Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Nils Hoglander, Wingers, and the Best Case Scenario For J.T. Miller

I would say so, yes. He’s played a higher level of men’s hockey in Sweden than Dahlen ever did, and looked pretty good doing it. Both players had a lot of offensive upside at the time they were drafted, but Hoglander is more well-rounded and has a higher ceiling and more room to grow than Dahlen had.

I always like Dahlen as the return in the Alex Burrows trade, but was never particularly that high on him as a prospect, if that makes sense. There were some red flags in his final year in the Allsvenskan that suggested he might not translate his offense to the next level that just don’t exist for Hoglander. He’s a few years away and may never fully realize his offensive potential, but the fact that he played the entire season in the SHL is a great sign for his development as a player.

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According to CapFriendly, the Canucks do not meet the requirements to sign any offer sheet in the $4,227,438-$8,454,871 range.

Yes, once Podkolzin’s contract expires in 2 years, he’ll sign an ELC. I’ll give credit to Jim Benning on this one. His job was on the line and he picked a player he knew wouldn’t be able to help until after he may be gone. I have a lot of respect for that.

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Centres play the more difficult position. They have more defensive responsibility and the greatest amount of ice to cover from the offensive zone to the defensive zone. There are also just far less centres than there are wingers, and most centres can transition to other forward positions, while wingers don’t have that versatility. Faceoffs aren’t nearly as important as they’re made out to be, but they add another layer to the value of a centre as opposed to that of a winger.

I don’t have any data to back this up, but based on anecdotal evidence it seems as though it’s far easier to ask an elite centre to carry average wingers than vice-versa simply because of how much a centre is asked to do and how much space they have to cover. There certainly are elite wingers who can remain effective even when playing with centres that don’t match their skill level, but they’re exceedingly rare.

As far as the Matthews vs. Marner discussion goes, I think it’s much closer than many make it out to be. Marner had one excellent season playing with John Tavares where he racked up a ton of assists. Matthews hasn’t quite reached the heights Marner did this season yet, but he’s scored more goals in less games and was only .005 off Marner’s points-per-game total this season. I think when you consider the fact that he also plays the premium position it’s entirely fair to say that Marner’s contract should not exceed the value of Matthews’.

I think that’s a facile comparison, to be honest. All it takes is a quicl glance at a HockeyDB page to see that some of these players are better than others. For starters, Miller can play the middle, which means he already brings more value than arguably all of the other players on this list. Secondly, it’s not entirely fair to say these players have had similar production over the course of their careers. Tanner Pearson and Sven Baertschi’s career highs in points have been 44 and 35, respectively; while Miller and Nyquist’s are 58 and 60, respectively. Nyquist in particular I think has a higher offensive ceiling than the other players, and Miller has proven to be a lot more durable over his career than Sven Baertschi has. I understand your point, because I don’t think these are smart or efficient players to invest in, but they are upgrades over what they currently have.

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I’ll believe it when I see it. Every year the NHL sets out to call more penalties, only for the refs to put away their whistles in the playoffs; and every year the fans scream about it, prompting the cycle to continue. The NHL is still transitioning to a faster, more skilled game; but it’s going to be a slow roll. I think eventually something has to give with the officiating in the playoffs, but I don’t see any significant changes coming any time soon.

For most scouts, director of Amateur scouting is basically the pinnacle unless there’s a desire to transition to another area of Hockey Operations. Brackett has done a good job in Vancouver by most accounts and he’s well-respected throughout the league, so if he wants to eventually take on a GM or AGM role somewhere I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. There were some rumours about Edmonton being interested but I’m not sure if they had legs.

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I don’t think Podkolzin would have been available to them at 14. I also don’t think the Tampa Bay Lightning would have settled for less once they knew they could get a first-rounder. The only way I could see them getting out of that situation would have been to get in on Patrick Marleau and possibly get Toronto’s first back in that deal.

I have to admit I was absolutely shocked the Canucks didn’t draft a single defenseman when that is easily the weakest position in their prospect pool. It’s pretty baffling. I like a lot of the players they took so I haven’t been very vocal about it but it doesn’t make a lot of sense on paper.

I’m very excited to see what Hoglander can do in the SHL after another summer of training. He’s probably got the best chance to surprise people next year of any player in the Canucks’ prospect pool.

All of these contracts are arguably worse than Eriksson’s. If they legitimately cannot move him for anything other than an even worse contract, just let him sit in the press box.

He’s probably going to sign Tyler Myers.

You might be saying to yourself, “that’s not going to fix anything!”

You would be correct. But neither did acquiring Luca Sbisa, Adam Clendening, Matt Bartkowski, Andrey Pedan, Philip Larsen, Michael Del Zotto, or Erik Gudbranson. You might say that a pattern is beginning to emerge.

The best case scenario is the Canucks squeak into the playoffs in one of the next two years, and JT Miller continues to be a solid 45-50 point per year player until the end of his deal. That would mean the deal is effectively a mid-to-late first, a 3rd, an AHL goaltender for what will probably be a very good middle-six player (and maybe occasionally a first-line winger). That’s a fine trade for any contending team to make. An overpayment, but still fine. The problem is the Canucks are not a contending team and there’s a decent chance they won’t even make the playoffs in the next two years. That’s when the deal could get ugly.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  • Killer Marmot

    I was absolutely shocked the Canucks didn’t draft a single defenseman when that is easily the weakest position in their prospect pool. It’s pretty baffling.

    I wasn’t too shocked. Defensemen were a hot commodity in this year’s draft in the early going. About 10 more were drafted (47 in total) than you would have expected in the first four rounds. Managers going for the most talented players available would likely have not picked up any defensemen until the later rounds.

    Why didn’t Benning pick any D in the sixth or seventh rounds? Perhaps because he had just signed three youngish free-agent defensemen that he thought had a far better chance of making the NHL: Teves, Rafferty, and Eliot.

    • CamBurke

      More horsesh*t from the uninformed one.

      It’s already been reported that Benning was offered *thee* chance to trade up to three by Chicago where Bowen Byram was waiting – a legit top pairing stud on D who woulda set us up to lead the blueline for years to come.

      Alas Dim Jim wouldn’t take on Brent Seabrooks contract dump for the pleasure – you know a BC born three time cup winner with veteran leadership skills who immediately would’ve raised the bar for just $875,000 per more than he just paid injury crock Edler.

      You can lead Benning and the dumb fans to water….

      • Killer Marmot

        I trust you are aware that…

        1. Seabrook’s cap hit is $6.75 million a year.
        2. It’s got five more years to run.
        3. Seabrook is 34 years old.
        4. Seabrook’s production is falling, and he may soon no longer be playable.
        5. Much of his salary is in bonuses, making a buyout of little value to his team.
        6. The Canucks have cap room now, but likely won’t in three years time.

        Right, oh wise and gracious one?

        • CamBurke

          I know all that marmot.What are you waffling about… that deal was the ONLY way the nucks were getting a player of Byrams calibre, by securing third in the draft to leapfrog Colorado… I don’t care about the cost because thats the price you pay for an elite D like Bowen who will be a stud for years to come. All about Byram, Marmot.

          Brnt Seabrook still offers plenty of quality and only missed four games all season – those writing off Seebs are the same no-marks who said Chara was washed up.

          yep, Seabrook and Byram over Edler and Pod is a no brainer for those of us who want a playoff contender back in Vancouver. Dim Jim coulda saved his job with that one lol !!!!!!!!

          Run along Marmot, no point in dragging out your humiliation because you never accept when you are licked anyways.

          • Killer Marmot

            I always wonder how sincere trolls are. Are they as arrogant and obnoxious in real life as they seem to be online? In short, are they sincere? Or are they mostly play acting, seeing how far they can push it and how many trashes they can collect before their accounts get removed?

            In most cases I favour the latter theory. No one can be that obnoxious in real life. It would not be … workable.

            In which case, well played. Pity your account will likely get removed shortly, but that’s the (abbreviated) life of a troll.

          • Goon

            You can bet he’s sniveling, obsequious, and servile in real life.

            And you’re absolutely right in your comments about Seabrook, but regardless, you shouldn’t feed him.

    • canuckfan

      Notice teams were taking big defenders with their first picks even though the scouting reports were not high on these players such as Edm pick. I like what the Canucks did and as far as the rumored Seabrook deal doubt the Hawks were offering this for the third pick Hawks need young entry level players in their lineup and wouldn’t likely get a chance to select as high as they did this year for quite sometime. Rumors have been flying around about absolute bs “I heard from someone” yea right.

    • I just crunched some numbers on the draft based on the actual draft and final rankings issued by Draft Analyst and Fisher @ Hockey Writers. Here’s my take on the actual draft:

      The reason why the Canucks did not draft defencemen is because they were too busy getting steals in Rounds 1-4 and defencemen in Rounds 5-7 were a crapshoot.

      Definitions: “Steal” – Ranked higher by Draft Analyst and Hockey Writers than actual draft position. “Reach” – Ranked lower (including “Not Ranked”). “Mixed” – Had higher and lower rankings.

      Canucks Draft: When you look at the first 4 rounds, the Canucks got steals with Podkolzin, Hoglander, and Keppen. We didn’t have a 3rd round pick so that’s irrelevant. In Rounds 5-7, it’s fair to say we reached on those players.

       Vasili Podkolzin (F) – Round #1 – Pick #10 – DA (5) HW (3) – Steal
       Nils Höglander (F) – Round #2 – Pick #40 – DA (20) HW (29) – Steal
       Ethan Keppen (F) – Round #4 – Pick #122 – DA (87) HW (109) – Steal

       Carson Focht (F) – Round #5 – Pick #133 – DA (N/A) HW (332) – Reach
       Arturs Silovs (G) – Round #6 – Pick #156 – DA (247) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Karel Plasek (F) – Round #6 – Pick #175 – DA (N/A) HW (200) – Reach
       Jack Malone (F) – Round #6 – Pick #180 – DA (224) HW (245) – Reach
       Aidan McDonough (F) – Round #7 – Pick #195 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Arvid Costmar (F) – Round #7 – Pick #215 – DA (101) HW (222) – Mixed

      Round 5-7 Defencemen: When we look at the defencemen who were drafted in Rounds 5-7, we see that with the exception of Marshall Warren, Cole Moberg, and Kalle Loponen in Rounds 6 and 7, all of these players were a “reach” or “mixed”. Only 3 players of 19 (15.7%) drafted could be considered a “steal” in those rounds.

       Jacob LeGuerrier (D) – Round #5 – Pick #126 – DA (N/A) HW (253) – Reach
       Cooper Moore (D) – Round #5 – Pick #128 – DA (265) HW (296) – Reach
       Mike Koster (D) – Round #5 – Pick #146 – DA (172) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Martin Hugo Has (D) – Round #5 – Pick #153 – DA (N/A) HW (100) – Mixed
       Roman Bychkov (D) – Round #5 – Pick #154 – DA (178) HW (102) – Mixed
       Braden Doyle (D) – Round #6 – Pick #157 – DA (124) HW (170) – Mixed
       William Francis (D) – Round #6 – Pick #163 – DA (310) HW (295) – Reach
       Marshall Warren (D) – Round #6 – Pick #166 – DA (70) HW (65) – Steal
       Ben Brinkman (D) – Round #6 – Pick #173 – DA (161) HW (178) – Mixed
       Gustav Berglund (D) – Round #6 – Pick #177 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Quinn Schmiemann (D) – Round #6 – Pick #182 – DA (250) HW (166) – Mixed
       Santeri Hatakka (D) – Round #6 – Pick #184 – DA (71) HW (207) – Mixed
       Mathew Hill (D) – Round #6 – Pick #186 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Maxence Guénette (D) – Round #7 – Pick #187 – DA (219) HW (254) – Reach
       Cole Moberg (D) – Round #7 – Pick #194 – DA (160) HW (167) – Steal
       Axel Bergkvist (D) – Round #7 – Pick #200 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Kalle Loponen (D) – Round #7 – Pick #204 – DA (127) HW (184) – Steal
       Kieran Ruscheinski (D) – Round #7 – Pick #206 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach
       Santeri Airola (D) – Round #7 – Pick #211 – DA (N/A) HW (N/A) – Reach

      TL;DR – The Canucks didn’t draft defencemen because they were too busy getting steals with forwards in Rounds 1, 2, and 4. Their draft methodology favoured reaching for forwards in Round 5-7 where other teams were reaching for defencemen 84.3% of the time anyways. Brackett and Benning passed up opportunities to draft steals in Warren, Moberg, and Loponen. If one were to criticize Brackett and Benning for not drafting defencemen, I would not generalize but specifically focus on why they drafted a questionable overager in Focht in Round 5 instead of taking Warren who was consistently ranked as a Round 3 pick.

  • North Van Halen

    At first I didn’t get the defence thing either but finding dmen that can contribute within 5 years, late in the draft is hard. From the ’14 & ’15 only 2 defencemen drafted in the 4th or later have played a full season in the NHL (funnily, one is Forsling), including ’13 gets ya 3 more.
    My guess is Vancouver feels it’s got a better chance drafting forwards late (Gaudette. Jasek, Palmu) while looking to sign older free agents on defence.

    • Cageyvet

      As already noted, especially this year. I understand that from round 2 onward, you could easily have had revenue for the month your pick ranked 10 or more spots above the next best defenseman on your list. Sometimes not following the crowd is the right move. Time will tell, but if JB gets even one player from the 4th round or lower, he’s done his job (assuming he got 2 from rounds 1 and 2). Time will tell, but this could be looked back on as an excellent draft. Most people want to draft BPA before position. I understand softening that stance in the later rounds, but if the gap is large….BPA every time.

      Picking players is the key, as it’s often said, you can always trade them to fill gaps. Having prospects who appear to have a shot can really help on the trade front. How many deals do we here floated around where it’s a player or pick plus a “B” prospect? You need a few to be comfortable moving one.

      • Cageyvet

        Wow, that started off in a messed up way. I meant to say many D were picked early as already noted. No clue where revenue for the month came from. If the damn window on my phone was bigger I could proof it without hitting Post Comment by mistake…..or it could be like the good old days, where you could edit your comment……

    • Burnabybob

      “From the ’14 & ’15 only 2 defencemen drafted in the 4th or later have played a full season in the NHL (funnily, one is Forsling), including ’13 gets ya 3 more.”

      Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. I still think Benning should have drafted at least 3 defensemen. After drafting Podkolzin and Hoglander then trading for Miller, Benning did a great job of addressing the team’s offensive needs. He could have used three of the remaining picks on defensemen and still had one left over for a goaltender. I just think in drafting and player development you need to hedge your bets.

    • Erik Lonnrot

      Even if you could I’m not sure you’d want to in this case. He’s going to get good experience playing against men in the second best league in the world, and then hopefully be able to make in impact in the NHL right away when he comes over. Getting meaningful production out of players who are still on the ELCs is huge in a salary cap environment. I would argue that it’s pretty much a necessity if you’re still paying for past performance of declining players as many teams are.

    • speering major

      Hoglander is dynamic. There’s a difference between skilled guys that are undersized and dynamic players that are undersized. The lightning have identified those types of players. They aren’t just skilled but they are very athletic and strong on their skates. Jonathan Dahlen was an undersized skill player. Hoglander is dynamic

      Check this kid out. He was ranked as a small first rounder which means his upside was likely just outside the top 10. This kid is special. Weather he can put it together at the NHL level is always a question but still. Check this out

  • canuckfan

    Not sure why everyone is so pissed at Benning but whatever. Miller is a good addition and the drafting this year was pretty good. Now to see who he signs to improve the defense hopefully does not give away the farm. someone on the right side to add to Stecher and Tanev who will see his ice time decline to help him stay healthy then I think he can go into the season with the roster he has with these additions and sign Brock to a new contract. Next summer can chase Barrie when Tanev’s contract is up.

  • ned

    My gut feeling is that Hoglander and Polkozin are both going to be legit top 6 forwards in the nhl. They both just seem to be ultra competitive and both also have great skill as well as some filthy mitts

  • Mattias

    I get that its hip to hate on Myers,
    but isn’t lumping him in with Sbisa, Clendening, Bartkowski, Pedan, Larsen, Del Zotto, Gudbranson a bit facile also?

    If you’re into playing fair, the only comparison the Canucks have is Edler:

    Edler 2006-2019 GP:814, G:94, A:274, Pts:368, +/- (-41)
    Myers 2009-2019 GP:635, G:74, A:191, Pts:265 +/- (+9)

  • mR_twiddleR

    ***That’s a fine trade for any contending team to make. An overpayment, but still fine. The problem is the Canucks are not a contending team and there’s a decent chance they won’t even make the playoffs in the next two years.***

    Okay but let’s be real, if the Canucks miss next year in 2020 they keep the pick. So that’s irrelevant.

    Now say it’s worst case scenario and they miss the playoffs again in 2021. Using this year as an example just for arguement sake, say they would have drafted 10th overall and that pick goes to Tampa. And say Tampa selects the best player in the board with the pick, and again using this year as the yard stick they get a player who is guaranteed 2 years in Europe before coming over. Now we’re into the 2024 season before this pick is NHL ready, and let’s say it takes him another 2 years minimum to become an impact player. Now hypothetically this player isn’t playing quality minutes for the Canucks until 2026. How do the math on how the Canucks core of Horvat EP Hughes & Boeser is by 2026.

    It’s a calculated risk to give up that pick, but i think it really has no bearing on the Canucks rebuilding around this current core. JT Miller helps this core, a 2021 1st rounder in all likelihood doesn’t.

    Think about it.

    • Holmes

      Another point to like the Miller deal. All the Dim Jim stuff is BS. Really believe the Canucks are in very good shape now.

      I think Canucks are drafting in the 17-23 spot two years from now, and if that’s the pick Tampa gets, there are more whiffs than hits historically in that draft range.

      • Fred-65

        To be honest and assuming Vcr signs Myers I tend to believe Canucks will make the playoffs so we’ll as you stated picking in the 17+ range next season. The best bet for Vcr is if they miss the playoffs get a lottery pick and at long last move up ( we’re due) and then from that time forward Vcr will be picking low picks

  • jaybird43

    I was absolutely shocked the Canucks didn’t draft a single defenseman when that is easily the weakest position in their prospect pool. It’s pretty baffling.

    I’m gonna weigh in too on this. D-men are a premium position, yes, but you are far more likely to find an forward gem in later positions. In 2017, the Toronto Sun did a redraft of every NHL draft of the top ten positions from 2000 to 2015. Looking at players who ended up there, and had risen at least 10 spots or more, forwards outnumbered defensemen by a count of 44 to 14. This suggests that as a general strategy, resources are better employed by learning towards drafting forwards a bit more than you might think. Toronto Sun source: https://torontosun.com/2017/06/16/can-we-get-a-redo-reordering-every-nhl-draft-from-2000-to-2015/wcm/0dd5e098-55ee-478b-8d68-89c29490117f