Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: AHL Coaches, Tracking Technology, and the Draft


First of all, the Canucks have planted their flag in the sand with regards to Trent Cull. He’s received a full vote of confidence from the organization. I think the Comets’ outlook would have to improve significantly next season for him to return in 2020-2021, but he’s safe for the time being.

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As far as who might be a potential replacement, it’s difficult enough to predict who will get hired at the NHL level, let alone in the minors. I’m assuming in this scenario, the team has cleaned house, since it seems like Cull and the current front office are a package deal at this point. If the Canucks decide to go in a more progressive direction with their next GM hire, I would advocate for Rikard Gronborg to get the Comets’ coaching gig. For whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be an NHL team that’s willing to hire him right now, but if he’d be willing to come overseas to be the coach-in-waiting for the Canucks that would be quite the coup for the the organization. I can’t speak to the likelihood of this situation unfolding, though.

As far as what NHL teams are looking for in an AHL coach is concerned, I would speculate that the average NHL GM is inclined to believe that winning, developing, and being a strong candidate for a future NHL coaching gig all go hand-in-hand. Since winning is ultimately the goal, most people who work in hockey seem to be of the belief that losing is detrimental to development, even if it’s in service of getting your young players more ice-time. I’m not sure if I agree, but I find it hard to fault anyone for that belief. Even at lower levels, I think hockey culture would have to go through some major changes for winning to take a back seat to anything else- even in the short-term.

At this point the only real option the team is going to consider if all five players are on the roster to start the year is to send Gaudette down to the minors. Doing so would be sure to attract a lot of criticism, but they aren’t going to bury Jay Beagle or Brandon Sutter’s contracts in the minors, so it’s the only realistic outcome.

Eventually, they’ll have to make a trade if Gaudette forces their hand, but so far I haven’t heard so much as the slightest rumbling that the Canucks are shopping any of their centres. I think the most likely player among that group to get traded is Brandon Sutter, but until I hear from a reputable source that the Canucks are shopping him I won’t be holding my breath.

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Boldy is probably the safest bet, Caulfield and Newhook have the highest upside, while Krebs probably has the best risk/reward ratio. I would stay away from Zegras in the top ten, I’m not convinced he has the hockey sense to translate his game to the next level. Gun to my head, I’d take Krebs, but it’s very close.

Look, man, two thirds of Roxy Fever have potato-quality audio right now. I’m not throwing guests into the mix until we get things figured out with them first. We only have two guests planned right now, but I promise their both women. We haven’t forgotten our roots an I’m very excited to get the Women Amplifier out of the closet the first chance I get.

Based on the leak, they look fine. I’ve personally been of the opinion that the old jerseys were fine, too. I don’t really feel strongly one way or the other. Call me when they decide to bring the skate back.

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It’s rare I would shell out that kind of money to go to a game, let alone to watch a bunch of sweaty old guys call out a bunch of names.

Certainly not myself. I feel much more strongly about Noah Dobson as a prospect than any of the defenders available at ten, so I’d be willing to make that deal, assuming a defenders is what the team is after. I think it’s highly unlikely to occur, though. Teams tend to overvalue their assets and I doubt either of the Islanders or Canucks would walk away from that deal feeling like winners.

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I think expected that kind of improvement in Pettersson’s speed would be a recipe for disappointment, but after the rookie season he had and how much he was able to improve his shot in just a year, I wouldn’t put anything past him. If he wants to be faster this fall, he’ll be faster. I can’t say by how much, but I’d bet on at least a minor improvement.

I feel like this actually gets mentioned fairly often, but the reason it doesn’t draw a lot of attention is just because we’ve never seen it happen. Players always seem to just end up on LTIR and I doubt the Panthers have any vested interested in screwing over the Canucks’ cap.

Keep: Goldobin. He has the highest upside of the three players and likely won’t fetch much on the trade market. If I’m the Canucks GM, the last thing I’d want is to see him put it together somewhere else while the Canucks continue to struggle to find secondary scoring.

Trade: Ben Hutton. He’s going to get a significant raise that probably isn’t in line with what he provides on a nightly basis, and he can probably get a half-decent return from the right team. While the Canucks could obviously use the help on the back end, Quinn Hughes will help them out enough to justify moving on.

Ditch: Markus Granlund. I think it’s safe to say if most people don’t remember a player is on the roster of their favourite team, they won’t miss him when he’s gone.

I prefer Soderstrom out of those players, but to be honest, there really isn’t another defender in this draft that has made a strong enough case to be considered the clear #2 behind Bowen Byram. If I’m the Canucks, I pass on taking a D with the 10th pick and swing for the fences on the forward with highest upside available.

It’s rare for these kinds of deals to yield a significant return for the team taking back salary. The Canucks could probably get a third or fourth rounder or a B prospect in return, or maybe an underperforming AHL/NHL tweener with upside. That would still be a wise move for them, but not exactly a headline-grabber. Unless Vegas is willing to take back some salary as well, I don’t think Miller and Clarkson will be moved together.

Overall, once the dust settles, tracking technology will only improve the knowledge and data available in the public sphere. Initially, I would expect there to be a lot of noise, and a lot of misguided analysis. Broadcasters will love it, and probably make a lot asinine observations as a result. Overall, I’m very excited. The discourse around analytics has stagnated and most of the analysis that’s available right now lacks the urgency and willingness to think outside the box that we saw from much of the blogosphere from about 2013-2016. For the most part, everyone has picked a side now and there’s not a lot of fighting anymore. I want to see chaos reign supreme again, if only for a little while.

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the party will be more fun. The Draft is certainly interesting from a hockey nerd perspective, but not a lot actually happens. It’s more engaging to hang out with some friends and watch the fans react in real time than it is to stand in a crowded auditorium and wait for 31 men in suits to thank the fans, congratulate the Cup champs, and finally get to making their selection. It’s also much more socially acceptable to be drunk at a bar watching the draft than in the stands, within earshot of the friends and loved ones of the players that are being selected.

  • Reme

    I went to the NHL draft in 2006 and it was a blast. Maybe a party would be okay for the first day, but the second should be worth while. Watching day 2 on TV has not been that entertaining. When I was there, I got pictures with and autographs from so many of the drafted players. They were just walking around the concourse taking in being an NHL prospect. Very approachable at that time. I was also able to talk to Bobby Mac, Pierre Maguire and Ovie. He was everywhere then. It was so great how open and available everyone was at that draft. I have to admit, I was a lot younger that draft, but I would still be open to seeing the 2nd day live.

  • wojohowitz

    The part I remember about attending a draft is glimpses of some legends of the game. It is almost like being a spectator at a HHOF induction ceremony. People like Pat Quinn, Serge Savard, Bobby Clarke all down on the floor for what appears to be a once a year social event catching up with old friends. In comparison the young players getting picked is just a blur.

  • ned

    I agree with Jackson on taking a forward with a top 10 pick. Unless it’s a slam dunk defensive prospect like Dahlin or Byram leave defense for mid first to second round.

  • Dirk22

    Corey Pronman has Zegras rated the smartest player in the draft – Jackson says he lacks hockey sense?

    Button says skating is an issue for Newhook but the Nation site rates him as one of the best skaters?

    There will obviously be different opinions with prospects but these seem a bit extreme.

    • jaybird43

      Yes, one wonders. Last year one hockey writer said that Noah Dobson’s skating wasn’t good. This was well AFTER he had won the overall skating contest at the CHL All Star game weekend. Yesh…

      • DJ_44

        Skating is a combination of a few things: explosiveness, mobility and speed. Individuals evaluating skating will focus on one skill and rate that as overall skating which is a mistake.

        Ben Hutton has acceptable skating speed, and even his first two step are solid, for the NHL game. However, his mobility is below average, which will manifest itself poorer defensive zone coverage. Gudbranson was actually a fast skater: he was rarely beaten in a foot race. He also had poor mobility.

        Stecher has excellent mobility, which allows him to get his body in position in battles. He has below average speed however.

  • Green Bastard

    Can i just apologize for all the hom(o)phobic slurs i have inflicted on this site for far too long. Time i gre up. I will now sign out and use my Locust id to continue bashing intead lol.