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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Brandon Carlo, Reuniting the Hughes Brothers, and Jason Botchford’s Greatest Hits

This is a great question because I think it actually has a decent chance of happening. The Bruins need cap space to sign Charlie McAvoy, who is due for a huge raise, and only have a few players on expiring contracts, the most significant of which is Marcus Johansson, who’s deal pays him an AAV of 2.75 million. Unless they move someone, they’re unlikely to be able to re-sign both Carlo and McAvoy.

The obvious fit here would be a one-for-one deal involving Carlo and Jake Virtanen. Carlo’s due for a raise of his own that’s likely to exceed the 1.25 million dollars Virtanen will make next season. The question is whether or not either team really has the appetite for that. What the Bruins really need is cap space, and I think it’s more likely they would dangle a prospect to a cap floor team in exchange for taking back David Backes’ contract. I’m also not convinced Carlo is the answer on Vancouver’s blueline, and I think the Canucks would be interested in someone with more upside if they’re going to give up Virtanen, who many still believe has the tools to be an effective power forward in the NHL.

Overall, I think chemistry is more important than handedness when it comes to lineup decisions, especially at forward. Perhaps the best example of this is Alex Burrows, a natural left winger who shot left, but saw his greatest success as Alain Vigneault’s go-to right winger on the Sedin line. There are advantages and disadvantages to playing a forward on his off-side, but ultimately if it works, they should do it. On paper, a top six of Baertschi-Horvat-Pearson on one line and Boeser and Pettersson with a third forward sounds preferable to most of their other options as the team is currently constructed.

I hate this question but I’ll still answer it to the best of my ability.

Captain America: Bo Horvat

Iron Man: Elias Pettersson

Thor: Brock Boeser

Hulk: Jake Virtanen

Hawkeye: Alex Edler

Black Widow: I don’t know… Jacob Markstrom? I hate this question.

This one is easy.

Frank Sinatra: Bo Horvat

Dean Martin: Brock Boeser

Sammy Davis Jr.: Elias Pettersson

Peter Lawford: Jake Virtanen

Joey Bishop: Alex Edler

I always hesitate to answer these questions because it’s impossible to know who will slip. I never would have guessed Timothy Liljegren would have been available for the Leafs to snag in 2017, for example.

With that in mind, I’m getting some serious Oliver Kylington vibes from Anttoni Honka this year. The data loves him, but scouts aren’t entirely sold and his value appears to be declining as we reach the end of the 2018-19 playoffs. If he’s somehow still there at 40, he’s their man.

I still think Madden’s ceiling is that of a very good third-line winger, who can perhaps play spot duty in the top six when called upon. I don’t really like making player comparables, but Joonas Donskoi is similar in style and role to the player I think Madden could be.

If he stays healthy and has a productive season in Utica, he’ll get an audition at the end of the season. The Canucks appear set on bringing back both of Chris Tanev and Alex Edler, so you know the team’s top four is going to be hit by injuries at some point, and realistically, who is going to get the call-up ahead of Juolevi? Ashton Sautner is probably slightly ahead of him on the depth chart at the moment, but if Juolevi can build on his impressive numbers from last year (albeit over a very small sample size), then he won’t stay out of the conversation for long.

The offer has to start with Ty Smith and another good, young roster player. You don’t have to make this deal, and the Devils have the incentive to overpay to reunite the Hughes brothers, so you should reach for the sky with your starting ask. That would mean asking for someone like Nico Hischier, which would obviously be met with a scoff by Ray Shero. Eventually, you’d probably get talked down to someone like Jesper Bratt or Miles Wood and at that point you have to wonder if the Canucks would have interest. Quinn Hughes is a special prospect, but how much can you really ask for in return for a player who has played less than 10 games of pro? Obviously, it’s not happening, but Ty Smith and a good roster player would definitely give Jim Benning something to think about.

To be honest, when I think of Jason Botchford, I usually think of the personal interactions I was fortunate enough to be able to have with him over the past two years; but I’ll be reflecting on that in due time. As far as the moments everyone else was privy to, there were a few moments that stick in my mind. As a reader, long before I had ever spoken to either of them, I remember being very amused by his feuding with former CanucksArmy Managing Editor Thomas Drance over Jannik Hansen, especially because it’s one of the few times Botch ever had to admit defeat. He did so graciously, for the most part, but not without his trademark sense of humour. I also loved it whenever he’d rib Jeff Paterson over his tweets and goal predictions. More recently, there was the Tyson Chicken controversy, which was the type of meltdown that would have previously gone mostly unnoticed before Botch came along and shined a flashlight on all the weirdest corners of online Canucks fandom.

As far as his writing is concerned, I think his final two editions of the Provies, on the Sedins’ final home and road games, are some of the finest pieces of sports writing this city has ever seen. When I initially got the news of Jason’s passing, I immediately thought of this passage, from his final Provies:

  • There’s only one way Hughes gets traded, thats if Benning & Brackett think Smith is a #1 dman. That’s it. If they don’t, then any move that includes Hughes sets the franchise back until they find/draft one that is a #1.
    The hardest thing to find is a true elite #1 defenseman and nobody lets them walk, ever (unless you’re Ottawa but seriously after their decisions the last 2 seasons with Karlsson/Duchesne/Turris, I think they let the EA NHL ’18 computer make their decisions).
    If Benning/Brackett think Smith is that good, you can tinker with a deal and if NJ loads it up enough, pull the trigger. If they don’t then this is all noise and a deal should never happen.

    • So, after 6 NHL games, you are convinced that a 5’10”, 174 lb kid is a can’t miss, bonafide #1 defenseman in the NHL? I sure hope so. Because Smith, Bratt, this years 2nd, and next years 1st in whats meant to be a stacked d-man class, would be an amazing haul. Not that Shero has actually offered that yet, but Wojo did!

      • No. But he’s the best defensive prospect we’ve ever had….by a country mile. I’ve only seen 2 teams in 45 years win a cup without a defensive stud and I’ve also never seen my team lift that cup and not coincidentally, they’ve never had a true #1. So when my team finally gets a guy that almost every talent assessors believes is 1 of the 2 best defensive prospects that didn’t play in the NHL last year, the only way this team should let that guy go is if a bonafide #1 is coming back. That’s it.

        Apparently, many believe we should endlessly pursue a #1. 50 years and 0 cups might not be proof enough for some people that finding that #1 is vital to everything moving forward, I happen to believe it is. So if Hughes looks like the next Brian Leetch (remember him hoisting the Conn Smythe in ’94), the offer better blow my f@*kin mind (and that offer hinges on your belief in Smith) or the answer is no. No! No! No!

        • We may, in years to come, be talking about Quinn Hughes much like some posters are talking about Eric Karlsson now and that includes raves about his offense and concern about his defence. Hughes will probably need the correct complement at LD to show the best of his talent. A defenseman with speed but size and physicality to cover for Hughes roaming would be ideal.

        • We didn’t have a traditional #1 when we made pushes in 1994 and 2011 but we did acquire missing PP QB’s via trade that made the difference (Brown, Ehrhoff). Hughes doesn’t need to be a #1 for us to be competitive if the rest of the D-corp is strong. The difference with Hughes is he’s homegrown and will be around for a long time.

          • Yeah, but I’m fairly certain if Leetch & Chara were on the other side, the results would have been different (though injuries were more to blame for 2011)

  • If [Juolevi] stays healthy and has a productive season in Utica, he’ll get an audition at the end of the season.

    If the summer signings go as expected, only Edler, Hutton, Hughes, and perhaps Sautner will be ahead of Juolevi on left defense. That means we should see Juolevi in Vancouver in the fall, and possibly out of training camp.

    The Canucks don’t have enough depth to keep Juolevi out of the lineup for long, and I think everyone including management are keen to see what he looks like on major-league ice.

    • Juolevi rehabbed his knee in Vancouver and Benning has been quoted as saying Olli will push for a position out of training camp.
      If Edler is back,where does that leave Hutton?

      • or possibly Hughes, if he struggles defensively he might be the odd man out, also not needing to go through waivers is a real thing. Not saying he will end up struggling or in Utica but it’s not impossible or inconceivable.

        • Hughes was on a 50 point pace in the five games he played last season-at 19 years of age.
          Ehrhoff scored 50 points in 2010-11 while Daniel won the Art Ross+Ted Lindsay,Hank put up 94 points,Kesler won the Selke and Luongo/Schneider the Jennings.
          50 points was the highest total in Ehrhoff’s NHL career and he was 28 years old playing with the twins at their best.
          The Canucks need Quinn far more than he needs the Canucks.Sending him to Utica would be a bizarre decision.

  • I also noticed Carlo as a tough, physical, confrontational defenceman much in common with Chara and McAvoy and who do the Canucks have of a similar style – Luke Schenn is about all.

    A first overall pick has promotional value – even a teenager that can`t speak English. Jack Hughes as a well spoken young American is worth millions. The Hughes brothers together – if promoted correctly – could sell out arenas all over the league. The Devils will certainly want to discuss a deal – it`s only a question of how much can Benning squeeze out of them. Acceptable to me is Ty Smith, Jesper Bratt, this years 2nd and next years 1st.

  • The whole notion of even thinking of trading QH is an absurd one though it’s only fun, fantasy theorizing . Shero isn’t going to give up Hischier anyways, the only guy I’d want. Quinn Hughes becomes IMO the first and only #1 D we’ve ever truly had and I’ve seen every Canuck in their entire history. Recall the 3 on 3 OT with Petey and Brock this year and that alone should tell you what Canuck fans have got to look forward to.

        • Yes, but the truth is that this wonderful pedigree means nothing now. It’s the NHL. It’s a difficult, physical, mans league, and success is a guarantee for no one, regardless of their talent. I hope everyone anointing him is indeed correct, I’ve been waiting almost 50 years as well, but I’d heed the words of Goon. It might be a wee bit premature.

          • Yeah but isn’t the hope of Hughes being that guy better than giving it up and watching him bloom somewhere else? Is this the plan? Get a guy that scouts rave about and trade it for more potential? Or do we hope that everyone’s right and finally we get our guy.

            I’d rather take my chances with this guy than hope for the net one..

    • Madden wasn’t a darling of “the community” before the draft, this site gave the pick a “C” grade – loads of speed and intangibles, but not enough numbers. Jake Wise was the preferred pick by the numbers. Unfortunately for Wise, he was injured, but he did manage 2 pts in 12 games for Boston U (NCAA). Madden had 28 pts in 36 games for Northeastern (NCAA), and was a key player for Team USA at the World Jrs where he had 4 pts while being an alternate captain.

      • I think Corey Pronman from the Athletic had him as one of the picks he missed last year believing he should have gone higher. I can’t remember where, but some publication had him as a late first rounder in a redraft

    • Well, at least Zboril and Andersson have seen NHL action (and Andersson isn’t a bad third pairing player), but CA clearly missed the mark in its assessment of Carlo.

  • I really just want some of our d-corps to shoot/pass with pace in the offensive zone, I haterize marshmallows that are quickly turned the other way.