would JB consider trading for Tyler Toffoli in this off season to play along side Pearson and Horvat?
— Tяеvoя Aиtoiие (@WiildHorrse) June 9, 2019
I would think so, and it’s not a bad idea. Toffoli and Pearson were part of a high-end second line for the Kings for a couple of years. The biggest question, obviously, is the price. Toffoli had a down year, which means his value is likely at an all-time low, but I’m unsure how willing the Kings would be to part with him considering he’s still just 27 and has traditionally been a useful contributor for them. If they can get him for a middle-of-the-lineup player like Ben Hutton I would consider it, but I’m not sure there’s a fit there.
Do you find evaluating defence men as difficult as goalies in scouting young 18 year players
— mike higashi (@hirokidude) June 8, 2019
Defensemen are notoriously difficult to evaluate, but they’ve got a long way to go before they’ll match goalies. My colleagues at NextGen Hockey have done a great job developing pGPS, which I think goes a long way towards helping scouts predict the kind of contributor a player is going to be at the pro level, but there is no such system for helping us predict the future of a goaltending prospect. It still comes down mostly to traditional scouting, and a lot of organizations really struggle to identify what they should be looking for in a young goaltender. I remember Catherine Silverman told a story once about how she spoke to a scout who said he thought the most important statistic to look at when evaluating goaltenders was wins.
You might say we still have quite a long way to go.
Should the Canucks be trying to pry any of J.T. Miller, Tyler Johnson or Alex Killorn from the Bolts?
— Fred P (@Meerschaum529) June 9, 2019
Again, I’m just not sure the Canucks have the pieces. They can’t give up any of the core four, and the rest of the team just isn’t going to be that attractive to the rest of the league. A lot of the shine has come off of their prospect pool after a disastrous season in Utica, and fans don’t really seem keen on trading Troy Stecher or Jake Virtanen, so there really just isn’t a lot to work with.
If the owners order GMJB to make a free agent splash, to whom does he make the offer and what would it look like?
— Concerned (cat) parent (@cat_concerned) June 9, 2019
It sounds like the Canucks are in on basically everyone. That includes Erik Karlsson and especially Artemi Panarin, who I think they might actually have a legitimate shot at signing. Otherwise, there’s the second tier of guys like Tyler Myers, who already seems like a shoo-in to be in the Canucks lineup next year, and mid-tier forwards like Micheal Ferland, who seems like someone the Canucks could have interest in. Overall, I’d expect more of the same: small-to-significant overpayments for middling-to-slightly above average players in their late twenties or early thirties. It is what it is.
Would the return of Tryamkin actually make the Canucks better?
— Rob McIntosh (@RobMcSports) June 9, 2019
I’m skeptical. He probably improves their depth on the right side, but to what extent? People were so wowed by his size and skating the last time he was here that they never seemed to catch on to the fact that he basically seemed allergic to handling the puck. He hasn’t really blossomed since returning to the KHL, and he’s been a healthy scratch at times, too, so I just don’t see what other people are seeing. I think he can be an okay third-pairing defenseman who can inject some much needed grit into the lineup, but the idea that he’s going to be some kind of saviour of the franchise is pure fantasy.
If you wanted to trade down in the draft would you rather wait until after pick 9 or do it the day before if the other team offered a sweetener?
— Marcus (@marvmol) June 8, 2019
I feel like you’d get a better deal by waiting, but I honestly can’t say for sure. I’m inclined to think there’s a reason most trading up/down doesn’t happen until the time of the draft, but who knows? If you can get a good deal and have the advantage of an extra day or two to plan ahead I’m certainly not against it.
Follow up: if you wanted to trade down, would you rather call teams with offers (but maybe weaken your position) or wait for teams to call you (and maybe get max value)?
— Marcus (@marvmol) June 8, 2019
I guess it would depend on how badly I wanted to make a move. If I know I’m taking X player regardless of where I pick and I’m looking to move a couple spots down, I’ll probably make the call. If I’m happy making the pick where I am, I’m probably not moving it unless a deal that works for me materializes, so I’ll be happy to wait for somebody else to call me.
What would it take to land Miller out of Vegas and is he worth the cost?
— #RIPBotch (@bruuntuun) June 9, 2019
This is a very good question. It’s very tough to get a read on what Colin Miller’s value is right now, but I can’t imagine Vegas is dealing from a position of strength considering how they handled him last season. If they can get him without giving up any of their premium assets that’s a deal I would pursue. I still think a deal revolving around Miller for Virtanen makes sense for both teams. The question is who has to add? If the answer is Vancouver, I’ll pass; but I’d think about a one-for-one deal. You have to give something up to get something and buying low on Miller is the kind of deal that could seriously pay off for the Canucks in the long run.
What’s your biggest red flag when reading a prospect’s scouting report?
— Kato von Essen (@KatovonEssen) June 8, 2019
Anything that suggests a player is going to have to take significant strides mentally to grow into his physical tools. References to poor decision-making or weak hockey IQ are definitely a significant red flag if the player is demonstrating these weaknesses when they aren’t under pressure. Any player can be guilty of making a mistake under pressure, but if a player is constantly making thoughtless mistakes or being careless with the puck I definitely worry about that.
Why do you think so many high quality players are coming out of the US national development program?And do you think Bouldy will be available at #10?
— Brian mcdonald (@Brianmc75292217) June 9, 2019
The USNTDP has the benefit of not only being a great program in terms of the money and resources they are able to devote to developing their players, but also getting their pick of the best players in the country. Some pretty talented players can fall through the cracks either because scouts miss them or they elect to stay home and play in high school or the USHL, but generally the USNTDP gets to have not only a collection of the best players in the country, but also many of the best coaches and staff available at the junior level as well.
Just as a thought experiment, imagine what such a program might look like in Canada. Instead of sending the best Canadian talent off to their individual major junior teams, Hockey Canada would scout players from the time they were 14 or 15 with the goal of developing those players to eventually compete internationally. Those best players would basically form an all-star team and compete in a run of games against teams in the CHL and Canadian university teams and absolutely shred the competition. In most cases, we know quite early on that the Connor McDavids and Sidney Crosbys are future first overall talents long before they even set foot in the CHL, so a Canadain program would likely produce the most first overall picks of any amateur program across hockey.
This isn’t too far off from what the USNTDP is, with the biggest difference being that Canada simply produces way more hockey players because of the unique level of popularity the sport has in Canada and the fact that junior hockey has been an institution for much longer than it has in the US. As hockey continues to grow in the U.S., I’d expect the USNTDP to continue to produce more and more NHLers because of the unique nature of the program and the resources they’re able to devote to assembling and developing the best group of prospects in the country.
What would it take to get Tyson barrie? Would Ben hutton + 2019 2nd round + 3rd round 2020 be enough?
— Johl21 (@johal_21) June 8, 2019
If the Avalanche are moving Tyson Barrie, they’re not doing it for anything less than a premium asset, the kind that is completely off-limits for the Canucks in any trade. Only 8 defensemen in the league have more points than Barries since he established himself as a full-time NHLer in 2014-15, and in that span he’s only finished outside the top 20 in scoring among defensemen once. The idea that any team is going to be able to land him in a trade for scraps is ridiculous.
Virtanen missed like 6 weeks last year; if he played 82 he surely woulda scored 20. This is the absolute worst time to trade Virty, why the hue and cry to get rid of him?
— Ten Zowie (@TenZowie) June 9, 2019
I’m sympathetic to this viewpoint because I think if you told most people that Virtanen was going to hit 15 goals thos year they’d have been very happy (although I’m skeptical he would have hit 20 this season if he’d stayed healthy). Ultimately, though, we’re talking about a player who’s been in the league for the better part of four years and has 59 points in 210 games. He’s got speed and a shot and looks like maybe if everything goes right he’ll pop 20 goals in a season at some point in his career, but he’s still very one-dimensional. His two-way game hasn’t progressed and, I’m sorry, but he just doesn’t really engage physically often enough for me to believe he’s just a power forward waiting to blossom. He’s a good piece to have, and useful, but not a core player. I’m not in a rush to trade him and the Canucks shouldn’t be, either, but he’s by no means untouchable.
I think there are a few different reasons why a lot of people feel ready, maybe even anxious, to move on from Jake Virtanen. For one, the team just has not been very good for the better part of six seasons and they need to overhaul the roster significantly to improve. They’ve let a lot of their assets depreciate to the point where they have next to no value, and when you look around at the roster and see who has value that you can afford to give up, Jake is the first guy that comes up. He’s also starting to inch towards “this is just what he is” territory and if that next step never actually comes, his value isn’t going to get higher than it is right now, when you could still sell a team on his potential. In addition to being one of their only pieces that they can afford to move on from, he’s also a winger, which is a much more fungible position than the other players the Canucks could maybe afford to move on from without it coming back to bite them; like Hutton, Demko, Gaudette, or even Troy Stecher.
Here’s the deal: the Canucks really need to make some rapid alteration to their roster if they’re going to be competitive before the end of Bo Horvat’s contract. To do that, they have to move a lot of pieces out, and bring ones back that are a significant improvement over what they have right now, and like it or not, some combination of Brandon Sutter, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton, and Tim Schaller is not going to bring back the kind of assets that are going to significantly change the team’s direction. If you’re looking to actually get value, you have to look at moving one of the players I mentioned above, and the best combination of value and risk is probably Jake Virtanen.
I’m not saying you have to move him by any means but what else have you got? The clock is ticking on this regime and sitting around and hoping that what they have on the roster is going to be enough to significantly improve their record next season looks like a bad bet to me and I imagine there are a lot of fans and folks in the media who feel the same way.