved on order to attract/overpay for Ferland and Myers. Both those players will want term and a raise, the Canucks need to be mindful of cap space for Boser, Pettersson and Hughes in a couple of years. Kappanen is not likely available as an offer sheet will get matched and Dubas will then trade him to the highest bidder. The Canucks don’t have anything the Leafs realistically need in a trade with or without an offer sheet.

  • bushdog

    seen comments on trading up to get byrom, so i’m wondering what it would take. the teams that we’d have to talk to have their own needs. if anyone before us is after a dman, it’s a pointless discussion. jackson, can you do a quick talk on this angle?